WELLSBORO - The Tioga County commissioners voted to lock in a rate of $4.28 per dekatherm for natural gas next year, which is a "good deal," according to Commissioner Mark Hamilton, during their meeting here Tuesday.
The rate, from UGI Energy Services, is in effect from April 2013 to March 2014, and though it is 4 cents higher than it is now, it remains low compared to rates the county was paying just a few years ago, according to Chief Clerk Derek Williams.
"It was over $6 a few years ago and up around $12 five years ago," Williams said.
"I don't think you can get a better deal than that," Hamilton added.
Commissioners also approved a three-year maintenance agreement with Forward Thinking Systems for 15 GPS units in the Human Services Department for $15,000, including equipment, installation, and service, paid for with a PCoRP Loss Prevention grant.
According to Hamilton, the maintenance helps to "protect our people in the field so can know where they are at all times, so if they get in trouble, we will be alerted immediately."
"It also should save money over the long haul, as they can input their case appointment routes in the morning to get there in the shortest distances," he added.
Commissioners also approved another three-year maintenance agreement with the same company for two units for the assessment office for $2,664, including activation fee and service.
An agreement with T3 Global Strategies Inc. for geodetic surveying services for $27,815 also was approved by the commissioners, to be paid for from the 911 Wired Account.
Emergency Services Director Dave Cohick said the company uses markers for aerial photography to get accurate locations on the ground.
Two other contracts with the same company also were approved for data collection services for $97,190 and for data required for $96,956, both mandated by PEMA, Hamilton said.
"We have 10 data layers we keep maintained through the state wireless fund," Cohick said. "These are for three of those to be used in our main office to supplement data," he added.
Announced all county aid completion reports are due to the state Department of Transportation by Nov. 1.
Hired Melanie Smith to be a full-time deputy sheriff, at $10.66 per hour with benefits.
Heard a question from Covington Township resident Leon Kocher about those over 70 years of age having the right to be excused from doing jury duty if they wish. He also asked the commissioners to make sure it is brought to the attention of the senior citizen population of the county on their website and included in jury summonses and asked that the daily compensation for jurors be increased from $9 per day and the mileage rate increased from 17 cents per mile.
Also a question from Kocher about the commissioners making sure that natural gas lessor's water test results are made "readily available" to land owners once conducted by gas drillers, because it "doesn't seem like that is happening."
Heard a request from Mainesburg resident Nick Lalic about the county providing a more suitable place for the senior center in Mansfield than the fellowship hall of the Canoe Camp Church of Christ.
Announced their next meeting will be an evening "on the road" meeting at the Westfield Borough office, 429 E. Main St., at 7 p.m. Oct. 23.