Mifflin Co. budget holds line on taxes
Commission again mandates masks in local govt. buldings
LEWISTOWN — Taxpayers of Mifflin County will see no tax increase for the county portion of their taxes.
Commissioners adopted the 2021 budget during the board’s meeting on Tuesday.
“I’d like to acknowledge all the work the departments have done in getting through this process,” said Commissioners Rob Postal.
“We appreciate the cooperation of everybody. The cost of things never goes down. Your employment costs go up, all the taxes go up that you have to pay…But everyone worked together to make sure we could hold the line of no increases,” added Commissioner Kevin Kodish.
Also during the meeting, commissioners approved a resolution to again require residents of Mifflin County to wear face masks in local government buildings to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The resolution was in support of Gov. Tom Wolf’s recent updates to an extended statewide disaster emergency proclamation.
“Despite mitigation efforts that were implemented in the spring that successfully saved lives, the pandemic continues to spread in Mifflin County and the Commonwealth, and taking action to prevent that spread will allow the future resumption of economic social activities in Mifflin County,” Postal read from the resolution. “With the increasing incidence of COVID-19 transmission and infection within Mifflin County and with the increasing hospitalizations and deaths, it is known that face coverings should be utilized to reduce the incidence of COVID-19 transmission and infection in Mifflin County.”
Additionally, commissioners urged support and compliance with all orders of the governor and the Pennsylvania secretary of health including requiring face coverings indoors where other people who are not in the individual’s household are in the same space, regardless of physical distance and outdoors if unable to maintain physical distance of at least six feet.
Commissioners are also urging all businesses to require persons working or entering to wear a face covering.
Exceptions include working alone, individuals with medical conditions, where wearing a face covering would create an unsafe working condition, individuals communicating with the hearing impaired or another disability where a face covering would be problematic or hazardous, and children less than two years old.
In other news, the officials announced that the county was awarded more than $1.5 million in Community Development Block Grants – CV for discretionary funds that will be used to purchase laptops for special education and low-to-moderate income public school students to allow them to continue remote education.
Officials said only four projects in Pennsylvania were included in the most recent block of CDBG-CV funding approvals. A second CDBG grant for $432,680 was also approved for Mifflin County after collaboration with Brown Township Supervisors, Derry Township Supervisors, Granville Township Supervisors and Lewistown Borough Council for students in these municipalities. It is estimated that these funds will procure approximately 2,500 laptops for eligible Mifflin County public school students.
In collaboration with the Mifflin County Planning and Development Department, the Association of Mifflin County Educators will establish a lending library to manage the laptops.
The Mifflin County Planning and Development Department will also work with the Mifflin County School District to determine the technological needs of the students and to aid in identification of students who qualify to receive a laptop.
The county issued a press release regarding the grant. When notified of the grant approval, James Estep, superintendent of the Mifflin County School District said, “On behalf of the Mifflin County School District, I want to thank all of those involved in the securing of this vital grant for our children. I would especially like to thank Chastity Fultz of the Mifflin County Planning and Development Department, and Doug Cunningham of MCSD, as they both were extremely instrumental in both gathering data and putting together the application. These two individuals are consummate public servants, looking out for the needs of our community.”
Due to numerous factors, including the procedures to create the lending library and lengthy shipping estimates from suppliers of the laptops, a 3-4 month lag time is anticipated until the laptops will arrive, the press release states.
“Getting the laptops into the hands of the students is a priority during this difficult time of remote learning,” said Chastity Fultz, Community Development Administrator. County and school district officials will contact potentially eligible students in the next 1-3 months with confidential income surveys to verify eligibility. Updates of the project will be provided through the Mifflin County Planning and Development and the Mifflin County School District websites.
The Department of Community and Economic Development approved these grants through the Department’s first allocation of Community Development Block Grant CARES Act (CDBG-CV and CDBG-CV Discretionary) funds intended to allow communities to address local needs resulting from the coronavirus pandemic impacting Pennsylvania.
