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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Potter County Chief Clerk Todd Brown Resigns

County Taxes Likely To Hold Steady; Chief Clerk Resigns

budgetPotter County’s proposed 2011 operating budget will be made available for public review next week and is slated for final adoption on Thursday, Dec. 30.

Commissioners Doug Morley, Paul Heimel and Susan Kefover continue to review the spending plan, which will top $7 million. Chairman Morley announced at the board’s meeting on Thursday that the commissioners are determined to avoid any increase in taxes next year, despite rising expenses in many areas.

Costs for operating the Potter County Jail soared past the $1 million mark last year and continue to increase as the inmate count rises. With a larger volume of local prisoners, the jail is unable to accommodate prisoners from Cameron County who have been held in the local lockup for a daily fee, resulting in a reduction in income for the county.

State-mandated human service programs are another big-ticket item in the county’s budget that is largely beyond the county’s control.

To cover the rising costs without a tax increase, the commissioners have reduced the county workforce, largely through attrition, and developed other revenue sources, such as the rental of space in the F. W. Gunzburger County Office Building.

Travel expenses have also been curbed.

Uncertainties big and small surround the budget preparation process. For example, the state still owes Potter County more than $100,000 in reimbursement for the district attorney’s salary in 2009 and an even higher amount for the DA’s 2010 salary. Health insurance cost increases are expected to reach double digits again in 2011. Four separate labor union contracts with county employee groups that carry over into 2011 will also result in higher expenses.

In other business at Thursday’s meeting, the commissioners accepted a letter of resignation from Todd Brown, chief clerk and director of administration. He has accepted a job in the private sector.

The commissioners also discussed issues related to natural gas drilling with Laurie Barr of Roulette Township, who is concerned about environmental degradation as a result of increased gas production. The official agenda for the meeting is linked below as well as the approved minutes from the previous meeting.

Solomon's words file photo.


Anonymous said...

Our government tells us there is NO inflation maybe even deflation. Why then is insurance cost soaring past double digits? Why wasn't THIS addressed in the Presidents Healthcare Reform? ALOT other "riders" for non-healthcare we added.

Anonymous said...

Where did Todd get a job?

Anonymous said...

Highmark BC/BS definitely is raising its rates for group plans by double-digits. I think around 13 percent. Not sure why or how it ties in with health insurance reform passed by Congress.

Anonymous said...

Kudos and dildines to Todd.
May his life be blessed by God.

Anonymous said...

Wait a sec...
6:35, you say dildine like that's a nice compliment. Like, "You are a beautiful person."

Shirley, you jest.

Anonymous said...

The health reform act as I understand it now dictates to current health insurance companies and is demanding a % of what they charge gets spent on health care.

But what I do not understand is why they are raising everyone's rates for the same coverage and services?

They (Blue Cross)has had record braking profits each and every quarterly report, none of this makes any sense to me one bit!

What would make sense is to let all health insurance companies compete for your business like every other industry can, to hell with the interstate commerce excuse!

Vicki said...

Very interesting info:
Part 1 of 2

Alexander's Essay – December 2, 2010

Who Got Stimulated?

Barack Hussein Obama, intent on increasing your taxes in January by way of letting the Bush-era tax reductions expire (ostensibly to reduce the deficits Democrats created), has launched a ruse to steal the budget-cutting thunder of his Republican opponents.

First, Obama ordered a freeze on bonuses for some 3,000 of his high-paid political appointees. Then he announced a freeze on the wages of all federal workers for the next two years.

One Social Security administrator summed up the reaction of her fellow federal union workers: "That's why Obama's ratings are below Bush's, and that's hard to be unless you're Osama bin Laden. I can't wait until I retire."

Well, given the fact that federal bureaucrats are now endowed with grossly disproportionate wages and benefits, one can understand why retirement remains attractive for them. On the other hand, millions of private sector citizens will be working well beyond retirement age in order to make ends meet, especially given the increased tax burdens they'll likely incur in the future to pay off Obama's deficit.

Compared to more productive private sector employees, whose income is confiscated to pay government wages and benefits, hourly government workers are paid 57 percent more than those in the private sector for comparable jobs ($28.64/hour vs. $18.27/hour). Salaried bureaucrats enjoy average annual wages of $78,901, while those in the private sector average $50,111, and the number of bureaucrats collecting more than $150,000 a year has doubled since Obama took office.

When benefits such as taxpayer-funded contributions to pensions are included, government bureaucrats end up with 85 percent more compensation than their private sector comparables.

