Montgomery County Commissioners: State Of The County Is Strong

From the Times Herald, 2/15/2018: NORRISTOWN >> The state of Montgomery County is strong. That was the prevailing message the county commissioners relayed in their annual state of the county presentations at Thursday’s meeting at One Montgomery Plaza. Commission Chair Dr. Val Arkoosh began the address by explaining the county’s metrics for success: a vibrant economy, healthy communities and the effectiveness with which the county meets the needs of its citizens. She began by harkening back to 2012, when the county faced a $10 million budget deficit, was making no payments to the pension fund, and had a depleted reserve fund. Now, Arkoosh said, the county is on “strong financial footing” through the administration’s focus on strategic fiscal management. “Fund reserves increased 70 percent over the past four years to $57 million. The general fund finished with four consecutive surplus years, and the 2018 projected surplus is $3.8 million,” she reported. Arkoosh said the county has contributed $9 million annually to the pension fund in recent years and has a reserve fund of a “healthy” 15 percent. “We’ve accomplished this while maintaining the lowest property tax rate among the four counties surrounding Philadelphia,” asserted Arkoosh, adding that the stable and growing economy led Moody’s Investors Services to bestow a AA1 bond rating and upgrade the county’s outlook to “positive.” Adding to the strong state of the county is the relatively low unemployment rate, which sits below the state and national averages, and the county’s growing population, a development Arkoosh attributed to burgeoning economic opportunities and the high quality of life enjoyed by county residents. Arkoosh made special mention of the...