Schuylkill County Commissioners continue to refuse to adopt a new policy of better transparency when it comes to public finances.
On Wednesday, the Commissioners will likely approve nearly $220,000 in budget adjustments and supplemental budget appropriations. Details they provide to the public on what these budget moves are remain the bare minimum.
And that’s in the face of people who’ve consistently called on the board to provide at least some transparency into these fiscal decisions so they might have the opportunity to question them before any votes are recorded.
According to the Agenda for Wednesday’s meeting, the Commissioners will be faced with budget adjustment votes for the following:
- Prison: $218
- Administration: $2,000
- Domestic Relations: $4,000
- Maintenance: $45,130
- Maintenance: $52,235
- Maintenance: $106,000
Most of that money – $203,365 worth – is just for the Maintenance department, alone.
There are also a pair of supplemental budget appropriations on the Agenda:
- Adult Probation: $4,712
- Domestic Relations: $4,500
Sometimes, the budget adjustments are simply moving money from one previously budgeted line item to another. Other times, it’s not so innocent.
One glaring example of a not-so-innocent budget adjustment was when the Commissioners OK’d more than $146,000 to the Airport Authority. That money came from the County’s so-called Contingency fund and almost went unnoticed because of the lack of transparency provided to the public.
Supplemental budget appropriations are new spending.
So, is the $220K+ the Commissioners are voting on tomorrow the innocent or not-so-innocent variety?
Until the board decides to do the right thing and provide this little bit of information to the public ahead of its meetings and the Public Comment period of it – the only time they have to question any of the Commissioners’ decisions – we’ll just have to wait and see.
Here is the full meeting Agenda for Wednesday, Aug. 23: