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Centre County Commissioners approve business contribution

By CHRIS MORELLI

cmorelli@lockhaven.com

BELLEFONTE — The Centre County Commissioners are doing their part to keep growing businesses in Centre County.

On Tuesday, the commissioners unanimously approved a $40,000 contribution to Sensor Networks, Inc. The request came from Jennifer Myers, vice president of economic development for the Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County. Myers talked about the CBICC’s relationship with Sensor Networks, Inc.

“This past November, the CBICC joined with Sensor Networks, Inc., in announcing the company’s expansion plans. Sensor Networks, Inc., is on a steady growth trajectory and they’re making a positive impact on the local economy and job creation. The CCEDP (Centre County Economic Development Partnership) investment will support the purchase of a critical piece of machinery that will enable Sensor Networks to ramp up its expansion, including the hiring of new employees,” Myers said.

According to its website, Sensor Networks, Inc., which is based in Boalsburg, brings “an unparalleled depth of experience and expertise in the highly specialized fields of ultrasonic and remote visual technologies. The Sensor Networks team brings together the very best minds in the business to deliver smarter solutions with a refreshingly personalized approach for the world’s critical asset management applications.”

Commissioner Michael Pipe said that Centre County has partnered with other businesses in the past.

“In terms of recent history, this would be the third time this has occurred,” Pipe said. “First was with the Morgan Industries project out in College Township and the second one was with KCF, staying and locating in State College borough.”

The contribution to Morgan Industries was approximately $16,000 and with KCF, it was $50,000, according to Pipe.

As for the $40,000? That will come out of contingency funds in the county budget.

“There’s actually a line item in the budget for contingencies. That’s where we are allocating out of,” Pipe explained.

According to commissioner Mark Higgins, a contribution like this is not out of the ordinary.

“This type of support is quite common at the municipality and county level nowadays. We’re trying to retain high-growth, entrepreneurial companies … there’s something like 20,000 economic development groups in the United States and all of them would love a KCF Technologies, a Morgan Industries or a Sensor Networks. We want to keep them here. The amount we are investing is substantially lower than it would be other parts of the country,” Higgins said.

Commissioner Steve Dershem believes the contribution will pay dividends down the road.

“It’s a great investment for us to see these jobs stay in Centre County,” Dershem said. “(These companies) are moving to larger to larger footprint facilities. We’re going to see larger tax revenues from that. It’s a win-win all the way around.”

In other business, the commissioners approved:

r The advertisement of the development of a Crisis Diversion Service, licensed Crisis Residential Service, which will provide additional support to individuals from Centre County that are in crisis and/or in need of a temporary shelter.

r Certification statement for the Human Services Block Grant for the 2017-2018 fiscal year.

r A grant award from the Pennsylvania Veterans’ Trust Fund to providing outreach services to veterans. The project total is $9,750 for the period of June 1, 2019 through May 31, 2020.

r Submissions of the reimbursement applications to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts for several items – staff support ($8,816), facilities ($1,020), courtroom interpreters ($33,687.66) and telephone interpreting services ($3,092.70).

r Change order No. 6 with general contractor J.C. Orr and Son, Inc., for the Equipment Storage Building Project at the Centre County Public Safety Training Center. The change order provides an increase of $250 for the purchase of three remotes for the overhead doors, increasing the contract total from $764,724.14 to $764,974.14.

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