Fayette in 2013
One year into the Ambrosini-Zapotosky-Zimmerlink board of county commissioners, everyone knows
that something is pretty screwed up in county government.
Not that it has to be this way. Most of it could be fixed, but won't be. Egos just will not allow it.
It's quite sad to think in these terms, but realistic.
If it appears that the minority commissioner will succeed in getting a jury trial in her federal case
against a former commissioner and one sitting commissioner, we may expect to see some increased
sense of professionalism on the commission board in 2013. Otherwise, nah.
It's a shame, too, because Fayette County should be having a much better time.
What kind of message was sent, however, when a majority of commissioners raised county property
taxes, then had to tap into the next year's projected natural gas impact fee fund to cover some final
2012 expenses and proposed 2013 general budget?
Our guy, Fayette County Commissioner Al Ambrosini, said at a December meeting that the county will
look at individual requests from the townships and determine whether the county can fund them
through the Act 13 money. However, he also said that the county is not going to be able to allocate a
specific amount to each of the townships.
Ouch, the townships replied, in what we know had to be unhappy, disappointed unison.
Is this why only Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink attended and participated in the 6 community
meetings to gather public opinion on how taxpayers felt Act 13 money collected from gas well
companies, Commissioner Ambrosini attended only one such meeting in Redstone Township and
Commissioner Vince Zapotosky attended none?
We don't know exactly, but that seems to be a sentiment that some township leaders and citizens
Some of the Act 13 "expenses" which the majority of commissioners approved recently got even
normally quiet and laid back people, such as John Cofchin in a tizzy. He said that he made some
preliminary inquiries and believed that some of the expenses covered in the budget by Act 13 funds
should not be funded through Act 13 monies.
For a normally quiet, laid back and intelligent person such as Cofchin to stand up at a public county
meeting and editorialize his feelings and concerns about county government really is a big ta do. If you
look up the meaning of quiet and laid back in the dictionary, surely, Cofchin's photo appears there or
For now, though, Cofchin is upset and he's not alone.
Throughout 2012, some asked about or spoke out at public meetings about the big pile of extra money
that the county had to play with from the county property tax increase.
Imagine how "special" this example is of a case of a county spending unwisely.
We had a few extra million dollars from tax increases coming in... but even so, the county ended up
digging into the projected 2013 Act 13 pile to finish out 2012 and fund some other things in 2013's
That's one of the most irresponsible and ridiculous things we've heard coming from county government
in a while or three.
A few months ago, discussion at a county meeting turned to a private citizen's complaint that the
county was spending unnecessarily. Numbers seemed good that the controller quoted in reply.
Yeah, we seemed even to be sitting a little pretty. There was enough money to meet the needs through
the end of the calendar year, we were told. Certainly, nobody was predicting that we, in late December,
would need a drumroll and an SOS announcement that 2013 Act 13 funds needed to be tapped to
balance 2012 expenses and fund some 2013 county budget items.
But as 2012 ended, we were told that only Act 13 monies could rescue the county budget and that no
percentage would automatically go to all townships across the board.
Was all the 2012 county spending really necessary? Why wasn't the county property tax rate reduced for
2013? What if some of the expenses projected for 2013 cannot be funded through Act 13 monies? Gee,
what then happens next year?