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Taking care of business

Commissioners honor local Chamber of Commerce

Sentinel photo by BRIAN COX
The Mifflin County Commissioners issued a proclamation Thursday declaring October as ‘Local Chamber of Commerce Month’ in Mifflin County. On hand to accept the proclamation from the Juniata River Valley Chamber of Commerce were executive director Rhonda Kelley, second from left, and administrative coordinator Alyssa Brown, center. Joining them were Mifflin County Commissioners Kevin Kodish, left, Robert Postal, second from right, and Mark Sunderland, right.

LEWISTOWN — Citing the vital role local chambers of commerce play in helping businesses succeed, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions and shutdowns, the Mifflin County Commissioners on Thursday, adopted a proclamation declaring October as “Local Chamber of Commerce Month” in Mifflin County.

“In many ways, local chambers are the lifeblood of Pennsylvania’s cities and towns and have proven to be invaluable partners in efforts to promote growth for businesses new and old,” Commissioner Robert Postal read from the proclamation. “Local chambers of commerce play a critical role in supporting the needs of business communities, and are essential to continued economic growth and advancement.”

Rhonda Kelley, the executive director of the Juniata River Valley Chamber of Commerce, was thankful for the honor.

“It’s been a tough year and a half for our local businesses and I’m just honored as the executive director of the chamber to have been able to have been there sending information out almost daily as things were coming down both federally and on the state level, to get that information out to our chamber members,î Kelley said. ìAnd I have to say how proud I am of our local businesses. They did such an awesome job of pivoting and doing what they needed to do to survive, and many of them actually continued to thrive.

ìItís just exciting to see how our community gathered around them and supported them,î Kelley said.

The Mifflin County Planning Department’s Community Development Administrator Chastity Fultz conducted a hearing regarding the county’s allocation of Community Development Block Grant funds.

Fultz said four project applications were submitted — one by Wayne Township for air conditioning units, one by NuVisions SeniorNet Center and two by Menno Township, with one for a sidewalk project and the other for a swing set at a public playground.

Fultz said the Wayne Township project was ineligible because the building the township wished to use the funds on is where the the township supervisors hold their meetings and CDBG funds may not be used for places where “general business” of the township is conducted.

The NuVisions SeniorNet Center would hold classes for disabled seniors that would teach them how to use the latest technology such as tablets, computers or phones in an effort to ease social isolation by making it easier for them to communicate with family, and it would also help these seniors seek medical care via telemedicine. Fultz said the project qualifies, but that it would be better served applying for CV funds, which are earmarked specifically for projects designed to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Fultz said the sidewalk project was deemed to be ineligible, partially because Menno Township did not attend a mandatory hearing regarding the project. The swing set project will be explored further to see if the CV funds could possibly apply to that as well.

Because none of the four applications were left remaining, Fultz recommended placing the project money into single-family, owner-occupied residential housing rehabilitation.

Budget modification suggestions for the CV funds included removing a plan to purchase laptops for low- and moderate-income students of Mifflin County School District, because the district already purchased laptops for every student to use, and adding the NuVisions SeniorNet Program Equipment Project and Menno Township Playground Project.

The commissioners then voted to approve both the use of project moeny on the housing rehabilitation and the suggested budget modifications.

After the public comment period Thursday and before the commissioners took up the new business on the agenda, Postal brought attention to two items he recently read in The Sentinel that he felt deserved more attention.

The first was the awarding of a recognition by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the Municipal Authority of the Borough of Lewistown for water quality. Postal pointed out MABL was one of only two water systems in Pennsylvania to be so honored.

The second was the Geisinger-Lewistown Hospital’s School of Nursing placing first in rankings of RN diploma programs in Pennsylvania.

Postal congratulated the faculty, staff and students of the nursing school for their achievement.

In other business Thursday, the commissioners:

¯Approved the minutes from the Sept. 16 meeting.

¯Voted to pay the county’s bills.

¯Voted to accept the treasurer’s report.

¯Approved the Medical Assistance Transportation Program agreement with Call-A-Ride Service and allocation for the period July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022 in the amount of $511,794.

¯Approved a short-term rental agreement with the Lewistown Armory at no cost to serve as a polling place on Election Day Nov. 2.

¯Approved award notification for the re-entry coordination grant for the period Oct. 1, 2021 through Sept. 30, 2022 in the amount of $57,439.

¯Approved award notification for the pretrial diversion grant for the period Oct. 1, 2021 through Sept. 29, 2022 in the amount of $177,188.

¯Approved application for the Innovative Policing Initiative Grant for the period Jan. 1, 2022 through Dec. 31, 2023 in the amount of $59,987. The money will be used to purchase Tasers for the Armagh Township Police Department, the Granville Township Police Department, Mifflin County Regional Police Department and the Lewistown Police Department.

¯Approved a professional services agreement with EADS Group to prepare plans, specifications, bid documents and construction administration to demolish the Black’s Hospital Building along with other outbuildings and parking lots; Phase I asbestos remediation — $7,800 and Phase II building demolition — $24,900.

¯Approved applications for county aid for the 2021 liquid fuels allocation from Oliver Township in the amount of $3,232 and Armagh Township in the amount of $5,593.

¯Approved the Juvenile Probation Services Grant agreement for the 2021-22 fiscal year in the amount of $32,328.

¯Approved the following Intermediate Punishment Treatment Program agreements for the period July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022: Clear Concepts Counseling: substance abuse individual therapy not to exceed $6,500, substance abuse intensive outpatient therapy not to exceed $2,438 and substance abuse group counseling not to exceed $12,000; Juniata Valley Tri-County Drug and Alcohol Commission: substance abuse case management not to exceed $744; Brighter Visions: substance abuse individual therapy not to exceed $6,500, substance abuse intensive outpatient therapy not to exceed $2,438 and substance abuse group counseling not to exceed $12,000.

¯Approved service agreement with Xfinity Communities Services (Comcast) for TV services at Mifflin County Correctional Facility for the period Oct. 1, 2021 through Sept. 30, 2026, for 11 units at $26.95 per year plus a broadcast TV fee of 50 cents per unit (not to exceed a 5% increase per year).

¯Accepted the resignation of Nathan Wyland as a probation officer, effective Oct. 1.

¯Accepted the resignation of Katelyn Rauch as a corrections officer, effective Oct. 23.

The Mifflin County Commissioners’ next meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Oct. 7 in Meeting Room A of the Mifflin County Courthouse in Lewistown.

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