Commissioners approve projects for grant

The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) process in Warren County is officially underway.

At their meeting Wednesday morning, the Warren County Commissioners held a public hearing on proposed usage of 2013 CDBG funds.

A proposed $227,753 worth of projects were approved for funding application including;

$88,500 for work on School St. in Clarendon,

$30,000 for work on Johnson St. in Tidioute,

$42,000 for residential sidewalk work in Tidioute,

$32,253 for professional services work on handicap access modifications for Spring Creek Township,

$35,000 for administration costs of the CDBG program.

Commissioners noted some projects that applied but were not included on the funding list.

Revitalization of Youngsville had applied for funding to demolish the Fairmont Hotel building. Commissioners said they had decided the project was more suitable for private funding.

The Warren-Forest Counties Economic Opportunities Council (EOC) had applied for a number of small paving projects which were not included on the list.

“The EOC projects, it’s not that they’re not worthwhile,” Commissioner John Bortz said. “It’s just that if we take on a project, the amount of overhead to administer it is sizable… We tend to take on projects that are sizable monetarily… These are two or four thousand dollar projects.”

Commissioner John Eggleston noted projects not on the list still have a chance to get funding later on.

“This is the first stroke out of the barrel,” Eggleston said. “We generally have money left… so that money could go to who knows what.”

After approving the list commissioners moved on to other business, but returned to the issue during their regular meeting agenda to approve authorization to submit an application to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) for the CDBG funds.

Commissioners also approved two proclamations, a required resolution, an agreement with a private entity for work related to delinquent tax claims and awarded a bid for excavation work.

A contract with Palmetto Posting was approved. The company provided posting services for tax claims in the county. The county is required to serve notice up to three times for delinquent taxes and employed Palmetto to do so.

“Basically, we put the money out up front (for posting),” Warren County Treasurer Denny Munksgard said. “This tightens up the process for the county. They (Palmetto) have a machine that registers the date, time and location they were there to try to serve the owners.”

Munksgard noted the data could serve in court later if someone contested the county had fulfilled its obligation to serve tax notice.

Commissioners approved the contract but amended it to expunge an automatic renewal clause.

Earthmovers Unlimited of Kylertown was awarded a bid to complete work reburying an exposed pipe on McGuire Run in Tidioute.

Earthmovers bid of $25,719 was one of four received for the work, the highest coming in at $58,000.

The turn-around time on the bid was hurried as the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection had recommended work be completed between Aug. and Sept. or wait until the spring to minimize impact on wild trout populations.

A resolution reiterating county support for fair housing was passed. The measure is required periodically of the county to qualify for CDBG funds and prohibits discrimination in providing housing based on the same criteria outlined in the Civil Rights Act.

“This resolution is basically saying no housing is allowed to be prohibitive in nature,” Bortz said. “This goes back to a time when a deed may have had a restriction on certain races.”

Two proclamations, one remembering and commemorating the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks and one marking National Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Awareness Month, were both read and passed.

Warren County Fiscal Director Toby Rohlin reported the county had approximately $129,000 in operating funds.

“This is the low point of the year for cash,” Rohlin said, noting tax receipts begin coming in during the fall. “Next month I expect the cash balance to go up.

Bortz noted the $129,000 figure represented a historic low in operating funds.

Approximately $30,300 in county accounts payable and $22,900 in prison operating expenses were approved for payment.

All measures were approved unanimously by commissioners.