Board takes over Conservation helm

BY STACI WILSON

The Susquehanna County Conservation District is now operating on its own – outside of direct control from the county, effective close of business, Friday, June 28.

At the June 26 commissioners’ meeting, the county signed a two and one-half year memorandum of understanding with the Conservation District Board regarding the occupancy of the county building at 88 Chenango St., Montrose.

Commissioner MaryAnn Warren said the agreement with Conservation is the same as the one in place with Penn State for the county Cooperative Extension office.

The commissioners also approved an addendum to the Memorandum of Understanding with Penn State Cooperative Extension, effective Jan. 1, 2013 through Dec. 31, 2015.

The county and the Conservation District severed ties earlier this year after failing to reach an agreement on the terms establishing the agencies’ relationship. At a Feb. 13 meeting, the Susquehanna County Salary board eliminated all 11 of the Conservation District positions, effective June 28.

At the February meeting, County Commissioner Alan Hall said the two entities could not reach an agreement in two areas: direct control of employees and funding to support salaries.

While Conservation is an agency separate from the county, the county had staffed the District office paying salaries and county benefits to the workers.

The agency will continue to operate with employees coming under the direction of its local board of directors.

The Susquehanna Conservation District is a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It was established by an agreement between the Susquehanna County Commissioners and the State Conservation Commission in 1947.

At the June 26 meeting, the commissioners opened bids for insulation and siding work at the 88 Chenango St. property.
Three bids were received from local contractors. The commissioners accepted the bids for review.
The commissioners signed a contract with Jones Kohanski Certified Public Accountants, of Moosic, to act as independent auditors of the county books for three years. Audits in 2013 and 2014 will cost $35,000; the 2015 audit is $36,500.

The following people were reappointed to serve on the Northern Tier Regional Planning and Development Advisory Committee, July 1 through June 30, 2014:

Economic development: Robert Neira, William Dovin, Bobbi Jo Turner. Local Loan Review: Joe Feretti, Rick Sodem Keith Yurgosky. Rural Area Transportation: Rudy Mattes, Leonard Wheatley, Joe Plonski. Workforce development (two-year term): Loren Stone, Sam Anderson. Local elected officials: Alan Hall, Michael Giangrieco and MaryAnn Warren. Member at large: Jody Place.

The commissioners also accepted the resignation, with regret, of John Stackowitz from the 911 Department, effective June 24. The resignation of Alicia Miner, custodian, was also accepted, effective June 21.

Commissioner Alan Hall reported he had met with county emergency management officials and Williams representatives regarding incidents at the energy company’s local facilities.

Hall said that Williams investigates causes for the incidents – including mechanical, part failures, or training issues. Hall said the company indicated they were working on a notification system for local residents during an incident.