Government Shutdown Possible in Northumberland County

SUNBURY — Two of the three Northumberland County commissioners met to discuss the proposed $72 million budget for 2014. The Northumberland County commissioners cannot agree on a spending plan which could force the county to shut down at the beginning of next year.

Commissioner Rick Shoch opposes the current budget plan.

“The question shouldn’t be why WON’T I vote for this budget. It should be why WOULD I vote for a budget that incorporates all these things that I voted against,” Shoch asked.

Commissioner Vinny Clausi was not at this meeting, but has also opposed the spending plan.

Commissioner Steve Bridy supports it.

“When our seniors and disabled children do not receive the services and benefits they need, I and the people will hold you and Mr. Clausi responsible for your childish stance,” Bridy said.

A government shutdown could affect around 500 employees in Northumberland County. Staff from the Area Agency on Aging told Newswatch 16 that department will continue to help seniors no matter what.

“We live here, we know the people. If somebody really needs help, even if we’re not physically in the office, we’ll be able to assist them,” Karen Leonovich said.

The Northumberland County Area Agency on Aging serves around 3,000 senior citizens each year. There are around 40 employees in that department that could be affected if the county shuts down.

“As they make their decisions, we’ll abide by them, follow them. We’re just going to wait and see how we need to move forward,” Leonovich said.

If Northumberland County government shuts down, many of the county employees would still be required to work, they just wouldn’t get paid until a budget is passed. The commissioners meet again on December 3 and will try again to pass a 2014 budget.

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