People Above Politics

Litz brings Local Government, Small Business, and Conservation Experience to the Table.

   Jo Ellen is a 5-term Lebanon County Commissioner who is the Boots on the Ground for local government implementing programs to Protect Children, Serve Families, Secure Justice, Manage Emergencies, and Safeguard Elections.  In short, Commissioner Litz Safeguards the Public Trust.

Whether it was the 2004 Campbelltown Tornado, Tropical Storm Lee in 2011, or the 30" 2016 Snowstorm Jonas, I've been here for you.

Litz was elected by her peers from across the state of Pennsylvania to serve as the 2012 president and 2013 chairman of the Board for the statewide commissioner's association. 

Litz is about starting a conversation from public structures like roads and bridges, water and sewer, schools, and energy.  A sound infrastructure is the basis of a sound economy.  Litz believes we need these Economy Boosting Jobs to put money into the pockets of people so that they can buy homes, cars, and goods.  Litz supports a transportation plan to make our roads and bridges safe.  In this way, we will create good paying jobs, get people to these jobs, our goods to market, and children to schools. 

Jo Ellen served as the chair of the MPO (2012-15)--Metropolitan Planning Organization for Lebanon County--where she helps to prioritize local road and bridge projects with PennDOT and the Federal Highway Administration. 

Keep Litz doing the People's Business.

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As We Ignite our Generation 2015 - Duration- 3 minutes, 59 seconds

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County Commissioner Jo Ellen Litz speaks to voters- Duration- 78 seconds

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Campaign/Rail Trail Map Postcard.pdf

Home Up 2008 2007 2006 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 14 2015

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Meeting Highlights

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Litz Co Commercial Rentals, 1.386 acre Property Available with established Rt 422 access & curb cuts.  Out of flood plain.

 

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My Blog on the Lebanon Daily News site: http://blogs.ldnews.com/peopleabovepolitics/

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Taking Action, Getting Results.

Lebanon PA  17046

644-4698

NEED HELP?  Try one of these resources:

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Human Services 2015 Directory

bullet "No Wrong Door"-2016 Lebanon County Resource Guide
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Community Resource Manual  http://joellenlitz.com/EMA/CommResourceGuide11,28MB.pdf

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Public Officials Directory prepared by LC Planning Department 

http://lebcounty.org/Planning/Documents/2017%20Public%20Officials%20Directory.pdf

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Invest in my campaign for commissioner.  As a TEAM, we can overcome Big Money, and make this a People's Campaign.  Are you with me?

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Your early and monthly donation will help Jo Ellen to get elected by printing literature, reserving media buys, ordering signs….  

Thank you for your help and support during this campaign.  Your unwavering commitment is the wind beneath my wings.

On election day, every vote matters.  You matter!  And I can't win this race without you.
 
Volunteer  today  Jo Ellen Litz
 
Thank you for your support and for all that you do.

Sincerely, Jo Ellen

People Above Politics

Team Litz:  Treasurer, Cathy Garrison

Honorary Chair:     Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll --a woman who broke the glass ceiling and contributed greatly to PA politics; born in 1930, died November 12, 2008.

Jo Ellen Litz Campaign Video
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[TRANSLATED] Jo Ellen Litz Campaign Video

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Swatara Watershed Association

 

 

www.nlrotary.com 

 

ABWA Homepage link

American Business Women's Association

Lebanon County Commission for Women

https://www.facebook.com/LCC4W

 

Women's Democratic Club of Lebanon Valley

https://www.facebook.com/WomensDemocraticClubOfLebanonValley

Woman's Club of Lebanon

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Womans-Club-of-Lebanon/290765664321590

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Web site paid for by Jo Ellen Litz. 

Meeting Highlights

Votes taken by the Lebanon County Commissioners 2009:

December 31, 2009

Sallie Neuin reiterated that the County is awaiting $2.2 million in reimbursements for Children and Youth and the Community Action Partnership.

Catherine Kilgore presented two Criminal Justice Advisory Board grant applications for approval:

bulletA PCCD $410,800 imaging technology expansion, which will place 14 Fujotsi scanners capable of scanning 100 documents per minute as well as larger files in Adult probation, court administration, the District Attorney's Office, Juvenile Probation, Drug and Alcohol, the Correctional Facility, MHMR, the Public Defender, and Sheriff's Offices.   The 18-month grant will pay employees overtime to scan documents and index files into the system, and
bulletA two-year $85,197 ARRA retention grant for the CJAB Planner position held by Kilgore.

While both motions passed, continuation of the CJAB position received support from Carpenter and Litz with Stohler voting nay.

Attorney Brag Becker, Stevens and Lee, presented a $5.5 million line of credit for Tax and Revenue Anticipation Note bids. Commissioners voted to accept Fulton Bank’s 2.53% variable offer, which is 60% of prime. Attorney fees total $2250.  In six months, the full TRAN would have to reach 4.4% before an equivalent amount of interest would be spent on the fixed 3% rate bid by other banks.  Funds will only be withdrawn if and when they are needed.

COLT Board members Franklin Shearer and John Shenk were reappointed.  However, one vacancy exists on the COLT board, and applications will be entertained for the position.

 

After adjourning the meeting, Commissioners reconvened to conduct a Retirement Board meeting, which includes Controller Mettley and Treasurer Neuin.  Controller Mettley requested that:

bullet5.5% Interest be paid on the retirement account;
bulletThe 180th class be retained;
bulletHay Benefits group be paid $1.85 per prepared employee statement;
bulletNo action be taken to pay a COLA;
bulletRefunds be paid to employees leaving County employment during 2009;
bullet2009 death benefits be paid ; and
bulletNew retirees in 2009 be approved for pension payments.

December 24, 1009

Treasurer Neuin said that the State owes Lebanon County $2,177,000.  Lebanon County also has $1,950,220.45 in unrealized revenue.  At this point in the year, we should have a $2,400,000 surplus, but reduced housing starts and sales as well as fewer jobs for work release inmates who pay board and slower collections for cost recovery combine to make the budget tight.  For this week, that translates into a shortage of $47,123.35 to pay the bills.  Without the State’s payment, starting in January, Commissioners will need to approve a TRAN-tax and revenue anticipation note-to pay bills.  Unfortunately, this also means that rather than earning 2% interest on invested real estate tax paid by Lebanon residents, we will have to pay interest on the borrowed money.

Commissioners hired Brian L. Deiderick as the new Public Defender for Lebanon County.  Deiderick replaces newly elected Common Pleas Judge Charlie Jones.

 

Attorney David Tshudy, of Stevens & Lee, presented a 90-acre phasing schedule revision to a subdivision and land development plan for ‘Full Circle,’ owned by John Caporaletti, to extend deadlines for a 173 lot development south of the Monroe Valley Golf Course and north of the mountain.

While unusual, as outlined in the Municipalities Planning Code, section 508, subsection 4v, because Swatara Township does not have an approved ordinance and the Lebanon County Planning Department is not a governing body, Lebanon County Commissioners were asked to approve the revised phasing schedule:

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Phase 1 Lots 1-15, 56-81, and 162-173 from 2009 to October 1, 2012

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Phase 2 Lots 16-23, 46-55, 82-96, and 148-161 from 2010 to October 1, 2015

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Phase 3 Lots 24-45, 97-108, and 133-147 from 2011 to October 1, 2017; and

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Phase 4 Lots 109-132 from 2012 to October 1, 2019.

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No building permits or sales of lots can occur without public sewer and water, which must come over the mountain to the sites.  Normally, County Planning signs off on plans for the Commissioners.  Motion carried.

Dennis Firestone presented change orders for additional work in the amount of $15,730 and $18,250 for the Prison Roof Replacement.  The total cost for the project will still come in under budget.

Commissioners approved facilitating a stimulus grant through a Local Jurisdiction Waiver for the Sexual Assault Resource and Counseling Center to hire an SA Outreach/Counselor.

For achieving the Girl Scout Gold Award, Stephanie Horvat, Troop 703-378, received a letter of commendation from the Lebanon County Commissioners.  Stephanie created a recruitment video for the Sea Cadet Corps. 

Commissioners wished everyone a Merry Christmas, and passed the $90,515,234 2010 County Budget with no tax increase.  Millage will remain at 20.

December 16, 2009

Cedar Haven

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Because of recent discharges and deaths, census stood at 301 or 92%--90 male and 211 female.

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Administrator Schlegel reviewed a 2001 'weekend' incentive program that is no longer necessary.  Effective January 3, 2010, the incentive program will cease.

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In addition to handicap spaces, parking spaces designated for visitors will increase from 7 to 15.

Prison Board

Population stood at 412--360 male and 52 female.

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Unsentenced inmates stood at 106;

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State sentenced inmates at 14;

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Parole/probation violators at 182;

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District Judge sentenced at 6; and

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Court of Common Pleas sentenced at 28.

December 17, 2009

United Way

 

Children were delighted by Santa, Cocoa and the real Hershey Bears Hockey Team who visited Lebanon County Christian Ministries to deliver presents. The United Way of Lebanon County coordinated the event in conjunction with a project to keep everyone warm this winter with donations of hats, scarves and mittens. Lee Moyer's One Man Band provided music, and Lebanon Federal Credit Union donated 22 dozen cookies.

VITA Free income tax preparation service for people who earned less that $50,000 in 2009.  Call 273-9328 for an appointment at the Democratic Headquarters, 23 S 6th St., Lebanon, or the Hispanic Center (CALAL), 406 N 9th St., Lebanon; or 867-6054 for Lebanon Valley College, Building Lynch 128, Annville.

Regular Commissioner’s Meeting

Treasurer Neuin presented a $1 bid on a property from the repository of unclaimed properties.  Commissioners accepted the bid for a trailer in Northcrest Acres.

Kris Troup was appointed as the new Planning Director filling a vacancy left by Earl Meyer.  Kris has a positive vision for Lebanon County, has worked with builders and is respected by conservation groups, wants to partner with municipalities, and will implement the new Comprehensive Plan.

 

Dr. Christopher Vates, Hershey Medical Center, is conducting a RAMPART double blind study for Status epilepticus (seizures). Patients will be given both a placebo AND lorazepam by IV ( a tiny straw or tube in the vein) OR midazolam by IM (a shot in the thigh muscle). People can opt out by wearing an "opt out" bracelet issued by calling 717-531-1707 or visiting their web at www.pennstatehershey.org/emergencymedicine .

Mark Chegwidden, Lebanon County Conservation District, presented the Stoner and Zimmerman farms for a Right-to-be-Heard preservation hearing.  The 30.07 acre Zimmerman farm is in Jackson Township, and the 119.68 acre Stoner farm is in Cornwall Boro and South Lebanon Township.  No objections were heard.

Calvin Miller and Robert Arnold were reappointed as directors to the Conservation District. 

Bill Sullivan received approval for the Gatekeeper grant.

 

Dr. Yocum, EMA Director Dan Kaufman, and Brian Burke presented an H1N1 Clinic update.  Thursday and Friday evening 12/17 and 18 and Saturday 12/19/2009 from 9AM-2PM at both the Lebanon County Career and Technology Center and Palmyra High School, H1N1 vaccine will be available for all students and teachers in Lebanon County. Parents must accompany students. No appointment is necessary. First Responders may obtain vaccine from First Aid and Safety Patrol. With the remaining vaccine, the general public will be notified of an opportunity to visit a mobile trailer for a dose. 

A Savin agreement was reauthorized for the District Attorney to participate in a victim notification process to identify prisoners being released from jail.

While Commissioners Stohler and Carpenter voted not to send letters supporting the elimination of jury commissioner to all House (as requested by Representative Swanger) and Senate members across the state, they agreed to send a letter to our local Representatives Swanger and Gingrich and Senator Folmer.  An option for Commissioners to address and vote upon the issue is preferred.

Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) members heard:

Heard an update on the Schaefferstown Bypass Project.  Bid letting was scheduled for December 3, 2009, but has been delayed until February 4, 2010 to work with Leon Kline concerning 5.8 acres of his farm.  The project would open for traffic in the spring of 2011.

Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) amendments including the Palmyra Sinkhole project, which are reimbursed by the federal government.

Highway Safety Improvement Program projects

LED Traffic Signal Upgrade status

An Inwood Bridge update.  Five alternatives were presented by Engineer Brian Wilson.

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No build or removal of the existing bridge at a cost of $100,000;

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Rehab the existing bridge for 5 ton vehicular traffic (no fire trucks) at a cost of $3,124,375;

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Rehab the existing bridge for 15 tons of vehicular traffic at a cost of $3,475,313;

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Removal of the existing bridge and a new bridge build on the existing alignment $1,937,100; or

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Preservation of the existing bridge for pedestrians and building of a parallel bridge for vehicular traffic $4,941,475.

A public comment period will take place in Spring 2010.

The next MPO meeting, which is open to the public, is scheduled for February 25, 2010.

Assessment Appeals

Commissioners Carpenter and Stohler denied Gary Folk’s appeal on his Newmanstown home.  As originally suggested by Carpenter, in the spirit of the holiday, Commissioner Litz thought that the County Assessor should be allowed to visit the home to complete an appraisal and make a recommendation to the Board.  Therefore, she voted nay. 

As a disabled veteran, Eric Wolfe, 607 Maple St., Lebanon, received real estate property tax exemption on his home.

Commissioners denied tax exemption status for City property not used for parks, parking, or the new railroad bridge.

December 10, 2009

On behalf of county commissioners across the state, Commissioner Litz attended the PA Farm Preservation board meeting in Harrisburg.

Catherine Kilgore presented a $1494 Criminal Justice Advisory Board grant application for the DUI Court Collaborative Evaluation Initiative with Lebanon Valley College.

Lynn Snead presented a $24,000-two year Domestic Violence Intervention grant to provide advocacy and direct service to victims of domestic violence.  The funds will assist in retaining two part-time advocate positions.

Commissioners signed an agreement with West Cornwall Township Municipal Authority for the LV Rails to Trails to construct and install a sanitary sewer system within the railroad bed.

Commissioners signed a letter of consent with Comcast Cable to provide broadband communications services to District Court 52-3-01.

Phyllis Holtry presented a reduction from $202,661 to $182,097 for the Homeless Assistance Program.

Approval of $12,500 from Category 1 Implementation Funds were approved for Part 2 of the Myerstown Borough's application to update their current Comprehensive Plan. 

December 9, 2009

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

December 3, 2009

Melisa Light presented personnel transactions and conference and seminar requests.  In addition, due to a 50% increase in workload over the past year, Melissa received permission to hire an Early Intervention Service coordinator for MH/MR/EI to serve children.  This position is 97% funded by state and federal grants.

District Attorney Dave Arnold presented a $147,560 Penn DOT Driving Under the Influence court grant to fund two probation positions and drug and alcohol assessment and testing equipment.  Tony Finkle highlighted the recent Annville Cleona Under-aged Town Hall attended by 85 people.

 

Jon Fitzkee and Tom Kotay presented a $292,000 LED Traffic Light Signalization upgrade project, which has a local match of $34,800.  The match will come from either MPO or liquid fuels funding.  33 lights in 10 municipalities (Bethel, Heidleberg, Myerstown, Millcreek, the City of Lebanon, North Lebanon, South Lebanon, West Cornwall, West Lebanon, and North Cornwall) will be transformed at an annual savings of $86,000 in electricity bills.  Also, 750 crosswalk signs will be converted to LED lights.

