US senators split on flood bill vote
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Each Monday, the Sun-Gazette summarizes major votes of the past week and, more specifically, how our locally elected and appointed officials voted on each matter. Watch for it each Monday in the Sun-Gazette.)
Locally elected and appointed officials voted on the following matters in the past week:
The Senate voted 72-26 to pass the Consolidated Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2014, the $1.1 trillion spending bill that delays premium increases in the National Flood Insurance Program. U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Scranton, voted in favor. U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Zionsville, voted against it.
The House voted 359-67 to pass the spending bill. Voting in favor were U.S. Reps. Thomas A. Marino, R-Cogan Station, and Glenn “GT” Thompson, R-Howard.
The House voted 119-81 to pass a bill that establishes a searchable, public Internet website detailing the revenues and expenditures of school districts. Voting in favor were state Reps. Matthew E. Baker, R-Wellsboro; Garth Everett, R-Muncy; and Rick Mirabito, D-Williamsport. State Rep. Michael K. Hanna Sr., D-Lock Haven, voted against it.
The House voted 102-98 to pass a bill that requires school boards to provide at least 48 hours’ notice prior to voting on any proposed collective bargaining agreement or on any proposed employment contract for a professional educator who is not a member of an employee organization. Baker and Everett voted in favor. Hanna and Mirabito voted against.
The Senate voted 47-0 to pass an act further providing for funds of volunteer firefighters’ relief associations. Voting in favor were state Sens. E. Eugene Yaw, R-Loyalsock Township, and Joseph B. Scarnati III, R-Brockway.
The Lycoming County commissioners approved an agreement with SEDA-Council of Governments Joint Rail Authority and Williamsport for new Hepburn Street Susquehanna River Walk parking. Voting in favor were Tony Mussare and Ernie Larson. Jeff Wheeland was absent.
The Lycoming-Clinton Joinder Board elected the same board of officers as 2013: President Tony R. Mussare; Vice President Robert B. “Pete” Smeltz Jr.; Treasurer Larson. Voting in favor were Mussare, Larson, Joel Long, Jeff Snyder and Smeltz. Jeff Wheeland was absent.
The Lycoming County Planning Commission approved its recommendation to the county commissioners for a text amendment of Muncy Township zoning, keeping the suburban estate zoning with a permitted use of an office building for Ashler Inc., 276 Ashler Manor Drive. Voting in favor were George Logue Jr., Howard Fry, Cindy Bower, James Dunn, Christopher E. Keiser, Joseph H. Neyhart, Carl Nolan, William Parsons and Michael Sherman.
Loyalsock Township supervisors unanimously approved a floodplain ordinance that meets requirements set by the National Flood Insurance Program of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Voting in favor were Virginia M. Eaton, Paul D. Nyman, Marc C. Sortman, John C. Bower Jr. and Richard H. Wheeland.
Woodward Township supervisors unanimously approved the purchase of a new tractor and mower, totaling $118,000. Voting in favor were Alan Worth, Jack Coleman and Wayne Robinson.
Williamsport Planning Commission voted 5-0 to recommend City Council approve amendments to the city’s zoning on floodplain mapping as required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The changes are mostly of a definition nature. Voting were Carolyn Bullock, William Rischar, Harry Sechler, Charles Plankenhorn and Chris Keiser. Sam Washington, Theresa Williams and Tom Hunsberger were absent.
Williamsport Parking Authority voted 4-0 to a resolution for a sale of agreement for parking space by buying property owned by Eureka Resources between Second and West Third streets. Voting were Chairman Dr. Anthony Cipolla, Marc Schefsky, Rose Choate and Ruth Grieco.
Montoursville Borough Council voted to advertise for a .70 millage increase and to amend its 2014 budget. Voting yes were Dennis Holt, Mark Tillson, Rosemary Holmes, Christopher Lucas, David Moyer, and Ronald Shearer.
Jersey Shore Area School Board voted 9-0 to approve waiving Policy 239: Foreign Exchange Students, to allow a foreign exchange students applicant to attend the district who already has received a high school diploma in his country. Voting in favor were board members Robert Pryor, Craig Allen, Karen Stover, Denise Smith, Harry Miller, Heather Williamson, Loren Koch, David Hines and Kelly Wasson.
Montoursville Area School Board voted 8-0 to not exceed the state’s Act index of 2.7. The vote, in effect, prevents the district from raising the tax millage by more than 0.36. Voting in favor were Scott Konkle, James Bergen, William Ruffing, Jill Kaplan, Thomas McNamara, Dale Ulmer, Jennifer Marriott and George Hagemeyer.
East Lycoming School Board voted 9-0 to refinance roughly $10 million of the district’s outstanding debt; RBC Capital Markets, of Lancaster, will purchase new 10-year treasury bonds at a lower rate on behalf of the district. Voting in favor were Richard Michael, Richard Bradley, Donna Gavitt, Kellie Shaner-Gordner, Diane Santo, Lee Ann Hawk, Amy Rogers, Karen Berger and Randy Eddinger.
East Lycoming School Board also reviewed a preliminary 2014-15 budget that would raise the real estate tax rate above the mandated 2.9 percent tax index. The preliminary budget will be voted on at the board’s Jan. 28 meeting and will be available for public viewing on Jan. 30.