County gets tools to better manage disaster response

BY STACI WILSON

Managing emergency responses in times of disaster will be streamlined during future events in Susquehanna County.

The commissioners sign a proposal, Wednesday, June 12, with Grey Wall Software LLC which will enable the county to utilize the company’s Virtual Emergency Operations Center Software Program for critical incident management, team communication and collaboration.

The $12,000 one-year contract went into effect June 1 and was paid for out of Act 13 funds. The contract covers software maintenance, training and support.

The cloud-based VEOCI system will get rid of the paper copy system used during past emergency events in the EOC, allowing for virtual, real-time tracking of situations and responses.

Act 13 monies, along with wireless funding revenue – will also be used to cover the cost of implementing the county-wide Geographic Information Services (GIS) mapping system.

The $127,580 fee – paid to MCM Consulting Group – for the service will provide for the complete restructuring, oversight and implementation of the GIS program.

Commissioner Alan Hall said fire and ambulance companies will directly benefit from this mapping upgrade.

Stoney Mountain Tractor Parts Inc. will now handle mowing, as well as removing and chipping trees, from three county-owned dams. The dams will be mowed three times per year with the following cost paid for each mow: Springville dam, $1,095; Brooklyn dam, $1,435; and Kingsley dam, $2,025.

Tree removal and chipping from the dam areas will be paid at $45 per hour for labor and $125 for the tractor and chipper per hour.

Eco International will continue to handle the county’s electronics recycling program. The county will be paid 15 cents per pound for computers and laptops; and two cents per pound for monitors, printers, keyboards and mouse controllers.

All new county employees will undergo background checks, performed by KlinkCheck, of Pittsburgh. Pricing for the checks will vary with the services provided but will typically range between $32.50 and $41.50.

Hall explained the company had the capability to do background checks that encompassed all 50 states. He said the firm would be looking for felony arrests, etc., for the prospective employees.

The Tax Claim Bureau was exonerated from collecting $103.42 in delinquent taxes from a Liberty Twp. parcel consisting of a trailer, in the name of Arthur and Sandra Snyder Sr. County assessors exonerated the trailer from the rolls as razed.

Shawn Isby of New Milford was hired to the position of Roads & Bridges/Maintenance, per the recommendation of Dennis Landis, head of maintenance.

The commissioners acknowledged the hiring of Christine Jones by District Judge Jeffrey Hollister, effective May 28, to the position of clerk/typist in the magistrate’s office.

The commissioners also acknowledged the hiring of Sue Blaisure by President Judge Kenneth Seamans to the position of Finance Enforcement Officer, effective June 13.

The hiring of Betty Phillips by Register/Recorder Mary Evans for a temporary, summer, clerical position was acknowledged by the commissioners.

The resignation of Jeremy Bogdanovitch from 911, effective April 24, was accepted.

Reappointments for one-year terms to the Susquehanna County Tourism Committee were: Andy Auklakh, Gregg Confer, Sandy Conklin, Kim Ross and Michele Suchnick.

Edna Paskoff asked the commissioners what impact the county budget would feel with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act – widely referred to as “Obamacare.”

Hall said there could be a double digit impact in the insurance premiums of the union employees. “We will have to address it if it stays in place,” he said, adding, “I’m hoping it collapses by the end of the year.”

Hall warned that the effects would not just be felt at the county level, but all over – with government agencies experiencing a “big fall-out.”

Bruce Paskoff asked if the commissioners expected county taxpayers to pick up more of that burden. “I’m not in favor of that,” he said.

Going back to a question posed at a previous meeting about Drug & Alcohol Services provided in the county through the collaboration with Lackawanna County, Commissioner MaryAnn Warren said that in fiscal year 2011-12, Susquehanna County paid $13,000 and residents received about $375,000 in Drug and Alcohol treatment services.

Vera Scorggins told the commissioners that residents near the Williams Central Compressor in Brooklyn Twp. were not notified about the fire at the compressor station last month. She asked if the county had a notification system that could be used to alert residents of incidents.

Hall said that the fire at the Williams’ station was not life-threatening. He also said that each township is required to have an emergency actions plan and is responsible for making sure those plans are up to date.