 
2010 Lebanon County budget.wmv 7:52 on YouTube

County 2010 Budget
Click Here to View 2010 budget report

Preliminary adoption of the 2010 County budget without a tax increase passed on a Stohler/Litz motion. Commissioner Carpenter wanted to raise taxes by one mill.  The millage rate will remain at 20 mills.

The County should have a $2.5 million carryover from 2009, but the State is slow pay (not no pay as Commissioner Carpenter pointed out a few months earlier).  Specifically, Lebanon County is waiting on $161,000 for CAP; $1,723,982 for Children and Youth; $528,000 for Renaissance Crossroads; $295,000 for the DA's salary; $140,000 for Gaming; and $16,999.57 for the West Nile Virus program.  If this money were in our bank accounts, we would be drawing interest and the budget right on target.

Because Lebanon County does not have this money for services already rendered, interest income is not where it should be.  We have been receiving 2% from Fulton bank.  The new $90,515,234 budget, of which $37,709,700 is General Fund revenue from real estate taxes, department charges, interest, and court costs and fines, and the balance of the overall budget representing sources like state and federal grants, liquid fuels, Cedar Haven, and 911 comprises income to the County.

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Overall, the General Fund revenue is down by one half of one percent or $190,724.

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Real estate tax receipts are expected to increase by 1.5% or $353,904.

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Court Costs and fines collections went down by $27,000 or 1.1%.  Interest revenue is down by 34% or $145,000.  Department charges and reimbursements are down by 3.56% or $206,000 due in part due to fewer Building Code fees and no jobs for Prison work release inmates who pay room and board.

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Non-revenue receipts are also down by 6.7% or $134,000 due in part to the satisfaction of an MH/MR building mortgage reimbursement by the Commonwealth.

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Of course under court order, the County is being forced to complete a countywide reassessment and needs to initiate an alternate Public Service Answering Point.

Barring any unexpected crisis, the carry-over at the end of 2010 should  be $1,259,000. A Tax and Revenue Anticipation Note will need to be used again in 2010.

November 25, 2009

 

Farmers and Conservationists attended today’s Commissioner’s meeting in a show of solidarity for the Lebanon County Conservation District.  While they didn’t bring their tractors, Dean Moyer, Adam Hain, Richard Moore, Dean Patches, Ellie Sallahub, and Jeff Werner were among the public who spoke to request that some funding be reinstated for the Conservation District.  Martin Barondick and Carl Jarbo spoke against funding the Conservation District.  Commissioner Litz stated:

 

November 20-26 is Farm-City Week in PA.  It would have been great to have tractors come to the City, but after researching the law, Commissioner Litz learned that the only exceptions for tractors on the road include daylight hours from farm to farm; farm to ag related business; or if licensed and inspected.  Even though tractors went to Washington DC for the Farm Bill and tractors routinely appear in parades, she did not encourage anyone to break the law.  In fact, she emailed a copy of the law to some farmers.  Further:

bulletLebanon County has $69,326,500 in land assessed as agricultural. 
bulletAnnually, this land brings the County $1,386,530 in real estate taxes.
bulletAnnually, cropland contributes over $220 million to the local economy.
bulletAg production of livestock and poultry adds $24.5 million annually to our economy.
bulletFarms are the front line of a healthy economy.
bulletFarms provide life sustaining food.
bulletFarmers are expected to provide clean water to drink.
bulletFarms are the essence of smart growth.
bulletConservation Districts work with farmers and others to help preserve our quality of life.
bulletOur Conservation District addresses issues locally, reasonably, and amicably.
 

So, how can we reduce the Conservation District funding to zero?  We need to value their services and commitment to Lebanon County by providing funding for these services.

(Services include Conservation Planning, Environmental Education, E&S Pollution Control, Forestry Outreach, Incentive Programs:  Chesapeake Bay, Tulpehocken Small Watershed, Nutrient Trading Support, Park the Plow, Farmer to Farmer, REAP support) NPDES Storm Water Permitting, Nutrient Management, and Watershed Outreach.

Lebanon County Comprehensive Plan

Agricultural and forest lands together account for 169,537 acres or approximately 72.4% of the county’s total land area.

Agriculture is the predominant land use in Lebanon County, occupying 99,996 acres and 42.7% of the total county land area. This figure represents lands used for agricultural production activities; it does not include homesteads, woodlands, drives and lanes, and other lands used for non-agricultural activities, though they may occur on farm property. As such, this figure is less than the 124,500 acres reported as “land in farms” for Lebanon County in the 2005/2006 Pennsylvania Agricultural Statistics Bulletin.

Lebanon County ranks in the top five counties statewide for total agricultural production, milk production, number of chickens, and number of cattle and hogs.

Further, Commissioner Litz said that, “It’s the wrong time to cut Conservation Districts."  President Obama’s executive order to clean up the Chesapeake Bay will require the Environmental Protection Agency to monitor and reduce Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment in the waterways.  Conservation Districts will be expected to work with farmers and others on a pollution diet. 

Commissioner Stohler said he felt that the County should fund Human Services first.  Commissioner Carpenter attacked a stipend paid to employees in an effort to stop turnover.  In the end, Commissioners Carpenter and Stohler did not agree to reinstate any funding for the Conservation District. 

After public comment, a Carpenter/Stohler motion passed to approve the previous weeks' minutes.  Because the minutes did not reflect the fact that the Conservation District may return for funding during the next budget cycle Commissioner Litz voted naye.

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At no additional county cost, Kevin Schrum received approval on $45,084 in contract modifications and a plan and budget developed with the input of family members and providers, and the plan represents Lebanon County’s best efforts to meet critical needs of Lebanon County residents who have mental retardation. 

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Mike Kristovensky presented a PDA waiver and Area Agency on Aging Block Grant application for support of Lebanon County’s Area Plan, which at $3,234,316 is $193,190 less than last year.  AAA manages over thirty sources of funding for their budget.

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Jeff Steckbeck asked for approval of a contract with West Cornwall Sewer Authority to place utilities under a section of the rail trail created in the year 2000.  Commissioner Litz asked that approval be postponed and a copy of the contract be provided for review.  Her colleagues concurred. 

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John B. Wengert gave an update on the rail trail.  He also invited everyone to the second annual Rail Trail fundraiser at the Women’s Club on December 6 for an evening of food, beverages, and music.  Cost is $25.  Call 370-1356 for tickets or pay at the door.

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Appointments were made to the Community Action Partnership board. 

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Commissioners discussed Representative Swanger’s legislation providing an option to eliminate the office of jury commissioner.

At 11:30AM, Commissioners reconvened to discuss sewage modules and Christmas Eve.

November 18, 2009

Cedar Haven

No H1N1 vaccine is available to date. 

Census stood at 94%.

Budget:

 

Commissioners Stohler and Carpenter voted to cut funding to the Lebanon County Conservation District. Commissioners Carpenter and Litz voted to provide $100,000 for farmland preservation in the 2010 budget.  Commissioner Litz requested that $75,000 be awarded to LCCD to administer the Farm Preservation program.

 

Commissioners announced that the Sewage Program, which the County administers for municipalities, may be cut.  The State cut funding for administration from $130,000 to $59,822 annually. 

While the library funding is safe and retirees will receive $500 each towards health insurance, the Historical Society will not receive an additional request, merit increases were not considered, and an electronic phone system will be phased in by 1/2011.  Denied were requests for an auditor in the Controller's office, another Detective, and clerks in the Prothonotary's office.

Record Improvement

Sally Neuin was elected as the chair of the Record Improvement Committee.  Commissioners approved a request to purchase $8500 worth of equipment to implement the Uniform Parcel Identifier system and $4998 for Treasurer Neuin to purchase a Dog License Program.

Prison Board

Census stood at 427:  70 unsentenced inmates, 63 on work release, 32 state sentenced, 188 parole/probation violators, 10 sentenced by District Judges, and 48 sentenced by the Court of Common Pleas.

November 19, 2009

Regular Meeting

Treasurer Sallie Neuin and Administrator Jamie Wolgemuth reported that the State owes Lebanon County about $3 million for Children and Youth, Community Action Partnership, Renaissance Crossroads, District Attorney Salary….

Gary Robson received permission to fill a vacant houseparent position and to increase the weekly hours for the Bridge House Case Manager from 35 to 37.5 per week due to increased administrative work required for the Long Term/Short Term rental assistance program, which received $1 million in stimulus money.

Vicki DeLoatch received a proclamation for the Great American Smoke out to encourage people to quit smoking today.

Dennis Firestone opened bids for a Prison Kitchen Exhaust System, which needs replaced.  Sanjay Marketing Group, Lebanon, bid $32,160.  Commissioners also approved a change order to replace eight deteriorated curbs at a cost of $1596.80.

Commissioners appointed Richard Fields, Kristine Slick, and Kevin Schrum to the Community action Partnership board.

Voter Election Recount

Because Temp Smith did not respond to a request to waive the right to a recount, Commissioners and Voter Registrar Nick Yingst, Sharon, Joellen and Jamie recounted votes cast in the Superior Court statewide race as ordered.  6.3 million Votes were cast on Election Day.  Because there was less than ½ of 1% vote spread between candidates, a recount is automatic, unless candidates agree to waive a recount.  Smith came in sixth, and four judges will be elected. 

Assessment Appeals

Disabled veterans Linda Brown and Nakia Kohl received tax exempt status.

Chief Assessor Seaman reviewed appeals that went to the Court of Common Pleas.

Four assessment appeals were heard.

Four requests were sent to Tyler, 21st Century, Vision Applications (Massachusetts), and Griffith Group requesting proposals for a tax reassessment.  Other local assessors will be sought as well. 

Casting of Lots will occur on November 20 at noon for the purpose of deciding winners in any contest where there is a tie among the top vote receivers.

November 12, 2009

Commissioners appointed the following individuals to the Children and Youth Citizens Advisory committee:  Marc Hess, Keith Shields, Edgar Miller, Susan Warner, and Kimberly Miller.

Commissioners adopted Ordinance 39 establishing a Uniform Parcel Identifier system for tax maps using latitude and longitude numbers in order to certify an instrument to facilitate conveyance (transfer a deed).

November 5, 2009

At 7:30AM, Commissioner Litz attended the Government Affairs committee meeting for the LV Chamber of Commerce.

At 9:30AM, James Holtry and Karen Alonzo presented invoices, supplemental invoices, and budget amendment, and contracts totaling $898,391.92 for approval (Title IV-E Placement Maintenance $285,301.60; Title IV-E Adoption assistance $64,243.49; Medicaid $1,070.92; and Act 148 $514,300).  Because residential placement of juveniles was under budget by $1,189,895, the County budget will receive $204,005 less impact.  Berks County Detention changed their rate from $236.92 to $287.66 daily.  Valley Youth House Supervised Independent Living Program is $156 daily.

Megan Ryland Tanner presented a preliminary 3-year $125,000 annual STOP Continuation Grant Application for approval.  Law enforcement, DVI, SARRC, and Victim Witness Service Providers will share the funds.

Based upon a 97.3% grant award, Sally Barry, Adult Probation, requested approval of a modified Renaissance Crossroads Program Budget.  $18,953 will be cut from consultant fees.

Archie and Mike Battistelli, Stifel Nicolaus, as well as Bret and Mark Genshimer, from CS McKee Investment Managers, presented the 3rd quarter retirement fund report, which reflected an $81,003,000 balance.  After withdrawing payments, the balance stands at $79 million today.  The highpoint for the retirement account was at the end of 2007 with a balance of $93,061,000 but after a low of $68,072,000 in March of 2009, the fund has bounced back nicely.  Archie said that reducing, “Unemployment and putting people to work will improve the economy.  Until then, the economy will grow slow but normal.”

Phyllis Holtry presented contracts for approval:  Medical Assistance Transportation Program (MATP) with COLT; Emergency Shelter Grant with Domestic Violence Intervention for $60,000; Crisis Intervention and Information Services with Philhaven for $325,000; MATP with Aunt Mel for out of county transit; Emergency Shelter Grant with DVI for $25,625; MATP with Ultimate Medical Services for out of county transportation trips; and a Contract amendment for Community Services Block Grant to extend our current contract to 12/31/10.

Commissioners certified salary and benefits for a Juvenile Probation grant in aid program to make personnel compensation consistent with other county and court employees.

Governor Dick Board member John Weidman stepped down, and Commissioners ratified SICO’s recommendation to appoint Harrison Diehl.

 

At 2PM, the Lebanon County Housing Authority cut the ribbon for Mifflin MillsFrom a crumbling Textile Mill to a home ownership program, a project of the Lebanon County Housing Authority, Mifflin Mills fits right into the community with front porches, lawns and parking in the rear. The twenty-unit 1400 square foot 3-bedroom homes are rented for $596 per month for 15 years with part of the payment going towards equity. Another ten years later, the home is owned free and clear. Visit www.mifflinmills.com  for more information. A ribbon cutting and gingerbread house replica of the first home was presented to the first resident. 14 homes are currently under contract with 6 homes remaining.

At 8PM, Commissioner Litz attended the Lebanon County Conservation District Board meeting.

Friday at 9AM Commissioners will conduct the official computation for Tuesday’s election.

October 29, 2009

Commissioners approved the collection of real estate taxes for Cornwall Borough, which brings to twelve (12) the number of municipalities for which the Treasurer collects real estate taxes.

Gary Robson presented personnel requests:

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On a Carpenter/Litz motion, it was approved to advertise for the District Attorney to fill a vacated position for a detective to investigate child abuse cases--Stohler voted nay.;

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A caseworker in Children and Youth Services;

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A Fulltime Housing Case Manager for Community Action Partnership and a fulltime officer as well as the expansion of hours for the Bridge House Case Manager from 35-37.5 hours per week due to increased administrative work for the rental assistance program.  These positions are necessary to administer the $1,019,782 stimulus grant.

 

Commissioners listened to Recorder of Deeds Donna Lutz make a presentation on her and Assessment Office Director Dan Seaman’s request to advertise for a Uniform Parcel Identifier System, which, for a charge of $10, assigns a number to each parcel for tracking.  After seven days, Ordinance #39 will be voted upon for adoption.  Donna compared the identifying number to a social security number, but for land.  Implementation will aid in research and bring an additional revenue of approximately $230,000 to the County annually.  The $14,000 hardware and software charges to implement the program will come from the Recorder’s Record Improvement Fund.

Further, Donna Lutz received approval for an IMR “Hot Spot” Hosting Service agreement for disaster recovery.  Implementation costs are $12,500 with an annual service fee of $5000.  Again, costs will be covered by the Record Improvement Fund.

Commissioners approved an $18,000 request for payment for the South 6th Street playground.  10% is held until completion.  The project pavilion and walkways are completed while the fencing and playground equipment are in process.

 

At 10AM, Sallie Neuin oversaw the drawing for deer hunt permits for Governor Dick.  Chuck Allwein and Ray Bender drew 23 elimination and 25 alternate cards.  The 100 cards left in the can will be awarded licenses.

Also, Commissioners were invited to a Nocturnal Hike at Governor Dick.  On a clear night, six counties can be seen from the top of the tower:  Berks, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, and York.  Recognizable landmarks include the TMI towers and Round Top.  The $3 admission charge includes cocoa and a bonfire, which is manned by the Mt. Grenta Fire Company.

