Officials take steps to expand broadband

Commissioners ratify tower lease deal

MIFFLINTOWN — Tuesday, the Juniata County Commissioners acted on a plan to expand broadband services in the county. They ratified a tower lease agreement between the county and Centre WISP Venture Company LLC. to install and maintain broadband equipment.

“We’re very excited,” said planning director Bradley Kerstetter. The lease agreement is for the Black Log Emergency Services Tower, which will serve the target area of Lack Tuscarora Township.

“We need equipment in place on that tower to expand the broadband from the southern end of the county,” Kerstetter said. “The plan is to go clear to the north end of the county.”

The new tower will connect with the Beavertown tower, which is located on Shade Mountain in eastern Juniata County. Two other towers between the Black Log and Beavertown towers will also tie in to the system. Kerstetter said that the goal is for equipment to be installed on Black Log Tower no later than the end of September.

“If things continue the way they are, that looks very possible at this point,” Kerstetter said.

“We know the folks at that end of the county really need that service,” commissioner Alice Gray said. Kerstetter said the goal is to have the system up and running by the end of the year.

Also during the meeting, Human Services Director Allison Fisher gave information on the Bureau of Alcohol Education ‘Reducing Underage Drinking and Dangerous Drinking’ grant application. Fisher said the prevention board is looking at the high levels of underage drinking in the community. Fisher said the grant would allow the board to do targeted campaigning around the issue. The prevention board will use the funds along with other base programs to try to reduce the number of underage drinkers in the county. In past years, the board would recognize the establishments in Juniata County that do not serve minors alcohol.

“I think it’s worth noting that we’ve had no violations in the past year.” Fisher said.

When youth in Juniata County were surveyed, they said they get the alcohol from trusted adults. “That’s very concerning to us,” Fisher said, “So we want to find some new and innovative ways to address that.”

Fisher said Human Services has partnered with the Juniata County Probation Office to try and promote the Social Code Law. “We do have that here in the county.” Fisher said, “It is a law and you will be arrested if you are, as an adult, found hosting an alcohol party for minors. There is a huge fine associated with that.”

The board does some promotion around that to let the community know what the consequences are if you provide alcohol to minors.

During the meeting the commissioners took the following actions:

¯Approved the Fiscal Year 2020-2021 County Human Services Plan “Assurance of Compliance” as submitted by Allison L. Fisher, Human Services Director.

¯Approved the execution of the 2020-2022 Bureau of Alcohol Education “Reducing Underage Drinking and Dangerous Drinking” grant application as recommended by Allison L. Fisher, Human Services Director.

¯Approved the “Juniata County Rights and Services Act (RASA) and Victims of Juvenile Offenders (VOJO) Services 2021-2022” PPCCD grant proposal (Subgrant 34288) as recommended by Sylvia Middaugh, Victim Witness Program Coordinator.

¯Approved the 2020 Liquid Fuel Funds allocations and distribution in the amount of $40,000.00.

¯Ratified the “Tower Lease Agreement” between Juniata County Government and Centre WISP Venture Company LLC. to install and maintain equipment related to broadband services. The term of the agreement is for sixty (60) months with automatic renewal on an annual basis unless one Party notifies the other in writing at least twelve (12) months prior to the expiration of the Agreement of the intent to terminate.

¯Approved, pending final review by the County Solicitor, a three (3) year agreement between Juniata County and Paylocity Corporation to provide payroll processing services at an initial one-time setup fee of $2,913.99 and an estimated cost of $1,907.50 per month effective October 1, 2020. Actual monthly costs will be based on the total number of employees at the time of billing at a rate of $15.50 per person plus a base cost of $140.50.

¯Approved payment of checks #59281 – #59326 in the amount of $72,044.16.


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