President Judge Russell Shurtleff administers the oath of office on Jan. 4 to the most recently hired Wyoming County Deputy Sheriff Jaime J. Lopez. The week before, he retired as a Pennsylvania State Trooper. Law enforcement remains a significant expense within the Wyoming County budget.

Wyoming County Commissioners unanimously approved the 2021 budget at a virtual work session on Thursday morning.

Commissioner Rick Wilbur said that there has been one change made since the initial budget was released, and that was $18,000 being added to the total. The budget is available for the public to view at the county website, www.wycopa.org.

The budget is balanced with an income of $16,014,720.60 and expenses of the same amount and contains no tax increases or cuts to any county services.

Commissioners thanked the county’s first responders for their work during the Christmas Eve flooding at a virtual work session on Thursday morning.

Although the major flooding that was initially forecasted did not happen, there were still some flooding concerns throughout the county, particularly in creeks, small streams, and areas with poor drainage.

“We were up during the night on Christmas Eve receiving hourly updates,” Commissioner Rick Wilbur said. “EMA, and all of the first responders had a great response and were prepared for all of the rain and snow melt that we had. Thank goodness that it wasn’t worse.”

Although the Susquehanna River did not crest as high as initially forecasted, there were still some spots in the county that did experience flooding. Meshoppen saw some moderate flooding, as did Noxen, Exeter Township and Eaton Township.

There were downed trees in Exeter Township that closed parts of Route 92. Six families were also evacuated from their homes along Bowman’s Creek in Eaton Township. Commissioners said those were the only evacuations that needed to be performed.

“The county has seen worse flooding in the past,” Wilbur said. “We were prepared for this one.”

Commissioners announced that after a couple months of meetings with Keystone College and Lackawanna County, that Lackawanna and Wyoming counties are close to partnering with the college for 10 percent tuition reductions for students in both counties.

“This is going to be a wonderful investment for our youth,” Commissioner Tom Henry said. “We look forward to having Keystone College as a partner with us for a long time.”

The commissioners agree that this will be beneficial for area students looking to continue their education, and will cause less worries of student debt which can cause students to turn away from college.

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