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Make Local Governments Pay For State Police Coverage?

February 20th, 2019 Comments off

Local governments in Potter County have joined a statewide movement in opposition to a plan that has been hatched in Harrisburg to force many residents to pay an annual tax for Pa. State Police coverage. Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed 2019 budget includes a proposal to require residents in townships and boroughs that do not have local police departments to pay an $8.00 fee to support state police coverage. Wolf floated the proposal two years ago and received little support from the state legislature, due to its impact on smaller, cash-strapped communities. This year’s plan may be more palatable to lawmakers because it holds the fee at $8.00 per-capita for municipalities with fewer than 2,000 residents, while imposing a higher tax on more populous townships and borough.

In Potter County, the annual fees would total as follows: Abbott, $1,904; Allegany, $3,320; Austin, $4,432; Bingham, $5,448; Clara, $1,568; Eulalia, $7,064; Genesee, $6,296; Harrison, $8,184; Hebron, $4,688; Hector, $3,056; Homer, $3,392; Keating, $2,456; Oswayo Boro, $1,104; Oswayo Twp., $2,200; Pike, $2,592; Pleasant Valley, $680; Portage, $1,792; Sharon, $6,832; Stewardson, $584; Summit, $1,472; Sylvania, $600; Ulysses Twp., $5,064; West Branch, $3,144; and Wharton, $776.

County Election Office Preparing For May 21 Primary

February 18th, 2019 Comments off

Potter County Director of Elections Sandy Lewis has issued the list of Republican and Democratic party nominations that will be decided in the May 21 Municipal Primary Election. Candidates may begin circulating nominating petitions starting on Tuesday, Feb. 19. A minimum of 10 signatures by registered members of the political party are required for those seeking municipal office or school board seats. Candidates for countywide office must obtain at least 100 signatures. Deadline to file petitions for placement of names on the ballot is March 12.

Director Lewis reports that there has been limited interest in township, borough and school district offices in the days leading up to the petition circulation period. A list of all party nominations to be decided on May 21 appears below. Nominees from that election will have their names appear on the Nov.  5 Municipal Election ballot, which will determine who fills offices ranging from borough council member, township supervisor, township/borough auditor and school director, as well as county offices of prothonotary/clerk of courts, register of wills/recorder of deeds, sheriff, treasurer, commissioner (3) and auditor (3).

Registered Democratic or Republican voters who are on the rolls as of April 22 will be eligible to cast ballots in the May 21 election. More information is available at the Elections/Voter Registration Office, located at the F.W. Gunzburger County Office Building, 1 North Main Street, Coudersport. Phone number is 814-274-8467. Following are party nominations to be decided in the May 21 election:

Local Offices
Abbott:
1- Supervisor – 6 yr term
1 – Auditor – 6 yr term
1 – Auditor – 4 yr term
Allegany:
1- Supervisor – 6 yr term
1- Auditor – 6 yr term
1- Auditor – 4 yr term
1- Auditor – 2 yr term
Austin Boro:
4-Councilman- 4 yr term
Bingham:
1-Supervisor – 6 yr term
1-Supervisor – 4 yr term
1-Auditor – 6 yr term
1-Auditor – 4 yr term
Clara:
1- Supervisor- 6 yr term
1-Auditor – 6 yr term
Coudersport First Ward:
2-Councilman – 4 yr term
Coudersport Second Ward:
1-Councilman – 4 yr term
Eulalia:
1-Supervisor – 6 yr term
1-Auditor – 6 yr term
1- Auditor – 4 yr term
Galeton First Ward:
1-Councilman – 4 yr term
Galeton Second Ward:
2-Councilman – 4 yr term
Genesee:
1-Supervisor – 6 yr term
1-Auditor – 6 yr term
1-Auditor – 4 yr term
1-Auditor – 2 yr term
Harrison:
1-Supervisor – 6 yr term
1-Supervisor – 4 yr term
1-Supervisor-2 yr term
1-Auditor – 6 yr term
1-Auditor – 4 yr term
Hebron:
1-Supervisor – 6 yr term
1-Auditor – 6 yr term
Hector:
1-Supervisor -6 yr term
1-Auditor – 6 yr term
Homer:
1-Supervisor – 6 yr term
1-Auditor – 6 yr term
1-Auditor – 2 yr term
Keating:
1-Supervisor – 6 yr term
1- Auditor – 6 yr term
Oswayo Boro:
3-Councilman – 4 yr term
1-Auditor – 6 yr term
Oswayo Twp:
1-Supervisor – 6 yr term
1-Auditor – 6 yr term
Pike:
1-Supervisor – 6 yr term
1-Auditor – 6 yr term
1-Auditor – 4 yr term
1-Auditor – 2 yr term
Pleasant Valley:
1-Supervisor – 6 yr term
1-Supervisor – 4 yr term
1-Supervisor-2 yr term
1-Auditor – 6 yr term
1-Tax Collector – 2 yr term
Portage:
1-Supervisor – 6 yr term
1-Auditor – 6 yr term
1-Auditor – 4 yr term
Roulette:
1-Supervisor – 6 yr term
1-Auditor – 6 yr term
1-Auditor – 4 yr term
North & South Sharon:
1-Supervisor – 6 yr term
1-Auditor – 6 yr term
1-Auditor – 4 yr term
Shinglehouse Boro:
4-Councilman – 4 yr term
1-Councilman – 2 yr term
1-Auditor – 6 yr term
1-Auditor – 4 yr term
Stewardson:
1-Supervisor – 6 yr term
1-Auditor – 6 yr term
1-Auditor – 2 yr term
Summit:
1-Supervisor – 6 yr term
1-Auditor – 6 yr term
Sweden:
1-Supervisor – 6 yr term
1-Auditor – 6 yr term
1-Auditor – 4 yr term
Sylvania:
1-Supervisor – 6 yr term
1-Supervisor- 2 yr term
1-Auditor – 6 yr term
1-Auditor – 4 yr term
1-Auditor – 2 yr term
Ulysses Boro:
4-Councilman – 4 yr term
1-Auditor – 6 yr term
1-Auditor – 4 yr term
1-Auditor – 2 yr term
Ulysses Twp:
1-Supervisor – 6 yr term
1-Auditor – 6 yr term
West Branch:
1-Supervisor – 6 yr term
1-Auditor – 6 yr term
1-Auditor – 4 yr term
Wharton:
1-Supervisor – 6 yr term
1-Auditor – 6 yr term
1-Auditor – 4 yr term

