COG takes look at its future role

The direction and future of the Warren County Inter-governmental Co-Op was debated during Wednesday night’s meeting at the 911 Center.

“What is it that we want to accomplish in the next year?” Clarendon Borough Councilman Paul Pascuzzi asked.

He praised the Allegheny National Forest for always having representation at the meeting. “There are other agencies we should consider including in our COG meetings,” he said.

“We are stagnating,” Alan Kugler of PA Futures, the COG’s consulting firm, said. “Not so much programatically.”

Kugler added that COG should be more well-versed in issues facing the City of Warren as well, in addition to township and borough issues.

Mead Township Supervisor Al Fox said there was a time previously where COG appeared to lose its direction but was ultimately re-focused. “That’s kinda where it feels today,” he said, noting that COG must decide whether “we’re going to do something great (or) if we’re not.”

Warren County Commissioner John Eggleston said, “One thing to do more specifically (is to) discuss specific pieces of legislation and decide what we should do as a group. What is it that we want to actually accomplish?”

He said there are shared problems that all municipal officials face. “The constant tap dance on the regulations, financing, money. There’s a lot of things going on that affect us,” he said. “There’s more we can do to impact and lobby. Maybe we need to be even more proactive instead of waiting for things to happen.”

“The more you put into it, the more you’re going to get out of it,” Pascuzzi said.

For example, Glade Township Supervisor Dave Sedon said that COG “started out well” with shared purchasing but “got away from the idea.”

Pascuzzi cited signage and bulb changes on all traffic lights in the county as a couple of areas where shared purchasing benefited all municipalities.

Kugler said more grants were available when those purchases were made than are available now.

“There’s not always going to be a big easy to grab ahold of problem,” Eggleston said. “There aren’t going to be problems every month. So in the absence of that, our efforts need to be in lobbying…for release from unfunded mandates.”

Several members in attendance said they had spoken with officials from townships that don’t currently attend and received criticisms such as “there’s nothing there for us” or “the agenda is always the same” as reasons for not participating.

“It’s getting a little stale,” Pleasant Township Supervisor Arden Knapp noted.

A couple of changes were agreed upon on Wednesday. First, a presentation will be provided every month that will help the COG explore additional issues. Also, changes will be coming to the agenda to hopefully make it more descriptive and enticing as a means of encouraging attendance.

“You gotta re-light the fire,” Terry Hawk, representing the Allegheny Forest Alliance, said.