Drilling fees go to area water projects

Lycoming County commissioners voted 2-0 to grant gas drilling impact funds for area water projects Thursday. Commissioner Jeff Wheeland was absent.

The Hughesville Borough Water Authority will receive $25,000 of those funds to replace a leaking water valve at the intersection of Routes 220 and 405 – perhaps the busiest intersection in the county, according to Bill Kelly, deputy director of the county department of planning and community development.

“What’s beautiful about this project is that it’s water, clean water,” Kelly told commissioners, praising the county’s collaboration with the borough’s water authority. “It’s a pleasure to finally put all the pieces together.”

Sherry Young, of the Hughesville Borough Water Authority, thanked the commissioners for considering the water authority’s request.

“We tried unsuccessfully in the past to replace the valve,” she said, adding that the authority lacked the proper equipment. “A successful bidder will be able to do this within 24 hours.”

Commissioners also approved $100,000 of gas drilling impact fees for the Tiadaghton Valley Municipal Authority to go toward the removal of an old wastewater treatment plant in Jersey Shore that rests in a floodway. The authority replaced that plant with a state-of-the-art facility in Nippenose Township that went into operation on March 25, according to Chairwoman Cheryl Brungard.

Once the antiquated facility is removed, that property will be given back to Jersey Shore, Brungard said.

That location might then be used as a green space or a parking lot, according to Kelly.

Commissioner Tony Mussare was impressed with the scope of the project. The new facility serves Jersey Shore, and Potter and Nippenose townships, including the village of Antes Fort.

“It’s hard to believe how large the system is and what you have done,” Mussare told Brungard.

In other business, commissioners approved $300,000 for STEP Inc.’s Homes-In-Need program which will make repairs to homes in the Brodart Neighborhood Improvement Program.

That money is part of the $1.3 million the county received in 2013 through the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund – a direct result of gas drilling impact fees, according to Kim Wheeler, county department of planning and community development lead planner.

Commissioners also approved $50,000 of that same grant to be used for Habitat for Humanity’s A Brush With Kindness Program in the Brodart Neighborhood Improvement Project. The program focuses on exterior home repair services such as minor repairs, landscaping, and exterior clean-up, Wheeler said.

She told commissioners that 30 percent of the funds for both programs must benefit persons or families whose incomes are below 50 percent of the area median income, and that the remainder of the funds can benefit persons or families with incomes up to 200 percent of the area median income.

The salary board was convened for the commissioners to take the following actions:

Hired Nicole D. Dawson as a full-time replacement licensed practical nurse at the county prison at an hourly rate of $16.10.

Hired Deborah Ann Fuller as a part-time replacement custodial worker at the county prison at an hourly rate of $10.62.

Hired Alix N. Hoover as a full-time replacement network engineer at an annual salary of $37,418.45.

Hired David J. Rutt as a full-time replacement computer technician at an hourly rate of $19.23.

Hired Daniel P. Wright as a part-time replacement bailiff at an hourly rate of $10.62.

Hired Jennifer L. Nolan as a full-time replacement deputy coroner at an hourly rate of $17.55, and Paula J. Miller as a part-time replacement on-call deputy coroner at an hourly rate of $16.34.

Reclassified Cortney L. Bower as a full-time paralegal at an hourly rate of $17.80, and Jennifer C. Eisenhart as a full-time administrative specialist at an hourly rate of $21.50.