The two grants are expected to purchase about 2,500 laptops.
The board also took the following action:
¯Approved a request for exoneration of the 2020 county portion of per capita taxes for Brown Township tax collector Cheryl Hartzler for 25 properties;
¯Approved a request for exoneration of 2020 county real estate tax bills and relieve the tax collector from collecting bills for two parcels owned by Granville Township. The amounts are $138.78 and $189.24;
¯Approved a request for exoneration for delinquent real estate taxes and relieve Rebecca Gaoe, tax claim bureau director from collecting taxes for two parcels owned by Granville Township. The amounts are $1,390.94 and $1767.35;
¯Reappointed Carl McCombie, of Lewistown, to the Mifflin County Hospital Authority for a five year term;
¯Reappointed James Shilling, of Lewistown, and Kevin Kodish, of Lewistown, for one-year terms on the SEDA-COG Board of directors for a term to expire Dec. 31, 2021;
¯Reappointed Kay Semler, of Reedsville, to the Mifflin County Industrial Development Authority for a four-year term;
¯Reappointed Kristen Price, of Lewistown, to the Mifflin County Housing Authority for a five-year term;
¯Reappointed the Agriculture Land Preservation Board for three year terms: Donald Hartzler, of Belleville; John Massie, of Mattawana and William Gomes, of Lewistown;
¯Reappointed the Mifflin County Planning Commission for four year terms: Dan Firth, of Lewistown, Dan Dunmire, of McVeytown and Kay Semler, of Reedsville, as an alternate member;
¯Approved a purchase of service agreement with Mark Remy, Esquire, from the Law Offices of Knepp and Snook as prison board solicitor for Jan. 1, 2021 through Dec. 31, 2021 at a rate of $100 per hour;
¯Approved a purchase of service agreement with BMZ Law for Guardian Ad Litem or conflicts solicitor for Jan. 1, 2021 through June 30, 2021 at a rate of $65 per hour;
¯Approved an agreement with Call-A-Ride Services to park their vehicles at the Old Black’s Hospital Building for $150 for 2021;
¯Approved a purchase of service agreement with Jeffrey Davis, esquire as court appointed council for non-custodial parents in child welfare cases involving the county’s Children and Youth Agency for Jan. 1, 2021 through Dec. 31, 2021 for a monthly rate of $958.33;
¯Approved a purchase of service agreement with Mark Remy, esquire, from the Law Offices of Knepp and Snook as Assistant District Attorney for Jan. 1, 2021 to Dec. 31, 2021 for $2,625;
¯Approved a purchase of service agreement for use if needed by Children and Youth with the Law Offices of Shoaf and Wencker, of Huntingdon
¯Approved an application for county aid for liquid fuels allocations: Juniata Terrace Borough, $1,000; Oliver Township, $3,231.17;
¯Approved a change order for the Annex Project with Hosler Corp. for changes in the coroner’s area for an additional. $12,817;
¯Approved an agreement with the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania for participation in the unemployment compensation program;
¯Approved an engineering agreement with EADS Group for the CDBG Cedar Crest Neighborhood Improvement Project for the Wayne Township Infrastructure Improvement Project in the amount of $161,750;
¯Approved an agreement with provide planning services to Derry Township for the year 2021 in the amount of $1,500;
¯Approved CARES Act Fund Grants for Lewistown Borough in the amount of $4,233.27 and Brown Township on behalf of Reedsville Fire Company in the amount of $16,375;
¯Approved a revised agreement with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for CARES Act funds under the Help for America Vote Act for $2,855.50;
¯Approved a deed for Mifflin County combining three separate parcels into one parcel;
¯Approved a temporary construction easement agreement with Lori Gagliardo granting temporary use of a portion of Grantor’s property for the Dorcas Street Bridge Project;
¯Approved a second amendment to the Evaluator Services and Technology Inc. Professional Services and Software Agreement extending the agreement until April 1, 2021;
¯Approved the 2021 meeting schedule.