Volunteers Sought For Key County Agencies

November 11th, 2019 Comments off

Potter County Commissioners are seeking volunteers willing to serve on any of several county authorities, commissions and advisory boards. In an effort to broaden diversity, geographic representation and background knowledge, the board has been building a roster of individuals who have a willingness to volunteer.

As vacancies arise or incumbents’ terms expire, the commissioners will rely on that these rosters to determine potential appointees for agencies such as:

Potter County Planning Commission. Administers subdivision and land use/development regulations; countywide comprehensive plan; regional advocacy on transportation funding priorities and other initiatives; GIS services; reliable resource/liaison for township and borough governments.

Potter County Redevelopment Authority. Economic development; support services for business and industry; administration of federal/state grants and loans for economic development.

Potter County Housing Authority. Administration of programs meeting needs for safe, healthy and affordable housing.

Potter County Human Services. Multiple advisory boards to guide administrators on meeting local social service needs.

Potter County Solid Waste Authority. Operation of transfer station/recycling center in Gold; administration of state-approved solid waste management/flow ordinance.

Potter County Hospital Authority. Public agency assisting UPMC Cole in acquisition of funds for capital improvements and implementation of long-term planning objectives.

Farmland Preservation Board. Responsible for purchase of development rights to preserve agricultural land.

Local Emergency Planning Committee. Coordinates activities of firefighters, emergency medical services, fire police and related responders; liaison with Potter County Department of Emergency Services for training, funding opportunities, drills/exercises to test preparedness.

Those wishing to be considered for appointment should contact Danielle Gietler, executive secretary to the Potter County Commissioners, at 814-274-8290, ext. 207 or pcexecsec@pottercountypa.net.

Two-County Tourist Promotion Agency Getting Results

November 7th, 2019 Comments off

Members of Visit Potter-Tioga, the official tourist promotion agency for the two counties, are seeing growing success from its marketing activities. VPT attributes this in part to nearly $500,000 worth of online and print advertising driving potential visitors to a vibrant website (visitpottertioga.com). The website is now being tapped by 600,000 people annually. They’re looking for things to do, places to stay and eat, activities to enjoy and sites to see.

VPT was launched in July 2017, formed from the former Tioga County Visitors Bureau (TCVB) and Potter County Visitors Association (PCVA). It’s a unified marketing and technical assistance agency geared toward one goal of importance to both counties – boosting the number of tourists who visit the region to support the local economy. Popular destinations such as the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, Cherry Springs International Dark Sky Preserve and many others are jointly marketed. Businesses that offer goods and services to visitors are also promoted.

These are critical times for the tourism industry, which still has as its foundation the opportunities for outdoor recreation that abound in both counties. With manufacturing and other major contributors to the economy struggling, many leaders view effective tourism marketing as a promising antidote. Businesses, organizations and individuals interested in becoming involved can call 1-888-846-4228. Annual membership fees of $100 for non-profit organizations and $250 for businesses expose affiliates to a multi-phased marketing campaign. Among VPT’s most effective tools is its annual visitors’ guide, a full-size glossy magazine released each January with a press run in excess of 70,000. More than 40,000 of these guides are sent directly to those who contact VPT for information to plan their visits. Members qualify for a listing and a link on the Visit Potter-Tioga website. Additionally, members can confer with public relations professionals who can share advice on marketing, promotion, advertising, social media, etc.

Many local businesses have seen increases in their revenues since the merger, attributing it to the additional marketing and benefits of their VPT membership. Through the partnership, they get exposure they couldn’t otherwise afford — professional advertising on cable TV, online ads with high search engine ratings and print ads in prestigious travel publications. Businesses and organizations who join by the end of November can qualify for a pro-rated membership rate and still be recognized in the 2020 Visitors Guide that will be distributed starting in January.

Unofficial Results From Tuesday’s Municipal Election

November 5th, 2019 Comments off

Municipal Election 2019 will go down in history for the debut of the new state-mandated voting machines with a paper-ballot generation feature. Following are the unofficial results as reported to the Potter County Board of Elections, with all 32 voting districts reporting:

Judge of Superior Court: Amanda Green-Hawkins (D) 874, Daniel D. McCaffery (D)  865, Megan McCarthy King (R) 3,204, Christylee Peck (R) 3,047

Potter County Commissioner (3 seats): Barry Hayman (D) 1,463, Paul W. Heimel (R) 3,257, Nancy J. Grupp (R) 3,234

Potter County Sheriff: Glenn C. Drake II (R) 3,929

Potter County Treasurer: Krista M. Miller (R) 4,026

Potter County Register & Recorder: Nicole F. Larsen (R) 4,060

Potter County Prothonotary/Clerk of Courts: Kathy Schroeder (R) 4,076

Potter County Board of Auditors (3 seats): Michele L. Gledhill (D) 1,255, Jeannie Stuckey (R) 3,509, Pauline A. Kleintop (R) 3,067

