LOCK HAVEN - The Clinton County commissioners said Thursday they are pleased with how Tuesday's Primary Election was run, but seemed less than pleased with the new voter ID bill that made its "soft roll-out" in preparation for November.
County voters and those throughout the state were asked to provide a photo identification before voting Tuesday to get them ready for November. Though those casting ballots did not need to provide ID, most did, the commissioners said at their meeting Thursday.
The board did not conduct a work session on Monday in order to get prepared for the primary election.
"We took steps preparing for the election with a meeting with all involved in the county," said Commissioner Jeff Snyder. "I don't know of any problems ... I think we had a very smooth election process, with our efforts and the professionalism of the staff."
Commissioner Joel Long agreed, though he added, the state will not know the full impact of the voter ID bill until it's fully in place in November.
"I know that some people were upset and one person refused to show his ID," he said. "I think it's a needless expenditure with the state putting another burden on us. The state has all this to deal with... they should be worried about bigger things than this."
Commissioner Chairman Pete Smeltz said the new law will make "more work and more inconvenience" to voters who refuse to show ID, and then must fill out a provisional ballot.
According to information from the National Conference of State Legislators, Smeltz said, 32 of the 50 states require some sort of ID, with Pennsylvania joining eight others enforcing "strict ID policies," with a photo required.
In addition, he said, seven states have a "non-strict" voter ID law, with those with photo IDs allowed to vouch for those who do; and 16 others do not require a photo with the identification card.
The commissioners Thursday also officially approved a $551,223 Community Development Block Grant sub-agreement with Suburban Water Authority for its Whiskey Run water interconnect project.
The commissioners informally approved the competitive grant that will benefit about 50 Farrandsville area households, all of them with inadequate or contaminated water supplies.
The grant will be combined with an H2O grant and a PennVEST loan obtained by Suburban to complete the nearly $2 million project.
Smeltz said Suburban "worked hard and very diligently" to be awarded the funding to see the project through.
Jamie Shrawder, project coordinator for community development for SEDA-COG, said the bids for the project are currently out and should be awarded on May 15.
The construction, she said, should start in June and be completed this fall.
The water association covering Farrandsville has been under mandate by the state Department of Environmental Protection to upgrade its water system or close down.
The system is fed by a spring, but DEP contends there is surface water contamination.
The project would require the installation of 18,000 feet of six-inch waterline, a water booster station with backup generator, and new water meter pits with backflow prevention devices for each connection.
In other business, the commissioners, approved nine projects for the upcoming fiscal year's 2012-13 Community Development Block Grant.
Yesterday's action gives county Planner Tim Holladay the go-ahead to mail the application to the state Department of Community and Economic Development for the projects totalling $338,766.
Snyder said the commissioners will travel to Elk County on May 2 to tour a former elementary school that has been transformed into a emergency communications center, much like Clinton County will do.
The commissioners recently bought the former Flemington Elementary School for $1 to use as the county's new 911 center. Plans are move the 911 center out of the basement of the county-owned Susque-View Inc. extended care facility near Lock Haven Hospital, and into the school after renovations are complete.
Snyder said he and Director of Emergency Services Kevin Fanning are in the process of setting up meetings to discuss how best to transform the former school into a communications center.
The center should be done in 12 to 18 months after construction starts, Snyder said.
He noted later in the meeting about $103,000 of the county's bills that were approved for payment was the first payment to Transcor for equipment to convert the emergency communications from wide-band to narrow-band by the end of the year.
Holladay noted today is the deadline for organizations to apply for recreation and tourism-related funding this year.
Last year, the county allocated $36,750 to agencies for events designed to draw visitors to the county.
Finally, the board confirmed the termination of Connie Eck as a correctional officer at the Clinton County Correctional Facility after eight years of service, effective April 20. The commissioners would not comment on the reason for the termination, citing personnel issues.