 
 

  Palmyra Sinkhole   4:22  (YouTube time, not the Route:)

At 11AM, Commissioners met with members of the MPO--Metropolitan Planning Organization. Lebanon Daily News reporter John Latimar asked about the Palmyra sinkhole which is a perennial topic of discussion. For the third time in three weeks, Penn DOT has closed Route 422 to perform repairs. Eventually, the sinkhole may become a TIP project to bore holes and find solid footing and to close the throat. John Kotay said that a bridge could be built over the sinkhole but under the road for support

Monday through Wednesday of this week, Commissioners went through the budget line by line with Department Heads.  Due to both the generosity of Judge Tylwalk who provided $750,000 from his discretionary Adult Supervision funds as well as other revenue generating and cost saving moves, taxes will remain the same in 2010.

October 22, 2009

Cedar Haven:

Census stood at 314, 98%--89 men and 225 women.

A Christmas tea will be held December 9 from 1-3.  Employees will be awarded their pins.

Mark Zettlemoyer from Reinsel Kuntz Lesher conducted an exit audit interview.  He stated that April 15 is the “drop dead” date for 2009 audit material to be submitted by departments.

Prison Board:

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Population stood at 469—403 men and 66 women.

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102 unsentenced inmates

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75 inmates on work release

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22 State sentenced inmates

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203 parole/probation violators

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10 inmates were sentenced by District Judges

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45 inmates were sentenced by the Court of Common Pleas

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22 domestic bench warrants

Regular Meeting: 

Ranae Lemke presented the Treasurer’s report for approval.  She also received approval on a Resolution to establish a new bank account for the Community Action Partnership in which to place CSBG stimulus funds.

Since the budget was settled, Lebanon County received $3.1 million from the State late last week.  Lebanon County is still due over $1 million.

Gary Robson presented personnel transactions and conference and seminar requests.  He also received signatures on a Teamsters Local 429 union contract for Adult Probation Officers 1 &2, Juvenile Probation Officers 1 & 2, and Domestic Relations Officers.  The contract runs until December 31, 2012.

While the motion passed on a Litz/Carpenter motion, Commissioner Stohler voted not to send District Attorney Arnold, John Ditzler, and Robert McAteer to Forensics and Cold Case Investigations training in Fairfax, Virginia.  The fee is paid from a Forensics Grant, which mandates the training.

Nicholas Yingst, voter registrar, received approval on four HAVA reports.

 

Robert Count and Claire Lundberg  received a proclamation for Red Ribbon Week (October 19-31) and presented Commissioners with red wrist bands.

Commissioners appointed the Lebanon Valley Economic Development Corporation as the official local EDC, which entitles them to State funding, which was cut significantly.

 

First responders, then students and pregnant women will be immunized against H1N1, the Swine Flu.  In addition, hospital and nursing home staff will be inoculated.  After that, up to 29,615 residents may voluntarily receive free swine flu vaccine.  (For those who have allergies, the vaccine is an egg base.)  We are told that if you were born before 1950, you have experienced enough flu seasons, which built up an immunity in your system.

If you are off from school or work with the Swine Flu, do not return until you’ve gone temperature free for at least 24 hours without the aid of Tylenol or Aspirin.  Of course you should wash your hands frequently and sneeze into your elbow.

Lebanon County will establish mass vaccination centers around December, or earlier if the vaccine arrives.  EMA will receive and store Lebanon County’s supply of vaccine.  Volunteers are needed to administer shots, process papers….  To volunteer, contact EMA at 272-7621 or register on the Department of Health website. 

 
  2009 Chesapeake Bay Executive Order  3:21 

EPAs Interim listening session on President Obamas Chesapeake Bay Executive Order #13508. The pollution diet is to reduce nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediment from entering the Chesapeake Bay. There was talk of delegating the job to the county level--Conservation Districts; accountability and regulatory mechanisms; and leveraging private sector dollars. Visit ChesapeakeBay.net to see the Bay Barometer.

Assessment Appeals Board:  Commissioners heard arguments from ELK Corporation concerning their TIF agreement and whether or not they should be allowed to appeal their assessment.

A “No Change” in assessment vote was issued for:  Foster, Alcoa, Sherwin Williams, and Highland Glen.  The Staples/Quill value was reduced from $8.2 to $6.7 million, and Kendra was reduced from $350,000 to $319,000.  However, Lowe’s assessment was increased from $933,600 to $1,157,200.

As a disabled veteran, Andrea Cass was granted exemption.

October 15, 2009

Michael Kristovensky, Dean Mease and Joe Lecisko returned to discuss the meals on wheels bid proposals.  PCN misunderstood the bidding instructions, and each meal cost should be $4.01 ($3.23 + $.78 for delivery to the centers).  Solicitor Snelling advised that we could hold PCN to the $3.23 bid, but they have a 60 day out clause.  Therefore, if we chose to hold PCN to the contract as written, we would most likely have to go through the bid process again in two months.  Commissioners voted to allow the correction to $4.01 per meal, which is still ten cents lower than the current meal price.

On behalf of Community Action Partnership, Commissioners accepted $449,664 from DCED for child care, transportation, computer training, rent, budgeting, and life skills.

As recommended in the Comprehensive Plan, Commissioners approved joint planning initiatives for the Annville Cleona and Cornwall Lebanon School Districts and their respective municipalities. 

Commissioners approved a $10,136 Act 165 PEMA grant for Hazardous Materials Response equipment.

Two proclamations were awarded:

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The Conservation District is celebrating 60 years of service to the community.

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St. Johns Church at 925 Willow Street is celebrating 150 years.

 
 

Lebanon County Employee Awards  2:49 -- All this week, employees received recognition and appreciation for a job well done.

 October 8, 2009

 

Commissioner Litz represented commissioners at the PA Farm Preservation Board meeting.

To pay principal and/or interest due on October 15, 2009, Commissioners approved the:

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Transfer of $986,523.75 from the General Fund Obligation Bonds at Fulton Financial Advisors to 2003B.

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Transfer $436,772.50 from the General Fund Obligation Bonds at Fulton Financial Advisors to 2004B (final payment).

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Transfer $28,096.99 from the General Fund Obligation Bonds at Fulton Financial Advisors to 2009 GOB.

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Transfer $310,530.94 from the General Fund to 2008 Loan Fund at Wachovia Bank.

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Transfer $30,631.17 from the General Fund to 2008 Loan Fund at Wachovia Bank.

Using stimulus funds, Commissioners signed a $380,119.00 contract with DCED for Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-housing.

At a cost of $324,784, Commissioners awarded the prison roofing contract to Breeding Construction of Lorton VA.

Dean Mease and Mike Kristovensky, of the Area Agency on Aging, joined Dennis Firestone to open senior meal bids for delivery to our senior centers:

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Ashland Catering bid $4.36 each for 33,300 meals (hot and cold) and $4.83 for 12,000 meals.

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PCN Nutrition Group (our current provider) bid $3.23 each for hot meals and $4.01 for 12,000 meals.

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Sun Meadow bid $3 each for frozen meals.

For delivery to homes:

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Atland bid $2.32

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PCN bid $.78

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Sun Meadow bid $2.95.

October 1, 2009

Thanks to Day 93 with NO STATE BUDGET, Treasurer Sallie Neuin reported that the County closed the week $135,823.25 in the hole.  Between Children and Youth and the Community Action Partnership, the County is owed $2,435,000 for services rendered

Gary Robson received approval to fill a maintenance mechanic position in the Building and Grounds Department.  Also, due to five (5) vacant caseworker positions, MHMR received approval for ten (10) hours of weekly overtime for the next four (4) weeks while qualified staff is hired to fill the positions.  Commissioners will receive a progress report at which time they can evaluate the situation.

 

Jeff Steckbeck presented Commissioners with an overview of proposed rulemaking by the Environmental Quality Board 25Pa Code Ch 102 in relation to Erosion and Sedimentation Control fees rising from $250 to $2500.  Fees are paid to County Conservation Districts to cover the cost of staffing.  The fee has not risen in about a decade.  Steckbeck requested that the County comment to the EQB within thirty (30) days.

Mark Chegwidden presented the George Krall farm for a right-to-be –heard hearing, which preceeds Farm Preservation.  The 89.08 acre crop farm is located in Heidelberg Township, within ½ mile of two other preserved farms.  One-half of the $222,700 preservation fees will be covered by a federal Farm and Ranch Land Protection grant.  With the Krall farm, Lebanon County will have preserved 146 farms representing 15,071.42 acres.

Kris Troup presented a $13,500 DCNR grant closeout for the Lower Susquehanna Center for Land and Water.

For first-time home buyers, Mayor Trish Ward requested and received approval for $260,511 from the County’s Affordable Housing Fund, which will assist approximately 12 new home owners.  The money is repaid by borrowers who can use $5000 for rehabilitation of the property.  Applicants must provide 3% down.

 
HazMat Grants 6:19 on YouTube

At no cost to the County, Ben Herskowitz, Jon Wilson, and Shawn Philip presented three grant requests for approval to purchase equipment for volunteers on the Hazmat Team.  Non-profit status is NOT required to apply for these grants:

  1. The Jim Beam/Terry Farrel Foundation for water rescue gear to respond to releases into lakes and the Swatara Creek;

  2. The Fire Fighters Support Foundation for firefighting hand tools; and

  3. A $15,000 PA State Fire Grant for an extrication suit and steel toes work boots.

A Litz motion to allow applications for these grants died for lack of a second.  Commissioner Stohler took exception to the County applying for these grants, which he thought should be left for fire companies. 

Stohler then moved to disallow 501C3 status for any County related entity.  The motion passed with Commissioner Litz voting nay.

Dennis Firestone opened bids to replace about 8,000 square feet of roof over the County prison.  Kobithen Roofing and Insulation, Churchville bid $521,000; Maines, Lewistown bid $567,200; Nolt, Berlin NJ bid $546,235; Breeding, Lorton VA bid $324,784; Randell, Harleysville bid $558,000; and Roark, West Chester bid $599,344.  Firestone will review the bids for compliance and make a recommendation next week.

Executive Session:  Commissioners discussed EMA Union negotiations with Chocolate Workers 464.

Assessment Appeals:  17 appeals were scheduled.

Commissioner Litz met with both the Agricultural Extension Board and Conservation District in the evening hours.

September 24, 2009

Regular Meeting

On behalf of MHMR, Personnel Director Gary Robson requested permission to fill a vacancy for MR Supports Coordinator.  Permission was granted.

Voter Registrar Nick Yingst received approval on two HAVA reports, and Commissioners approved the layout for the 2009 Electronic Ballot.

 

Patrick Salmon reported that Lebanon County’s Honeywell contract exceeded the guarantee by $100,000.  The original guaranteed savings were $1,300,000, and actual savings $1,400,000, which exceeded payment for energy upgrades over ten years. 

A new Honeywell proposal would guarantee $1,800,000 in savings over fifteen years.  Upgrades at the Municipal Building, Adult and Juvenile Probation, Community Action Partnership, Donald J. Rhine District Judge Building, MHMR, Cedar Haven, and the Prison could include lighting and controls, temperature controls, VFDs on circulating pumps, kitchen hood controller systems, ozone treatment for laundry, walk-in freezer controls, dish washer booster heater, DDC controls, EMS/re-commission system, vending misers, condensing boilers….  Commissioners also inquired about interior LED lights, new windows, and insulation.  In addition to saving electricity, some of the improvements have the potential to save water and reduce heat costs.  In 2010, electric rate caps will come off, and additional energy saving devices and building upgrades will help to keep utility bills in check as well as help to make County buildings “green.”  With today’s approval to move forward, Honeywell will develop a cafeteria plan that breaks cost savings down into 5,10, 15 or greater years to recover the cost of each improvement.  After consulting with building maintenance staff, commissioners will finalize an agreement.  Honeywell will assist with financing and grant applicaitons.

 

Jim Shucker was present for bid openings to build a 38x24’ shed/pavilion on the north side of Union Canal Tunnel Park.  The pavilion will have a concrete slab floor, but no electricity.  Pending a complete bid package, at a cost of $19,399, Commissioners approved low bidder Dueck Construction of Myerstown PA.

On a related note, Shucker informed Commissioners that $40,000 of a $76,000 Growing Greener allocation for Union Canal Tunnel Park was not approved by DCNR. 

 

Firemen Chuck Killian and Don Miller and EMA Chief Dan Kaufman explained that the Burn Building near LCCTC has been taken out of service on 9/24/09, and is in need of repair or replacement.  The ten year old building is ten years short of its 20-year projected life span.  Water lifted tiles and caused extensive damage.  Four companies trained at the facility each week.  Now, firemen from Lebanon County’s 45 fire companies will have to be taken out of service to travel to Harrisburg or Lancaster for training.  Repairs could reach $150,000.  Replacement would cost $500,000-$1,100,000.

Fire Prevention Activities will take place on October 8 at Dutchway Market, Myerstown from 6-8:30PM and on October 9 at the Lebanon Valley Mall between 6-8PM and October 10 beginning at 5:45PM followed by the Fire Prevention Queen and Princess Pageant. 

From the Repository of Unclaimed Properties, Commissioners approved a $20 sale of 3 Brown Lane to Dale and Vanessa Brown.

Commissioners also approved an Act 44 PennDOT report of $24,517.85 that will eventually be used on bridge repairs.

Addendum:  To acquire a deer hunting license for the four-day deer hunt at Governor Dick, a post card must be submitted (1 card per applicant) with the applicants name, address, phone number, PA hunting license back tag number and Unit 5B Hunt Application.  Mail to Lebanon County Treasurer, 400 S 8th St., Lebanon PA  17042 no later than October 27.  A drawing for 100 licenses will be conducted at the close of the Commissioners meeting on October 29, about 11am.  15 alternates will be drawn.    Successful applicants and alternates must report to Governor Dick Park Environmental Center between 1-3PM on November 15 for orientation and distribution of permits.  Bring your driver’s license, PA Hunting License, and Unit 5B Deer License.  At 3PM November 15, unissued successful applicants status will be withdrawn and the remaining licenses issued to the alternates in the order in which they were drawn.    Only shotguns, bows and flintlock muzzle-loaders will be permitted.

Community:     ABWA  --Dennis Mellot on Leadership Lebanon Valley 4:32

Executive Session

Commissioners discussed personnel matters.

Assessment Board

Fourteen Assessment Appeals were scheduled.  One disabled veteran received real estate tax exemption.

September 16

Cedar Haven

  1. Census is a 97%--91 males and 224 females

  2. Despite rain, the Fall Frolic earned at least $8500 profit.

  3. Inspections were reviewed.

  4. Administrator Schlegel reported that Cedar Haven is fortunate in that State funds are still arriving to meet budget needs.

  5. Roman Shahay asked the County to become ward for a Renova Center resident without family.

  6. A funeral service will be held at Cedar Haven for a deceased resident.

  7. Teri Kaufman, Barb Brennan, Joe Alsbury and Bob Gallagher discussed the South Central Workforce Investment Board Workforce Investment Act (WIA) with Commissioners.  Statewide, 67 local workforce investment areas were reduced to 22.  York, Franklin and Adams counties are now one area.

Prison Board

Census is 465—401 male and 64 female.

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Unsentenced inmates 140

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Work release 74

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State Sentenced 15

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Parole/probation violators 199

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Sentenced by Court of Common Pleas 46

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Domestic Bench Warrants/sentence 14

There were no questions to previously submitted written reports.

