Commissioners secure parking, free bus passes

Lycoming County commissioners approved giving River Valley Transit up to $100,000 a year for five years in exchange for the transit providing a bus route to Valley View Nursing Center outside Montoursville; free bus transportation for county employees and county jurors; 16 free parking spaces for county employees and other benefits.

The funds will go toward the transit’s bond payment for two major projects – the $3 million Church Street transportation center and related streetscape improvements; and the $4.5 million trade and transit centre (mid-town site) second phase.

Those who need transportation to Valley View will get a bus route, Commissioner Jeff Wheeland said.

In addition to county jurors being offered free bus transportation, if they drive, their parking fees will be discounted by 33 percent.

As there are more than 500 county employees which normally pay for and use parking spots downtown, the intention of the 16 free parking spaces for county employees was to help alleviate downtown parking congestion, said Mya Toon, county chief procurement officer.

Wheeland agreed. “It was a significant help to the downtown city of Williamsport with respect to parking by allowing employees the option of utilizing the bus versus occupying a parking space … which we all know is very difficult to park downtown,” Wheeland said. “It’s also for those who are requested to serve on jury duty, and makes it easier for those folks to get to and from the downtown.”

The agreement also allows the county vehicle fleet to continue to purchase fuel at the bus station’s fueling center, and if the fleet converts to natural gas, the county can purchase compressed natural gas at the station, as well, Wheeland said.

In other business, the commissioners designated County Hazard Reduction Planner Sal Vitko as the agent to work on a coming $2 million federal and state grant to purchase and demolish 15 Tropical Storm Lee flood-damaged properties in Hepburn, Lewis, Lycoming and Old Lycoming townships.

The commissioners approved a $55,250 two-year marketing contract with Partnership of Packer, Oesterling and Smith Inc., Harrisburg, to assist with the successful launch of single-stream recycling. The company will ask county residents what they know about recycling via phone calls, then educate them about this type of recycling, followed by a news conference to kick off the project, and ensure smooth transition.

The 911 center will get a technology upgrade, as the commissioners approved a $149,810 quote from CRSolutions to provide new consoles, providing the telecommunications center with updated equipment to meet required technology. That price was made possible through a $22,000 state discount.

The waterline project from the Montgomery reservoir to the county landfill has taken about a year longer than expected as the icy winter and other factors have slowed things down. Thus, the commissioners approved a $10,000 amendment and contract extension to June with Larson Design Group, and a $24,500 change order with Sikora Brothers Paving for the project, still under budget.

The commissioners approved an annual $75,000 contract for public defender services in the county, an increase from $72,000, effective from the first of this year.

Finally, for the 22nd consecutive year, the county’s Department of Fiscal Services earned the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Officers Finance Association for its comprehensive annual financial report. The certificate is the highest form of recognition for governmental accounting and financial reporting.

An impartial panel determined the high standards of the program, including the “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate the county’s financial story.