Mitigation plan update explained
Warren County Planning Director Dan Glotz outlined the County Mitigation Plan update Wednesday evening at the Intergovernmental CoOp meeting.
Glotz said that the update is something that FEMA and PEMA, the federal and state emergency management agencies, respectively, requires on an annual basis.
He noted that the county has a single map for the flood plain with a built-in planning and zoning ordinance, and localities may have to adopt ordinances to comply with the update. Twelve of the county’s 27 municipalities are covered, with Warren and Youngsville having their own ordinances. The remaining municipalities are unzoned and must have their own separate ordinances.
Glotz said localities may do things “above and beyond” the minimum requirements of the Community Rating System for extra credits that would help homeowners who must buy flood insurance receive lower rates.
He added that municipalities can, if they wish secure federal funding on a matching basis, for relocation of people living in frequent flood-prone areas, and that building is still permissible in the flood plain, if the lowest usable floor is at least one foot above the 100-year high water mark for federal requirements. The county requires one and one half feet above the mark.
He reported the stormwater plan was complete, and everyone is in compliance.
For waterborne emergencies on the Conewango Creek, boat launch locations available are a Front Street access just south of Hatch Run, another at Larimer Park, Breeze Point Landing near the mouth of the creek, and a canoe livery north of Akeley.
For the wildfire protection plan, Glotz said, “We need help from the volunteer fire departments to identify areas of risk, such as structures close to wooded areas and substandard bridges that might not support equipment.” Letters will be sent to volunteer fire department chiefs to help develop maps and information, as it is still in the data collection plan. Federal funds are available for the departments to acquire more and better equipment.
Changing to transportation issues, Glotz said replacement of a truss bridge on Liberty Street in Russell has been moved on to the regional Transportation Improvement Plan list. The permitting process with various agencies is underway, and the new bridge will be built at the existing location at a cost of $3.4 million.
Pleasant Township Supervisor Arden Knapp reported that in order for fire department volunteers to receive cancer insurance coverage, they must have a physical examination. To be eligible for workers compensation insurance while performing extra-curricular activities like parades and water battles, participation in the events must be approved by the municipalities in advance.
In regards to the insurance issue Paul Pascuzzi, president of Clarendon Borough Council, said, “We aren’t communicating with the volunteer fire departments. We (municipal officials) need to be the adult and communicate with our fire officials. We have to find a way to protect our firefighters.”
Dave Sedon, Glade Township supervisor, said. “Glade invites them to our meetings, two or three times a year. We ask the chief and president” and have a good working relationship.
Tony Martoglio, deputy district ranger for the Bradford Ranger District of the Allegheny National Forest, said the timber sale offer had to be adjusted, and is now 33.3 million board feet.
A water pipeline for a Shell Oil deep shale well currently being drilled in the Jakes Rocks area of the ANF is in the works to reduce truck traffic.
He also noted that a controlled burn at the intersection of Forest Routes 160 and 259 is planned for Friday.
Joe Scully, Glade Township supervisor, reported that Pennsylvania House Bills 796 and 665, dealing with Prevailing Wage Reform have the support of both Rep. Kathy Rapp and Sen. Scott Hutchinson. The legislation would raise the maximum level for municipal projects requiring prevailing wages from $25,000 to $188,000.
He said, “This hasn’t changed in fifty years. We need this.” Warren County Commissioner John Eggleston estimated prevailing wage requirements to add about 30 percent to project costs.
Ed Fosnaught of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development said Senate Bill 591 would double limits for the Capitol Loan Program and extend the loan terms to five years at a two percent rate. The loans require a 50 percent local match. Fosnaught predicted a “pretty good chance of passing.”