Election Board

Commissioners approved absentee ballot layout for the November 3 election.  Candidates include:

2009 Ballot

Supreme Court (1)

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·         Jack Panella – Democrat

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·         Joan Orie Melvin – Republican

Superior Court (4)

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·         Robert J. Colville – Democrat

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·         Kevin Francis McCarthy – Democrat

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·         Anne E. Lazarus – Democrat

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·         Teresa Sarmina – Democrat

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·         Judy Olson – Republican

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·         Sallie Mundy – Republican

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·         Temp Smith – Republican

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·         Paula Ott – Republican

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·         Marakay J. Rogers – Libertarian

Commonwealth (2)

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·         Barbara Behrend Ernsberger – Democrat

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·         Linda S Judson – Democrat

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·         Patricia A McCullough – Republican

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·         Kevin Brobson – Republican

Common Pleas (1)

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·         Loreen M. Burkett - Democrat

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·         Charlie Jones – Republican

District Attorney

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·         David J. Arnold – Republican

Jury Commissioner (1 each party)

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·         Robert C. Rothermel – Democrat

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·         Barbara Smith – Republican

Register of Wills

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Dawn L. Resanovich – Republican

Sheriff

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·         Michael J. DeLeo – Republican

School Director (Varies per district)

City (4)

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·         Michael  J. Kuhn – Republican

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·         John P. Shott – Republican

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·         Debra Bowman – Republican

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·         Corbett R. Blouch – Republican

Mayor

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·         Sherry L. Capello

Council (2)

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·         Scott D. Koons – Democrat

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·         Jessica Tavara – Democrat

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·         John A. Dissinger – Republican

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·         Tony Matula – Republican

Magisterial District Judge (1)

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·         Thomas Capello – Dem/Rep

Constable

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·         Dale A. Boyer

Judge of Election

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·         Pamela Tricamo – Democrat

Inspector of Election                                      

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·         Vince S. Tricamo - Democrat

Retention Questions

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 Kate Ford Elliott – Superior Court

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·         Dan Pelegrini - Commonwealth

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·         Bradford H. Charles – Court of Common Pleas. Lebanon County

Voter Registrar Nick Yingst asked for a second and final vote to move South Annville Township’s polling place back to the Fontana Municipal Building.  Commissioner Litz stated that Lebanon County has set three precedents for polling places outside of their districts—at the Municipal Building (2nd E); Palmyra; and 5E (9th Ward).  While the Fontana school has charm, for pedestrian safety and future needs, to avoid an overcrowded parking lot during the General 2010 and when 600+ new houses are developed as well as to avoid mailing costs and related expenses of moving the Poll again, should we seek a site outside of South Annville?  There are no other public buildings both willing and handicap accessible within the district.  A map was shared of neighboring Municipalities including: North Cornwall South, North Cornwall North, Annville West and East, North Londonderry East, and West Cornwall.  There is a church that could be approached on Church Road, which is just a few feet across the Township line in North Cornwall North.

A motion to move the poll to the Fontana Municipal Building passed 2 to 1 with Commissioner Litz voting nay. 

Regular Meeting

Commissioners approved filing an application for a PEMA performance grant, which will cover the salaries and benefits ($275,449.51) for four positions—Director, operation and training person, and two planners.

Commissioners amended a stimulus grant to the federal government for Lebanon County Christian Ministries for surplus food.  To abide by regulations, the amendment will result in separate reporting of the federal funds.

Two proclamations were approved, one for Harlan Daubert, a retired music teacher at Northern Lebanon High School, and a proclamation for Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church celebrating 250 years.

Solicitor Snelling provided her opinion concerning withholding of State funds.  First, ROW officers would have to agree “to walk away from their statutory duties”, since they are the elected officials that would not remit the funds.  Also, statute 72 P.S. 903 provides that in the case of failure to make a return the Secretary of Revenue, or any agent appointed by the secretary, is authorized to examine the books and accounts and settle such account, adding a penalty of 5% per month.  Therefore, no further action was taken.

Executive Session 

Commissioners discussed personnel. 

Assessment Appeals

Ten appeals were scheduled.  One disabled veteran was approved for property tax exemption.

September 10, 2009

United Way at the Lantern Lodge in Myerstown

 
2009 United Way, Live United Testimonial 8:01  After being diagnosed with tumors on her spine; her mother and father having medical issues and passing away; and her husband experiencing a cerebral hemorrhage, coma, and paralysis all within four months, this former corporate financial analyst had to give up her job to care for her husband.  She is in fear of losing her home until she finds a teaching job.  In the mean time, her daughter sought refuge at the Lebanon YMCA.  When Director Phil Tipton learned that her daughter would have to drop out of gymnastics classes for her family to save money, using United Way grants, her daughter was invited to stay in gymnastics classes, and after insurance companies denied coverage, her husband was offered physical therapy.  It was a light, the first "hand up" that she received.  It was a safety net, and saved her husband's life.  Its a blessing that she will never forget.  Live United.  We don't just wear the shirt, we live it.
 

2009 Lebanon PA Live United Campaign Kickoff 9:27  We don't just wear the shirt, we live it.  Under the direction of Tim Enk, Lebanon Show Choir performs at the beginning of the 2009 kickoff campaign held at the Lantern Lodge in Myerstown PA.  Board president Dennis Shalters extends a warm welcome to everyone, and acknowledges sponsors for the breakfast and incentives.  Leonard Washinton says grace.  Dennis Gearhart, campaign chair, lightens the mood, unveils the 2009 goal, and shares matching grant incentives provided by both Frank Dixon and Ed and Jeannie Arnold.

Regular Meeting

According to Treasurer Sallie Neuin, Lebanon County is "in the red" by -$237,536.75.  She is waiting on a $255,000 salary reimbursement.  Commissioners approved opening of three new accounts at Fulton Bank:  2009 Bond issue, Record Improvement County Fund, and Hotel Tax County Share.

 

Voter Registrar Nick Yingst requested permission to move the South Annville Poll back to the South Annville Township Building.  Commissioner Litz asked that the County pay a requested additional $20 to utilize the Fontana Church, which would avoid pedestrian traffic crossing Route 322.  When that request was denied, she offered to pay the $20 herself.  A motion to move back to the South Annville Township building passed 2 to 1 with Commissioner Litz voting nay.  After the public has an opportunity to comment, the move has to be addressed in a second motion next week.

 

Nick Yingst presented two Democratic nominees for the ‘casting of the lots’ on the ELCO School Board.  Vicky Woodard drew first ballot position, and Noel Hertzog will appear second on the Democratic ballot.

After a lengthy discussion, Catherine Kilgore, Criminal Justice Advisory Board Coordinator; Lebanon County Adult Probation Director Sally Barry; and Judge John Tylwalk received approval for a modified PennDOT grant budget from $140,160 to $147,560 for the DUI Court Program.  The funding source is the Federal Highway Safety Industry, which passes funding though the State.

 

Similar to Butler, Clearfield, Lancaster, and Lawrence,  Lebanon County discussed holding collected State money in an escrow account and drawing interest until the budget impasse is over.  Commissioner Carpenter said that our State Legislators are supportive. 

Commissioner Litz shared a memo from County Commissioner Association of PA Director Doug Hill, “Initially, there are issues of which funds and whether all of the row offices responsible for collecting those funds are willing to violate the law to do so – and do so uniformly within the courthouse and across the state.  The obvious other side of this point is that the state itself is violating the Constitution by not having a budget in place as required, and inflicting sever fiscal distress on the counties and their taxpayers and clients at the same time.

The other question is whether this is to be done to tide over cash flow, or to make a statement to the Administration and General Assembly….

The third point is that some of the funds (realty transfer tax, estate taxes, some licenses) are commonwealth monies but others (fines and court costs, adult supervision fees, hunting licenses, escheats) go to other agencies or dedicated funds that are not part of the reason for the impasse.

Last, there may be some repercussions against row officers who knowingly withhold, although it is not likely that it would proceed to forfeiting bonds….

Butler County Controller had sent a memo to their President Judge, row officers, and department heads stating, "Collectively your offices turn over several million dollars annually to the state.  Stop doing this immediately.  Effective today all monies you collect on behalf of the commonwealth shall be remitted to the county general fund instead.  The monies will be used to partially offset the funds we have been forced to dole out to programs the state is obligated to fund.  The controller will keep good records of what you send us and we will make sure your collections get forwarded on to the state treasurer once a budget passes and normal state funding of these programs resumes.  "The Lebanon County solicitor will give us an opinion next week.

The difference between Butler and Lebanon County's proposals is that Butler will spend the money while Lebanon will hold the money in escrow.

Commissioners passed a resolution in honor of the 150th Anniversary of Lebanon Catholic, also known as Assumption Hill.

September 3, 2009

Lebanon County Commissioners met in regular session approving a $4500 payment to settle a grievance arbitration for a dismissed employee.

Kevin Schrum, James Holtry, and William Sullivan presented an Integrated Children’s Service Plan (ICSP) for approval.

At prime plus zero with a minimum interest rate of 4%, Commissioners also took out a $4,000,000 line of credit with Jonestown Bank and the First National Bank of Fredericksburg.  Several weeks during the past thirty days resulted in negative Treasurer’s balances, and without a State budget, the County needs to “front” money to pay vendors until a budget is passed with the hopes that the nine months worth of services already provided are fully reimbursed.  The State owes approximately $2 million in back services to Lebanon County.  The $27 million Senate budget falls short of full funding.

As the Board of Elections, Commissioners oversaw the “casting of lots” to determine ballot position for ELCO School Director vacancies.  The Republican Party appointed Brandon P. Bernard and Jadell Souders.  Souders received the first position.  The Democratic Party also has the opportunity to appoint two nominees by September 14. 

At 1:20, Commissioners sat as the Board of Assessment Appeals.  Sixteen appeals were scheduled.  Two disabled veterans were awarded tax exemption. 

Through a memo, Commissioners learned that the Governor Dick Park Board voted to conduct a deer hunt this year.  100 licenses will be issued, but no rifles may be used.  Application deadline is 10/27/09; the drawing will take place 10/29/09; notification 11/06/09; orientation and distribution of permits, Sunday 11/15/09 at 1PM; and the hunt 12/2, 3, 4 and 5/2009.

August 27, 2009

Regular Meeting

Gary Robson presented a request from Kevin Schrum to fill a MR Supports coordinator Supervisor position and the CASSP Coordinator position.

Susan Klarsch and Carol Davies presented a Drug and Alcohol $1,268,572 Final Expenditure Report.

Phyllis Holtry, Community Action Partnership, received approval for a $1,368,572 quarterly report.

A proclamation passed honoring Donna Posey who retired after 35 years of service to Lebanon County and the State of PA.

Comprehensive Plan Implementation Grant contracts were approved and signed for North Lebanon Township municipal authority and the South 6th Street Playground.

 

Lebanon County Commissioners heard a request by Ono Fire Company representatives Chief Matthew Hetrick and Vice President Gail Smith to sponsor a Dauphin County Gaming Grant.  The funds originate with Hollywood Casino.

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Based on conversations with Dauphin County Commissioners, Commissioner Stohler was of the opinion that a resolution was in order. 

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Commissioner Litz referenced phone conversations with Dauphin County grant administrators and the Dauphin County web site, which excludes Lebanon County as an applicant ( http://www.dauphincounty.org/community-economic-development/gaming-advisory-board/faq/  ). 

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Commissioner Carpenter shared a July meeting with Dauphin County officials, and stated that only one application would be accepted for consideration at this time.  The application would have to go through East Hanover, Lebanon and partnered with East Hanover, Dauphin.  The two EH's agreed upon a shared road project to be financed over two years.

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Ono Fire Company was encouraged to apply for funds through East Hanover Township.

Executive Session

Commissioners met to discuss personnel.

Assessment Appeals

13 appeals were scheduled; 5 disabled veteran’s were approved for real estate tax exemption; and the Friendship Community Mental Health Group Home in south Lebanon Township was approved for tax exemption.

August 19, 2009

Cedar Haven

Census:  315—91 male and 224 female for an 98% occupancy rate.

The Fall Frolic is scheduled for September 12 from 10AM-3PM.

The Firemen’s Association would like to meet to discuss the rehabilitation of the burn building.

Commissioner’s discussed the State budget’s impact on the County budget, and will not be able to entertain special requests for employee merit raises this year.  Also, a question was asked whether or not Commissioners can loan themselves working capital from the Affordable Housing fund.

Prison Board

Census:  431—366 male and 65 female

The board approved a request for permission to submit a technology grant to tape all visitor’s phone calls--except for calls with clergy and attorneys.

Chaplain Marilyn Nolte introduced the new Chaplain team consisting of Art Matts, Ms Lopez, and Tom W. to the board.

August 20, 2009

Regular Meeting

 

Retiring Planning Director Earl Meyer was honored for 38 years of service to the County.  Proclamations were presented from:  the Commissioners, Congressman Holden, House members Mauree Gingrich and Rose Marie Swanger, and Senator Folmer.

 

North Cornwall Township Police Chief Julian Weiant was honored upon his retirement.

 
 
James Holtry and Bill Sullivan discussed the Children and Youth budget, which has not been reimbursed $1.7 million from the State for foster care and juvenile placement.  Our Implementation Plan is for $7,728,784, which is the amount certified by the State.  The County share is $1,765,732, $147,525 less than approved on October 2, 2008.  The new 2010-11 budget will increase County share by $41,192.

Lebanon Library possible 53% Cut

Library Board President Bill Smeltzer and Board Member Archie Batestelli thanked commissioners for their level of funding, and asked that the same level be granted again this year.  In the Senate version of the budget, the library funds would be cut by 53% while expecting the same level of service (hours, books…) to the community.

Commissioner’s passed a Proclamation recognizing St. Mark’s UCC on their 50th Anniversary of Pine Acres Church Camp.

August 13, 2009

Gary Robson presented personnel requests.  The Area Agency on Aging received approval to change the Data Analyst classification to that of Clerk Typist 3.

So as not to leave employees in the balance, a $15,156.62 overtime payment was approved for staff in the Prothonotary’s and Clerk of Courts Office, but Prothonotary Arnold was put on notice that she must have the commissioner’s approval prior to initiating overtime, even if she is reimbursing the County from the Automation Account.  On September 4, 2008, Commissioners had denied this request.

 

Earl Meyer, joined by Tom Kotay, Jon Fitzkee, and Lee Meyer, presented an LED Traffic Light Study grant proposal.  33 of the county’s 100 traffic lights will be converted to LED lights, which will be brighter, last longer, and save energy costs for eleven municipalities.  For the time being, Liquid Fuels funds will be targeted to pay for the project.

 

Further, Earl presented Comprehensive Plan Implementation Grants for approval.  No money will be awarded at this time, but a letter of approval and support is forthcoming for applicants:  North Lebanon Township Lenni Lenape Park; Heidelberg Sewer Project; Bethel Township recreation; and Coleman Memorial Park.  The only proposal to be turned down was the acquisition project for the Swatara Watershed Association.  In addition, a round one letter of approval will be sent to Myerstown to update their comprehensive plan, which is about 40 years old.

 

State Geologist Doctor Jay Parrish explained that he will be testing the ground down two miles during the first week in September to map the subsurface for Carbon sequestration, which is a geoengineering technique for the long-term storage of carbon dioxide or other forms of carbon for the mitigation of global warming.  This is the only section of the state where the rocks are not evaluated.  To test the accelerated mass, a weight will be dropped onto the surface.  You may feel the vibration if you are right next to the testing area.

