HARRISBURG • The $247 million budget passed Dec. 12 by the Dauphin County Board of Commissioners includes $11 million for a program that should impact several Sentinel-area municipalities.
The county’s municipal bridge project is a first of its kind in Pennsylvania, the county said in a press release.
Under the program, the county is using state transportation-related funds to cover 40 percent of a municipality’s cost to repair or replace its bridges.
The rest of the money can be borrowed from the county’s Infrastructure Bank at low interest.
County officials are working with municipalities to determine the initial list of bridges, according to the press release.
“Without this program, township and boroughs would be forced to either close or weight-restrict bridges or raise local taxes to fix them,’’ said Commissioner Mike Pries. “We’re looking at long-term solutions and working with our municipal partners to improve the quality of life in the county.”
Budget has no tax increases
According to the press release, the county budget for fiscal 2019 retains taxes at the same levels they’ve been for the 14th consecutive year.
Barring unforeseen costs in the future, the 2019 spending plan continues the county’s path of paying off the current $68 million in debt by 2025.
County officials said a significant savings was realized by consolidating operations at the prison and the adjacent Judicial Center, which handles the booking and initial bail hearings for those arrested throughout the county.
Combining the staff at both facilities saved $500,000 this year and is projected to save $800,000 in 2019, the press release stated.
The proposed 2019 budget anticipates spending $40.7 million for both facilities, a 1.28 percent increase that is below the inflation rate.
According to the county, other cost savings helping to balance the proposed 2019 budget include:
• Reducing healthcare costs by $7 million since 2009 by self-insuring.
• Saving $1 million by hiring only once a quarter instead of immediately filling vacancies.
• Continuing efforts to make county buildings more energy efficient, which are expected to save $80,000 in electricity next year.
For more information on the 2019 budget, visit DauphinCounty.org.