Jersey Shore man concerned about lack of citizen voices

Jersey Shore resident Todd Lauer voiced his “amazement” during the Lycoming County commissioners meeting Thursday at what he feels is a lack of taxpayer participation in something that will affect them all: the 2018 county budget.

Although the county just unveiled its proposal to the public via the county’s website Thursday, budget discussions have been ongoing for the past two weeks.

Two budget hearings have been held thus far, in Williamsport and Hughesville, respectively.

“I have attended the two public meetings to date, arranged by the commissioners for public comment and input concerning Lycoming County’s upcoming budget plan. I was not only appalled, but, quite frankly, bewildered by the attendance at these meetings,” Lauer said, adding he estimates only seven people attended in Williamsport and about 15 in Hughesville.

“I am awestruck with the citizens of Lycoming County, when over $100 million of taxpayer funding is being discussed, that such a small attendance is present — especially when these meetings are held in the evening hours so citizens have a greater chance of being able to attend,” he said.

A third budget hearing will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Jersey Shore Public Library.

In another matter, the commissioners approved a co-location agreement with Zito Media, of Coudersport, for a period of 10 years. The company will install two fiberoptic lines to the 911 center, funded by a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant.

There will be no future costs aside from general maintenance, which will be the county’s responsibility, said John Yingling, director of public safety. He added that between 10 and 20 years is a common timeline for this type of contract.

In other business, the commissioners:

• Approved a professional service agreement in an amount not to exceed $17,253 with Kourt Security Partners to replace security access at Lysock View Complex with keyless entry.

• Approved an agreement with Conduent Enterprise Solutions through July 31, 2022, in order to keep software in the registrar and recorder’s office up to date.

• Approved the purchase of a Microfilm ScanPro 2200P-2018 in the amount of $12,264 from DRS Imaging Group to replace a broken machine in the registrar and recorder’s office.

• Approved a grant application to the Environmental Protection Agency for revolving loan funds in an amount up to $1 million to be used to bring brownfields, or buildings that are underused due to environmental contaminations such as asbestos or lead-based paint, up to code.

Commissioners Jack McKernan, Tony Mussare and Rick Mirabito were present. The commissioners will not meet on Tuesday or Thursday of next week due to local elections. The next commissioners meeting will be at 10 a.m. Nov. 14.