Scholarships for gas industry jobs may be available

Lycoming County’s unemployed and underemployed residents and veterans may get the opportunity to receive gas industry training if the commissioners approve a professional service agreement with Pennsylvania College of Technology’s partnership with ShaleNET at their meeting Thursday.

Penn College will utilize a $50,000 grant made possible through Act 13 funds to generate 50 $1,000 scholarships for entry-level gas industry training for unemployed and underemployed county residents and veterans, said Kurt Hausammann, director of Lycoming County Planning and Community Development Department.

This is the first scholarship of its kind in the state, Hausammann said, because its unique combination of Act 13 funds with college scholarships to train qualified residents.

The commissioners opened 12 proposals by qualified engineering firms to provide services to assess Lycoming County’s brownfield sites.

The county’s brownfield sites are eligible for environmental assessments conducted and funded by the county with the intent of increasing the economic opportunities of each site, said William Kelly, deputy director for county planning and community development.

Over the next few weeks, a five-member team comprised of Kelly, Hausammann, Kim Wheeler, Community Development Director John Grado and Muncy Borough Manager Bill Ramsey will evaluate and select the most qualified consultant whose work will start in Augustand continue for the next two years.

About a year ago, the county submitted a Coalition Partnership grant application to the EPA for $600,000 to help fund these environmental assessments. Late last year, the county was notified the Environmental Protection Agency would award them $550,000.

The county decided to make as much as $500,000 available for environmental consulting services by engineering companies.

The Coalition Partnership consists of Lycoming County, the city and Muncy Borough. Because the county is a partner, the assessments will be spread throughout that area.

Brownfield sites – meaning, hazardous material or petroleum sites – will be assessed to become usable land. The first phase, Kelly said, is to assess any environmental condition that may need further attention. If that site meets that criteria, phase two is analysis of the soil and vapors to identify what needs to be mitigated; this excludes the mitigation itself, Kelly clarified. The point is to stimulate the economy, Kelly said.

The 12 bidders are HRP, Buchart Horn, Langan Engineering & Environmental Services, Strategic Environmental LLC, BT Environmental, Environmental Alliance, KU Resources, URS Corp., TRC, EA Engineering, Penn Environmental & Remediation and Larson Design Group.

Lycoming College asked the Lycoming County Authority to issue bonds, which would be tax free, for the college. The commissioners will hold a Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act hearing Thursday at their meeting in which they may approve the issuance of these bonds for the college. The funds will go toward construction projects, including the science center and a few other academic buildings, said Ann Pepperman, attorney, McCormick Law Firm.

Hausammann asked the commissioners to approve a grant application charge for the planning commission at a fee between $150 to $250. Hausammann noted the planning commission has applied for more grants in the past few years than ever before because of lack of funding.

The Lycoming-Clinton Joinder Board may receive a $25,000 grant to go toward renovations for the Children and Youth Services Family Visitation Center from Act 13 impact fees, Hausammann said. The Center will provide $65,000 for the $90,000 project. It will be approved contingent upon a reimbursement agreement and solicitor review.

Commissioners also may approve:

DUI grant application for $56,676 to the Bureau of Highway Safety and Traffic Engineering to fund the position of one adult probation officer, which is dedicated to Lycoming County’s DUI Treatment Court Program, said Mya Toon, grants, property and purchasing manager for the county. If awarded, the position would be 100 percent grant funded.

Resolution for DUI grant application which authorizes the county to submit the application to the Bureau of Highway Safety and Traffic Engineering.

SAVIN agreement between the state District Attorneys Institute and the county to implement and use the PA SAVIN system (an automated victim information and notification system) to meet and enhance its responsibilities for victim notification as well as provide additional notification services to county residents. The agreement is effective Jan. 1, 2013, to Dec. 31.