Brian Bradley, RBC Capital markets presented a 2009 General Obligation Bond for approval.  Attorney Ramiro Carbonell and Greg Becker accompanied Brian.  $127,000 will be saved by combining several of the County’s old bonds into a new $9,105,000 bond at 3.56% interest over fourteen years with the final payment made in 2023.  The County recently received an “A” rating.  The bond is necessitated by a court order stemming from a lawsuit to complete a countywide reassessment.  $2.5 million is designated for a reassessment as a result of the Rooney case, and $1.5 million will furnish a required alternate Public Service Answering Point for EMA.  Bids for a reassessment will go out the end of 2009.  The project must be completed by the end of 2012.  Acting now takes advantage of low interest rates.  However, should House Bill 1661 pass, placing a temporary moratorium on court-ordered countywide reassessments, commissioners will have the option of halting the reassessment process.  Commissioners would either have to pay the bond money back or amend the ordinance (advertise and allow public comment) to re-designate borrowed funds.  Ordinance 38 was approved.

The $79,559 annual PEMA performance grant for reimbursem

ent of our coordinator and training officer was approved.

$4,862 in Liquid Fuels fixed allocation was approved for Palmyra Borough.

 

Commissioners approved a letter supporting a $30,000 DCED grant request to complete a feasibility study for thin-film PV (photo voltaic) solar panels at the EXPO.

This past week, Commissioner Litz also delivered a 20-minute “Academy” credit seminar on posting meeting minutes to YouTube to her colleagues at the annual County Commissioners Conference.

Commissioner Litz YouTube Seminar @ CCAP 8 2009 (1 of 2)

Commissioner Litz YouTube Seminar @ CCAP Conference 8 2009 (2 of 2)

August 6, 2009

Dan Seamen, Assessment Bureau Chief, presented five disabled veterans for tax exeption.

Phyllis Holtry asked commissioners to approve a seven-month CSBG amendment that would put her budget on a calendar rather than a fiscal year.

Mike and Archie Battistelli, representing Stifel Nicolaus and Jim Conners and former Commissioner Tom Behney, representing retirees, joined the retirement board for an update on the County Pension Fund, which stands at $76,832,334.  Currently, 54% of the fund is invested in stocks, 49% in Bonds, and 6% is held in cash investments.  Our normal Investment Policy is 65% stocks and 35% bonds, but adjustments were made due to the economy.

Mike Kristovensky said he was able to pay the bills this week, but the Area Agency on Aging is owed $264,000 from the State.  He may have to pay one-half of the bills to vendors until the budget is passed.  Added to the $1,731,353 owed to the County for CAP and Children and Youth, County taxpayers are footing the bill for $1,995,353 until the State budget is passed.  If budgets are not fully funded by the State for mandated services, the County budget will not be balanced.

Commissioners also approved an AAA Block Grant.  Planned Initiatives include:

  1. Exploring cost effective delivery for Home Meals;

  2. An enhanced information and Referral system for long term support services that promote independence;

  3. Discuss issues with other nursing homes in the County;

  4. Transition the Senior Games to the YMCA by 2012;

  5. Minimize waiting lists;

  6. Senior Centers transition to 501C3 nonprofits;

  7. Renovate the Eldercare building at Cedar Haven;

  8. Expand volunteer base;

  9. Promote Farmers Market Nutrition Program and Healthy Steps for Older Adults;

  10. Maintain suggested program donation levelrs and shared ride fare at current rate.

Commissioners then signed off on a 37-Passenger Bus Agreement with COLT.

Joy Blakley Meyer was appointed to the Children and Youth Advisory Board.

$3695 in Liquid Fuels funds were awarded to Swatara Township.

 

Commissioners passed a proclamation honoring Campbelltown on their 250th Anniversary. 

Girl Scout Daphne Moser from Troop 378 in Newmanstown received a proclamation for attaining the Gold Award.  For her project, she organized a Bike Safety Day in Millcreek.

July 30, 2009

 
   Lebanon Area 4H Fair  2:53 

Commissioners met at the Lebanon County 4H Fair at the Expo. 

 

Fair Queen Kim Heagy addressed the commissioners, and later took them on a tour of the Fair.

Treasurer Sallie Neuin reported that the State owes Lebanon County $1,739,826

Concerning doe licenses, Neuin reported that 2F and 2G are sold out.

Gary Robson, Personnel Director, received permission to fill vacated positions in MHMR.

Further, Robson presented a two-year employment contract with Derek Black for Microsoft Cisco Network Training.

Ray Bender, Redevelopment Authority, presented a Community Development Block Grant Program Final Budget for approval.

Donna Lutz presented an IMR Landex Disaster Backup program, and a corresponding $5000 annual “Hot Site Hosting Service Agreement.”

Phyllis Holtry outlined a $376,338 Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP).  CSBG was used as a match to help prevent homelessness for up to 35 families when a job is lost or when someone is diagnosed with cancer, and can’t work.

James Holtry obtained approval for $755,470.61 in invoices for Act 148, IV-E Placement Maintenance and Adoption Assistance and Medicaid. 

 

Curtis Martin, Steve Wenger, and Jeff Werner represented the Lebanon Farm Bureau to explain assessment options like Clean and Green for 10+ acre ag preserves and forest lands.  An application is filed with the Recorder of Deeds based on a farm’s soil value to grow crops.  Penalties are applied if the land is developed, and tax credits would have to be paid back.

Commissioners passed a proclamation for the 50th Anniversary of the Greater Lebanon Refuse Authority.

Liquid Fuels funds were approved for

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The City of Lebanon $21,000;

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North Londonderry Township $2,910; and

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Myerstown $2,438.

Controller Mettley reported that Social Security’s preferred method to issue checks is Direct Deposit.  Ten of fourteen counties surveyed have utilized direct deposit of retirement checks for ten years.  Lancaster allows an exception for hardship cases.  Three of 800 retirement checks are hardship cases.  There are 354 retirement checks issued by Lebanon County.  Commissioners approved a motion that would utilize direct deposit of retirement payments, but the Retirement Board could consider exceptions.

July 23, 2009

 

During public comment, because of a scene at a "dance club" that pretends to serve alcohol, Carl Jarboe chastised Commissioner Litz for participating in the Lebanon Community Theater’s rendition of Footloose.  Commissioner Litz stated that soda is available for minors, and the point of the show is to trust young people to make right choices.

Personnel Director Gary Robson presented requests from Treasurer Sallie Neuin for part time help to process doe licenses and Recorder of Deeds Donna Lutz to process deeds, which are about the same number as last year.  Anticipating a downturn in the number of deeds recorded, Donna had been cut by two staff positions at the beginning of the year.  In addition, The Recorder’s office needs an individual trained to process information for a new service.  Commissioners Carpenter and Litz voted to approve the requests.  Vacations and maxed out comp time also justified the requests(s).  Commissioner Stohler voted nay.

Beginning January 1, 2010, Bob Mettley received permission to implement direct deposit for retirement checks.  A $495 CH Universal Standard Edition software program will assist with the deposits.  An annual $99 maintenance charge will follow, but $54.56 will be saved on postage monthly.

Voter Registrar Nick Yingst requested signatures on four Help America Vote Act (HAVA) reports and one Certification of County Maintenance of Effort form.

 

Troy Williams, Lebanon County Christian Ministries (LCCM) Foodbank, updated commissioners on need, which has increased while donations are down.  200+ people are being fed at noon meal sites daily.  7-10 State employees, who did not receive a pay or received reduced pay, received assistance this past week.  Troy also recommended that commissioners not participate in the State's food purchase program.  Local grocers like Giant, Foodland, Foodcart, Weis, Zweirs and others donate produce and baked goods on a regular basis.  Therefore, buying local can save more than is offered by the State contract.  In addition, Walmart, Lebanon is going to start donating their goods too.  Finally, church donations and food drives by postmen, scouts, Rotary Clubs,…are extremely important to the foodbank ministry.  Commissioners again appointed LCCM to serve as Lebanon County's lead agency, which may receive $147,000 in State funds to help with operations.  Summer food programs feed children at eight playgrounds, but some of the playgrounds are closing.

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44,401 noon meals were served--up 11%;

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2,933 emergency food orders--up 2%

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314,000 pounds of donated food--down 100,000 pounds

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5th year summer meals for children under 18 at Butex, Progressive, Salvaion Army, Hill Top, Philhaven, and YMCA playgounds.

Phyllis Holtry reviewed spending for a one-time $449,664 Recovery Act Community Services Block Grant (CSBG), which is more than double her normal allotment.  To administer the program, once the funding arrives, a staff person will be added.

A $58,139 VOCA grant award was accepted.

Commissioners renewed a one-year $475 monthly parking agreement with Beth Israel.  The City reimburses the County 23% of the cost.

Liquid Fuels awards were approved for

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Bethel $4861

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Heidelberg $4696

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North Annville $3083

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North Cornwall $3335

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South Lebanon $7614

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West Cornwall $1363

 

From designated funds in a bond issue, Commissioner Litz asked that Comprehensive Plan Implementation Grants be released to leverage State funds for both Coleman’s Park to conduct a Master Site Plan and the Swatara Watershed Association for the purchase of water park property.

Joy Meyer was appointed to the Children and Youth Services Advisory Board.

July 15, 2009

Cedar Haven

Census-315; 91 males and 224 females

97% occupancy

Without the County signing off on the slot, the State used one of our beds at Wernersville.  Information on this placement will be requested.

A two-year Trash removal contract, that should save the County $10,000 annually, was awarded to Lebanon Farms Disposal. 

No concerns were raised in an exit interview with auditors.

Administration is still working on a VA contract.

Prison Board

Total Population-451; 386 male and 65 female

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96 unsentenced inmates

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69 inmates on work release

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28 State sentenced inmates

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216 probation/parole violators

33 sentenced by Court of Common Pleas

July 16, 2009

Regular Meeting

Commissioners Stohler and Litz presiding.  Commission Carpenter was on vacation.

Commissioner Litz asked for a correction in last week’s minutes to accurately reflect the appointment of the Child Death Review Team.  A motion then carried to appoint Doctor Bartra and District Attorney Arnold to the State Board.  The Team meets quarterly and reviews the deaths of anyone under the age of 18.

Gary Robson presented a proclamation recognizing Steven Klose, EMA Telecommunicator, for 30 years of service to the County of Lebanon.  Also of note, Mental Health Director Shem Heller tendered his resignation to pursue a Master’s Degree.

 

Treasurer Sallie Neuin presented the Treasurer’s report and shared that approximately 3000 of an expected 7500 hunting licenses were received for processing.  With staff out on vacation, she requested temporary help to process the applications in a timely manner.  Otherwise, hunters who don’t get picked for licenses in Lebanon County will miss an opportunity to apply in another county.  Chairman Stohler felt that normal processing of licenses was in order.

Sally Barry presented a $72,527 Grant-in-Aid application that will help to cover salaries for approval. 

Commissioners also accepted award of a 3-year $90,420 Electronic Punishing Monitory Grant.

James Holtry presented Children and Youth contracts for approval.  With the exception of a $2 per day increase for more services at Preventative Aftercare, rates were the same as this past year.

Fixed Allocations for Liquid Fuels were awarded to:

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Annville $3204

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Jonestown $945

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Richland $935

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$Millcreek $3695

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South Annville $2036

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Cleona $1421

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Mt. Gretna $346

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Cornwall $3044

Assessment Appeals Board

With Assessment Department head Dan Seaman and Appraiser Carl Stump, Commissioners Stohler and Litz listened to one appeal.  Four other appeals were withdrawn before the hearings.

Seven disabled veterans were awarded tax exemption.

Palmyra School District received exemption for land donated by Hershey Foods.  The land is used for ball fields.

July 9, 2009

Gary Robson presented Earl Meyer’s retirement request effective August 21, 2009.

Commissioners approved payment of the Court Professional Bargaining Unit personnel in accordance with the Arbitration Award issued April 28, 2009.  In the award, Probation and Domestic Relations officers were awarded $250 for on call and 5% annually through 2012.

Because of the uncertainty with the budget, filling of a maintenance mechanic position was postponed.

Kevin Schrum and Sue Klarsch presented four contracts for approval concerning Health Choices:

  1. For the Department of Welfare, a two-year agreement assuring Lebanon County’s participation in the Health Choices Program;

  2. A two-year five-county agreement between Lebanon, Lancaster, Cumberland, Dauphin, and Perry counties;

  3. A two-year CBHMP network agreement for them to provide services to the people in our communities; and

  4. A one-year Office of Developing Programs for the Mentally Retarded agreement signifying changes whereby the County will NOT receive federal waiver dollars.  Rather, the County will write ISP plans for individuals...and monitor those people served.  The State will now hold the contracts.

Dan Kaufman and Ben presented the 2008 Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Preparedness Assessment for approval.  Commissioner Stohler shared his knowledge of Emergency Management concerning duty officers, threats and unmet needs.  Because of a July 12 deadline, Commissioner Carpenter and Litz voted to accept the report.  Commissioner Stohler voted nay.  Funding was currently unavailable to complete a Commodity Flow study.  Stohler thinks the LEPC—Lebanon Emergency Planning Committee--should play a larger role in the direction of EMA.

While the County will only act as a conduit for municipalities to obtain funding, Commissioners agreed to provide a ‘Letter of Intent’ for the 2009-10 Gypsy Moth suppression program with DCNR.

Commissioners formalized appointment of an existing 20-member Child Death Review Team, which is now required by Act 87.  Both physicians and law enforcement representatives are required to serve on this preventative research team.

Commissioners awarded fixed Liquid Fuels Allocations:

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East Hanover $4717

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North Cornwall $3335

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South Londonderry $3527

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Jackson $5112

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West Lebanon $796

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Union $3559

July 2, 2009

Commissioner Litz was on vacation.

Catherine Kilgore presented a $140,160 DUI Court Grant.

June 25, 2009

Gary Robson presented an updated Technological Systems Policy for Commissioner adoption and signatures.

Sue Klarsch received approval for Drug and Alcohol Abuse contracts with forty different providers.

The Housing Authority requested and received $39,600 from Act 137, the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, to leverage $734,375 for the use of upgrades to handicap accessible dwellings at Washington Arms and Webster Manor. 

 

County Planning Director Earl Meyer presented research on critical project applicants for Comprehensive Plan implementation.  Two projects’ funds would be jeopardized if not awarded by July 2009.  Therefore Commissioners moved to award both the Northern Lebanon Sewer project, which would leverage $25,000 to $260,000 and S 6th Street Playground project, which would leverage $20,000 to $240,000 in State funds. 

Carolyn Reb, Director of Management Information Systems, received approval to purchase a budgeted $45,000 Change Management Software Tool to analyze software for updates, which will limit errors.  The program does quality control, and is a faster way to implement change.  The program was recommended by the analyst who had performed an audit of the County’s MIS systems.

Commissioners signed the $10,793 Byrne Justice Advisory Grant to be used to cover law enforcement wages in Central Booking.

Commissioners also approved an incoming $704,846 PCCD grant for Renaissance Crossroads.

 

At the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) after the Commissioner’s meeting, a proposed northern expansion of the Lebanon Valley Rail Trail was explained by Jon Wilson.  A study divided the trail into four sections.  Section 9 around Jonestown is ready to go at a cost of $450,000, and Section 7 around Tunnel Hill Road will follow at a cost of $850,000.  Sections 8 and 10 still need work.  Section 8 has an option of leaving the railroad bed to take advantage of the Union Canal tow path.

 

Commissioners voted for Dan Kaufman, EMA Director, to approach PEMA about reallocating up to $70,000 of Act 56 wireless phone funds for a long-term Needs Assessment and to study the best location as well as needed equipment for a backup Public Service Answering Point (PSAP).  The consultant can also guide the County through grant applications to equip a backup PSAP.  MA-Com, Cad, and our new telephone switch are proprietary units.