School Districts:

Austin Area School District:
Region I: Austin Borough
1-School Director- 4 yr term
Region II: Keating & Sylvania
1-School Director – 4 yr term
2- School Directors – 2 yr terms
Region III: Portage & Wharton
2-School Directors – 4 yr terms
Coudersport Area School District:
Region I: Coudersport First Ward & Eulalia
1-School Director – 4 yr term
Region II: Coudersport Second Ward
2-School Directors – 4 yr terms
Region III: Allegany Independent, Hebron, Homer, Summit & Sweden
2-School Directors – 4 yr terms
Galeton Area School District:
Region I: Galeton Second Ward
1-School Director – 4 yr term
1-School Director – 2 yr term
Region II: Galeton First Ward, (Potter Co) Gaines, & Elk Twps (Tioga Co)
2-School Directors – 4 yr terms
Region III: Abbott, Hector Pike & West Branch
2-School Directors – 4 yr terms
Northern Potter School District:
Region I: Allegany, Ulysses Boro & Ulysses Twp
1-School Director – 4 yr term
Region II: Bingham & Genesee
2-School Directors – 4 yr terms
Region III: Harrison & Hector Independent
2-School Directors – 4 yr terms
Oswayo Valley School District:
Region I: North Sharon (Potter Co) & Ceres Twp (McKean Co)
1-School Director -4 yr term
Region II: Shinglehouse Borough
2-School Directors – 4 yr terms
Region III: Oswayo Boro, Clara, Oswayo Twp, & South Sharon
2-School Directors – 4 yr terms
Port Allegany School District:
At Large: Roulette, Pleasant Valley, (Potter Co) Annin, Liberty, & Port Allegany Boro
(McKean Co)
5-School Directors – 4 yr terms
1-School Director – 2 yr term

Countywide:
3 – County Commissioners
1 – Sheriff
1 – County Treasurer
1 – Register & Recorder
1 – Prothonotary
3 – County Auditors

Water Quality Work Group Hears Of Gas Well Citations

February 12th, 2019 Comments off

Members of the Potter County Water Quality Work Group invited two representatives of JKLM Energy to attend their Feb. 11 meeting for discussion of recent Pa. Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) citations of JKLM for violation of regulations related to waste water handling at shale gas wells. Scott Blauvelt, the company’s director of regulatory affairs, and environmental compliance consultant Terra Tokarz from WhipperHill Compliance LLC, presented an overview of Pennsylvania’s regulatory framework. They explained the circumstances that resulted in fines for spills of small volumes of water with heavy salt concentrations at well pads, and the subsequent clean-up. Blauvelt shared with members that JKLM Energy, which operates solely in Potter County, is projected to be the state’s leading producer of Utica Shale natural gas by late 2019.

