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Centre officials say rising fuel prices have impacted gov’t

BELLEFONTE — The rising gas prices have impacted everyone, from individuals to businesses. You can add county government to that list.

During Tuesday’s Centre County Board of Commissioners’ meeting, Dave Lomison, Director of Transportation, talked about the impact that high gas prices are having on the county.

“We have a fixed price that we pay, but it could change weekly through our service provider for the gasoline,” Lomison said. “We fill up at the card locks and various places throughout the county. (We have) the ability to fuel other places, if needed. It’s a set price that changes, obviously, weekly, with the market.”

According to Lomison, the high prices have impacted the way the county does business.

“Oh yes, it is … it’s certainly playing a role in how we do things. How we group trips and try to make people understand that we have to consolidate trips instead of transporting one person at a time. Those days are in the past,” Lomison noted.

However, Lomison said that the high prices at the pump have not impacted services.

“No reduction. We still offer the same services … they’re still open to the people who qualify and those who want to use it. We have not reduced any services at this point, no,” Lomison said.

Lomison was at the meeting to ask the board for approval of the Participation Grant Agreement with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Bureau of Managed Care Operations Division of Medical Assistance Transportation for the Fiscal Year 2022-23. The agreement will allow the county to continue providing transportation for individuals covered by the Medical Assistance Transportation Program (MATP). The grant total is $830,750 for the period of July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023.

“That’s about $60,000 to $70,000 more than they approved for this year. We have not used it all yet, but we’re close. We just see the need continuing. They’ve authorized what we submitted for the budget,” Lomison said.

The grant agreement passed two votes to none. Chair Michael Pipe and commissioner Steve Dershem voted yes. Commissioner Mark Higgins was absent from the meeting.

In other business Tuesday, the commissioners:

— Approved a contract with The Nutrition Group to provide services to Office of Aging for the Centre County Meals Program. The contract rate for the following meals are as follows: congregate meals $6.01, in-home meals $6.14, in-home frozen meals $6.14 and shelf stable meals $4.89 for the period of July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2025.

— Approved a contract with Valued Relationships, Inc. to provide services to older adults in Centre County including personal emergency response systems (PERS) and medication dispensers. Both services are provided through the Homemaker Services and Options program. The contract total is $9,500 funded by the state for the period of July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2025. The item was added to next week’s consent agenda.

— Approved a contract with Automated Security Alert, Inc. to provide services to older adults in Centre County including personal emergency response systems (PERS) and medications dispensers. Both services are provided through the Homemaker Services & OPTIONS program. The contract total is $7,000 funded by the State for the period of July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2025. The item was moved to next week’s consent agenda.

— Approved a contract renewal with The ARC of Centre County to provide services to individuals with intellectual disabilities including in-home and community supports, supported employment, transportation, respite care and behavioral support services. The contract total is $63,000 funded as follows: State ($60,096) and county match ($2,904) for the period of July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2023. The item was moved to next week’s consent agenda.

— Approved a contract renewal with Eagle Ridge Personal Care Home, LLC to provide mental health and supported living services. The contract total is $9,674 funded as follows: State ($9,228) and county match $446 for the period of March 1, 2022 to June 30, 2022.

The county commissioners will meet again at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 21. The meeting is open to the public and will be televised live by C-NET.

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