Commission mum on state budget predictions

BROOKVILLE — Although the state budget is due to be completed June 30, Jefferson County Commissioners were hesitant to offer comments during Tuesday’s county commission meeting.

Commissioner Jim McIntyre said it’s “too premature” to make a comment; however, they are urging support of the $27.65 million proposed Senate Bill 1466.

The spending plan restores around $500 million in cuts to education, social services and other areas.

Chairman Paul Corbin said the commissioners have been encouraged to e-mail, phone or send a letter to Gov. Tom Corbett, urging support of the new bill.

“Right now, they’re calling for a 10-percent reduction (for human services), best case scenario,” McIntyre said. “I have heard it may be as low as eight or nine percent.”

The commissioners will take part in a statewide conference call involving the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania Friday to receive more updates concerning the budget, McIntyre said.

Tuesday, the commissioners also adopted the 2012 Hazard Mitigation Plan as the official hazard mitigation plan of the county.

According to Jefferson County Department of Emergency Services Director Tracy Zents, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requires state and local governments to develop and submit for approval to the U.S. president a mitigation plan that outlines processes for identifying natural hazards, risks and vulnerabilities susceptible to local communities.

The plan, once approved by the federal government, opens the door to Jefferson County and its municipalities to be eligible to receive post-disaster Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funds, and when approved, funds will be granted to correct hazards identified as risks within the Hazard Mitigation Plan.

Furthermore, the county has worked with its municipalities to identify these hazards in a comprehensive plan that includes all 34 municipalities.

The plan has been under a two-year review, and will run from 2012 to 2017, when it will be due for an update.

Also Tuesday, the commissioners:
• Approved the Jefferson County Fair Authority’s tourism grant application for $2,000, which was submitted by the Hotel Tax Committee. The money will be used for marketing.

• Entered into the following Professional Services Agreements on behalf of Children & Youth Services for the period July 1, 2012, through June 30, 2013: Kerith Strano Taylor, not to exceed $1,000 per month; R. Edward Ferraro, not to exceed $20,200 for all services provided; Dr. Allen Ryen, not to exceed $6,000 for all services provided.

• Entered into an agreement with New World Systems for additional services to upgrade the accounting system to incorporate Human Resources in the amount of $14,250.

In other business:
• The next meeting will take place at 10:30 a.m. June 26.