Cumberland County is facing significant challenges that our current board of commissioners has been actively and successfully engaged in addressing over the past term, and a great deal of work remains to be accomplished. We are both pleased to have earned the trust of our county’s voters in the 2015 election, and believe we have delivered on the pledge to provide solutions that respect the taxpayer, and that position us for a successful future in this time of great change for our county.
Specific areas we are pleased to cite as successes include:
-The continued recognition of our county’s successful financial management as evidence by awarding of the highest national rating in budget preparation and management, in addition to the recent reaffirmation by Standard & Poor’s of the coveted Triple A credit rating, held by a relative handful of counties across the nation, that provides significant savings to taxpayers. Moreover, our board of commissioners continues to promote meaningful management reforms, such as enhanced management training, in addition to the merit-based compensation adopted in recent years, as real-world plans to increase cost-efficiency and stretch tax dollars further.
This county continues its hold on the enviable position of having the lowest county tax burden on its citizens of any county in the south central region, despite our growing population and increasing obligations for essential public services.
-In addressing the current opioid crisis sweeping Pennsylvania and much of the nation, the commissioner’s office has hosted several community informational forums to connect citizens with helpful resources to address families and communities in crisis as a result of dependency. Further, the commissioners have granted approvals and county funds to the initiation of the Opioid Intervention Court pilot program, that is showing gains in savings lives, and mitigating community impacts of the crisis.
-With an eye toward the future, and concern for preserving the high quality of life of county residents, this board of commissioners has undertaken a broad array of efforts to fulfill the commitment of our new Comprehensive Plan to “Conserve, Grow, Connect” in ways that serve all citizens.
Examples of this include strong commitments and financial support for the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail, merit-based community grants to local, people-friendly land use projects under the Land Partnerships program, an ongoing commitment to farmland preservation and critical soils protection, and other natural resource safeguards.
Of special significance is the recent opening of the county’s electronics recycling center, providing a needed disposal option for citizens.
Cumberland County’s long range needs also include smart options for growth in job opportunities and enhancement of the tax base that supports essential public services. Working through the Cumberland Area Economic Development Corporation (CAEDC) the commissioners have promoted business-friendly policies that promote tax relief for homeowners while positioning the local economy for new types of jobs. These efforts include a coordinated approach toward preserving area military bases, a key employer, and supporting worker development, such as partnerships with area educational institutions to promote apprenticeships, internships and new training for our area workforce. These efforts are aimed at ensuring high quality in earnings potential for workers, and availability of important services for citizens.
Other key efforts include our ongoing advocacy for improvements in transportation to meet a growing need for connecting communities and our region to other regions. This extends from advocacy and new options for highway, roadway and bridge upgrades, to pushing much needed reform for the area’s transit system.
For the years just ahead, our county’s challenges are substantial and our effort to meet them has been, and must continue to be equally substantial. The current term of office has been one we are both proud to have each had a significant role in. Progress on these and other initiatives is possible because of the team approach, and commitment that this board of commissioners, and each commissioner individually, have brought to the people’s business. By continuing to work together, our perspective is that there is no limit to the good things we can accomplish. Cumberland County citizens deserve and expect this type of forward-looking and committed approach. We pledge to continue to deliver for our county’s citizens in a new term of office.