Lycoming County's own cable television channel soon may be a reality.
On Thursday, the county commissioners approved a memorandum of understanding committing the county to a partnership to develop LCAT, or Lycoming County Area Television.
The Lycoming County Visitor's Bureau, the tourism marketing arm of the Williamsport-Lycoming Chamber of Commerce, recently agreed to provide the first year of funding for the channel, which will be accessible on Comcast Channel 75, according to William Kelly, deputy director of the county Department of Planning and Community Development.
Comcast is required by law to provide a local public access channel. Channel 75 has been available for that purpose, but so far only has been used to broadcast Williamsport City Council meetings.
Kelly said the channel will operate under the umbrella of the Chamber for the first 18 months, then will stand on its own after that.
Tourism opportunities, special events and emergency information will be broadcast over the channel. Twelve municipalities have been invited to participate in it, though it is unlikely all of them will, Kelly said.
The channel is "the culmination of many years of work," Kelly said, adding that there still is "a lot of work to do."
A board of directors must be created. The board will establish by-laws and then seek a third-party administrator who will operate the channel and make sure its content falls in line with Federal Communications Commission regulations.
For those who do not have a Comcast cable subscription, the channel will be available on the Internet, Kelly said.
In other business, the commissioners adopted a resolution supporting a state Department of Transportation study.
PennDOT is conducting a study of public transit within counties in the SEDA-Council of Governments partnership, said Mark Murawski, county transportation planner.
The focus of the study will be on identifying inefficiencies in fixed route bus transportation and shared ride programs. River Valley Transit and STEP Inc., respectively, administer those programs locally, Murawski said.
The need for the study is the result of diminishing federal transportation funding, he said.
"I've been in the transportation business for 26 years. Transportation funding has always been an issue," Murawski said. "After 26 years, I've never seen it this bad."
Because of that, PennDOT and the Corbett administration wants to conduct a comprehensive assessment of transit in key areas of the state, he said.
The study will be performed at no cost to the counties. PennDOT will conduct the study only in counties that agree to allow it, though those that do not allow it will not be penalized, Murawski said.
The commissioners approved agreements with Citizens and Northern Bank for the creation of accounts so about $33 million in investment money can be deposited in them.
The money is handled by Merrill Lynch, but the firm's parent company, Bank of America, no longer handles public accounts.
The commissioners approved the deposit of $2 million into a Muncy Bank and Trust money market account.
The money is revenue from a county bond issue, according to Connie Rupert, county treasurer.
The commissioners approved subrecipient monitoring contracts with Plunketts Creek, Loyalsock and Fairfield townships. The contracts spell out the townships' responsibilities involving the spending of federal flood buyout funds, according to Mila Robinson, county environmental planner.