Talk leads to Hall’s return as chair of commissioners

A question on economic development and the future of Susquehanna County took a turn that ended up changing the leadership once again in the commissioners’ office.
During public comment, an audience member asked about the revitalization he had noticed in the area over the past five years, and asked the commissioners if they believed that could continue.
Commissioner Alan Hall said that the county is trying to look toward the future with economic development and how that can bring stable jobs to the community. He spoke about a business park study done a couple of years ago, and said the county is seeking a grant from the state to develop a business park.
“We’re trying to leverage money from Harrisburg for infrastructure (projects),” Hall said. He also said the county working on grants to facilitate bringing natural gas service to New Milford and South Montrose.
Hall said some of the work also needs to fall back on the county’s economic development advisory board. “These things do not fall in your lap,” he said. “You have to go out and get them.
“The next three years will dictate the next 50 years in this county,” Hall continued, and said the county is working on the issue of “connectability,” so residents and businesses can get the service speeds they “should be getting.”
Commissioner MaryAnn Warren said that along with the economic initiatives being pursued, the county is also working to make progress against the “opioid disaster” with additional mental health services now offered in the county. She also advocated for the addition of an adult daycare in the area.
The Harmony Twp. resident said he did not often attend the county commissioner meetings but watched them online via the county website.
In the absence of Chair Elizabeth Arnold, the audience member asked about Commissioner Alan Hall’s resignation as the chair several months ago.
“That isn’t fair to the taxpayers,” the man said. “I believe you are the catalyst for (economic development) and I would like you to reconsider.”
Hall said that he had stepped down in order to spend more time working on grants for the county. “I thought (Arnold) would step up,” he said.
“The chair is not working with the other two commissioners,” he said. “This community is important to all of us.”
Minority Commissioner MaryAnn Warren said, “Things have not been as they should be.”
She said there is a lack of teamwork among the sitting commissioners, and motioned to reinstate Hall as the chair, which Hall then seconded and the motioned passed with their votes. Hall and Warren then voted to have Arnold serve as the vice-chair.
“I’m sorry it’s come to this,” Hall said. “Our job is to come together for the county,” and acknowledged he would likely get “beat up” by some people over the leadership change.
Efforts to reach Commissioner Arnold for comment on Monday, Dec. 19 were unsuccessful.

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