On top of that disparity, bureaucrat jobs are virtually tenured, both recession proof and unaffected by a dearth of productivity.

Notably, Obama did not order a freeze on government hiring, and I can assure you that the number of exemptions for government agency wage freezes will eventually equal the number of government agencies. Additionally, Obama didn't freeze promotions, meaning that any federal worker can receive a de facto pay raise by "promotion" into the next incremental GSA scale.

Since the beginning of the current recession, private sector employment is down 6.8 percent. On the other hand, Obama has used taxpayer funds and debt on future generations, his so-called "recovery program," to grow the ranks of central government bureaucrats by more than 10 percent in the same time period.

Of course, Obama's wage-freeze charade fails to put any noticeable dent into his accumulating $1,000,000,000,000-plus deficits. Taxes, he says, must be increased to do that.

Vicki said...

Part 2 of 2

Like any devoted Socialist, Obama's objective is to break the back of free enterprise, in this case, with unbearable deficits. When challenged about his motives, Obama invariably claims that he "inherited this mess" from the Bush administration.

However, the Executive Branch does not set the budget. Congress does. And from the '09 budget forward, budget deficits have increased greatly.

For the record, Democrats have controlled Congress since January 2007, about the time the housing market collapse began. Thus, Democrats controlled the budgets for FY2008 and FY2009 as they did with FY2010 and FY2011.

Obama Deficits ChartFor FY2008 Democrats compromised with President Bush on spending. However, for FY2009 Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid bypassed the Bush administration by way of continuing resolutions until Barack Obama took office.

Again, for the record, Obama was a member of the Senate majority in 2007 and 2008, and he voted for those spending bills.

The last budget deficit that Democrats "inherited" was FY 2007, the last of the Republican congressional budgets. That deficit was the lowest in five years, and it was the fourth straight decline in deficit spending. Thus, the only deficit Obama has inherited is that which he and his Democrat majorities generated.

Those pesky facts notwithstanding, a Republican majority is about to take over the House, and Republicans in the Senate seem to have found a spine.

If Republicans are serious about budget and deficit control, they should start by cutting their own bloated salaries and budgets. There is no greater sweetheart deal than being elected to our national legislature, where members of Congress are paid exorbitantly, and are eligible for lifetime benefits after "serving" for just five years -- one term for Senators. If they are perpetually elected, as is the case with many members, they are eligible for almost 80 percent of their salary as a guaranteed annual pension.

If members of Congress don't like the pay cuts, perhaps we can cut their time accordingly. Send them home more often, and see if a little of the reality outside the Beltway sinks in.

Anonymous said...

This is nothing more than cut and paste from a disingenuous website:

Anonymous said...

Is there a reason the President's middle name is being used in this column?
This vote on the "Bush (what is his middle name) Tax Cuts" is a test of who the Republicans care about.
We have a crushing deficit mostly because the Bush Tax Cuts meant that the millionaires and billionaires got even bigger tax cuts than the middle class and Congress had no discipline to cut spending.
It is time to let the Bush Tax Cuts expire for people making more than $250,000 a year so we don't keep sinking deeper.

Greg H. said...

9:12:00 PM
You are right, it is, but if you read the very first line what does it say?????

"Very interesting info:"


Must be Vicki suscribes to this website, I know I do, what is wrong with that? Oh, I see you do not like the website, got it!
Must be she liked the facts that were in this piece, I know I did.

9:52:00 PM
Facts ARE facts, go ahead sidestep the importantance of the information because you do not like the fact that Obama's middle name is used, that sounds right!

You are so worried about people that make over 250,000 pay higher tax so we don't sink deeper huh?

Just how many small business owners do you think this will effect? A LOT! If these small business owners are paying higher taxes they will employ fewer people, ya that makes sense now doesn't it?

We will stop sinking deeper when the government stops hiring more people than the private sector, now there is a start!!!

Anonymous said...

More than 250,000.00, hummm sounds like a lot of small businesses owners will be effected by this. Not everyone in that tax bracket is RICH, most are small business owers trying to survive and hire more employees!

SLow Down and Think said...

Store owner makes $249,999.99 and sees his taxes stay lower. Keeps or even maybe hires more employees and stays in business. NOW his (or her) neighboring store owner makes $250,000.01 and see their taxes skyrocket. Layoff or even store closing will most likely occur.

Anonymous said...

8:37 and 11:27, how can you swallow that line of crap? This conversation is about personal income taxes. Bush and his regime drove our nation to the brink of bankruptcy by cutting the taxes of the wealthy who could most afford the taxes. Period. Don't cloak yourself with the banner of the small business owner to obscure this giveaway to the wealthy. Apples and oranges.

