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Centre takes next steps for natural gas co-op

By LAKESHIA KNARR

lknarr@lockhaven.com

BELLEFONTE – The next phase of the proposed natural gas cooperative began Tuesday, as the Centre County commissioners were the first of three partners who approved articles of incorporation for the initiative.

During the commissioners’ regularly scheduled meeting, they approved SEDA-Council of Governments Natural Gas Cooperative, Inc., which will also include Mifflin and Clinton counties.

The impetus for this coop is the fact that companies are often deterred from proactively installing gas lines in rural areas due to up-front investments in infrastructure.

Last December, the Centre board adopted a resolution supporting the formation of the cooperative.

Research into the multi-county natural gas pact began in 2012 and SEDA-COG has been helping plan the stages of development.

Pipe said this coop will also help lead the way to finding grant funds for such projects.

The involved counties hope to be able to finance the creation of pipelines in rural areas through this agreement.

Later, the established infrastructure may be sold to companies.

The articles of incorporation Tuesday demonstrated that the county had designated individuals to serve on the board, representing Centre County. Commissioner Pipe will represent the commissioners.

“We’ve now finalized the members,” Commissioner Michael Pipe said.

“We’re trying to come up with a strategy in particular to help some of those underserved regions of the counties get natural gas,” Commissioner Steve Dershem added, calling it a “much needed initiative.”

In other business, the commissioners:

r Adopted the Economic Development chapter, Phase II Implementation Strategies, of the county comprehensive plan.

Bob Jacobs, director of the Centre County Planning Office, told the board the state requires counties to update their comprehensive plans every 10 years. The plans encompass a variety of areas, including economic development, transportation and infrastructure, among others, he said.

Liz Lose, research technologist in the Planning Office, said the county has been breaking up the plan approved in 2003 and looking at it in sections.

Four issues evaluated in this part of the plan include living wages, available land for construction/use, recognition of partners and expediting the land development process, Lose said.

r Approved a check run dated June 3 for $408,026.83.

r Heard a voter registration report from Commissioner Dershem. There are 110,039 registered voters in Centre County, of which 46,058 are Democrat, 224 are Green Party, 642 are Libertarian, 14,494 have no affiliation, 43,229 are Republican and all others are registered under another affiliation.

r Heard from county Administrator Denise Elbell that an executive session was held Friday, June 2 from 2 to 3:15 p.m. to discuss personnel issues.

r Announced the Roland Curtin Foundation is hosting an open house and membership drive on Saturday, June 11, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, June 12, from noon to 4 p.m. at the Curtin Village, 215 Curtin Road, Howard.

r Appointed Calvin J. Miller, Travis Park and Levent Kaya to the Mental Health/Intellectual Disabilities/Early Intervention – Drug & Alcohol Advisory Board for a term effective July 2016 to July 2019.

r Approved The Emergency Food Assistance Program agreement with the state Department of Agriculture for the period of Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, 2021. The grant is estimated at $78,000.

r Approved a contract with The HR Office for consulting services at the Centre County Correctional Facility for $4,000 for the period of June 7 to July 15.

r Renewed a maintenance agreement with Atlantic Tomorrows Office for imaging solutions at $3,968. The county will cover $1,414 and federal sources will cover $2,554 for the period of Aug 2 to Aug. 1, 2017.

r Approved a letter of agreement with The Meadows – Universal Community Behavioral Health for information exchange, referral of behavioral health services and coordination of care for the period of June 7 to June 7, 2018.

r Approved the submission of a Criminal Justice Advisory Board Technical Assistance and Training grant application to the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) and Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. The grant application seeks $1,106 toward print media materials relating to the dangers of opioid and heroin use/abuse and overdose. Materials will be used by the Centre County Coalition Against Overdoses.

r Renewed a contract with Centre County Youth Service Bureau to provide shelter and counseling services to dependent and delinquent youth for $1,435,000. The state will cover $1,148,000 and the county will match $287,000 for the period of July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016.

r Renewed a contract with Adelphoi Village Inc. to provide foster/residential services to dependent and delinquent youth for $225,000, with the state funding $180,000 and the county matching $45,000. The contract period is July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016.

r Renewed a contract with Diversified Treatment Alternatives to provide residential services to dependent and delinquent youth for the period of July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016. The total is $34,000, with the state funding $27,200 and the county matching $6,800.

r Renewed a contract with Bethesda Children’s Home to provide shelter and residential services to dependent and delinquent youth for the period of July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016. The contract total is $4,300 with the state funding $3,440 and the county matching $860.

r Renewed a contract with Cambria County Emergency Shelter for shelter care for dependent and delinquent youth for the period of July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016. The contract total is $2,000, with the state funding $1,800 and the county matching $200.

r Renewed a contract with NHS Youth Services for shelter and residential services for dependent and delinquent youth for the period of July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016. The contract total is $65,000 with the state funding $39,000 and the county matching $26,000.

r Renewed a contract with Pathways Adolescent Center for residential services for dependent and delinquent youth for the period of July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016. The contract total is $64,000 with the state funding $51,200 and the county matching $12,800.

r Renewed a contract with Bair Foundation to provide foster home services for dependent and delinquent youth for the period of July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016. The contract total is $7,800 with the state funding $6,240 and the county matching $1,560.