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$1 million grant given to fund project

Oakland Mills Sewer plan to be completed thanks to funding

Sentinel photo by JOE CANNON
The Juniata County Commissioners on Tuesday announced the receipt of a $1 million grant from the PA Department of Community and Economic Development to go toward completion of the Oakland Mills Sewer Project. In the photo above, Fayette Township Supervisor Chris Strawser (left) accepts the letter of notification from Heather Kelly-Weisen, project coordinator for SEDA-COG. Also pictured, from left, is Fayette Township Supervisor Craig Strawser and Bradley Kerstetter, Juniata County director of planning and development. Missing from the photo was Fayette Township Supervisor Bob Barton.

MIFFLINTOWN — A pivotal project in Juniata County will now be completed thanks to a recently awarded grant in the amount of $1 million.

During Tuesday’s business meeting of the Juniata County Commissioners, Heather Kelly-Weisen, project coordinator for the SEDA-Council of Governments, announced the grant, from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, which will be used to complete the ongoing Oakland Mills Sewer Project in Fayette Township.

“For several years we’ve been working to fund the Oakland Mills project,” Kelly-Weisen said. “For a long time this project was deemed unaffordable because of the rural location and limited population. We were looking to CDBG funding but that just wasn’t enough. Then we decided to go after a competitive grant and we were notified last week that we have been awarded the funding. This is just pivotal for this project. If we were not able to secure this money, the project probably would have been abandoned and residents there may have been forced to move. This will also provide less of a burden for those living in the area. This is really big and we’re very excited about it.”

Kelly-Weisen said the project can now move forward with the $1 million grant added to several years worth of CDBG funding and a $300,000 state grant that was recently obtained through the efforts of State Senator Jake Corman (R-34th). “We are very grateful to him, as well,” she added.

On hand at Tuesday’s meeting were two of the three Fayette County Supervisors, Chris Strawser and Craig Strawser, who expressed amazement and gratitude to SEDA-COG for securing the grant.

In other business Tuesday, the commissioners:

¯ Approved the implementation of a student co-op between the Juniata County Communications Center and the Juniata County School District. Emergency Services Director Allen Weaver said the co-op allows the center to recruit interested students, provided they are 18 or older, to work in the 911 center. “This gives us an opportunity to train them and, hopefully, lead to full-time employment,” Weaver explained.

¯ Ratified a CDBG-IDIS check in the amount of $5,050.16 as submitted by the Juniata County Planning and Community Development Department to Insituform Technologies LLC for project costs.

¯ Approved an updated purchase of service agreement between Juniata County Children and Youth Services and Raystown Developmental Services Inc. to reflect several grammatical corrections.

¯ Approved a purchase of service agreement between Juniata County Children and Youth Services and Jerry Philpott, Esq., for Guardian Ad Litem services at an hourly rate of $65.

¯ Acknowledged the retirement of David Arentz, telecommunicator, effective the end of business on Nov. 19.

¯ Re-appointed the following to three-year terms on the Juniata County Agricultural Land Preservation Board: Glen Henry of Port Royal, agricultural member; Joseph Peoples of McAlisterville, member at large; and Tina Shirey of Mifflintown, member at large.

¯ Approved the hiring of Rachel Towsey as a part-time employee when needed in the Register and Recorder’s office at an hourly rate of $12.50.

¯ Approved setting an hourly wage for students hired through the student co-op program to be equal to the starting wage for hired telecommunicators.

¯ Approved the hiring of Keetha Kinsloe as a secretary in the office of Magisterial District Judge Jacqueline Leister at a wage of $11.66 per hour.

¯ Approved two weeks’ worth of bills in the amount of $284,593.40.

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