Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

County Awards Grants For Local Bridge Projects

December 22nd, 2022 Comments off

The Potter County Commissioners this year awarded grants to four local governments to help repair or replace deteriorating bridges. The board allotted $40,000 to Pleasant Valley Township, $36,500 to Homer Township, and $20,000 each to Austin Borough (Elliott Street Bridge) and Bingham Township. County officials used a scoring system to determine which townships and boroughs would receive grants. It was developed by the Commissioners, representatives of the Potter County Association of Township Officials, and Potter County Planning Department to ensure objective and equitable distribution, since demand for the funds exceeds supply. Some other counties have adopted the Potter County system as a model.

Each year, the commissioners invite townships and boroughs to apply for a share of the Pa. Act 13 Bridge Improvement Restricted Use Fund received by Potter County through a state fee on shale gas wells. Under Act 13, county commissioners have the authority to distribute the funds as they see fit, as long as they address at-risk bridges. County-owned bridges are also eligible, which is not a factor in Potter County. Under Act 13, Potter County receives $40,000 annually in the Restricted Use Fund. Shown below are the check presentations to representatives from Homer Township and Pleasant Valley Township.

Residents Asked To Check Internet Availability Maps

December 19th, 2022 Comments off

Potter County officials are asking residents to review information recently released by the Federal Communications Commission showing availability of high-speed internet service throughout the United States. It is critical for the FCC maps to be accurate, since they will be used for grants to improve or expand service. Additional information, including steps that can be taken to correct inaccurate or incomplete data, can be found here: Details on the mapping project and related topics have been compiled by the Pa. Dept. of Community and Economic Development and can be found here.

High-speed internet service is rapidly evolving from a lifestyle option to a necessity across Pennsylvania. In response, Potter County Commissioners Nancy Grupp, Barry Hayman and Paul Heimel have made the expansion of broadband service one of their highest priorities. It offers opportunities for economic development, expansion of health care and education, and many other public benefits. Many Potter County households and businesses have no high-speed internet service or lack sufficient capacity to meet today’s demands. Tri-County Rural Electric Cooperative’s high-speed internet project is filling many of the gaps. The county’s GIS/Planning/Community Development Department is identifying gaps in broadband service in and around Potter County and potential partners and funding sources to fill those gaps.

County Offers Incentives For Business Development

December 7th, 2022 Comments off

Potter County Commissioners Nancy Grupp, Barry Hayman and Paul Heimel have put in place a measure designed to create jobs and support economic development. A new ordinance passed unanimously by the board created tax incentives for construction or expansion of commercial properties. They could qualify for a temporary reduction of county real estate taxes. Under the county’s ordinance, adopted in 2021, qualifying property owners receive a 100-percent tax abatement in year one, 80 percent in year two, 60 percent in year three, 40 percent in year four, and 20 percent in year five.

A 1977 state law, the Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance (LERTA) Act, authorizes the tax incentive program to support business expansion and job retention/creation. The ordinance applies only to the county portion of real estate taxes. However, school districts, boroughs and townships could also implement a LERTA. To obtain a copy of the ordinance, call 814-274-8290, ext. 207.

Help Still Available For Rent/Utility Bills

December 6th, 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.

Efforts Launched To Resurrect Arts Council

December 6th, 2022 Comments off

Resurrection of the Potter County Arts Council was among the goals established during a brainstorming session held recently at the Gunzburger Building. Last week, with support from the Potter County Commissioners, a steering committee applied to the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts for a grant to help make it happen. Funding, if approved, would also be used for an arts-in-education project involving Potter County schools and, potentially, a local performance by award-winning musicians sitting side-by-side with local students. Earlier this year, Potter County was one of six locations in the nation chosen for a yearlong pilot project to create a vibrant arts culture that can support community and economic development. The “Creative Counties Placemaking Challenge: Arts & Culture as an Economic Driver” initiative is sponsored by the Americans for the Arts (AFA). Potter County’s project involves the use of schools, libraries, artisans, local leaders, businesses, galleries/museums and volunteers.

About 25 invited guests participated in the local brainstorming session, representing businesses, libraries, schools, tourist marketing, historic preservation, county government, arts/culture centers and multiple forms of the arts — music, theater, fiber arts, artisan crafts and others. Here’s a summary of Potter County’s strategic plan:

Potter County’s overarching goals

  • to reverse population loss and rising median age;
  • to make Potter County more appealing to those who live here, those who are looking to relocate to a rural community, and those who left Potter County and might consider returning;
  • to use the arts as part of a broader strategy for community and economic development.

So what’s happened so far?

  • A steering committee has been developed to draft and implement a work plan.
  • Potential partners and advisors have been contacted to apprise them of the mission.
  • Steps are being taken to resurrect the Potter County Arts Council.
  • Collaboration continues with the Americans for the Arts and project partners to fully maximize Potter County’s engagement.
  • Communication tools have been developed to apprise and engage potential partners and volunteers.

What’s next?

  • Investigate potential sources of funding, technical assistance/consulting and locations.
  • Continue research into best practices/successful rural models.
  • Lay groundwork for a countywide arts-in-education project.
  • Survey local school students and young adults to learn more of their expectations or preferences to make local communities more appealing.

Teams from the other five national pilot projects are working on other strategies that could also benefit Potter County. These include:

  • Greenbriar County, W. Va., using the arts to promote rehabilitation, healing and recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs.
  • Puna Community, Hawaii, employing the arts to address poverty and strengthen a sense of community and appreciation for the local culture and environment.
  • LaCrosse County, Wisc., integrating the arts with other activities to raise awareness of the impact of climate change on rural communities.
  • Perry County, Ohio, using the arts to deepen appreciation for, and protection of, outdoor recreation and the environment.
  • Van Buren County, Mich., addressing mental illness and physical well-being with the arts, involving the court system, local governments and other partners.

Commissioners Support Local Food Banks

November 5th, 2022 Comments off

The Potter County Commissioners tapped into the county’s federal COVID-19 coronavirus relief fund last week to help six local food banks deal with increasing demand and high costs. Grants of $10,000 were approved for the food pantries in Coudersport, Austin, Galeton, Roulette, Ulysses and Shinglehouse. Each of the distribution sites supports low-income residents with healthy food. Operating hours and policies vary. The food banks are supported by Potter County Human Services, Central Pennsylvania Food Bank and donations.

Schedule is as follows:

  • Coudersport, Alliance Food Pantry, Avenue B, open to Coudersport area residents on the third Thursday of the month from 10-11 am. Food will also be provided on an emergency basis. See contact information below for details.
  • Austin, operated at the firehall, open from 12:30 to 1:30 on the third Tuesday of the month.
  • Roulette, at Riverside Methodist Church on River Street, open from 4:30 to 5:30 on the fourth Tuesday of each month.
  • Galeton, at St. Paul Lutheran Church on Adams Street, open on the fourth Friday from 10-11 am.
  • Ulysses, at Zion Christian Academy on Rt. 49, open from 10 to 11 on the fourth Thursday.
  • Shinglehouse, at Methodist Church on Lincoln Street, open from 9-10 am on the fourth Saturday.

More information on Potter County’s food banks is available from McKayla Freeborn at Potter County Human Services; 814-544-7315, option 2, or

Photo– Colleen Osgood, second from right, representing the Galeton Food Bank, accepts a $10,000 grant from (l. to r.) Commissioners  Barry Hayman, Nancy Grupp and Paul Heimel.