Judge of Superior Court Anne E. Lazarus: Yes 2,525, No 1,179

Judge of Superior Court Judy Olson: Yes 2,639, No 1,007

Judge of Commonwealth Court Kevin Brobson: Yes 2,549, No 1,064

Judge of Commonwealth Court Patricia A. McCullough: Yes 2,618, No 974

Judge of Court of Common Pleas Stephen P. B. Minor: Yes 3,254, No 694

Local Libraries Seek Continued Support From County

November 5th, 2019 Comments off

Representatives of Potter County’s public libraries met with the Potter County Board of Commissioners last week to express their appreciation for the county’s financial support and to seek continued funding in the 2020 budget.  Leslie A. Wishard, administrator of the Potter-Tioga Library System, assured the commissioners that the annual contributions are not taken for granted. She pointed out that county governments are not legally required to support libraries. However, support from the two counties has enabled community libraries to expand their services in ways that affect thousands of lives, including proven programs that support childhood development and literacy. In Potter County, Wishard noted, the commissioners not only make an annual allotment to the two-county library system itself, they also provide a $2,500 restricted-use grant for each library in Potter County to support educational programs and/or children’s learning activities. She added that she is unaware of any other Pennsylvania county that operates a similar mini-grant program.

Wishard presented a statistical summary from the Potter-Tioga Library System for 2018: 19,900 registered users; 165,000 visitors; circulation of 170,000 items; 500 children’s programs with attendance of more than 6,500; young adult program participation of 765; and nearly 500 adult programs with attendance of 6,545. “Due to our rural location, we have become the social centers for many of our communities,” she said. “We collaborate with local businesses, civic organizations, medical facilities and many non-profit agencies to help us better serve our patrons.”

Teri McDowell, director of the Coudersport Public Library, pointed out that local libraries provide a broad range of services beyond the traditional book loans. Computers with free internet access, research archives, literacy support for children and adults, training activities and community functions are among other roles local libraries are playing. She also pointed out that public libraries are increasingly filling the gaps created by public school districts cutting back on their library resources.

Commissioner Doug Morley praised the dedication of library directors and staff. He pointed out that libraries are one of the few enduring institutions that hold together communities through the generations and they’re particularly important in rural America.

County Moving Forward On Grant Support For Galeton

November 5th, 2019 Comments off

On Thursday, Nov. 7, the Potter County Commissioners propose to submit an application to the Pa. Dept. of Community and Economic Development for Federal Fiscal Year 2019 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) competitive funds.  The county is seeking $2 million to support rehabilitation of the Galeton Borough Authority wastewater treatment plant. Earlier this year, the commissioners designated federal CDBG entitlement funds of $182,560, plus $40,000 for administration expenses, for the Galeton project. A public hearing to receive comments on the application for the competitive CDBG funds will be held at 10:30 am on Thursday, Nov. 7, at the Gunzburger Building. Following the hearing, the commissioners will consider the approval of application at their 11 am meeting.

Potter County strives to make all programs and activities accessible to the learning, mobility, vision, hearing, and language-impaired persons. If you have a disability or limited English proficiency and require an auxiliary aid or accommodations, please contact Glenda Ruch at SEDA-COG, available at 1-800-332-6701, 1-800-654-5984 TTY, 1-800-654-5988 TDD to discuss your needs.  Translators will be available upon request. Any complaints should be submitted to Glenda Ruch.

SEDA-COG has been contracted by the county to assist with administration of the CDBG program, which requires a significant amount of administrative responsibilities, as promulgated by the U.S. Dept. of House and Urban Development and the Pa. Dept. of Community and Economic Development. Ruch assisted the commissioners in assessing the three projects that were proposed to the board. She recommended that the Galeton facility receive the entitlement funds, based on multiple factors, including the severity of the treatment plant’s deficiencies and the anticipated high cost of rehabilitating the facility. Ruch further advised that other municipal projects submitted for this year’s funds do meet the CDBG criteria. Each could be considered during the 2020 CDBG funding cycle, or could be eligible for other state or federal funding programs.

Supporting Employment Opportunities For Disabled

October 30th, 2019 Comments off

The Potter County Commissioners recognized the importance of supporting employment opportunities for the disabled during their biweekly business meeting. Commissioners Doug Morley and Paul Heimel heard a presentation from representatives of Employment Support Services at Dickinson Center Inc. and passed a proclamation in support of National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Marsha Dippold, program director, pointed out that the abrupt loss of federal funding to operate the program has made it more challenging for Dickinson to meet all of the needs in the region. Just one in five disabled adults is actively employed, she pointed out. With support services and adaptations, the disabled can bring special talents and services to many workplaces. This, in turn, reduces the demand on social services. More information is available at 814-594-7093. Shown from left with the proclamation are Sunday Gledhill (Dickinson), Commissioners Doug Morley and Paul Heimel, and Marsha Dippold. (Photo by Halie Kines, Potter Leader-Enterprise).