Rise in Crime, Pension Shortfall Results in Local Tax Increase

Criminal justice and pension costs drive small tax increase

COUDERSPORT – On Thursday, Potter County Commissioners Doug Morley, Paul Heimel, and Susan Kefover approved the 2012 county budget with a 1 mill tax increase.

The 1 mill hike was a direct result of an increase in criminal justice and jail costs, as well as a reduction in the county’s pension portfolio, which took a hit on the stock market, according to the commissioners. The county is required by law to contribute any necessary funds to the pension account when they fall below a set level.

Costs associated with a rise in crime, including the detention of female prisoners outside the county, was cited as a driving force behind the tax increase. Commissioner Paul Heimel said jail costs alone rose from $1,000,000 in 2011 to an estimated $1,400,000 in 2012.

The 1 mil increase will only generate an estimated $330,000 in additional revenue, not enough to cover the increased costs at the county jail. To make up for the budget shortfall, commissioners say they trimmed costs wherever possible, noting the 2012 budget was “a lean spending plan”, despite a rise in cost on hundreds of line items.

The commissioners also recently began leasing county property in order to bring additional income into the county in an attempt to stifle a tax increase.

The county will also be burdened by upcoming murder trials involving Jonathan Prather, Avery Buckingham, and minor Kaylynn Benson; who were all implicated in the murder of Samuel Miller earlier this year.

The budget, which is set to be adopted on December 29, will be available for public view beginning on December 9.

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  1. WiZZiK says:

    A bit ironic the very people who want to lock up peaceful pot smokers are now griping about the rising costs in our county jail and complaining about a measily tax increase. What do you people expect? You want our cops to lock everyone up, but then you don’t want to pay for it?

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