Open House today at county’s Piper Building

By JOHN RISHEL

jrishel@lockhaven.com

LOCK HAVEN — The Clinton County Board of Commissioners were looking ahead at a busy week at their Monday morning work session.

Highlighting their list of things to do is an open house event tonight at the county’s Piper building.

The county bought the iconic Piper Aircraft “Blue Building” at the west end of the Piper Memorial Airport for $950,000, including contents, early in 2017 from its previous owner, United Fire Group Insurance, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

After a year’s worth of renovations, a number of county offices have now found a new home, moving to the location at the east end of Bald Eagle Street.

The following county offices are now stationed at 2 Piper Way — Register and Recorder, Assessment, GIS, Planning, Treasurer, Auditors, Information Technology, Children and Youth Services, Independent Living, Voters Registration and commissioners.

Commissioner Jeff Snyder has called the Piper building the “ideal location” for county government, and now invites the public to it for themselves.

“There will be tours from 4 to 5:20 p.m. and a ribbon cutting at 5:30 p.m.,” county clerk Jann Meyers said. “The theme is Celebrating County Services, and county employees will be on hand to showcase the building. Light refreshments and more tours will be available after the ribbon cutting.”

Meyers noted that a packet of information will be available on Piper building’s acquisition “costs versus benefits”, which was requested by community member Richard Morris.

Meyers said Monday that she had a rough draft of that information prepared, but the commissioners would need time to review that information before it was made public.

“We will have it ready to present at the open house,” Snyder said.

“That doesn’t mean everyone has to agree with it or even believe us,” Commissioner Robert “Pete” Smeltz said. “It is what it is.”

Commissioner Paul Conklin noted that the building makes “service delivery better,” noting that the location has ample available parking, which is free to employees and guests.

“Having enough spots has always been an issue in the past,” Conklin said.

Smeltz said that a pamphlet on all county services will also be made available at the event.

“Jann worked very hard at putting this together,” Smeltz said.

The board also noted that their Thursday work session is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. this week, which is a departure from their typical 10 a.m. meeting time.

Smeltz said they try to schedule a few late meetings annually to address complaints from concerned citizens that cannot make it to the morning meetings. He noted that scheduling night meetings doesn’t seem to have any concernable impact on attendance.

Community member Gary Smith was in attendance at the Monday work session and provided the commissioners with some details on a service plan he is still developing.

Smith hopes to arrange and provide seminars to the 67 counties in Pennsylvania on “plugging financial holes” and preventing theft from youth sport leagues and other non-profit organizations.

Smith said that his forum would focus on “prevention and the six rules to live by.”

“I am not involved in the law end of this, but I hope to start that discussion. You hear of bookkeepers for these kinds of places writing checks out to themselves. If we can plug the holes, it will make these people think twice about stealing to begin with. People who get away with it know that no one is looking over their right shoulder. Every check should be signed by two people, as often, these bookkeepers are writing checks to themselves, and they pocket money over the course of several years. No one is watching and it keeps happening and they begin taking more over time,” he said.

Smith said that his services would “come at a minimal charge, close to what it would cost for a couple to have a dinner night out,” to interested counties or non-profit organizations.

“The county commissioners do not need this service, but we can pass this information on. I must say that I cannot think of any others locally who provide this kind of service,” Smeltz said. “I believe some non-profits in the county would likely be interested.”

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