Potter County’s New Voting Machines Have Arrived

August 15th, 2019 Comments off

Potter County’s new voting machines arrived this week. One of the units is available at the Elections Office in the Gunzburger Building for anyone who wants to become familiar with them in advance of the Nov. 5 Municipal Election. Federal and state funding will cover only a portion of the price tag, which is upwards of $400,000.

After soliciting proposals from state-certified vendors, the Potter County Commissioners purchased the machines and related software and services from Election Systems and Software (ES&S). All Pennsylvania counties must have in place certified voting machines that electronically record each vote and generate a paper ballot as an added level of security. The new machines are expected to last for about ten years, if regulations and changing technology do not require them to be updated sooner. Here, Elections Office staffer Donna Sallade (right) assists Teresa Kisiel in using one of the new machines while Nancy Grupp looks on.

Progress Being Made In Battling Drug Epidemic

August 14th, 2019 Comments off

Law enforcement in Potter County has been making in-roads when it comes to a multi-phased strategy to reduce the availability of illicit drugs in local communities, according to District Attorney Andy Watson. He reports that the impact of the Potter County East Drug Task Force, consisting of municipal police with support of the Pa. Attorney General’s Office, is being felt as arrests mount. The task force’s operations complement the work of the Pennsylvania State Police. They include a “community policing” element, by which citizens are encouraged to contact Watson directly to report suspicious behavior that might be related to drug trafficking.

Watson explained that investigators are focused largely on tracing the supply of illicit drugs and bringing the dealers to justice. There has been a rise in the use of methamphetamine in Potter County. At the same time, the use of heroin and prescription drug abuse remain pervasive. All of these substances are highly addictive. DA Watson has also spearheaded development of a unique opportunity to help drug addicts access treatment and support services. Under the Concerned Law Enforcement Against Law Enforcement (CLEAN) Protocol, those seeking help can contact a police officer and, rather than be arrested, be steered toward community resources for help. See details here.

At the same time, President Judge Stephen Minor and other members of the criminal justice system have teamed to implement two “specialty courts.” The Potter County Drug and DUI Courts allow qualifying criminal offenders to avoid criminal prosecution if they successfully complete a comprehensive, strictly supervised regimen to abstain from alcohol or other drugs and deal proactively with their addictions. Senior Judge John Leete presides over both courts. Participants are chosen by a team of law enforcement and social services professionals and supervised by the Potter County Probation Department.

Most recently, Potter County Commissioners Doug Morley, Paul Heimel and Susan Kefover approved Watson’s request to hire retired Pa. State Police officer Jake Rothermel under a six-month contract as county detective, a position that has been vacant for many years. He will work with the DA and police to investigate drug trafficking and other criminal activity. His focus will be on surveillance, prevention and public education.

Penn State Extension Active In Potter County

August 7th, 2019 Comments off

Despite implementing a regional approach designed to reduce costs, Penn State Extension continues to support youth development, agriculture, environmental stewardship, home economics and other services in Potter County. A summary of recent developments was presented at last week’s meeting of the Potter County Commissioners by Rob Dickinson, client relations manager; and Cheri Micale, who recently was named regional business operations manager.

Potter County has a long history of supporting Penn State Extension and currently provides a financial contribution as well as an office facility at the Potter County Education Center on Water Street. An advisory council provides guidance for Extension’s operations in Potter County.

Public Meeting Aug. 15 On Potter County Human Services

August 6th, 2019 Comments off

humansurrvissesHundreds of people are directly affected by programs offered by Potter County Human Services (PCHS), but few take the opportunity to provide input on how those services are delivered. An Advisory Board that’s in place to accommodate public comments and suggestions will hold its next meeting on Thursday, Aug. 15, at 5:30 pm in the PCHS building at Roulette. PCHS operates programs for victims of alcoholism and other drug abuse, older citizens, the mentally ill, children who are at risk, and the intellectually disabled. Among agenda items for Aug. 15 is review of the needs-based budget for Potter County Children & Youth Services. Advisory board members are appointed by the Potter County Board of Commissioners. Anyone interested in being considered for appointment to the board should contact the Commissioners Office at 274-8290, extension 207.

Properties Listed As Tax Claim Bureau Sale Draws Closer

August 2nd, 2019 Comments off

Potter County Tax Claim Bureau (TCB) will be holding its annual “upset sale” at 10 am on Monday, Sept. 9, in the Gunzburger Building. It’s a last-resort auction to sell those properties on which taxes for 2017 or earlier have not been paid. The resultant revenue is divided among the affected school district, municipality and county.

At this point, about 200 properties from across Potter County are slated to go to the auction block. That number will drop significantly over the next several weeks. A list of properties subject to auction is posted on the website, pottercountypa.net (click on Departments/Tax Claim).

TCB has implemented a series of changes to make things easier for those who have fallen behind on their taxes to redeem their properties. These include a monthly installment option and a credit card payment system. Those payments are accepted online only, through the Tax Claim Bureau website at pottercountypa.net. The credit card payment option is limited to overdue taxes (2018 and earlier). Last day to pay 2017 taxes by credit card is Aug. 31.

These changes have had positive results, according to TCB Director Deanna Johnston. “The number of delinquent properties has been tracking downward in recent years,” she said. “Selling someone’s property due to unpaid taxes is always a last resort and we work with anyone who has fallen behind to try to avoid that outcome.”

Tax Claim Bureau personnel are located in Suite 111 of the Gunzburger Building, 1 North Main Street, Coudersport PA 16915; telephone (814) 274-0488, option 1.

Vietnam Veterans Recognition Dinner Planned

July 31st, 2019 Comments off

Potter County Veterans Service Committee is planning a recognition dinner to honor Potter County’s veterans of the Vietnam War. It’s tentatively scheduled for 5 pm on Saturday, Oct. 26, preceded by a social hour at 4. Each veteran will receive a certificate and pin in recognition of his or her service.

The dinner is open to Potter County Vietnam War veterans and one guest. Please RSVP no later than Aug. 16 to Michael Pepper, Director of Veterans Affairs, at mpepper@pottercountypa.net, 814-274-8290, ext. 210; or Danielle Gietler, Executive Secretary, at pcexecsec@pottercountypa.net, 814-274-8290, ext. 207.