 

In order to improve the public’s safety; to reduce County liability; to take advantage of low interest rates; to avoid duplicate closing costs for a mandated assessment appeal bond and a PSAP loan or bond; to avoid increases in the price of equipment; and to complete the process in one step to ensure technology is compatible, after negotiating an acceptable amount, Commissioner Litz moved to include $1.5 million in a County Bond issue to equip a backup PSAP for Lebanon County.  Commissioner Carpenter also voted for the motion while Commissioner Stohler voted nay.  Grants will also be sought to leverage County dollars.

June 18, 2009

9:30AM  Regular Meeting

EMA Telecommunicator Steven B. Klose is retiring after thirty years of service.

Treasurer Neuin reported that the $697,840.27 Tax and Revenue Anticipation Note (TRAN) balance was paid off.

Kevin Schrum presented Provider Contracts with a net change of $23,709 for approval.

Kevin also presented a 2009/2010 Budget Summary for approval.  For the first time for service providers, ODP will administer contracts totaling $3,596,679.  MHMR will no longer be the middle man.  Service to individuals will not change.  The State will set the rates.  The change is at no additional cost to the County of Lebanon.  There are 800+ MH clients and almost 500 MR clients with a waiting list of 150.

Commissioners approved the purchase of a Verizon EMA router to identify the latitude and longitude of both cell and land lines.  $238,000 was budgeted in the General Fund, and the balance of the $600,000 piece of equipment will come from Act 56 wireless funds.  After a 12-month lease, with payments of $48,495 per month, the County will own the equipment.

Frank Eichler and Chuck Allwein were reappointed to the Board of Governor Dick.

Commissioners passed a proclamation for the Redevelopment Authority’s 50th Anniversary.  Progress Park and weatherization are two examples of success stories completed by the Redevelopment Authority. 

District Attorney Arnold and Chief Detective Leahy again requested a thermal imaging fingerprint machine from JAG funding shared with the City of Lebanon.  Commissioners preferred to use their half of a new grant award of $21,586 to offset a deficit at Central Booking and the prison;

 

Commissioner Litz stated that it is past time when we promised to implement the Comprehensive Plan.  On June 12, 2008, $950,000 was appropriated from a bond issue and the Hotel Tax to benefit tourism through grants to move the Comp Plan forward.  While all money is not to be allocated in one year, some of the applicants made it through the Phase 1 process, and submitted Phase 2 of the application, which was to be awarded in March 2009.  If local match cannot be secured, the delay may lose groups hundreds of thousands of dollars that would come to Lebanon County from the State and federal government.  These projects will benefit local citizens and municipalities.   Commissioner Carpenter asked Administrator Wolgemuth to contact Planning Director Earl Meyer to produce a list of such groups at the next Commissioner's meeting.

1:30PM  Assessment Appeals

Commissioners heard one appeal, and agreed to withdraw the parcel for further research.

Two disabled veterans were exempted from real estate tax.  Dan Seaman reported that a recent court ruling stated that the first five acres of real estate on a disabled veteran’s home parcel is exempt, which would require an adjustment on one veteran's parcel.  Commissioners Carpenter and Litz voted to comply with the law.  Commissioner Stohler wanted to let it go, and voted nay.

The City of Lebanon received approval to remove 330 N 10th St from the roles to make way for the new Bridge over the railroad tracks.

An Amish school on private land at Strack’s Dam will receive tax exemption for the buildings only.

June 17, 2009

10:30AM  Cedar Haven:

Census stood at 315—91 males and 224 females.

On June 27, 2009, Director of Nursing Ellen Walker, is retiring after 40 years of service to the County.

Commissioners met at Cedar Haven, the County Nursing Home.  Administrator Schlegel shared that the VA can only reimburse $174.84 per day, and Cedar Haven’s lowest rate is $193.38, which may eliminate some veterans from moving to Cedar Haven.

A Department of Health Survey is expected in late July.

Commissioners voted to increase Medicare and Medicaid rates from $225 to $235 per day.

After learning of a three month delayed post on the Medicare web site, Commissioners agreed to offer a limited time 50/50 cost share for Alma Wagner.  Care was needed and service was provided for the length of her stay.  Patients exceeding a set number of days stay must pay their own bill of $133.50 per day.  Prior to arriving at Cedar Haven, days at another facility were utilized, but documentation was not immediately available to calculate a bill.

Roman Shahay presented contracts for approval:

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Phoenix Services Adult Training would go from $3.20 for 15 minutes and $13.20 per person for transportation to $3.01 and $16.50 respectively.

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DB Fisher would go from $22 to $22.50 per hour.

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Ephrata Rehab would go from $1.68 to $1.73 for 15 minutes of Adult Training.

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First Aid and Safety Patrol would remain at the Medicaid rate of $40 per person for transport.

Commissioners were asked to cooperate with Act 32 implementation to create a mandated countywide EIT bureau.  Commissioner Stohler will call the first meeting to order and then walk away.  An information meeting will be held on September 14; advertising begins on September 24; and the main meeting will commence in the County’s auditorium on October 21, 2009.

Lebanon County has had a Child Death Review Team, but a new Act that took effect in January 2009, mandates this team.  To make sure that Lebanon County is in compliance, Dr. Yocum, District Attorney Arnold, a Police Law Enforcement representative, and Dr. Batra were officially appointed to fill this role.

Since he was at the site, Commissioners voted to pay Shorty Fields as a constable on election day.

Controller Bob Mettley presented a $7500 addendum to the audit for Reinzel Kuntz and Lesher.  For seven months, the controller’s office did not have the services of an auditor that was eliminated during budget cuts, and the office could not complete all of the audit functions in preparation for RKL.  Therefore, RKL had to complete additional work.

Judge Tylwalk requested that a piggyback contract onto our audit with RKL be approved to bring costs and fines up to date.  Judge Tylwalk will pay for the work.  Fines and costs are posted and verified thru December 2006.

On a Carpenter/Stohler motion, Administrator Wolgemuth received permission to proceed with a bond issue that would both borrow $2.5 million for a reassessment and consolidate the 2004 Bond and the 2006 and 2007 bank loans and save close to $150,000 in interest on the latter three items.  Interest is currently around 3%.  Not considered is furnishing an alternate PSAPs at Cedar Haven.  Commissioner Litz voted nay. 

A lease with the Synagogue for parking is expiring in July.  Currently the County pays $18.27 per month for each of 26 parking spaces or $475 per month.  The cost is then split 50/50 with the City of Lebanon.  A proposal to increase rent to $21 per space or $546 per month, was respectfully declined.  Since the lease with the Synagogue, Commissioners purchased the LCCM parking lot to the north of the Municipal Building.  Parking spaces are also available at Station 50.

Noon:  Prison Board

Population stood at 438 with 374 males and 64 females.

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Unsentenced inmates 84

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Work Release 70

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State Sentenced 22

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Parole/Probation Violators 216

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DJ Sentence 6

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Sentenced by Court of Common Pleas 30

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Domestic Bench Warrants Sentenced 11

June 11, 2oo9

Commissioners Stohler and Carpenter presiding, an amended Technology Policy was approved for inclusion in the Employee handbook.

Commissioners also approved a proclamation honoring Cornwall Manor  for 60 years of service to the community.

Commissioners acknowledged a name change of Tyco Electronics Ltd to Harris Corporation, a Delaware Corporation.  Tyco operated M/A COM, providers of our radio system.

Phyllis Holtry received approval to submit two Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program grant applications.  The first Stimulus grant request is for $376,032, and the second, $50,000.

Commissioner Litz represented commissioners at the State Farm Preservation Board meeting in Harrisburg.  Tom Hylton was a guest speaker.

 

June 4, 2009

 

Gary Robson introduced Faye Fox who received a proclamation honoring her for her 22 years of service with the Area Agency on Aging.

Commissioners approved a plan to formalize an employee's ability to donate annual and vacation time to their colleagues in need.

Further, due to FMLA absences, Commissioners approved the hiring of a Temp Force worker to assist the fiscal department at MHMR/EI.

James Holtry presented Lebanon County Children and Youth contracts for approval.

 

Mark Chegwidden presented the 95.9 acre Gary and Lisa Krall farm in South Lebanon Township for a Right-to-be-Heard hearing.  The Krall dairy farm adjoins other preserved farms forming about a 1,000 acre preserve.  Lebanon County currently has $14,856 acres preserved with another 700 acres, including the Krall farm, in the process of preservation.

 

Daniel Kauffman, EMA Director, received approval for a $13,998 Act 147 Radiation Response Grant for communications equipment for both the County and Races.  Counties within a 10-mile EPZone of TMI qualify for funds to purchase items like radiation detectors and portable showers for decontamination.

Daniel Giffin talked about HB463, Presumption of Joint custody.

Chief Detective John Leahy received support for a $40,520 Sobriety Checkpoint Grant.

Michael Kristovensky, AAA, presented a $111,500 four-year agreement with the County of Lebanon Transit Authority (COLT) to operate a 37-passenger Blue Bird Bus for the Area Agency on Aging.  The bus is used by senior centers to attend functions.  Because seniors pay $2 for in-county trips and $11 each for out-of-county trips, the bus is self sufficient.  In 2008, 102 trips were taken with the Blue Bird, which was purchased in the year 1999 by the County of Lebanon.

 

Commissioners Litz and Stohler approved a resolution requesting the State elected officials rethink the Senate Budget, which balances their budget, but unfairly passes unfunded mandates onto Lebanon and other counties that have limited ways to raise funds, mainly real estate tax.

 

Dr. Jeffrey Yocum along with EMA Director Dan Kauffman and Brian Burke discussed the Swine flu and difficulty in obtaining information from the Department of Health. 

Agreeing that EMA needs information to make decisions, Commissioner Litz questioned whether or not the Avian Flu task force had standing or jurisdiction to obtain information from the PA Department of Health.  Other counties seem to operate efficiently without a task force.  In the past, EMA worked with the County Commissioners and Good Samaritan Hospital to plan and address disasters.  On a Carpenter/Stohler motion, the Avian Flu Task Force became the Pandemic Task Force.  Commissioner Litz voted nay.  She believes that the task force creates another level of bureaucracy; any health-related task force should be regional—we don’t live on an island—to be aware of what is crossing our borders; and that the Avian flu task force has not communicated progress with minutes of meetings. 

On a Carpenter/Stohler motion, Dr. Yocum was appointed as a Pandemic PIO.  Commissioner Litz voted nay.  Lebanon County already has a Public Information Officer.  He is not a weatherman, radiological officer, or doctor, but as a crisis arises, the commissioners and PIO consult with professionals in each of these fields.  Decisions are made and communicated via the PIO.  Two PIOs may create confusion over who to ask for information, and presents a scenario where conflicting information could be disseminated.

May 28, 2009

 
 

Lebanon County Commissioners were asked for a letter of support for HB 463.  Among other things, Charlie Lansa, from the PA Families Association, said that women are favored in custody hearings.  At next week's meeting, Commissioners will hear more on this topic.

Mr. Hilbert addressed the commissioners to request that they abolish the position of Jury Commissioner.

Phyllis Holtry, Community Action Partnership, received approval for four grant applications:

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Human Services Development Fund in the amount of $228,382, which is down $3,993 from last year;

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Amended CDBG contracts allowing $52,310 to be rolled over for client direct services;

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Homeless programs, $202,661 for rental and shelter assistance;

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Work Ready, $204,050 to help find employment for community assistance clients.

 

Ed Kline started out as a detective for the County of Lebanon.  He is retiring from his position as the head of our Building Code Inspection team.  Planning Department Head Earl Meyer said that Ed is "the best of the best."

 

Sunday, May 31, 2009 is declared as a tobacco free day.  Vicki DeLoatch and Claire Lundburg were on hand to receive a proclamation for a tobacco free lifestyle.

Timothy Peters of Jonestown was admitted to Renova Center.

 

Lebanon County Planning Director Earl Meyer was on hand to report that Penn DOT awarded Lebanon County three transportation grants worth about $1.5 million.  These initiatives are part of Secretary Biehler's Smart Transportation vision.

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*PCTI--PA Community Transportation Initiative received 388 grants and awarded 50 grants.  Lebanon County will receive one of these grants in the amount of $660,000 to match with $190,000 in CMAC funds for a multi-model shelter, a parking lot for 200 cars, lighting, and security cameras to run buses from the area of Fort Indiantown Gap to Harrisburg.

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*Safe Routes to School awarded federal dollars to 30 applicants out of 101 applications received.  Lebanon County was awarded two of those grants.  The City of Lebanon will receive $660,250 for the Blue Print Community to improve sidewalks to the Northwest Elementary School, and Jonestown will receive $200,000 for walkways from developments to Jonestown Elementary.  The municipalities must provide design and engineering, but grant funds will pay 100% of construction. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Commissioners sat as the Board of Cedar Haven.  The census stood at 320 residents—89 male and 231 female.

Barbara Jumper, executive director of the ARC of Dauphin and Lebanon Counties, asked questions about Renova Center employees not being allowed to take residents to the Hollywood Casino.

Fort Indiantown Gap requested long-term exemption from County burn bans.  Commissioners Carpenter and Stohler moved to allow the request.   Prior to a vote, preferring to seek input from fire chiefs whose companies respond to fires at Fort Indiantown Gap, Commissioner Litz voted nay. 

Commissioner Stohler produced a quote for four, eight and twelve ports of voice mail.  He moved to replace the telephone operators with an automated system.  Stating that the County should provide personal service with a live person to help taxpayers who call the courthouse, Commissioner Litz voted no.  Commissioner Carpenter also voted no.

Then, Commissioners sat as the Prison Board.  The prison population stood at 446—380 males and 66 females.  There were 100 unsentenced inmates; 69 inmates on work release; 18 state sentenced; 213 parole/probation violators….

Thursday, May 21, 2009

During the Regular Commissioner's Meeting, Treasurer Sallie Neuin requested a resolution for tax collection accounts.

Melissa Light presented a seminar request for Catharine Kilgore, CJAB administrator.  The seminar, titled Outcome Thinking and Management:  Shifting Focus from Activities to Results, costs $195, and is held in Philadelphia.  CJAB expenses are covered by a grant.  Commissioner Litz moved to allow the training, but the motion died for lack of a second.

At no additional cost to the County, Kevin Schrum, MHMR, received approval for 16 Provider Contract changes totaling $382,815; a two-year Early Intervention agreement requiring a 10% match; and the 2010-11 three-year mental Health Plan update.  Schrum said that the best mental health care and treatment is provided in an efficient and cost effective manner.  Input was garnered from residents, families, and agencies. 

 

On behalf of the Greater Lebanon Valley Lions Club, Ted Anspach talked about Cody, a documentary narrated by Glenn Close.  Cody contracted Transverse Myelitis, which paralyzed her from the chest down.  Cody's father is Al Unser Jr.   On June 2, 2009 at 5:30PM, the movie is preceded by a reception hosted by Mario and Dee Ann Andretti at Hershey Theater, 15 Caracas Avenue, Hershey PA.  The cost is $250 per ticket.  The movie alone is $25, and begins at 8PM.  For tickets to either or both events, call Ted Anspach at (717)273-3767.  Cody created 'The Cody Unser First Step Foundation' to lobby on behalf of stem cell research and teaches scuba diving to people with disabilities.  To learn more, visit www.codyfirststep.org .

