Scott Walls

Walls

Proudly serving his first term as a Huntingdon County Commissioner, Scott Walls has announced his plans to seek re-election to continue his strong commitment to economic development and job growth in the county.

“Over the past three years, I have demonstrated my willingness to work with others, partnering with other counties and agencies to put us on the path of opportunity and growth for our residents,” said Walls. “Under my leadership, businesses are looking to expand and relocate here in Huntingdon County and have shown significant growth. By continuing my full-time commitment, and with a united front from our current board of commissioners, serving you is my number one priority.”

Upon entering office in 2016, Walls was presented with many challenges that required tough decisions to bring the county back to financial stability. In 2014 and 2015, the previous board of commissioners borrowed $700,000 and $1,750,000, respectively, in unfunded debt without including the $276,000 annual payment in the budget to pay back these two loans. While, at the same time, overestimating the property tax income resulting in a $160,000 budget shortfall for the year of 2016.

“In 2017, we not only had to account for these shortcomings, we also had to fund the continuing carryover from the previous unfunded budget increases,” said Walls. “Moving forward, I have consistently made choices to manage our county government in a way that keeps the taxpayers in mind, always looking to reduce costs and find efficiencies to run government more like a business.”

Walls said public safety is a part of my job he doesn’t take lightly.

“In my first term I personally took responsibility for the county 911 emergency responders communication infrastructure and worked with my colleagues by restoring functionality to this vital system,” he said. “Our dedicated fire and ambulance crews, mostly volunteers, were working with a deteriorated, 30-year-old system prone to failure and in some areas of the county not functional at all.”

Another heartbreaking area of public safety that encompasses the largest percentage of the county budget is the county’s Children’s and Youth Services agency. The opioid epidemic not only affects those addicted, but leads to the abuse and neglect of children. This coupled with new child abuse prevention laws have skyrocketed the children and youth budget.

“Leadership was needed to bring foster care placement back into the county instead of using outside contractors,” said Walls. “We are now in that process and hope to see significant cost savings.{p class=”p1”}He pointed out that the county commissioners are the governing body for the Area Agency on Aging.{p class=”p1”}”Caring for our senior population is something I take very seriously. I was very happy when the commissioners were able to restore funding for senior center meals,” said Walls. “I urge all of our county senior citizens to visit their area senior centers. They are a great place to fellowship and support your communities.”

Just as folks do with their own homes and cars, building and vehicle maintenance is always an area of concern to ensure neglect doesn’t cause a budget catastrophe.

“The county has lacked a long-term plan to keep ahead of the continued deterioration of county-owned assets,” said Walls. “By working with concerned departments and our maintenance staff, we are developing a long-term strategy for building and vehicle maintenance and efficiency.

Agriculture is our number one industry in Huntingdon County, and as commissioner, Walls continues to be very supportive of all aspects, from youth in 4-H by serving on the county agriculture Extension board and on the state-wide County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) Agriculture Committee for all 67 counties.

“I will continue to defend the rights of agriculture and will continue to fight against limits and restrictions to these operations,” said Walls. “I have also been fortunate to be appointed to serve on a second statewide committee for energy, environment and land use. This gives Huntingdon County a voice on many diverse issues such as storm water management, Chesapeake Bay regulations, solid waste and recycling and Marcellus Shale/fossil fuel regulation.”

Working through this committee, Walls was able to bring at no cost, electronics recycling back to Huntingdon County with four collection dates resulting in over 100,000 pounds of electronics collected in 2018. This program has also been approved to be repeated in 2019.

“I am committed to serve as your commissioner in a professional manner with ‘common sense leadership for all of Huntingdon County,’” said Walls. “I look forward to hearing your suggestions as we continue to efficiently and effectively build a better future for our great County. I humbly ask for your support in my bid for re-election as your commissioner.”

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