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Commissioner Leinbach's
2023 Goals & Objectives

Budget and Spending - Keep spending under the rate of inflation and Berks fiscally sound

  • 16 years with only a 10% increase in County Property taxes. Inflation for the same period is approx. 40% 

  • Continue to focus on employee count

    • 2008

      • FT – 2132

      • PT – 459

      • Total - 2591

    • 2022 (End of year)

      • FT – 1733

      • PT – 255

      • Total - 1988 2021 2097

  • No Tax increase planned for 2024

  • Continued focus on SET(Savings and Efficiency Team) - Commissioner Rivera

  • Use the balance of ARP (American Rescue Plan) dollars for critical needs projects. This is between $4-$6mil

 

New Berks County Management Team - See that new team has the support and resources necessary to drive the new mission and vision for Berks County government

  • Establish and new "meaningful and achievable" mission and vision statement for Berks County Government and separately for each department

  • Have long-term strategy in place for the new COO/Deputy COO team in the first quarter of 2023

    • Dept. stability. Team environment

    • Dept. succession planning

  • Begin implementation of that strategy in 2nd quarter of 2023

 

Elections - Work to reinstate strong voter confidence in the department and voting process here in Berks County and across PA

  • Election Dept. - Fully staffed and delivering elections in 2023 that run smoothly and build voter confidence

    • Restructure Department and fully staffed by end of 2023

    • Provide a detailed process review of the entire department identifying pinch points, areas that need procedural improvements, etc.

    • Continue updating policies and procedures manual (This effort began in 2022 but must be an ongoing effort)

    • Complete the improvements of election operations at the South Campus

    • Finalize the location for our main election offices as well as location for canvassing  

  • Election Reforms - Support legislative initiatives to restore and strengthen election integrity and clarify election law

    • Legislative Priorities

      • Voter ID laws, not a constitutional amendment, implemented in PA in 2023

      • Moving back the Mail-In Application date from 7 days before the election to 14

      • Canvassing - This issue requires further review. With the addition of technology as well as more experience with the process this is a less of an issue most PA counties. The larger the county the more likely that this may be an issue

    • Other Legislative Reforms 

      • Drop box rules

      • Clarify law on dated/undated mail-in ballots

      • Clarify signatures verification

        • In-Person voting

        • Mail-In and Absentee ballots applications

        • Mail-In and Absentee ballots outer envelopes

      • Clean up voter rolls via state rules

      • Address reliability issues with the SURE system

      • Address the Naked ballot issue

      • Address Curing Ballots

 

Transportation - Support and implement projects that are critical to the local safety and economy of Berks County and that respect the transportation users and taxpayers

  • Two top priorities remain Berks 222 Corridor completion and the West Shore By-Pass. These arteries are critically important to Berks County, but state funding continues to be a problem.

    • Gov. and legislature must address declining state dollars continue to be an issue. Formula for transportation is a major problem. The real key should be user-based fees. Vehicle Type, weight, miles traveled.

  • Berks County’s legal action on bridge tolling was successful in 2022. We need to keep an eye on PennDOT in 2023 to see if this or something similar is brought up.

  • Passenger Rail Service - Continue to move forward with the restoration

    • The SRPRA was formed in April 2022

    • Berks also establish a Berks Technical Advisory Committee

    • Three-year reauthorization requirement - April 2025 in 2022

    • SRPRA hired a consultant and an Interim Exec. Dir.

    • SRPRA and team are working on next steps

      • FRA Application for the corridor ID program

      • Negotiations with Amtrak relative to the three proposed PA lines extensions

      • Negotiations with Norfolk Southern 

 

New Berks County Correctional Facility - Pause the plans for construction and focus on who should and should not be incarcerated from a justice, cost and humane perspective

  • Public process will continue with CGL and BCCF team

  • The new jail project is being placed on hold due to serious cost concerns.

    • Reviewing the size of the jail and consider ways to dramatically lower the jail population

      • Mental Health alternatives

      • Day Reporting in lieu of Work Release

      • Continue to support diversionary programs

      • Other options to address jail population

  • Timeline is obviously impacted by this hold.

 

Berks County Health Study - Review results and recommendations of the study and act in the best interest of health and safety of the public as well the taxpayers

  • Results should be complete by March 2023

  • Recommendations will likely address multiple stakeholders and not just potential county action

 

Reading Regional Airport -  Aggressively promote aviation growth and business development and begin implementation of the recently completed BBP strategic plan

  • Authority Board Reformulated

    • Commissioner acted in 2022 Authority Board Request to dissolve the board and move the Airport to a County Dept.

    • Reformulated Authority Board composed of Berks County Commissioners, COO and Dir. of Community and Econ. Dev.

    • Moved from one regular meeting a month to two. 1st and 3rd Tuesdays.

  • Formed an Airport Tenant Advisory Committee that has a formal spot on the agenda the 3rd Tuesday of the month

  • Plan to finalize and implement the BBP Strategic Plan in 2023

  • Focus on solid long-term financial plan for airport

  • Determine the future of the Sewer Plant - Highest and best use

  • Support completion of the Met-Ed/First Energy 69KV line.

  • Support growth of overall aviation business at the airport in 2023

    • Quest

    • Commercial Service

    • Flight School

    • MRO

    • Development of non-aviation property

 

Facilities - Continue to maintain existing facilities in a cost-effective manner and determine the most efficient and cost-effective use of the core county facilities

  • Space Allocation Study

    • Completion of study no later than May 2023

    • Begin implementation of study in 2023

  • AG Center Renovations - Completion of at least Phase 1 of the AG Center renovation

  • Repurposing the BCRC

    • Provide fair transition for BCRC staff

    • Identify the highest and best use the facility.

 

Economic Development - Strengthen our engagement in core economic development efforts throughout the county

  • Continue our strong partnership with GRCA

    • Business retention and attraction

    • Special focus on key sectors

      • Agriculture

      • Manufacturing

      • Healthcare

  • American Rescue Plan

    • Continue to track and audit dollars already approved/expended

    • Hold remaining balance for critical projects/needs. No additional funding rounds

  • Imagine Berks (County Economic Dev. Strategy)

    • Continued implementation of strategy

    • Monitor the results across key areas

      • Business & Industry Growth

      • Small Business & Entrepreneurship

      • Infrastructure & Land Use 

      • Talent & Economic Mobility 

      • Housing  

      • Placemaking

  • Key Authorities (RRAA, RDA, BIDA, SRPRA & BARTA/SCTA)

    • Continued partnerships with these authorities with a focus on being accountable for the use of taxpayer dollars

    • Determine that these authorities continue to meet or exceed their mission parameters

    • When possible, have these authorities support the needs or mission within county government departments

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