Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Availability of Proposed Schuylkill County Preliminary Budget Questioned

Schuylkill County residents are questioning the availability of the proposed 2022 Schuylkill County Budget before it's voted on later this month.
On November 17th, 2021, the Schuylkill County Commissioners approved the 2022 Proposed Preliminary Budget. With the passing of this measure, this allows residents to view the budget for one month and to allow them to comment on any of the items proposed.

The availability to read the budget prior to its approval is in question. As of December 1st, 2021, the budget is only available to be viewed by visiting the courthouse and reading the hard copy that is available.

Several residents, including Palo Alto resident, Jeffrey Dunkel, are requesting the preliminary budget be posted to the County's web site.

Those who requested an electronic copy were told they had submit a Right to Know Request. After making that request, submitters like Dunkel received a 30 day extension request from the Solicitor's office citing "due to short staffing and legal review needed to find out if it a legal request".

During Wednesday's Work Session, the Commissioners were again questioned by Dunkel on why it wasn't online.

Dunkel questioned "Is this a legal request and why is it not being provided?".

County Solicitor Alvin Marshall was in attendance and commented that "it is still being determined".

Commissioner Hetherington would also respond, "On the budget, we did look at what other counties are doing, we are going to approve our final budget on the 15th of December and we are working with the IT people to get it online. It's always been available through the courthouse. But this will be a much more convenient way for the people to look at it and its supposed to be online by the end of December".

Dunkel then pointed out that if the document is posted online by the end of December, that could be after the date the budget will be voted on, which is December 15th. 

Hetherington stated he could not provide a specific date on when it would be made available online.