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Brownfields’ revolving loan fund to be launched this year

WILLIAMSPORT — An $800,000 grant which the county received from the federal Environmental Protection Agency several years ago will be used to establish a revolving loan fund to clean up Brownfield sites in the county. The program is expected to be launched some time this year, according to Jenny Picciano, of the county’s planning and community development department.

“We’re going to be establishing those loans and grants to be used to clean up contaminated sites,” Picciano said, adding that the program will hopefully be launched this summer.

Commissioner Rick Mirabito noted that because of the county’s short-staffing issue, the program has not been able to move forward until now.

In preparation for the launch, the commissioners approved a closeout agreement which the EPA requires.

Brownfields are former industrial or commercial sites where there is environmental contamination that affects future use.

Under action items, the commissioners approved: an agreement with Dr. Janice Ophoven, a pediatric forensic pathology specialist, for services for an upcoming case in the Public Defender’s office; an amendment to an agreement with PharmChem, Inc., for drug abuse detection products for the Pre-Release Center; a Memorandum of Understanding with the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership; an update to the county’s Emergency Management Agency Nuclear/Radiological Incident Plan-ANNEX A for Nuclear Power Plant incidents; and a letter of support with Diamond Rose Associates pertaining to an application for low-income housing tax credits from the Pennsylvania Housing Financing Authority, involving two housing units, one at Grier Street and the other on Linn Street. Both are in Williamsport.

During the meeting, county employees with a combined total of 90 years service were recognized by the commissioners. The employees are:

— Christine Walters, 20 years, Pre-Release Center.

— Kate Nickles, 10 years, Coroner’s Office.

— Jynara Kibler, 10 years, Adult Probation Office.

— Vicki Bolay, 30 years, Domestic Relations Office.

— Matt Gotshall, 20 years, Adult Probation Office.

“They stayed because they care about each other and they care about the community and what they do,” commissioner Scott Metzger said of the employees.

The next meeting of the commissioners will be at 10 a.m. on Thursday, June 16 in the Commissioners’ Board Room, First Floor, Executive Plaza, 330 Pine St.

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