LEWISTOWN - In an effort to be looked upon more favorably by the state Department of Community and Economic Development for future projects, the Mifflin County Commissioners on Thursday approved a resolution giving the county's support for Downtown Lewistown Inc. to apply to the department to designate the county as a "Keystone Community."
Rob Postal, president of the Mifflin County Industrial Development Corporation along with Jim Zubler, executive director of DLI, were on hand to make the request.
"The state has consolidated a lot of grant programs," Postal said. "Industrial development has entered into a partnership with the Main Street and Elm Street programs and we feel it would be beneficial for the county to apply to the state to be designated a Keystone Community, which would make all municipalities eligible for benefits in the future."
Postal said the resolution is important in that it demonstrates the county's support for DLI to apply for the designation. He added that if the entire county is designated a Keystone Community, future projects could be looked upon more favorably in terms of receiving state funding.
"For example,if a project like Mann Edge would come up in another part of the county, we could apply for money for it," Postal said. "(The designation) gives you an inside track for DCED funding for any future projects. Budgets are getting tighter and we are looking for any advantage we can get. It's a lot more efficient to do this county-wide. It gets you into a better position to get funds later on. This is another tool in the toolbox."
Zubler added that moving forward, if an organization isn't in the Keystone Communities Program, it will make obtaining funding much more difficult.
In part, the resolution says the county agrees to support DLI's request and will collaborate with the organization; approve a five-year strategy to be developed as part of the organization's application; and authorizes the organization to represent the county within the guidelines of the Keystone Communities Program.
In other business Thursday, the commissioners:
Approved receipt of the State Food Purchase Program Contract for the period July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013. Allison Fisher, Mifflin-Juniata Human Services director, said this is an annual grant that is distributed to area food pantries. This year's allocation, Fisher said, is $53,390, approximately $10,000 less than in 2011-12.
"The food pantries do a great job maximizing these dollars with food purchases through the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank," Fisher commented during a workshop meeting Aug. 9. "Obviously it is more difficult with the cut in funding."
Fisher said food banks receiving the funding include the Salvation Army, Calvary Bible Church, Grace Covenant Church, Hand of Grace Ministries and Bible Baptist Church.
"The Abuse Network also receives a portion of the funding to support its feeding program," Fisher added.
Approved the annual support and license agreement for the county's MUNIS accounting software with Tyler Technologies Inc. at a cost of $12,493.20.
Approved the following applications for 2011 liquid fuels allocations: Juniata Terrace Borough, $1,000; and Decatur Township, $2,135.13.
Approved the following applications for 2012 liquid fuels allocations: Decatur Township, $10,230.06; and Brown Township, $9,839.38.
Approved the following purchase agreements for use, if needed, by Children & Youth: Pentz Run Youth Services of DuBois; Lycoming County Children & Youth of Williamsport; PA Treatment & Healing of Turbotville; and Tuscarora Intermediate Unit 11 of McVeytown.
Approved receipt of the annual grant agreement with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency for the 2012-13 Hazardous Material Response Fund Grant Program in the amount of $13,032. Phil Lucas, the county's director of public safety, said the grant funds will go toward hazardous materials training and community outreach.
Approved the receipt of the annual Rights and Services Act grant in the amount of $53,228 to be used over a two-year period for victims of adult offenders.
Approved the Victims of Juvenile Offenders grant in the amount of $4,744 to be used over a six-month period.
Approved the Elder Grant in the amount of $13,448 to be used over a period of one year for the elderly victims program.
Approved the firm of Zelenkofske Axelrod to perform the county's single audit for 2012 ($46,450), 2013 ($46,450), 2014 ($47,379) and 2015 ($48,327); also approved the same firm to perform the 911 audit for 2012 ($5,800), 2013 ($5,800), 2014 ($5,916) and 2015 ($6,034).