Commissioners approve IRS recommendations, support Route 219

Posted on March 24th, 2016

by Jocelyn Brumbaugh, Tribune-Democrat

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EBENSBURG – Following the recommendations of a recent audit, Cambria County is changing how certain employees are paid.

During a regular commissioners meeting Thursday, several new positions and salaries were approved to align with IRS requirements handed down by a routine audit at the beginning of the year.

A portion of the pay for constables and some per-diem employees previously was paid through the county’s accounts payable fund, similar to how contractors or vendors are compensated. Now, the IRS requires these employees to be paid in full on the county’s payroll.

Controller Ed Cernic Jr. said the county will not be responsible for pension and benefits to those employees, only federal withholdings.

The requirements also modify the salaries of the county’s five law clerks and consolidate their pay from outside sources to payments distributed only from the county’s payroll, Cernic added.

Complying with these requirements will not cost any county dollars, said Chief Clerk Michael Gelles IV, and will produce a small amount of savings.

“We’re cleaning it up and doing it right,” President Commissioner Tom Chernisky said. “That’s what the IRS wants. That’s what we’re doing.”

The commissioners also unanimously approved a resolution to support completion of the North/South Appalachian Highway, which would connect Route 219 South from Meyersdale to Route 68 in Maryland – about 8 miles of roadway.

“We support it entirely,” Commissioner Mark Wissinger said. “It’ll come to fruition the more support we get behind it.”

New Enterprise Stone & Lime Co. Inc. of New Enterprise was awarded a bid in Feburary to pave an 11-mile stretch of 219 to connect Somerset and Meyersdale. The contract, for about $52 million, will include the final phase of the project, including final grading, paving, guiderail, drainage and interchange work with lighting for the four-lane highway.

The first two phases of that project, the earthwork and the structures phases, are still under construction. PennDOT officials anticipate that stretch of roadway will open in 2018.