Forest County commissioners unanimously approved a budget with with no tax increase for 2020.
Total expenses for the year are $3,120,487.
The county’s total projected revenue is $3,122,487. Revenue includes $1,887,893 in taxes, such as real estate and per capita.
Commissioner Bob Snyder said county employees will see a 2 percent increase in wages.
Commissioner Norm Wimer mentioned there was an increase this year in the cost of health insurance for county employees.
The county will purchase 20 voting machines as well as nine machines that tabulate votes. The cost of the machines, warranty, software, hardware, installation, licensing fees and other associated expenses comes to $165,398.
Wimer said the 20 voting machines require voters to cast ballots by touch screen. After voters have electronically filled out the ballot, a marked paper ballot will be printed out of the machine.
The voter will then insert the paper ballot into the scanning machine, which will count it.
“Nothing in this system is connected to the internet,” Wimer said.
The new voting machines, he said, will not allow over-voting. If someone over-votes or incorrectly marks a paper absentee ballot, that portion of the ballot will not be counted.
“This is a problem that can’t be fixed. People just have to read the directions and fill out the ballot carefully,” Wimer said.
Shop with a Cop
The Forest County Sheriff’s Department received over $11,700 in donations for Shop with a Cop, which was held this past Sunday, according to Sheriff Robert Wolfgang.
Sheriff’s deputies, police officers and volunteers took 76 children on a shopping trip to Walmart in Monroe Township, Clarion County.
“It always works out every year. Last year, we received close to $10,000 and we took 55 children. It all balances out and we have the right amount of money to take the kids who apply,” Wolfgang said.
The volunteers and officers donated their time, and transportation was donated by Muccio Transportation, Wolfgang said.
The Sheriff’s Department received a $1,500 grant from Walmart, as well as donations from the Fryburg Sportsman Club. Checks came in from Alaska, Delaware and Texas, among the many other donors.
“This year, the Dollar Store teamed up with us and did a toy drive,” Wolfgang said. “They donated two carloads of toys, which were split between both sides of the county and given to children in need.
“It humbles me to be in a community where so many people care, and give to help children and families in need. The first year we did it, I didn’t know if we would raise $1,000 or if we would not get anything at all.”
– Commissioners approved the hiring of Cody Magill as chief deputy coroner to replace Robert Mast, who resigned but will remain as a part-time deputy coroner as needed.
“Mr. Wimer extends his utmost gratitude to Mr. Robert Mast for his faithful service to the county for the last 16 years,” the meeting agenda noted.
– Commissioners approved the hiring of Joseph G. Schmader as court security officer.
Schmader has been an EMT with Knox Area Ambulance and worked as a med tech at Abraxas in Marienville. He also served as Rimersburg police chief from 2000 to 2002.
“I think he will be a good asset for us,” Wolfgang said.