Anonymous said...

The county employees need to begin paying a percentage of their health care costs. They pay nothing now. I wonder what percentage of residents in Potter county have no health insurance and must pay for the county employees? Why don't the commissioners make this part of the contract proposals? Oh, I forgot, they have the same benefits.

Anonymous said...

County employees do pay a portion of their health care costs. Your comment that they pay nothing now is not correct. They have a deductible and must pay the entire cost of health care until they reach the deductible. Then they have a co-pay of the expenses after the deductible is met. This is fairly common in health insurance coverage. Not too many people who have health insurance pay nothing.

Anonymous said...

3:49:00 PM
Hold on, "They have a deductible and must pay the entire cost of health care until they reach the deductible. Then they have a co-pay of the expenses after the deductible is met." What is your point????

I think the county employees should pay a percentage of their monthly PREMIUM payment like the rest of us do!!! We all have the same deductable, co-pay, and out of pocket expenses AS WELL AS PAYING A % OF OUR MONTHLY PREMIUMS!!!

Anonymous said...

"Bush and his regime drove our nation to the brink of bankruptcy by cutting the taxes of the wealthy who could most afford the taxes. Period."


"The last budget deficit that Democrats "inherited" was FY 2007, the last of the Republican congressional budgets. That deficit was the lowest in five years, and it was the fourth straight decline in deficit spending."

Keep blaming Bush like your lovely Obama does, it is sure getting old, PERIOD!

"For the record, Democrats have controlled Congress since January 2007, about the time the housing market collapse began. Thus, Democrats controlled the budgets for FY2008 and FY2009 as they did with FY2010 and FY2011"

Anonymous said...

If tax cuts make jobs...

why aren't there jobs? As they've been paying the 'cut' tax rate for the past 10 years.

In fact, from what I remember, what our business owners did with all the tax cuts was ship jobs overseas, make products even cheaper and squeeze every last ounce of profit out of their businesses, the welfare of the nation be damned.

We aren't a nation of industry, small business and healthy long term investment anymore... we are a nation of investment bankers and hedge fund managers that would gladly watch a US factory shut down and one open in Taiwan if it makes them 3/10ths of a point higher by the closing bell.

The real question i glean from the article is WHY ARE WE PAYING OUR DA A SIX FIGURE INCOME!?!?

Of course the solution to all of this is to have the DA put away even more young adults so we can justify his pay raises and fill the jail faster! Wait... oh that doesn't work out does it.

Won't stop em from doing it though! :P
Something something tough on crime, freedom liberty and something. We must win the "war on "

PS if you gobble up the line that the tax hike is going to cripple small business owners, well there is just no help for you.

Our distribution of wealth is SO SCREWED right now you can't even fathom it. It is the true reason things are so bad in this country and the rich and their bought and paid for reps (both R and D) intend to keep it that way.

That's why they say "recession is over" on t.v. but no one you talk to can explain it.

The Average American doesn't even register on the radar anymore. All the "real 'mericans" can live in squalor and it won't affect Wall Street OR Washington's bottom line.

Anonymous said... are a moron.

most small businesses are in the legal form of a partnership or an s corporation with their income passing through to their owners and being taxed at individual tax rates. It is very much apples and apples........

70-80% of jobs are created by small partnerships and s. corps so you tax the small business owner you do in fact impact employment.

well said...

the county healthcare should be least of peoples worries. consider the state Access program. why should we pay for welfares free healthcare, food,heat and housing? not like they even pay into the system like working people do. Look at the gimmee gimmee gimmee entitlement programs, not the working peoples that really pay taxes stuff.

Anonymous said...

6:44... waahhhhhhhhhh

stop crying. if only wall street folks and washington get rich and you want to be rich then get your ass to wall street or washington.

yes, i agree our politicians are dirty rotten crooks (both r and d), but there are still unlimited opportunities in this country for people to get ahead and do well if they would just stop worrying and bitching about the other guy, put their head down and bust their ass.

make smart decisions, work hard, stop complaining, and you will do fine even if you do not reside on wall street.

Anonymous said...

The DA salary is set by the state. Didn't the DA say he would not accept that high salary? I thought that was his campaign promise.

Anonymous said...

campaign promises are just legalized lies in disquise

Anonymous said...

7:51:00 PM & 7:57:00 PM

Could not agree with you more, well said both of you!

Anonymous said...

