Bucks County recently released its preliminary 2023 operating budget of $457.5 million, a 3.8 percent decrease from 2022.
With additional anticipated revenue sources, including funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, the board of commissioners is able to balance the coming year’s budget without raising taxes or dipping into the general fund. The county will also enter the new year with its AAA bond rating recently reaffirmed by Moody’s Investors Service and S&P Global Ratings.
“Our administration is pleased to be able to present a budget to Bucks County residents for a third straight year with no proposed tax increase,” said commissioner chair Bob Harvie. “While we continue to navigate a post-pandemic world, this budget moves us forward as a county in 2023, even reducing operating expenses by $18 million from the previous year.”
Commissioner vice chair Diane Ellis-Marseglia added, “This administration continues to take its stewardship of your taxpayer dollars very seriously. Clearly, many Bucks County families have had to make tough choices and cut costs over the past few years and we’re no exception. We will take a similar approach with this budget, while still providing the same high-level of services you’ve come to expect.”
The county has received federal funds totaling more than $122 million from the American Rescue Plan Act to cover eligible costs arising since the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In this preliminary budget, Bucks County is projected to carry a general fund balance of $51.7 million into 2023, over $2 million more than original 2022 budget projections,” said chief financial officer David Boscola. “With critical revenues from ARPA, and with debt obligations decreasing for the first time since 2018, we are projected to vastly exceed our policy of maintaining a 10 percent budget reserve, hopefully securing our AAA bond rating.”
As in previous years, at 75 percent, county departments providing public safety, health, housing and human services account for the largest portion of the preliminary 2023 budget.
“Having a balanced budget should be the goal of any responsible government,” said commissioner secretary Gene DiGirolamo. “I’m a film believer that government works best when it works together, so I’m glad we are on track to produce a budget with no tax increase in 2023 for the people of Bucks County.”
Over the next several weeks, the commissioners will analyze the proposed 2023 budget and expect to hold a public hearing where members of the public may ask questions and offer comments.
The commissioners are scheduled to consider and vote Wednesday, Dec. 21, on a final 2023 budget.
The preliminary 2023 budget includes provisions for departments serving Bucks County residents, such as Area Agency on Aging, Behavioral Health/Developmental Programs, Board of Elections, Children & Youth Social Services Agency, Community Services, Corrections, Emergency Services, General Services, Health Department, Neshaminy Manor, Parks and Recreation and Military Affairs, among others.
The preliminary budget also provides for courts and nine elected ROW officers, including the Clerk of Courts, Controller, Coroner, District Attorney, Prothonotary, Recorder of Deeds, Register of Wills, Sheriff and Treasurer.
The 2023 preliminary budget can be reviewed here.