Also at the Feb. 11 meeting, an update was presented on a number of grant-funded initiatives. Potter County Conservation District has been awarded a $40,000 grant for fish habitat projects in the county, Application deadline is March 1 for proposed Potter County Dirt, Gravel and Low-Volume Road projects. DEP Environmental Mini-Grant requests have been submitted for a Stream Table and Water Education Day. Dominion Energy mini-grants have been approved for local watershed associations’  educational outreach and/or small-action projects. Funding remains available from the Pa. Assn. of Conservation Districts for establishment of riparian buffers to protect water quality.

In other matters, Charlie Tuttle, chair of the Triple Divide Watershed Coalition, reported that she is working with the Pa. Rural Water Assn. to bring a video-delivered water system operator certification training course to Potter County. Darrell Davis, Genesee Headwaters Watershed Assn., announced that the canoe launch in the community park is in need of minor repairs that will be made in the coming weeks. Davis also announced that GHWA is sponsoring a program on the early settlers of the region at 7 pm on March 19 at the Genesee United Methodist Church. Kathy Mitchell, First Fork Watershed Assn., reported that the organization recently met and decided on an active agenda for 2019.

Also, Potter County Planning Director Will Hunt discussed the public input process that continues as a key element in drafting the Northern Pennsylvania Tri-County Comprehensive Plan (Potter, McKean and Cameron counties). Next Steering Committee meeting will be held on March 1 and a date for the three-county public meeting will be announced in the near future

DEP is accepting public comments until March 1 on a new agricultural erosion plan manual that is being developed. Lycoming County is seeking projects to engage GIS students in field work to benefit public agencies or non-profit organizations. Justin Boatwright, Pa. Fish & Boat Commission waterways patrol officer, has been transferred to Clinton County. Chad Lauer, WCO in Tioga County, will cover Potter County until a successor is assigned.

Water Quality Work Group Chairman Jason Childs announced that the next meeting will be held at 8:30 am Monday, April 15.

Help Available For Smokers Trying To Quit

February 11th, 2019 Comments off

Free help is available for Potter County residents trying to kick their smoking habit. A proven program provided by the American Lung Association (ALA) is offered locally by the Northcentral Pa. Area Health Education Center. For more information or to register, call (570) 724-9145.

ALA has been helping people quit smoking for more than 35 years through its Freedom From Smoking program, available in a variety of formats. “Freedom From Smoking Plus” is a user-friendly interface that helps the user create a personal quit-smoking plan on a desktop, tablet or smartphone. Counselors and other program participants are available through an online community. For details, visit the website freedomfromsmoking.org.

Group clinics are also offered, as are telephone counseling and a self-help guide, both available by calling 1-800-586-4872.

County Veterans Service Committee Sets 2019 Goals

February 4th, 2019 Comments off

A plan to restructure the Potter County Veterans Service Committee was unveiled last week. Committee members are Mike Pepper, veterans affairs director; Paul Heimel, county commissioner; and Danielle Gietler, executive secretary for the board of commissioners. Among the changes planned for 2019 is the addition of committee seats for representatives from each American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Potter County.

Also this year, the committee plans to expand its veterans discount program. Dozens of Potter County businesses and service providers offer discounts for military veterans. Vets can obtain ID cards from Director Pepper’s office. They can also get a brochure that lists locations where the discounts are offered. Another high priority is an expansion of the veterans gravestone restoration project. The committee will be working to garner support from additional cemetery caretakers, youth groups and volunteers.

Other committee goals include a countywide veterans benefits fair; education/training initiatives; workforce placement and retraining for veterans; housing issues; advocacy for veterans, military service members and their families at the statewide and national levels, and a more concerted outreach to veterans.

Focus: Closing ‘Digital Divide’ In Public Education

January 29th, 2019 Comments off

Administrators from public school districts, technical schools and area colleges came together on Monday at the Gunzburger Building to discuss how they can capitalize on the potential of high-speed internet service to further their educational mission. A major focus of the session — jointly sponsored by the Potter County Commissioners and the Potter County Education Council — was the need to bridge the “digital divide.” That’s the gap that separates the haves from the have-nots when it comes to technology.

Among the speakers were CEO Craig Eccher (shown) and Bill Gerski from Tri-County Rural Electric Cooperative. REC will begin construction of its new $77 million high-speed internet service later this year. The fiber-optic network will extend across its entire seven-county service territory, starting with the townships surrounding Coudersport. It will eventually reach nearly 1,400 customers in Potter County — 830 residential, 540 seasonal, and 13 commercial.

Following the REC presentations, separate brainstorming sessions were held. Representatives of the Northern Pennsylvania Regional College and Mansfield University were among those gathering to discuss opportunities, challenges and issues for providers of post-secondary education. A similar session focused on K-12 education was held for representatives from area school districts, Seneca Highlands IU9 and the IU9 Career and Technical Center.

Potter County Education Center executive director Dr. Michele Moore closed the session with assurances that issues that were identified during the session will be analyzed and there will be follow-up workshops to help educational institutions address the digital divide.