 

Michael Battistelli provided an overview of the Lebanon County Pension Fund activity, which stands at $73,658,970.  The beginning of 2009, the fund stood at $71,658,970.  51% of the fund is in equity; 44% in bonds; and 5% in cash.  Because of the volatility of the market, this mix is more conservative than our investment policy of 65/35.

June 1, 2009, Kensington will merge into Forward Uniplan.  Sitting as the pension board, Commissioners, along with Treasurer Neuin and Controller Mettley, approved moving $3.3 million from Kensington to Forward Uniplan.

However, a split vote resulted for Archie Battistelli’s request to invest $3 million in Washington Crossing.  While the County could save 12 basis points, Solicitor Snelling recommended obtaining an opinion from an independent investment attorney.  Neuin, Mettley and Carpenter voted to transfer the funds while Stohler and Litz voted not to transfer the funds at this time.  While the firm is the number one rated money manager, the portfolio is run by an associate of Stifel Nicolaus, and could be perceived as a conflict of interest.  Prior to a vote, for ‘Due Diligence,’ Litz had requested an independent letter for the Commissioner’s file.  No time crunch was noted.   

Next, an executive session on Court Professional Union Negotiations took place.

In the afternoon, Commissioners sat as the Assessment Board to hear residential appeals.  Nine appeals were heard, settled, or withdrawn.  Additional non-taxables were approved in conjunction with the bridge over the railroad tracks in the City of Lebanon; five properties for intersection improvements in Palmyra; On-Fire Youth Ministries…

The common level ration went from 13.5% to 13.4%. 

Friday, May 22, 2009, at 9AM Commissioners sat as the Election Board to conduct an official vote count from Tuesday’s Primary Election.  At the beginning of the session, the commissioners and others were sworn in promising to conduct a fair election.  Then the commissioners voted on what would count as a write-in vote--a full name properly spelled, a recognizable name that is misspelled, a first initial with a last name, and/or just a last name.  Commissioner Litz pointed out that there was more than one announced Capello in the City of Lebanon, and thought that, at minimum, a first initial should accompany a last name in this situation.  Otherwise, we could not presume the intent of the elector.  Real time examples surfaced as the count proceeded:  Cappelo for Sheriff in the 2nd Ward East, Capello for DA in the 5th Ward West, Coleen-Cappello for Mayor in the 7th Ward, James Capello for Judge of Elections in the 8th Ward, Sheery Capbeel for DA in the 9th Ward, Sherry L Capello for Commonwealth Court in the 10th Ward, Sherry Capello for Mayor in Cleona, Capello for Mayor in Cornwall Borough, and Capello for Mayor in Myerstown.  Which Capello was written in--Sherry, Tom, Coleen, or James?  When Commissioner Litz pointed out these examples, Commissioner Carpenter said she lost and should get over it.

Carpenter and Stohler said that they couldn't deny the votes cast by the majority of voters for the announced candidate for mayor, and Tom Capello was only a candidate in one-half of the City.  The vote was two to one to allow all forms of  names, including the last name only.

May 14, 2009

Lee Spencer commented on the County’s nepotism rule by requesting that the rule be repealed.

With real estate tax revenue coming in, money was set aside in CDs at 2% interest to cover five pay periods, but $700,000 is still due on the Tax and Revenue Anticipation Note.

 

Mike Kristovensky and Joe Lecisco presented an amended budget, which reduces overall spending by $99,549 for the Area Agency on Aging block grant.  Mike said that the budget has become a year-long process.  Since Spang Crest closed their adult day care, some of the changes include taking a wall out at Eldercare to create more floor space for seniors; paying two years on phone contracts; and over the next four years, the YMCA will transition into operating the senior games (Senior Olympics). 

 

Kristovensky also requested permission to bid for frozen meal delivery for the Meals on Wheels program.  The motion that passed unanimously was to seek bids for both hot meals delivered daily and for the requested bid to deliver five frozen means once each week.  Only one client did not have a microwave.  Lawrence, Beaver, Huntington/Bedford/Fulton, Jefferson, and Crawford Counties all deliver frozen meals.  If a visit is not completed daily, there is a concern about whether or not people would be isolated without human contact.  If a move is made to deliver meals once each week, case workers would survey the 200 clients to see if they would like a phone call each day.  So far, thirteen clients have been identified for daily calls.  Advantages listed for weekly delivery include: reduced cost; ability to have the hot meal for either lunch or dinner; and the ability to choose which meal a client would like to eat on a given day.  There has also been concern about whether meals are being delivered at the appropriate temperature.  The thermal containers are due for replacement, which would be another added cost.

 

Commissioners voted to sign the Interlocal Agreement for the Justice Assistance Grant program.  The County will receive $41,590; City $61,933; North Lebanon $19,238; North Cornwall $15,035; and Palmyra $10,082.

District Attorney Dave Arnold and Chief Detective Leahy requested $20,000 of the JAG grant for an ultraviolet fingerprint identifier to scan scenes for physical evidence.  Commissioners advised the DA and Chief that Central Booking is in the hole $150,000, and the request should be made at budget time.  Commissioner Carpenter asked if the State Police have this equipment available.

To see if there is a correlation between population and serious crime like murder, rape, and robberies, Commissioner Litz requested a breakdown of crime statistics by municipality.

A proclamation was approved for Supervisor Donald Umberger who celebrated 40 years of service as a South Annville Township Supervisor.

Another proclamation was passed for Hebron UMC’s 100th Anniversary.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.

May 7, 2009

 

North Lebanon Township Supervisor Ed Brensinger addressed the commissioners to ask that a $147,878 stimulus JAG grant to benefit police departments move forward.  The deadline is 5/18/09, and the grant still needs to be written.  It’s an all or nothing scenario.  North Cornwall, North Lebanon, Palmyra Borough, the City of Lebanon and Lebanon County (as a disparate jurisdiction without a police force but providing criminal justice services like Central Booking, the prison, a crime lab…), need to agree on distribution of funds.  Historically, Lebanon County and the City of Lebanon split the funds 50/50.  This is the first time that the other municipalities have received funding—based on a federal formula of “type 1” crimes reported in UCR.  Since negotiations came to a stand still, rather than risk losing the funding for all concerned, commissioners passed a motion to accept 30% from the City of Lebanon, North Lebanon, and Palmyra and 9% from North Cornwall.

Due to the promotion of an employee, commissioners moved to fill the Clerk Typist position in the Area Agency of Aging.

Commissioner Stohler removed a Renova Center request from required training for the PA Department of Nursing.  He stated that training does not have to be completed prior to 10/31/2010, and requested that the $20 per person training for four staff people be completed closer to home.

All but $700,000 has been repaid on the Tax and Revenue Anticipation Note.

 

Per Act 101, Executive Director Michael Pavelek and Engineer Larry Taylor presented the commissioners with an agreement to appoint the Greater Lebanon Refuse Authority as the County’s official solid waste management agency.  In addition, commissioners approved a letter to DEP for a Non-substantial Revision of the County Solid Waste Management Plan.  It is proposed that the Board of the GLRA serve as the conduit to provide progress reports to the various Municipalities of the County and to waste haulers.  Ordinance 15 will undergo a thorough review by staff and attorneys to reflect recent court cases in the recycling regulations and the industry.  In their 10-year management plan, the County will continue to support flow-control of waste as the best method of providing capacity assurance.

Dan Seaman presented four disabled veterans for relief from property taxes.

Redevelopment Authority Director Ray Bender presented a plan for $432,476 in stimulus funds for the 2009 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).  Myerstown, Palmyra, and West Lebanon will receive funding for curb cuts; Renova Center will receive $50,000 for an ADA ramp; Annville and West Cornwall will receive funds for sidewalk improvements; Swatara Township will receive $52,000 for paving of Old Jonestown Road; and Jonestown Borough, $28,000 for ADA Mods.  Countywide, funding was allocated for Housing Rehab; First Time Homebuyer; a Homeless Program; an advance to the City; as well as general administration, planning, and an audit.  A motion also passed for the Redevelopment Authority to run South Lebanon’s Block Grant program.  Another motion adjusted the budget to actual expenditures. 

 

Patricia Krebs, along with members of the Lebanon Valley Bicycle Club, Planning Department, Penn DOT, E&E Metal Fab; municipalities; and Tourist Bureau received a proclamation for Bike Month; Bike Week May 11-15; and Bike to Work Day on May 15.

North Londonderry Township received a letter of support for a $690,000 alternative energy grant application to switch their municipal building to solar and geo-thermal energy.

A proclamation was passed in recognition of senior volunteers.  The 50+ Festival will take place beginning May 12.

Commissioners also signed a resolution to maintain two new culverts installed by PennDOT, one in Bunker Hill under Route 72 and one under Route 22.  The underpasses have the ability to accommodate a future rail trail.

Prison and Cedar Haven staff who responded to nearby house fires at 615, 617, and 621 E High Street on April 30, 2009 were each presented with proclamations for their heroic efforts to save lives and properties.  Receiving commendations were:  Denise Ott, Roselyn Spatz, and Stephanie Thorton from Cedar Haven as well as Julia Carey, Corporal William Christner, CO Daniel Wood, CO Daniel Waltz, CO George Fies, CO Michael Gerstner, and CO Ed Louden from the prison. 

 
Day of Prayer 4:10   

After the meeting, people of all faiths gathered in front of the Lebanon County Municipal Building to pray:  for elected officials, from the City through the Nation; for our community and families; for our churches and religious leaders, be they pastors, priests, or rabbis; and for our schools.  The Day of Prayer ended with the release of balloons.

 

In the evening, Commissioner Litz attended both the Cooperative Extension and Conservation District Board meetings.

April 30, 2009

 

The April 30, 2009 Lebanon County Commissioner’s meeting was dedicated to Student Government Day, which this year was coordinated by David R. Warner Jr.  Tim Retnouer shadowed Commissioner Stohler; Katie Sholly shadowed Commissioner Carpenter; Averi Stoppi shadowed Commissioner Litz; Stephen Lum shadowed Administrator Wolgemuth; Kayla Attig shadowed Treasurer Neuin; Joseph Dautrich shadowed Controller Mettley.... 

The Student Government Team ran the meeting, approving the Treasurer’s report, personnel transactions, positions, and conference and seminar requests.  A request to send four people to a seminar on “Dealing with Difficult People” was tabled to see if a similar seminar could be made available for all County employees.

Then, in preparation for their regional competition this afternoon, the Annville Cleona Little Dutchmen FFA presented their Farmland Preservation skit, and answered audience questions.

The day concluded with a luncheon at Cedar Haven, the County nursing home.

April 23, 2009

Gary Robson requested permission to fill positions:

  1. A Work Ready Officer with the Community Action Partnership Program--100% state funded salary and benefits;

  2. A Monitor;

  3. An Auditor in the Controller’s Office.

Tammy Hartman Hankins received a Victim/Witness proclamation for National Crime Victims’ Rights Week April 26-May 2, a time for remembrance, reflection, and recommitment-a time to celebrate progress  in crime victims’ rights and services, and a time to build public awareness about the challenges many victims still face in the aftermath of crime.

 

Nurses and administrators from the Good Samaritan Hospital, Veteran’s Administration Hospital, and Philhaven Hospital were on hand to receive recognition and proclamations for both Nurses Week May 10-16 and Hospital Week May 6-12.

 

Stifel Nicklaus representatives Archie Battistelli and Kevin Caron discussed Lebanon County’s retirement portfolio, which stood at $68,072,780.74.

Voter Registrar Nick Yingst presented Help America Vote Act reports for approval.  No expenses were incurred between January and March 2009.  Revisions to the County plan are awaiting official approval before the balance of funds are spent.   Finally, 2008 expenditures must be approved by the State before closing that funding stream, which will end quarterly reports.

 

Catharine Kilgore, Criminal Justice Advisory Board Coordinator, received permission to participate in a pilot project (one of six counties nationally that were selected) for Suicide Prevention Training for Community Corrections Professionals in cooperation with Policy Research Associates contracted by CMHS National GAINS Center.  Information gathered from this pilot will be used in the national dissemination of this training curriculum.  For further information, visit www.prainc.com/flash/index.html

Commissioners issued a proclamation for Kathryn Kirkwood who served the VFW Post 23 Auxiliary by placing flags at cemeteries for around 23 years.

Commissioners also passed a proclamation for the 2009 SERTOMA recipient.

Jonestown Boro is installing a Green Park, and requested review of their grant proposal.

Administrator Wolgemuth read a letter commending the Community Action Partnership.  Full status was awarded to CAP.

 

Commissioner Litz read a statement requesting that rules for teleconferences presented at the last Lebanon County Commissioner's meeting be adopted.
 

Clearly, teleconference votes have occurred in the past (five definite teleconferences were confirmed via the official minutes)—without restriction.


Clearly, the law (Babac vs the Milk Marketing Board) allows for teleconference voting.


I believe that we should be both transparent and inclusive. To deny me a teleconference vote is to deny representation to the people of Lebanon County who voted me into office. I hope it's not because I'm a Democrat or a woman. Please do the right thing by allowing me to participate by teleconference when I attend Farmland Preservation board meetings....


To establish formal written policy, I move to adopt the teleconferencing rules presented at the last commissioners meeting.
The motion died for lack of a second. Then, Commissioner Carpenter moved to stop all teleconferencing. The motion passed 2 to 1 with Commissioner Litz voting nay.
 

Feel free to share your opinion on whether or not to drop this issue.

 

At 11AM, Commissioners sat as the Metropolitan Planning Organization along with other members of the MPO.

 

Tom Kotay explained the consequences of a recent Supreme Court denial of our petition, which places 50% of the upkeep of the 11th Avenue railroad crossing onto the City of Lebanon and 50% on North Lebanon Township.  Lebanon County's argument was that the City was here first, and the railroad cut across the City.  Therefore, the railroad should maintain the crossing.  This ruling is precedent setting for municipalities.  No further appeals are possible. 

Penn DOT’s Central Office Director Robin Metz provided a status report on the Federal Economic Stimulus Package.

Beth Raves presented 2009-2012 Transportation Improvement Program Amendments.

Jon Fitzkee explained that our MPO will now reflect the boundary of Lebanon County, including Palmyra, North and South Londonderry, and Campbelltown, which previously received their allocations from the Hershey MPO.

April 16, 2009

Treasurer Sallie Neuin requested permission to open two new bank accounts for Park and Recreation fees from developers.  The money is held in a checking account and escrow at Fulton Bank for payment to municipalities.

Gary Robson proposed that Earl Meyer, Planning Director, receive permission to fill the Building Code Official position vacated by Ed Kline who is retiring as of May 30th.  Likewise, a caseworker 2 position was vacated by Latoya Battle, and approved to be filled.

According to the April 9, 2009 meeting minutes, "Commissioner Stohler informed those in attendance that Comm. Litz had called into the meeting to participate via teleconference.  Comm. Stohler stated that unless there is sickness or an unusual circumstance teleconferences are not permitted as each Commissioner knows ahead of time when they are elected that the meetings are held every Thursday morning.  Further, if a Commissioner chooses to take on another commitment that conflicts with the regular Commissioner meeting then that is a choice they have made which should not interrupt the Commissioners meetings."

 

Teleconferencing testimony by Jo Ellen Litz at the Lebanon county commissioner's meeting.

As an elected commissioner, I believe that I have a right to full and equal participation in decision-making and access to meetings on equal terms with my colleagues in shaping and implementing decisions and policies affecting themselves, their families, our community, and society. People elect us as representatives to act as their voice.

