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Potter County Coronavirus Summary: TUESDAY P.M. Update

July 7th, 2020 Comments off

Further details on Governor Tom Wolf’s directive requiring that face protection be worn whenever anyone leaves home were released over the weekend. State and local police, county and local governments, and educational institutions have all been notified. A Q&A on the new emergency order can be found here.

There were a record 840 additional COVID-19 coronavirus cases confirmed in Pennsylvania between Monday and Tuesday, raising the count to 91,299 cases with 6,787 fatalities. Case counts rose by four in Elk County and by three in Lycoming County on Monday. Current numbers are as follows: Cattaraugus County (N.Y.), 128 cases, 6 deaths; Tioga, 27 cases, 2 fatalities; Potter, 17 cases; McKean, 20 cases, one death; Lycoming, 217 cases, 20 fatalities; Allegany (N.Y.), 68 cases, 2 deaths; Cameron, 4 cases; Clinton, 81 cases, 4 fatalities; and Elk, 24 cases.

Three testing sites for the COVID-19 coronavirus are available in Coudersport. In addition to the testing site at UPMC Cole for physician-referred patients, tests are also being administered at Buchanan Brothers Pharmacy (visit the website here or call 1-800-635-8611 to complete an eligibility assessment) and Rite Aid Pharmacy (visit the website here or call 814-274-0439).

Rent, Mortgage Assistance Available For Virus-Affected

July 1st, 2020 Comments off

Some renters and homeowners who have been financially affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic can apply for federal funds to help offset their losses. Potter County Human Services is administering the Pa. Housing Finance Agency program locally. Household income cannot exceed limits under the PHFA guidelines. More information is available at the website PHFA.org or from Jim Kockler at jkockler@pottercountyhumansvcs.org. Renters will be required to document at least a 30-percent reduction in annual income since March 1 related to COVID-19, or they must have become unemployed after March 1 and filed for unemployment compensation with the Pa. Dept. of Labor and Industry. Renters may receive assistance equal to 100 percent of their monthly rent, up to $750 a month, for a maximum of six months between March 1 and Nov. 30. Homeowners who became unemployed after March 1 or who suffered at least a 30-percent reduction in annual income due to the coronavirus may be eligible for help in making missed mortgage payments.

Commissioners Accepting Applications For CDBG Funds

June 29th, 2020 Comments off

Potter County has been awarded $225,000 in federal funds this year under the decades-old Community Development Block Grant program. This CDBG Entitlement Program is not to be confused with separate funding that has been secured to help Potter County businesses and communities recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

First in a series of public hearings and project development workshops for Entitlement Program applicants was held on Thursday at the Gunzburger Building.

Later this month, Potter County Commissioners Nancy Grupp, Barry Hayman and Paul Heimel will choose recipients based on qualifying criteria provided by the Pa. Dept. of Community and Economic Development. In recent years, bulk of the funds have been awarded to boroughs or townships seeking financial help for large-scale water or sewage treatment projects. To be eligible, projects must meet one or more of three objectives: benefit low- and moderate-income persons; prevent or eliminate slums or blight; and/or alleviate immediate threats to health and safety.

The commissioners maintain a three-year community development plan to assist them in decisions for each year’s Entitlement Program block grant. Potential applicants can learn more about eligibility criteria and other particulars from Tyler Dombroski at tdombroski@seda-cog.org.

Detailed project summaries are due by July 17. The commissioners are scheduled to select recipients during their 11 am Thursday, July 30, business meeting.

‘Revitalize Potter County’ Hits Ground Running

June 25th, 2020 Comments off

Revitalize Potter County (RPC) has kicked off with a focus on helping small businesses cope with the coronavirus pandemic. The work group will also focus on other elements of the economy – boosting agriculture, tourism, local manufacturing, job training and community development among them. RPC was launched in May by Commissioners Nancy Grupp, Barry Hayman and Paul Heimel as “a collaborative strategy to emerge from the pandemic with our economic foundation still in place and a blueprint for community and economic development.” They’ve assigned Planning Director Will Hunt and Community Development Director Ellen Russell to spearhead the initiative.

“We’re going through an unusual time and there’s a lot at stake when it comes to the future of Potter County,” Hunt explained during a meeting of the county commissioners. “We are identifying partners and we plan to make the ‘Revitalize’ project a high priority.”

Team members have already begun research, outreach and strategic planning to promote local farm products and advocate for local growers and producers. They’ve been conferring with multiple farm operators, including organic growers, to broaden their knowledge and sharpen their focus. The RPC team is also pulling together partners to work on a blueprint to boost tourism in Potter County, working with Visit Potter/Tioga, local business owners and community leaders. Of more immediate focus is the use of federal block grant funds the county expects to receive to help businesses adversely affected by the pandemic.

Anyone interested in sharing suggestions or comments can send an email to revitalize@pottercountypa.net or call 814-274-8290, extension 229.

Commissioners Seek Volunteers For Boards/Authorities

April 28th, 2020 Comments off

Potter County Commissioners Nancy Grupp, Paul Heimel and Barry Hayman continue to seek 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 previous Board of Commissioners periodically issued a similar call for volunteers. The current board intends to continue building a roster of qualified individuals who have a willingness to serve.

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.

Bigger Tax Base For Schools, Municipalities, County

February 23rd, 2020 Comments off

Potter County Tax Assessment Office added nearly $4 million to the county’s tax base in 2019, due in large part to field work taking place across the county to locate new construction and property improvements, Chief Assessor Jacob Ostrom reported that the county’s real estate tax base increased by $3,900,000 in assessed value, translating to about $12.5 million in added market value. Real estate taxes levied by school districts, boroughs, townships and the county government are applied to a property’s assessed value. As a result of the tax base additions, the county government will receive an additional $71,500 in taxes this year. School districts and municipalities will also see higher tax revenue.

Ostrom’s job grew harder several years ago when the state legislature eliminated the position of township and borough tax collector. In prior years, these elected officials were responsible for finding and reporting new construction and improvements. Today, the Assessment Office relies primarily on building permit records and visual inspections to update tax records.