CLEARFIELD — The Clearfield County Commissioners continue to work on whittling down the deficit that is reflected in the 2018 proposed budget.

At Tuesday’s work session, commissioners approved the proposed spending plan that contains a nearly $700,000 deficit.

Currently, the numbers stand at $34,204,918 in expected revenue and $34,903,806 in operating costs. The commissioners reported they have been working on reducing those anticipated expenses and are receiving assistance from county department heads.

“The bottom line is there is still a deficit,” Commissioner Chairman Tony Scotto said, adding, “We are still looking to trim things back, but it is looking bleak.”

Commissioner Mark McCracken said the board remains committed to not increasing property taxes and said this week’s outlook is better than last.

“Last week we had a $970,000 deficit. We did make some cuts across a lot of departments,” McCracken said, adding that the cuts were proposed last week to give department heads time to provide feedback on the planned reductions.

“A couple of the officers stepped up and made the cuts on their own,” McCracken said.

He projected the reductions are going to become even more complex as the board works toward the balanced budget it plans to adopt Dec. 26.

At the Nov. 29 meeting, the board explained some of the spending plans costs are unable to be trimmed because the county is forced to address a situation that is not of its own making.

The commissioners said at the Nov. 29 meeting that costs for several departments are rising related to growing drug probems. They noted expenses for the county jail, the sherrif’s department and children and youth services continue to rise each year. All are able to be traced back to drug-related issues, they said.

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