Archive for December, 2017

Collaborative Continues To Fill Local Jobs

December 28th, 2017 Comments off

Bob Wicker

now-hiringBridging the gap between local schools and employers in the region who are seeking certain skills is one of the top priorities for the Northern Tier Educational Collaborative, which will continue into the new year. Area school administrators and other collaborative members who are involved in local education and job training meet regularly at the Potter County Education Center to implement the program. Bob Wicker, former Oswayo Valley School District superintendent, has been spearheading the program. Among partners are the Potter County Education Council, Seneca Highlands Career and Technical Center, 10 public school district affiliates, and local employers seeking to benefit from an influx of trained job applicants.

An adult education element is also part of the plan, as is an outreach to workforce development agencies in the region. Projects that have been implemented so far include an industry advisory council, career fairs in local schools, and “educator in the workplace” programs. A related program uses career mentors to work directly with students at area schools.

Wicker welcomes input from the public, particularly local employers and educators, guidance counselors or administrators. He can be reached at the Potter County Education Center on Water Street in Coudersport, telephone 274-4877.

An economic/employment profile of Potter and six other counties in the region reinforced the need for improvements. North Central Workforce Investment Board conducted the study, which showed that employers prefer to hire locally, but have been frustrated by the lack of qualified job applicants. It calls for improvements in the use of government resources to address the opportunities for job growth locally in the oil and gas industries, finance, administrative support, waste management, real estate, tourism, health care and social assistance sectors.

Inspection Finds County Jail In Full Compliance

December 21st, 2017 Comments off

A state inspection of the Potter County Jail conducted in mid-November found the facility to be in full compliance with standards for operations and facilities. Christopher Oppman, deputy secretary of administration for the Pa. Dept. of Corrections, reported, “Warden Glenn C. Drake II, Deputy Warden Angela Milford and the Potter County Jail staff deserve credit for their efforts in operating this facility in accordance with statewide correctional standards, with no deficiencies or citations to report.” Inspector Stephen V. Noll had reviewed policies and procedures prior to his visit and advised jail administrators of deficiencies which were corrected prior to the inspection. He also acknowledged that the administration had addressed all non-compliance citations and deficiencies identified in the 2016.

Noll’s evaluation on Nov. 14 focused on personnel, admission/release, orientation, inmate rules, staff procedure, classification, housing, clothing, bedding, food services, personal hygiene, medical/health services, visiting, telephone communications, mail, work programs, access to legal services, religion, recreation, commissary/other funds, inmate discipline, security, statistical information reporting, treatment services, incoming publications, deaths, sexual assaults, notifications, and sanitation/maintenance/safety.

The jail was built in 1869. It underwent extensive renovation and expansion in 1995. Its exterior facade of stone masonry was left intact for historical preservation. The jail has an approved capacity of 73 inmates. There were 25 being held there on the day of the inspection. The jail is not equipped, nor is it staffed, to accommodate female inmates.

Busy Times For Water Quality Work Group

December 13th, 2017 Comments off

Heather McKeanMembers of the Potter County Water Quality Work Group covered a crowded agenda at this month’s meeting, continuing its mission to watch over the county’s water resources. It’s one of the few countywide organizations in Pennsylvania with that single focus. Heather McKean (left), who recently joined Penn State Extension as water quality/resources educator, attended Monday’s meeting at the Gunzburger Building as the newest group advisor. She has worked with several members in her previous position with the McKean County Conservation District. McKean has succeeded the retired Jim Clark, who was active with the Water Quality Work Group and a companion Potter County organization, the Triple Divide Watershed Coalition (TDWC).

Also at this month’s meeting, work group members were updated on the U.S. Geological Survey’s groundwater study across Potter County. Results will be analyzed and a public meeting scheduled sometime next year to share results. TDWC Chair Charlie Tuttle reported on the coalition’s ongoing water quality monitoring project. Most of the wells, springs or surface water sources supplying public drinking water supplies in Potter County are now being monitored and their data is being archived. Next TDWC meeting will be held at 10 am on Jan. 24 at the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum. Members of a similar coalition in Tioga County will also attend.

Jason Childs, work group chair and manager of the Potter County Conservation District, discussed several grant opportunities for watershed protection, streambank stabilization, habitat restoration and related projects. Childs also announced that a Township Road Maintenance Class/Field Day for officials from Potter and Tioga counties will be held in Gaines on March 21. The Potter County Crops and Planting Clinic will be held Jan. 26 at the Tri-Town Firehall in Ulysses.

Members heard an update on plans to plant trees in areas of the upper Pine Creek watershed where the hemlock wooly adelgid is expected to cause hemlock tree mortality, adversely affecting water quality on the West Branch of Pine Creek. Work group members also paused to recall the work of the late Wilson T. “Ted” Bear with the First Fork Watershed Association and other conservation organizations.

Attending were Earl Brown, Bob Volkmar, Jason Childs, John McLaughlin, Charlie Tuttle, Heather McKean, Frank Weeks and Commissioners Doug Morley, Paul Heimel and Susan Kefover.

‘Homestead Exemption’ Can Reduce School Tax Bills

December 10th, 2017 Comments off

taxexemption-300x300Potter County homeowners who qualify for the “homestead exemption” receive a credit on their school taxes, reflecting a discount for owner-occupied homes. School districts are reimbursed from money the state receives from licensed gambling establishments.

Austin Area School District homeowners had a reduction of $330 in 2017. In Coudersport, the tax cut was $179. Tax credits in Galeton were $218; Oswayo Valley, $154, Northern Potter, $210; Port Allegany, $210; Keystone, $229.

Many homeowners in local school districts have not applied for the homestead exemption since the program was introduced. Those who may qualify and are not enrolled should will soon receive another notice/application by mail. They have until March 1, 2018, to apply for the reduction on their 2019-19 school tax bills.

An application form is available on the county website, (click on Departments and Assessment/Tax). In most cases, those who are already registered will not have to apply, but there may be exceptions in some school districts. To verify that you are registered, it is best to call the Assessment Office at 274-0517.

Future tax reductions will fluctuate, based on the amount of revenue the state derives from gambling operations. School tax bills are mailed out in July. Taxpayers will receive a two-percent discount if they pay their bill by Sept. 30. A penalty is applied to payments made after Nov. 30.