Commissioners clap back against changes in state programs

Commissioner Alan Hall said he was “more than dissatisfied” with the outcome of a quarterly meeting regarding PennDOT’s plans in District 3 and District 4.

Hall reported at the Aug. 14 commissioners’ meeting that PennDOT plans to pull more funding away from local TIP projects and direct the money to the interstate.

He said the “bigger issue” is the department has “no money” but questioned the state legislature’s move to place $900 million in a rainy day fund instead of using that money to fix the state roads.

Locally, PennDOT is getting a lot of work done and roads patched, Hall offered. But said the local PennDOT garage needs more manpower and revenue to get the needed work done properly. He did commend the local PennDOT employees for the amount of work they do get done.

Since California enacted a gas tax increase that went into effect July 1, Pennsylvania now has the second highest gas tax in the nation at 58.7 cents per gallon.

Hall noted the appointment of Rep. Jonathan Fritz (R-111th) to the transportation committee and said the local state house rep was working on the funding formula which is currently based on population. Hall said PennDOT monies spent on winter maintenance eat into summer construction.

Hall also spoke out about the recent decrease of food deliveries and safety checks for seniors by B/S/S/T Area Agency on Aging’s Meals on Wheels of the Endless Mountains. He said the county offered to pay for the additional two delivery days for Susquehanna County residents but was not taken up on that funding offer. “It was more important for them to be consistent,” he said.

Hall also claimed the cutback on the daily deliveries and safety checks had resulted in its “first victim,” alleging one meal recipient died after a experiencing a medical incident Tuesday morning – a day when Meals on Wheels deliveries are not made.

Had a delivery been made to the person that morning, Hall claimed, “It’s possible she would still be alive.”

Commissioner MaryAnn Warren added that Active Living Centers are required to purchase the toilet paper, paper towels and coffee at each center. The county, she said, has purchased those items and is delivering them to the ALC locations.

Warren also said the ALCs are required to fundraise to donate to another nonprofit organization.

The commissioners approved a five-year lease agreement with Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation for 11.96 acres of county property located in Montrose Borough, effective June 20 through June 20, 2024.

Two part-time courthouse security guards were hired by Sheriff Lance Benedict.

Rebekah Hubbard was hired to the position of Deputy Chief Clerk and appointed as the county’s Open Records Officer, effective Aug. 1; and Brian Trible was hired as a Field Appraiser Trainee in the Assessment Office, effective Sept. 3.

The commissioners acknowledged, with regret, the resignation of Sue Blaisure, from the 2nd Deputy position in the Tax Claim/Treasurer’s office, per Treasurer Jason Miller.

The following people were appointed/reappointed to the Northern Tier Regional Planning and Development Commission Advisory Board:

Economic Development: Robert Heed II; Adam Diaz or Mark Caterson; Bobbi Jo Turner.

Local Loan Review: Joe Ferretti, Rick Soden; Keith Yurgosky.

Rural Area Transportation: Jack Conroy; Alex Komar; Alan Hall.

Membership Executive Committee: Alan Hall; Elizabeth Arnold; Rick Soden; MaryAnn Warren (alternate).

Local Elected Officials: Alan Hall; Elizabeth Arnold; MaryAnn Warren.

The commissioners also approved an agreement with Motorola Solutions for the Phase 1 Simulcast Susquehanna Fire Repeater contract for equipment and integration at a cost of $185,000.

The name of the Susquehanna County Substance Abuse and Recovery Initiative (SARI) was changed to the Susquehanna County Substance Use and Recovery Initiative (SURI).

The 2020 holiday schedule was adopted by the salary board and then approved by the commissioners. County holidays in 2020 include:

New Year’s Day, Wednesday, Jan. 1; President’s Day, Monday, Feb. 17; Good Friday, Friday, April 10; Memorial Day, Monday, May 25; Independence Day, Friday, July 3; Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 7; Columbus Day, Monday, Oct. 12; Veterans Day, Wednesday, Nov. 11; Thanksgiving, Thursday, Nov. 26; day after Thanksgiving, Friday, Nov. 27; Christmas, Friday, Dec. 25; and two county floating holidays, Thursday, Dec. 24 and Thursday, Dec. 31.

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