County subcontracts deputies for ANF

The Warren County Commissioners have approved an agreement to subcontract deputies from the Warren County Sheriff’s Department to patrol the Allegheny National Forest for up to a maximum of nearly $9,000.

“We subcontract the sheriff’s department to provide patrols when the Forest Service feels they need them,” Commissioner John Eggleston said. “We’ve been doing this since before I came into office 10 years ago. We don’t make any money on it, but it doesn’t cost us anything. Whatever it costs us to run the patrols the ANF reimburses us up to a total of $8,939; that’s their budgeted amount. Last year we did not use it all, it’s up to them to tell us when they need patrols.”

Increased patrols in the ANF have been necessary for events such as the Rainbow Group, in which case money is added to the ANF budget for additional support, he said.

“We are basically just subcontractors. It doesn’t impact our budget in any way and we recover whatever costs from the federal government,” Eggleston said.

Shortly after taking office the commissioners made an effort to examine all contracts coming through the county, and items in the ANF contract such as wear and tear on vehicles were not recognized, Commissioner John Bortz said.

“We realized it was considerably less, and so we had our fiscal agent at the time run the numbers on that and we effectively about tripled the amount of that cost allocation for this item,” he said. “It is at no cost to the county, but that didn’t happen by accident.”

The county will also renew another agreement with the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to patrol the Kinzua Dam area “fairly soon,” Eggleston said.