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County Plans to Borrow $25 Million

The Montgomery County Commissioners intend to take out a short-term loan to fund the first quarter of 2012.

For the first time in a decade, the Montgomery County Commissioners plan to take out a tax anticipation note to fund expenses through the first quarter of 2012, officials said during Thursday’s meeting.

Although the amount is yet to be finalized, county CFO Randy Schaible told the board he estimated that $25 million would be needed.

“Every year we have a major dip in cash,” Schaible said. “We had $40 million at the beginning of this year and we just squeaked through.”

Commissioner Chairman Joseph Hoeffel said the county is projected to have $20 million in its coffers come January. Since tax revenues don’t start trickling in until March, the short-term loan – which would be repaid by the end of 2012 – is necessary, he said.

Schaible, as of next month, said “with me not being in my position in 2012 it’s imperative that we start on this immediately.”

Solicitor James Maza said the commissioners could take action on the tax anticipation note during one of its budget meetings set for Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday of next week. The board tentatively plans to adopt the county budget on Dec. 21, but officials said, if necessary, a vote could be held until the following week. 

Hoeffel began Thursday’s meeting by reading a public statement denouncing Commissioner Bruce Castor for what he claims was a violation of the county’s policy of not commenting on personnel matters. In a Dec. 14 Philadelphia Inquirer article announcing the job losses of Schaible and five others, Castor was quoted as saying, “The new board - which I am obviously a part of - will want no part of the taint of Jim Matthews."

Hoeffel called Castor’s comments a “continuing vendetta” with following the release of a 69-page grand jury report.

“Commissioner Castor, your hatred of Jim Matthews and his hatred of you has hurt Montgomery County for four years,” Hoeffel said. “Now it is directly hurting county employees. This has got to stop.”

“Your ability to have any say in the matter will end in a couple weeks,” Castor fired back.

Castor then pointed a finger at Hoeffel, charging that he “enabled a bad man to engage in bad things.”

“If it were not you enabling Jim Matthews to engage in all of the horrendous behavior … Montgomery County would not be facing the ethical, moral and financial dilemma in which we now find ourselves,” Castor said.

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