SUNBURY — A government shutdown is no longer on the horizon for folks in Northumberland County. The county commissioners passed the 2014 budget Tuesday afternoon. If they hadn’t, the county likely would have shut down.
A vote made it official. County employees throughout Northumberland County will continue to work through 2014, avoiding a potential shutdown.
“I’m happy that it’s passed, yes. The part that upset me the most is that it took this long because it could have been passed initially,” said Randi Buehner of Sunbury.
Initially the three Northumberland County commissioners couldn’t agree on the $72 million budget for next year.
Republican Commissioner Rick Shoch voted against the budget saying the county’s 911 system upgrade will be costly for taxpayers.
“I had reasons why I didn’t want to vote for it, and again we have a difference of opinion on it. We had a difference of opinion on it. I say it’s not necessary,” said Commissioner Shoch.
But when he voted it down at a previous meeting, Democratic Commissioner Vinny Clausi decided he’d vote it down too.
But if the budget didn’t pass by December 11, it could have forced a county-wide government shutdown. So Clausi changed his mind helping to pass the budget by a 2 to 1 vote.
“I feel bad to see the employees suffer for Christmas and New Year’s, the children, the senior citizens that are not going to receive no meals,” said Commissioner Clausi.
But with the commissioners talking over each other at this latest meeting, residents say they were frustrated.
“We’ve seen that in the federal government level, and we should not have to see it in the county government level. We should be able to know each other and know each other well enough that we can work out our differences,” Buehner said.
The budget will be made available for public inspection for 20 days and is expected to be formally adopted at a later commissioners meeting.