Archive for January, 2022

FRIDAY Update: Case Count Rising; Vaccination Rate Stalls

January 21st, 2022 Comments off

There’s no end in sight for the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Thursday’s report from the Pa. Dept. of Health showed another 1,936 cases across the region over the past four days. There were 36 more cases and one more COVID-related death confirmed in Potter County, where more than one in six residents has been infected since the pandemic was declared. There have been three more fatalities since the beginning of the year and a total of 81 county deaths linked to the virus since the pandemic was declared. Many area counties were also hard-hit over the past four days: McKean, 189 cases; Tioga, 119 cases, 2 deaths; Cattaraugus (N.Y.), 399 cases, 2 deaths; Clinton, 175 cases, 1 death; Allegany (N.Y.), 119 cases; Lycoming, 690 cases, 3 deaths; Cameron, 16 cases; and Elk, 198 cases, 1 death. Health care officials caution that relatively few people have been tested since late December, so the true case counts are impossible to estimate. UPMC Cole reports that it is currently treating 11 COVID patients. There were upwards of 24 victims being treated on some days in mid-December.

Despite frequent advisories from public health officials, relatively few Potter County residents are being vaccinated this month. Some 45 percent (7,056 people) of those 5 and older have now received at least one dose. Statewide, the figure is 80 percent. Cole offers the vaccine to eligible patients at its outpatient offices. Buchanan Brothers Pharmacy in Coudersport administers the vaccine by appointment; call 814-274-8660. Rite Aid pharmacies continue to book appointments. To access the online reservation form, click here.

Notice Of Commissioners Board Special Meeting

January 10th, 2022 Comments off

The Potter County Board of Commissioners will hold a special meeting on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022, at 10 am in the Gunzburger Building Auditorium. After the call to order, the board intends to adjourn for an executive session to address a personnel matter and conclude a grievance proceeding. Outcome of the grievance proceeding will be determined after the executive session (when the public meeting will be reopened). The regularly scheduled Retirement Board and Board of Commissioners public business meetings will follow at 11 am.

Help Available For Renters Affected By Pandemic

January 7th, 2022 Comments off

Renters affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic may be eligible for financial assistance. Potter County Commissioners Nancy Grupp, Barry Hayman and Paul Heimel have designated the county’s Human Services agency to administer a federal grant to help those who have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic pay for rent and utilities. Applications can be downloaded from a website here. Once an application is complete, a Potter County Human Services case manager will be in touch to offer assistance. To be eligible, a renter household must have one or more individuals who meet the following criteria:

  • Qualifies for unemployment or has experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19;
  • Demonstrates a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability; and
  • Has a household income at or below 80 percent of the area median.

Full eligibility guidelines and additional information is available here. Those seeking more information can contact Jim Kockler or Kara Amidon at 814-544-7315.

Potter County To Revise Land Development Ordinance

January 5th, 2022 Comments off

Potter County Planning Commission will be updating and revising the county’s Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance (SALDO) in the coming months. Commissioners Nancy Grupp, Barry Hayman and Paul Heimel were informed this week that the county has been awarded a $16,845 state grant to help pay for the services of a professional consultant who will guide local decision-makers. Planning Director Will Hunt will spearhead the project. Recommendations by the Planning Commission and its consultant will eventually be submitted to the commissioners for adoption. Public input opportunities will be announced.

Much of the advance work has already been completed, thanks to the development of the Potter County Comprehensive Plan 2020-29. That detailed document reflects input from hundreds of county residents — many of whom served on focus groups and other panels — in developing priorities and values for community and economic development of Potter County during the decade. A copy of the plan is available online here.

Through the SALDO, the county government regulates land development within a framework dictated by state legislation. Goal of the ordinance is to protect public health and safety, maintain community standards, avoid conflicting land uses, and support orderly growth and economic development. Potter County’s SALDO has not undergone a thorough revision in more than a decade. Its revisions will reflect recent statutory changes and case law, as well as land development needs and regulatory practices. Plan review and enforcement practices need to be matched to current administrative capacity and updated for users. Planning Commission members, appointed by the commissioners, are Rance Baxter (chair), Joe Ayers III, Mike Thierfelder, Katie Sasala, Bob Wicker, Curt Weinhold and Helen Turner.

Commissioners Adopt Budget; Taxes Hold Steady

January 4th, 2022 Comments off

Real estate taxes in Potter County will remain at their current rate for a fourth straight year. In addition, Commissioners Nancy Grupp, Barry Hayman and Paul Heimel have decided not to collect the $5.00 per-capita tax that many other counties levy. Actions were finalized at the commissioners’ year-end meeting on Dec. 30. Real estate taxes will be 18.5 mills. A mill is one-tenth of one percent, levied against a property’s assessed value. Because state law prohibits county governments from levying an income tax, property owners bear the heaviest tax burden. This year’s budget calls for nearly $11.3 million in spending.