Brief meeting gives way to incinerator talk

Commissioner Elizabeth Arnold took the helm of her first meeting as the “chair” since Alan Hall relinquished the post last month.
The commissioners ran through the brief Oct. 12 agenda, comprised mostly of personnel items. No salary board meeting was held.
The commissioners approved the hiring of Stacy Thatcher to the 2nd Deputy Clerk of Courts position by Clerk of Courts/Prothonotary Chris Jones, effective Oct. 17.
The appointment of Jessica Zaweski to the Susquehanna County Task Force by District Attorney Robert Klein was also acknowledged by the commissioners.
Lana Adams, who has been tapped to fill the Chief Clerk effective Nov. 7, was appointed by the commissioners to officially act as the county’s Open Records Officer on that date, as well.
Since the state required several years ago that government bodies appoint an Open Records Officer, the Chief Clerk has typically been responsible for that duty.
The county signed the 2017 maintenance agreement for a fork life and clamp truck at the Recycling Center; and an agreement for the weigh scale software at the facility.
In public comment, audience member Vera Scroggins asked the commissioners if they had received any update from any group regarding the proposed incinerator in New Milford Twp.
Arnold said she had no new information; and Hall added that all of the information received by the county had been posted on the county’s website,
Since the Sept. 28 meeting, the county had posted a letter, dated Sept. 28, from the Governor’s Office of General Counsel, regarding the proposed ordinance send to DEP for review by New Milford Twp.
Arnold said she had not read the letter.
Commissioner MaryAnn Warren said she had read it, but did not want to comment on the letter.
Hall suggested those interested should read and interpret it for themselves.
Scroggins said finding the information on the county website was difficult.
Communications are available on the economic development page of the site, under a listing entitled: “Potential Industrial Park Project.”
The commissioners were asked to possibly make the correspondences more visible.
“Is it possible to separate those two things,” asked Jaelynne Goff, “not sugar-coat it with ‘industrial park?’”
Warren said it was there because the incinerator was just one part of a proposed industrial park.
Scroggins continued to question the use of the term “industrial park” saying one had not been proposed by the county.
Hall said the county has not designated anything as an industrial park. He offered that the county had a study done several years ago to see about the feasibility of a business development or industrial park along the Interstate 81 corridor for potential investors.
Scroggins said concern, however, was only about the proposed incinerator.
One audience member pointed out the limits of the county’s planning commission, admitting a “lot of areas do not want zoning.”
“But if there are no set limits, the (planning commission) has no choice but to allow them to build,” the speaker added.
“We race to projects on fire,” the audience member continued, “Maybe it would be best to look ahead.”
With that public discussion turned to the comprehensive plan.
Arnold said the majority of input from responding municipalities has indicated that they do not want zoning or ordinances coming from the county level and would prefer to maintain local control.
Hall also said that the county could not discriminate against businesses that comply with applicable regulations.
Hall also said Susquehanna County does not have much to offer companies. “We can’t compete with Conklin and Scranton,” he said, noting land and tax breaks offered by areas to the north and south of the county.

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