Purchase agreements for CYS questioned at Mifflin County Commissioners meeting

LEWISTOWN – Some routine purchase of service agreements for the Mifflin County Children & Youth Department came under scrutiny at Thursday’s business meeting of the Mifflin County Commissioners.

The meeting’s agenda listed five purchase of service agreements for use, if needed, by the agency. When a member of the audience, who did not identify herself, questioned two of them, the commissioners noted that the agreements are only if needed and if any of the agencies or individuals were not in compliance with Department of Welfare regulations, they would not be used.

The questions arose with Clear Visions Residential Treatment Services Inc. of Montgomery, Pa., and Enlighten Psychiatric Services of Lewistown. The individual asking the questions said the DPW website reported Clear Visions has been cited by the department and is currently not in compliance. As for Enlightened Psychiatric Services, it was alleged the psychiatrist at that agency is not certified in child psychiatry, only general psychiatry.

When questioned about approving the requests at this time, Commissioner Mark Sunderland stated, “DPW governs Children & Youth. These people would only be used if needed and will not be used if they’re not in compliance. DPW wouldn’t allow it. It’s simply entering into a contract if the services are needed. It isn’t costing us a dime unless the service is needed.”

County solicitor Patti Gardner concurred, noting, “These contracts are put in place only if they’re needed. We won’t use them if they’re out of compliance. I recommend you approve the motion.”

Following the discussion, the commissioners approved the agreements, which also included Children’s Resource Center of Harrisburg, Youth Educational Services of Pa. of Mercer, and LifeSpan Family Services of Pa. of Punxsutawney.

In other business Thursday, the commissioners approved the 2014 Liquid Fuels budget and distribution schedule. The following monies will be allocated over the next year to the following: Armagh Township $7,005.67, Bratton Township $2,810.65, Brown Township $6,286.27, Decatur Township $6,467.62, Derry Township $11,114.94, Granville Township $7,921.74, Menno Township $3,640.51, Oliver Township $4,147.04, Union Township $5,830.50, Wayne Township $6,315.89, Burnham Borough $2,577.08, Kistler Borough $1,000, Lewistown Borough $8,919.60, McVeytown Borough $1,000, Newton Hamilton Borough $1,000, and Juniata Terrace Borough $1,000.

According to the distribution report, the total allocation totaled $77,037.51. Municipality shares are determined by the amount of road miles and population.

Also at Thursday’s meeting was Chris Wysocki, administrator of Juniata Valley Behavioral and Development Services, who provided the commissioners with a quarterly update on the agency’s activities.

Wysocki said the current fiscal year is running smoothly at this point. He said in Mifflin County, the agency is currently serving 215 individuals in three areas of intellectual development, 432 individuals in mental health, and 60 individuals in early intervention.

He also noted the heat in the agency’s building has been restored following a fire in the boiler area last week.

In other action Thursday, the commissioners:

Approved a request from Miffco Tax Services for exoneration of the county portion of the per capita taxes for the years 1985-2012 totaling $1,721.

Rejected an offer of $100 for a parcel, located in Wayne Township, that is currently in repository for unsold properties. Sunderland noted the offer was rejected because the amount of back taxes on the property far exceeds the offer.

Approved the following real estate tax refunds: A parcel in Decatur Township due to an acreage error in the amount of $1,417.50; a parcel in Lewistown Borough due to an acreage error in the amount of $30.72; and a parcel in Derry Township due to the value of the mobile home being reduced following an appeal hearing, in the amount of $155.71.

Approved a project modification request to extend the deadline of the Prison Re-entry Grant from June 30 to September 30.

Approved Liquid Fuels distribution allocations to Menno Township in the amount of $5,843.72 and Newton Hamilton Borough in the amount of $1,000.

Approved a proposal from Robert Johnson Plumbing & Heating of Lewistown to replace three heating elements on three air handlers and three thermostats at the Mifflin County Library in the amount of $4,100.

Approved a professional service agreement with MCM Consulting Group of McMurray, Pa., to complete a regional shared services assessment for 911 services. County Emergency Director Phil Lucas said the assessment will look at ongoing and future costs for 911 for a period of three to five years as required by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency for future funding grants. Lucas said the assessment will also determine if some 911 centers in the region could benefit by consolidating some services. The assessment is being paid for by a state grant, Lucas added.

Approved an extension to the inmate telephone vending agreement with DSI-ITI of Altoona for a five year period at a cost of $9,625 per year.

Approved the hiring of Louise Flood as tipstaff in the court office effective Feb. 4.

Approved the hiring of Wendy Bubb as second deputy treasurer effective Feb. 18.

Approved the hiring of Megan McMahon as a county caseworker in the Children & Youth Department effective Feb. 18.