Commissioners OK halt of payments to state due to budget impasse

ChesterCountyLogoWEST CHESTER — The Chester County Board of Commissioners said Thursday they would stop sending funds to the state — about $4 million a month on average — collected by county row offices, in light of the ongoing state budget impasse, which has cut state funds to county services.

The three commissioners, chair Terence Farrell, vie Kathi Cozzone and Commissioner Michelle Kitchline issued the following statement Thursday:

“We, the Commissioners, believe it to be in the public interest to immediately cease the remittance of funds collected by County row offices on behalf of the Commonwealth.  We are forced to take such drastic action as a direct response to the Commonwealth’s budget impasse. 

“As Commissioners, we are vested with the responsibility for the management and administration of County fiscal affairs .  Inherent to this legal obligation, we must likewise assure that Chester County citizens, who require County services, continue to receive those services, especially those that are in dire need such as children, senior citizens, the “at risk” and those with disabilities.  Clearly, we must take all appropriate actions to fund essential County services to those who most need them.

“In addition to the absolutely critical services County departments, agencies and vendors provide, we have a commitment to both our employees and our taxpayers, as an employer and as elected officials to “keep the lights on” and operate the County government in spite of the lack of State funding.  Our commitment is clear, and our row office officials share that commitment and have partnered with us to take the necessary actions to withhold funds designated for remittance to the State.  We appreciate the resolve shown in this cooperative spirit by our fellow elected County officials.

“We have also authorized our Solicitor to investigate any legal recourse the County may have against the Commonwealth for its failure to provide requisite County funding and any ramifications for utilizing retained funds for expenditures which would at this point be “emergency” funding for critical essential services.

“It is by no accident that Chester County is the first County in Pennsylvania to initiate a strategic planning process, possesses three triple-A bond ratings and has been recognized as one of the best and healthiest places to live and raise a family in the United States.  This is another example of our proactive approach to addressing the challenges that we face and ensuring our citizens receive the programs and services they deserve.

“We understand the significance of the action we take today.  It is a difficult choice but a necessary one which reflects our legal obligations to those we serve.”


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