By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer
MERCER COUNTY —
Mercer County Regional Council of Governments on Wednesday approved its administrative budget and six program spending plans that are nearly identical to this year’s.
The one exception, the Greenville Regional Lockup, shows a more-than-$21,000 drop due to reduced usage.
“These budgets hold the line,” said COG Executive Director Thomas R. Tulip.
The only changes in assessments charged to member communities are $200 increases to the three participants in the Lackawannock-Shenango-West Middlesex Swimming Pool in West Middlesex – each community will pay $3,500 – and a reduction in assessments and incarceration rates at the Greenville lock-up.
Greenville-West Salem Township is expected to spend more than $14,000 less than was penciled in for this year for housing prisoners at the lock-up.
The Greenville and Shenango Valley lock-ups also have benefited from the booking fees the county instituted a year ago on certain criminal and traffic offenders, which is bringing in $16,000 a year for each facility, and the installation of new computer booking equipment.
The lock-ups will not have to pay maintenance fees for the equipment, saving $8,800 at each facility, because of a one-year warranty, Tulip said. Once the warranty year is over, officials expect the maintenance fees to be lower than in past years.
The Shenango Valley Animal Shelter shows a $1,950 decrease even though Tulip said he hopes to hire a full-time employee this year. The shelter has eight part-time workers. While the part-timers are covering all of the shifts, a full-time employee would give the shelter someone who is “more involved in what goes on day to day,” he said.
“We need some continuity down there,” Tulip said.
The COG board approved these budgets:
• COG administration, $371,926, up $500 from this year.
• Shenango Valley Animal Shelter, $81,300, down $1,950.
• Shenango Valley Regional Lock-up, $119,350, down $500.
• Greenville Regional lock-up, $55,675, down $21,625.
• Lackawannock-Shenango-West Middlesex Swimming Pool, $25,850, up $600.
• Shenango Valley Softball-Recreational Complex, $9,445, same.
• Bucket truck, $5,800, same.