Venango Co. in good financial shape as new year approaches

Venango County chief financial officer Diona Brick says things in the county “are going very well from a fiscal perspective.”

Brick said the 2023 budget is ahead of schedule and that the year has been uneventful as far as county finances go.

A number of renovations to the courthouse are planned for the coming year, including some remodeling and maintenance work, Brick said.

Upgrades to parts of the courthouse’s electrical system and HVAC units are planned too, she added.

A number of routine computer upgrades have also been budgeted for the coming year, Brick said, and she noted that the county computers are on a five-to-seven-year schedule for upgrades.

The county phone system will also see some updates in the coming year.

Looking ahead, there is no tax increase in the proposed 2023 county budget. Commissioners will vote on the final spending plan at their Dec. 13 meeting.

The county’s contribution to the pension plan is fully funded with $475,000 budgeted for 2023, Brick said.

And there will be no changes in county services next year, she added.

The commissioners have decided to put $500,000 in the county’s capital fund, Brick said. She said the county hasn’t put money in that fund for the past several years.

The money will be for future major maintenance and capital projects, Brick said.

“It made sense to set money aside while we had it for three part projects,” commissioner Sam Breene said, noting that some of the county’s capital projects happen over multiple years.

In another matter, Brick said the county isn’t currently housing any prisoners outside the county jail.

She said the inmate population at the jail has remained steady at between 130 and 150 at any given time.

“We have been doing a good job keeping up with the bricks and mortar maintenance of the building,” Brick said of the jail.

In 2019, the county was having to send prisoners to the Butler County jail frequently and the turnover in staff at the Venango jail was much higher.

Brick also noted that funds have been budgeted for public safety if anything goes down and needs fixed.

The commissioners are still working on ideas to spend the $9,841,665 Venango County received through the American Rescue Plan, Brick said.

The funds came in two installments, one in the summer of 2021 and the second one this summer, Brick said. She said all the proper reports and paperwork have been filed.

The county has until Dec. 21, 2024, to spend the money.


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