Okay 1:22, the name caller.
How do you respond to this?
Two different polls taken this week show that SEVENTY PERCENT of Americans favor the plan to let the Bush Tax Cuts expire for those making $250,000 and more.
Congress is supposed to reflect the will of the voters, right, more than the people who donate to their campaign?
If these tax cuts for the wealthy are continued then I hope the Tea Party wakes up and realize that it's really the elite and the wealthy who have bought off our government and spiraled our federal deficit so far down that we may never be able to dig out.
Did you see what the Simpson/Bowles commission just came out with as far as bitter medicine to stop the bleeding and keep our country from economic disaster?
You are probably trying to protect all of your own investments while those of us in the middle class or lower class (those who make "only" $250,000 or less a year) keep running on the treadmill like a hyper hamster getting more and more worn out and getting nowhere.
Congress has to decide whether to keep screwing the working man to keep the wealthy elite class (like you?) happy, or whether to cast a vote for the PEOPLE.
We will soon know what these people are made of.
If these tax cuts for the rich are extended, I hope the Tea Party sees what a mistake it is to get in bed with these Republican bastards who really don't care about the people.
We shall see.
If you are calling me a moron, then you are also calling the SEVENTY PERCENT of Americans who agree with me the same thing.
If you would like to call me that name to my face, you just put a time and location right here on this message board and I guarantee you that I will be there.
An American Patriot

Anonymous said...

7:26 I agree with you. The people have spoken. Will Congress speak for the people or for the rich?

Anonymous said...

yes, i think it is fair to say that 70% of americans are morons.

your polls are meaningless because of the fact that 70% of americans are morons. 50% of college students at Colorado University could NOT name the vice president so i do not want my politicians making decisions based on their input.

We live in a republic, not a straight democracy, because our founders knew that most people are morons and leadership by polling would NOT work.

70% of americans do not know that small businesses taxed at individual rates create 70% of the jobs. they react to the class warfare that folks like you perpetuate and think "hell yeah, lets stick it to the rich".

here's the thing....raise my taxes, i'll still do well because i bust my ass, but i may not be able to continue to employ the 10+ people that i currently employ.

ask yoruself why you are running on the treadmill....maybe the answer lies within and not the fault of some rich dude somewhere

Anonymous said...

To the cowardly elitist "I got mine so to hell with everyone else in our country, including 70 percent of the voters who want Congress to reflect their will" person:
I am still waiting for the time and location where we can meet and you can call me a moron to my face.
All of the money that you have invested and watched grow since Bush has forgiven your taxes will not be much of a defense.
I am ready to meet you somewhere personally if you have a pair.
Name the time/place or simply accept my reciprocal insult that you are an elitist, selfish coward who does not believe in democracy and we'll call it even.

Anonymous said...

if 70%+ plus want tax breaks ended ... then why the hell did they pass obamacare if the will of the people said "hell no!" ?

Anonymous said...

Elitist????.....I like to think hard worker.

This current economic crisis that you find yourself in is a result of most americans buying homes and other stuff that they couldn't afford. So according to your logic the people that contributed to the crisis should now be able to govern us based on polling and their wants/wills???? It was their wants/wills that got us into this mess in the first place.

Not the way our republic is supposed to work. I never said I don't like or hate my fellow americans. In fact, I would take a bullet for most. But what I said most are morons and I don't want them governing me.

My grandfather was in WWII....all kinds of medals....a true american hero. I couldn't have loved him or respected him any more than I did. However, he was also a racist, sexist, homophobe..... so again a great american, but i would not have wanted him to govern us.

As to "I've got mine the hell with anyone else", I'll put my annual charitable contributions up against yours any time. Both in nominal dollars and as a percentage of total income. I believe in giving, I give a f*ckload, but I feel I should be able to give my money away and not some clown in DC.

Look Mr Patriot, we can make this country great and it's real simple. If everyone would be responsible for themselves and not look to others to be responsible for them I think things would work much better. There are those that cannot be responsible for themselves I realize, but we are a charitable nation so they will be taken care of.

Anonymous said...

Well, 6:31 . . .
I respect you and your viewpoint but the fact is we need to curb these gaping tax breaks for those who are most able to pay.
It has bankrupted our government (not our country, but our government).
We need to get out of this mess.
You and I are not that far apart philosophically, but for now we need to swallow some bitter medicine to start digging out of this mess. That medicine is a higher tax burden on those who are most able to pay.
I apologize for calling you selfish.
I salute your grandfather and commend you for standing up for your principles.