Cumberland Co. considering Early Prevention program - abc27 WHTM

Cumberland County

Cumberland Co. considering Early Prevention program

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Cumberland County Commissioners are considering the Early Prevention program offered by the Department of Community and Economic Development.

The idea was introduced to commissioners by Director of Public Planning Kirk Stoner at the weekly finance meeting Wednesday. It is not being mandated by the state; it is voluntary.

"I think we need outside help on this. We need some experts to do this," said Stoner.

The county is currently doing a comprehensive review. Commissioner Barbara Cross says the last comprehensive review was done in 2006.

"We have a Triple A bond rating, our taxes are the lowest in the region, but we still have to be proactive and look at all the projects we have going and all the services we deliver and what is the best price on those services and certainly what can those residents and tax payers pay," said Cross.

Commissioners have tasked department heads with taking a look at staffing and services as well as what is mandated and what is not mandated. Commissioners plan on holding a meeting with department heads and elected officials to discuss how to move forward.

Stoner held up a binder filled with papers during the meeting to show commissioners how much information they would have to review.

"This has 45 different departments. A lot of data here. The county is capable but the thing that we need is an honest broker. We need an outside agent to come in and look at us," said Stoner.

Cumberland County continues to grow in population, industrial and commercial development. The county's last budget left them with a $1.3 million deficit and a 12 percent tax hike. Commissioners say they don't want to see that happen again.

"I have used the term honest broker. Sometimes you have agendas, sometimes you have personalities, sometimes you have some politics, but by kind of stepping back and removing that you have that honest broker look at this and the best course for the county," said Cross.

The County has until May 1 to complete the online application. The county will split the cost with the state fifty, fifty. The money would come out of the county's general fund. No word on how much it would cost at this time.

Commissioners say they will move forward with the application process.

"This program is the perfect program to look at what we are doing now, and look at what we need to do in the future."

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