County officials want some policy changes form Harrisburg

    County commissioners throughout Pennsylvania want to change the way they pay for human services programs.

    With state and federal government spending less money on human services programs, county governments in Pennsylvania are figuring out how to make sure the money they do get is spent where it’s most needed.

    Doug Hill, executive director of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, or C-Cap, says that’s difficult, because of the way the money for those programs is targeted.

    “Here’s a pot of money you can spend on children in need, here’s a pot of money you can spend on drug and alcohol programming, here’s a pot of money you can spend on senior programs, here’s a pot of money you can spend on mental health, but not every county’s needs clearly match how those pots of money are divided,” he said..

    Hill says C-Cap is already working with the Department of Public Welfare to use the money in those pots more flexibly without needing new regulations.

    He says the issue is one of the biggest facing C-Cap, which recently passed the 29 resolutions making up its general policy platform.

    One of the resolutions was to make state and federal governments consult with counties before forcing them to provide additional services.

    Lebanon County Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz, who was elected to serve as C-Cap’s president in 2012, said counties are being asked to provide more with the same level of government funding and property tax revenue.

    “That’s just not enough money to be able to continue to operate and take on additional responsibilities,” she said.

    C-Cap will meet again in the fall to choose its top priorities from the issues that make up its broad mission statement.

    Once the list is winnowed, it will serve as the group’s agenda for 20-12.

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