‘Mandate Relief’ Message Resonates With Commissioners

Potter County Today

brindapenyakMoney is going to be tight as a new political structure takes effect in Harrisburg starting in January. With that as a foregone conclusion, the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) kicked off its fall conference in Hershey intent on developing strategies that will minimize the impact of the state’s belt-tightening on county and municipal taxpayers. Brinda Carroll Penyak (right), CCAP deputy director, said Republican lawmakers who will assume more power in the General Assembly next year are open to providing county governments with “mandate relief.” This could take the form of increased bid limits, more flexible advertising requirements and other minor adjustments to state laws, or it could result in big-ticket changes, such as real estate tax assessment reform or a state judiciary takeover of some court-related functions currently operated by counties.

One proposal would have a significant impact on rural counties that operate their own jails. If it’s approved, the measure would require the state to pay the costs for incarcerating inmates in county jails once the offender has been confined for two years. There’s also discussion about changing the administration of state funds for the myriad of human service programs that counties are required to provide, giving counties more flexibility to use the state money in ways that address local needs.

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