The Lycoming County commissioners on Thursday approved an agreement with the state Department of Public Welfare for a $4.9 million Child Care Information Services grant.
The grant, which will be administered by STEP Inc., provides low-income families with access to high-quality child care, according to John LaRose, STEP early child care and education administration.
"These folks risk not being able to maintain employment without this program," LaRose said. "The cost of quality child care is very high and for most of these families (the cost) would be prohibitive."
More than 1,000 families and 2,100 children in Lycoming and Clinton counties were helped through the program last year, LaRose said. At least that many are expected to be helped this year, he said.
The program also provides child care referral services for anyone, regardless of their income, he said.
The commissioners approved the renewal of a five-year agreement with the National Association of Counties for the Prescription Discount Card program.
According to Mya Toon, county grants administrator, the cards, which are free and available through the county, provided 36,000 users an average savings of 23 percent during the initial five-year program. Those savings were worth $718,000, Toon said.
In other business, the commissioners approved a repayment agreement with the county Water and Sewer Authority for about $800,000 in Build America Bond revenue.
The authority plans to use the money to extend its water system into the Fairfield Road business corridor and Grey Fox Plaza area, said William Kelly, deputy director of the county Department of Planning and Community Development.
The commissioners approved the purchase of a new Caterpillar tracked tractor from Cleveland Brothers Equipment Company Inc. The vehicle costs $737,000 and will be used at the county landfill.
The purchase will allow older vehicles at the landfill to be taken offline so they can be rebuilt at a fraction of the cost of buying new vehicles, David Bonus, landfill operations manager, said.
The commissioners approved an amendment to a contract with Larson Design Group. The company performed engineering services for the county-owned covered bridge rehabilitation project in Lairdsville, said Mark Murawski, county transportation planner.
Due to two floods that occurred last year during the project, additional work had to be done by the firm.
The amendment adds $10,000 to the original agreement, bringing it to $92,000, Murawski said.
The entire project, including the engineering work, is paid for through state and federal grants, he said.