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Archive for June, 2019

State Lags In Paying Share Of DA’s Salary

June 13th, 2019 Comments off

scalesPotter County Commissioners continue to await payment from the state for its share of District Attorney Andy Watson’s salary. Act 57 of 2005 obligates the state to pay the 65 percent of a full-time DA’s salary, which was increased by the state government to $182,184 in 2019. By law, the District Attorney’s salary is $1,000 less than the salary of a county’s President Judge. When those payments lag, the county covers the entire cost, a situation that does not sit well with commissioners across the state.

The commissioners this week received a long-overdue payment of $116,544 from the state as reimbursement for the D.A’s 2018 salary. Another $118,420 is due for 2019. According to a spokesman for the Office of Attorney General, the Criminal Justice Enhancement Account does not have enough funds to reimburse the full amount in a timely manner. As the funds continue to accumulate in the account, the state will make at least a partial payment for the overdue 2019 reimbursement.

Successful School Year For Career Mentor Program

June 7th, 2019 Comments off

Another successful year for the Career Mentor Program was celebrated with a luncheon at the Gunzburger Building in Coudersport. Beginning with the 2015-16 school year, the Potter County Education Council (PCEC) has partnered with school districts to place a dedicated professional staffer in each district. The mentor advises students on career planning; coordinates field trips, job shadowing and other opportunities for students to experience local jobs and professions; serves as a liaison between employers and educators; and communicates with students one-on-one to review options such as college, technical training, military service or direct employment following high school graduation. Nicole Brown Zaun serves as career mentor program supervisor for the PCEC. The program is supported by the Potter County Commissioners, Potter County Human Services, local school districts, and the Seneca Highlands Career & Technical Center. Shown from left at the annual luncheon are: Hailey Brown (Coudersport); Nicole Zaun; Virginia Kamper (Northern Potter); Heather Supplee (Galeton), Jennifer Osti (Austin), Alexis Reed (Port Allegany) and Jon Skipper (Seneca Highlands CTC).

Public Input Welcome On Comprehensive Plan

June 5th, 2019 Comments off

Residents of Potter, Cameron and McKean counties have another chance to speak their minds about their communities’ future during a public hearing on the Northern Pennsylvania Tri-County Comprehensive Plan. A project of commissioners and planning boards from the three counties, the plan will guide decision-makers across a broad spectrum of public policy areas for the 2020-29 decade. Its implications will be felt in everything from economic development, environmental conservation, transportation, employment, education, small business, community facilities and other areas. After the first round of public input, during which nearly 2,400 people participated across the three counties, the top issues that have emerged for action are:

  • business attraction and workforce development;
  • protection of clean air, water and natural places;
  • expansion of infrastructure (including public works and high-speed internet);
  • enhanced attractions for tourism and recreation;
  • strengthening downtown amenities and community services;
  • investing in expanded housing;
  • addressing issues related to drug addiction.

Focus groups have been meeting to provide the framework. The public will have another opportunity to be heard during a three-county public meeting scheduled for 6-8 pm on Thursday, June 27, at Port Allegany High School. Input is also being accepted by planning directors Will Hunt (Potter), Jeremy Morey (McKean) and Cliff Clark (Cameron), and by consultant Joe Passmore at joseph.passmore@mbakerintl.com or 717-221-2061.

Initial research cited multiple public policy challenges that will be posed by declining population, combined with steady increases in median age. Implications will be felt in terms of needed services, changes in the job market, economics and other areas. While the master document covers a three-county region, the plan will include sections that are exclusive to each county. The plan is mandated by the state and must be updated every 10 years. Total cost is $115,000, with $80,000 covered by federal funding and the remaining $35,000 shared equally among Cameron, Potter and McKean counties.