New communications tower planned for Juniata County

MIFFLINTOWN – Less than three months after approving final payment for the Black Log communications tower, county commissioners are taking steps toward construction of another tower.

Allen Weaver, director of emergency services, said Juniata County is planning to replace a communications tower located along Route 74 toward Ickesburg. At the same time, Perry County is in need of services in the same area.

Rather than constructing two separate towers, Weaver said the plan is to build one tower on Tuscarora Mountain and share coverage between counties.

During a Tuesday meeting of the Juniata County Commissioners, the board approved an agreement for shared services and technology with Perry County. Weaver said the agreement outlines shared costs.

The next step, he said, is to evaluate the basic needs of both counties and determine equipment needed and the size of the new tower.

A tentative timeline for the project is not yet available, but Weaver said the hope is to have the tower in place in 2014.

He said plans include being able to utilize the equipment for more than just public safety in the future. Communications towers may also be used for information sharing between counties, he said.

Also during the meeting, the board approved a final general fund budget of $8,847,648.07 for fiscal year 2014. The real estate millage rate remains unchanged at 22.75.

In other new business, the board:

Reviewed the November 2013 monthly report for the county’s Adult and Juvenile Probation Department, submitted by Michelle A. Beaver, chief probation officer.

Approved tax exonerations for Monroe Township.

Approved requests for Open Space Legacy Funds in the amount of $7,058.78 for Fayette Township and $1,990.99 for Turbett Township.

Approved a letter of engagement to have Colledge and Snyder LLC perform accounting services for the county during fiscal year 2014.

Approved a number of Purchase of Service agreements submitted by Robyn Ventresca, Children and Youth fiscal assistant. Agreements are in effect through Dec. 31.

Approved the reappointments of Donald Bashore and George L. Hackenberger to four-year terms on the county planning commission. Terms began Wednesday and will continue through Dec. 31, 2017.

Approved the appointment of Richard A. Leitzel to a three-year term on the county planning commission. His term began Wednesday and will continue through Dec. 31, 2016. Leitzel replaces John F. Shirk, whose term expired Tuesday.

Approved a Memorandum of Understanding and related attachments between the Juniata County Conservation District and the commissioners.

Approved checks Nos. 39,061 through 39,110 in the amount of $462,658.32.

Approved checks Nos. 39,111 through 39,122 in the amount of $12,795.47.

Appointed Commissioner Jeffrey M. Zimmerman as commissioner representative and Marty Dreibelbis as an additional representative to the SEDA-COG Board of Directors for calendar year 2013.

The Juniata County Commissioners meet at 10 a.m. each Tuesday in the Bousum Building in Mifflintown.