In the event that a member is unable to attend a meeting, there are no policies in place to deny a member to participate via teleconference or other electronic means. To the contrary, a precedent has been set to allow teleconferencing without restrictions. It should be noted that, in other states, members of state boards and commissions can participate in meetings via teleconference if the teleconference location is public and accessible, and if members of the public can address the board or commission directly (a).

Through the generosity of Commissioner Carpenter, teleconferencing equipment is available in the commissioner’s conference room.

Participation by teleconference, at minimum, meets the notice, agenda and public participation requirements of state law.

Teleconferencing updates the County’s policies in a common-sense way that has long been used by other sectors.

The framers of our Constitution, recognized that participation in government is an inalienable right essential to the survival of democracy. It is such a basic right that was violated, something we take for granted, something that we presume in this day and age will not be violated, that it's almost hard to fathom that any individual would presume he or she has the power to simply remove those rights from others without due process, and it is mind boggling.

If there are going to be changes made to our unwritten teleconference policy, the chairman should notify the other commissioners prior to implementation so that appropriate steps can be taken and challenges made.
 
The communications, information, opinions, reports, testimony, claims, and arguments provided by elected representatives are essential to wise government decisions and public policy, the public health, safety, and welfare, effective law enforcement, the efficient operation of government programs, the credibility and trust afforded government, and the continuation of this nation's republican form of government through representative democracy (b).

To deny access by teleconferencing at the April 9, 2009 meeting of the Lebanon County Commissioners was an arbitrary and selective application by one commissioner. We can work together to remedy this situation. Here are some proposed procedures for teleconferencing.
Quorum :

At the beginning of the meeting, the Chairman will ask those attending by teleconference to identify him or herself so that his or her name(s) can be added to the list of participants. The presence of a quorum will then be verified.

Rules for participation:

1. A commissioner may participate in meetings remotely when county related business takes him or her out of town; illness prevents a personal appearance; or if on a scheduled vacation.
2. Verify attendance and take minutes just the same as for an in-person meeting.
3. A commissioner attending a meeting via teleconference counts toward a quorum to conduct business.
4. A commissioner planning to participate by teleconference shall provide written notice to the administrator or assistant administrator 48 hours in advance of a meeting.
5. No less than 24 hours prior to a meeting, an agenda and supporting documents shall be provided to a commissioner planning to participate by teleconference. However, it is always possible that someone attending by teleconference may be missing some documents. In this case, the chairman should summarize the main points of the document in question and be available to answer questions.
6. The conference must be inclusive, providing an opportunity for all board members to register their views.
7. If there are no controversial matters coming before the meeting, a voice vote will be sufficient. The chairman will ask whether everyone is in favor; if anyone is not, then a roll call vote will be used.
8. Speak clearly, avoid jargon, and make no extraneous sounds, such as coughing, drumming fingers, or side conversations.
9. Providing that more than one commissioner is not at the same remote location, which would raise the prospect of consultation by two remote members out of public view, multiple participants may participate via teleconferencing.

*(a) LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF SAN FRANCISCO, 582 Market Street, Suite 615, San Francisco, CA 94104, www.lwvsf.org , T: (415) 989-8683 E: lwvsf@lwvsf.org 
*(b) The People's Movement for Human Rights Education (PDHRE) / NY Office, Shulamith Koenig / Executive Director, 526 West 111th Street, New York, NY 10025 , tel: 212.749-3156; fax: 212.666-6325;, e-mail: pdhre@igc.apc.org 

Court Cases:
*Babac v. PA Milk Marketing Board 613 A 2nd 551, (1992);
*Sovich v. Shaughnessey, 705 A.2d 942 (PA Commw. 1998);
*Mazur v. Trinity School District, 926 A.2d 1260 (PA Commw. 2007);
all stand for the proposition that it is not a violation of the Sunshine Law for a member of a commission or board to participate in a public meeting by telephone and, in addition, to cast binding votes by telephone.

The county commissioners are required by law to "adopt rules for the conduct and order of business..." and to publicly post those rules. 16P.S. 503.

 
                 

(Commissioner Litz was appointed by Governor Rendell to represent Lebanon county commissioners and commissioners across the state on the Farmland Preservation Board.  Litz recently wrote an article on farm preservation published in the County News MeetingHighlights/2009 County News March and April .pdf .  At the April 9, 2009 meeting, Annville Cleona High School FFA students, winners of a countywide debate, presented their skit on farm preservation.)

                

 

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SARCC--Sexual Assault Resource and Counceling Center

Jennifer Murphy Shifflet received a Sexual Assault Resource and Counseling Center (SARCC)l proclamation for Sexual Assault Awareness month.

Replacing Andy Marhevsky, Barry Ansel was appointed to the Health Facilities Authority.

The Lebanon Valley Rail Trail received two resolutions, the Alden Place Trailhead between Cornwall Borough and West Cornwall Township, and the Daily News Trailhead on South 8th Street.

April 14, 2009

A Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station 2009 Radiological Emergency Preparedness Exercise took place in Lebanon County PA.

Five counties were at risk:  Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, and York participated in the exercise, in cooperation with PEMA, to demonstrate their capability to mobilize appropriate staff, activate their respective Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs) and implement emergency response operations to include sheltering and/or evacuation.  Adams, Franklin, and Schuylkill counties participated in their assigned support roles.  Actual sheltering of the general public was simulated.

The responders should not be so tied to a plan that they cannot take actions that are more protective of the public.

Dan Kaufman is the EMA director.  Commissioners Carpenter and Litz were on site.  Jamie Wolgemuth is the Public Information Officer.  Representatives from the Red Cross, State Police, Lebanon County Conservation District, EMS, School Services, Transportation, and Public Works were also on hand.

 
      2009 TMI Drill  -Posted to You Tube

 

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At 15:59, an unusual event was called in, which elevated to an alert at 16:59.

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At 17:30, the HazMat team was dispatched to South Londonderry Township.

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At 17:35, South Londonderry Township EMC paged their staff to report to their EOC.

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17:35 Law enforcement was contacted to inquire if they have unmet needs.  Dispatched troop to assigned strategic areas.

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South Londonderry Township EOC is activated.

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18:00 News release from PEMA on status of TMI released to County PIO.

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18:17 Stations 2 & 3 Lawn EMS paged to respond to Station 2.

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18:25 Update status to  Site Area Emergency--Loss or potential loss of the fission product barriers.

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18:30 Notified South Londonderry Township of Site Area Emergency.

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18:55 A regional phone call is scheduled with all impacted counties on the TMI hotline.

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Secretary of Agriculture Denis Wolff is instructing farmers to put animals indoors and feed and house them in shelters;  DOT restricted air space 3 miles and 200' around Power Plant; Public Utility restricted rail movement within 10miles of EPZ.  This is a drill.

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Requested a disaster reclamation from the Governor.  Will mobilize National Guard.  This is a drill.

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19:00 Lawn and Campbelltown are impacted in Lebanon County.  Dan Kaufman requested a disaster declaration from the Lebanon County Commissioners.  PEMA notified by fax.  This is a drill.

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Upper Lawn siren failed at Stouffer Road and Route 341.  Back up measures being taken.

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19:19 South Londonderry route alerting started.

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All boating and fishing in the area is restricted.

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Four calls came into Brett Lentz, our agricultural representative.  Contact EOC or USDA if in need of feed or water for your animals.

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Temporary antenna hooked up in South Londonderry.

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19:37  Notice came that the Governor Rendell has declared a disaster and provided a declaration.

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19:57 South Londonderry called to state that route alerting has been completed.

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20:15 Press briefing scheduled by Jamie Wolgemuth.

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20:10 Wind change--from 50 degrees 6.02 mph.

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20:13 General Emergency:  Escalated status--loss of 2 of 3 fission product barriers.  A potential loss of the third barrier is possible.  The State will issue protective actions shortly. FG1  This is a drill.

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20:35  Fish and Boat Commission issued boating restrictions around TMI.

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20:50 There was another conference call. Role call--Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, York, Adams, Franklin, and Schuylkill all present.  Recommend an evacuation 360 degrees from zero to ten miles and general public emergency workers and special needs to take potassium iodide.  Two medical facilities in Dauphin to shelter in place. HMC and Spring Creek Rehab center, because they are close to 10 mile EPZ.

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Can counties support recommend evacuation?  Cumberland, yes.  Dauphin had a question about times, then said yes. Lancaster and Lebanon and York OK.  Support Counties:  Can you support mass care shelters and receive evacuees.  All support counties said yes.  Coordinate sounding of the sirens at 21:00 for public notification.  Time check 20:54  21:10 Counties will simulate sounding sirens for three minutes.  21:13 State EOC simulates EAS.  Governor has announced that General Emergency exists, and recommends evacuation within 10 miles.  Release of radioactivity has occurred. Wind is 49.3 degrees at 5.9 mph.  State EOC will select and provide EAS announcement with instructions to administer potassium iodide. 

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Cumberland:  Is the directive for KI from the Secretary of the Department of Health?  Yes.

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Counties will support simulation of siren sounding.  Call concluded.  This is a drill.

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21:08 Humane Society called to handle pet evacuees.

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21:11 Written authorization came from DOH to issue KI.

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21:15 American Red Cross had a call from a special needs person who is not in the EPZ.  Tell her to shelter in place.  Close the windows and turn off the air conditioning.

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Bill Sullivan received a Transportation message from another person requesting transportation, but they were not in the EPZ.  Stay tuned to WLBR radio 1270 for updates.

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State Police checked on a call that came to Lebanon about a lost boater and his son in Bainbridge.

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21:27  Call came in.  Have our goals and objectives been met?  If so, contact PEMA.  Request to stand down.  Do evaluators have anything to cover?  South Londonderry called. 

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Must wait for PEMA to gather information from all counties before standing down.

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21:45  Drill terminated.

April 9, 2009

On behalf of the commissioners both in Lebanon County and across the state of PA,  Commissioner Litz attended the 10AM State Farmland Preservation Board meeting in Harrisburg.  Arriving at the Agricultural building at 8:30AM, she was prepared for both the 9:30AM Lebanon County Commissioner's meeting via conference call and the State Farmland Preservation Board meeting where a team of Annville Cleona FFA members were making a presentation.  However, when she called into the meeting, she was denied access by Commissioner Stohler.

Babac v. Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board, 613 A.2d 551 (Penn. S.Ct. 1992)

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled the State Milk Marketing Board did not violate the Sunshine Act when it voted on a rate order by telephone conference call.  Two of the three members of the board were physically absent from the meeting but participated using speaker phones. The court held a quorum of the board either attended or participated in the official action. This satisfied the requirements of the Sunshine Act.

The court concluded a quorum of members can consist of members not physically present at the meeting, but who nonetheless participate in the meeting and that such a quorum can take official action, provided that both present and absent members can communicate with each other.

 
   PA Farm Preservation arguments  -Posted to You Tube

 

 

Summary of Lebanon County commissioner's meeting: 

On behalf of the Youth Advocate Program, William Sullivan, Juvenile Probation, presented a $500,000 JPO mentoring grant for approval.

James Holtry, Children and Youth, presented 2nd quarter invoices for approval.

Nick Yingst, Voter registrar, presented an electronic ballot for approval.  Sample ballots:

    2009 Primary - DEM - Ballot Style 9thWard.pdf              2009 Primary - REP - Ballot 9th Ward.pdf

    2009 Primary - DEM - Ballot Union.pdf                            2009Primary - REP - Ballot Union.pdf

Based on recommendations by the Drug and Alcohol Council, Kay Litman, Bonnie Loy, and Marilyn Nolte were reappointed to the Advisory Council.  New appointments included Susan Killinger and Rosemary Milgate.

To pay principal and interest due on April 15, 2009, the following transactions occurred: 

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$206,661.33 was moved from the General Fund to Wachovia Bank;

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$4,707.91 was moved from the General Fund to Jonestown Bank;

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$266,523.75 was moved to the 2003 Bond and Coupon Account at Fulton Financial;

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$100,416.88 was moved from the General Fund to the 2004 Bond and Coupon Account at Fulton Financial.

An executive session on personnel took place.

April 2, 2009

Of note, Ed Kline, head of the Building Code inspectors, is retiring.  Commissioners thank and appreciate Ed for his many years of service to the County of Lebanon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Polaris Students visit Lebanon Commissioner's meeting; Tourism update at LV EXPO -Posted to You Tube

 

 

Skills USA competition at the Lebanon Valley EXPO -Posted to You Tube

 

 

Michael Borrell, Social Studies Teacher at Polaris School in Lebanon PA, brought his students to the Lebanon County Commissioner's meeting.

Teresa Trainer and Kathy Verna highlighted Probe's financial literacy program.

Voter Registrar Nick Yingst presented absentee ballot layouts for approval. 

Dennis Grumbein updated commissioners, ambassadors, businesses, and the press about tourism in Lebanon County.  A map is included in the new addition of the Visitor's Guide, which can be viewed at http://www.visitlebanoncounty.com .

CCAP-County Commissioner's Association of PA Spring Conference Highlights -Posted to You Tube

                                               

 Technology by Alan Shark

 

    

March 26, 2009

James Holtry presented Children and Youth contracts for approval.  Berks County detention Center reduced their rates from $307.38 to $236.92 per day.

Commissioners accepted a grant award for the District Attorney's office to cover one person's salary and benefits for the last six months of 2008-$15,839; all of 2009-$31,677; and the first six months of 2010-$15,838.

5:13 EMA Towers-Alternate PSAPs -Posted to You Tube

Following up on comments made by Commissioner Stohler concerning an alternate Public Service Answering Point (PSAPs) at last week's meeting, Commissioner Litz took a field trip to visit EMA tower sites on the north and south mountains.  She also presented a Lebanon County EMA.pdf PowerPoint summary, and asked that Lebanon County move toward a fully functioning Alternate PSAPs.  (Please note a correction to the PowerPoint:  While the County owns and maintains the building, the City owns the Station 50 lot.  Therefore, we could not sell the lot.  The point is the same.  We could retire station 50.)

The PSAPs discussion is both needed and healthy. Lebanon County needs to be prepared with a fully functioning alternate PSAPs before the next disaster. Similar to the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and Works Projects Administration (WPA) of the past, economic stimulus money could help to provide local jobs with a state of the art facility to host the PSAPs, an Emergency Operations Center (EOC), garage for vehicles and equipment, and a classroom for training; a secure room that is off site; or a mobile unit. Whatever form the alternate PSAPs takes; it must be properly equipped and meet directives from PEMA and FEMA.

At 11AM, the Housing and Redevelopment Authority broke ground for Mifflin Mills on 7th Street, a 20-unit development that people will rent to own.  Construction will begin in April.  Completion is expected in about six months.  Visit www.MifflinMills.com for more information.

 

March 18, 2009

Cedar Haven

Census:  87 males and 216 females for a total of 305 residents.

Administrator Schlegel reports that Cedar Haven is within their budget, and on target.

Administrator Wolgemuth shared pictures of a county-owned, deteriorating sandstone arched bridge to Burd Coleman.  Bids specs will be sought to make repairs with Liquid Fuels funds.

Commissioners approved and signed a five-year Housing Authority plan.

Commissioners also approved a $105,215 EMPG grant application for up to 50% reimbursement of EMA salaries for Director Kaufman, Frank Hemler, and Brian Burke.

Dennis Firestone is working on combining elevator maintenance agreements into one contract.  The County has eleven elevators:  four at Cedar Haven, four at the Municipal Building, 1 at MHMR, and a freight elevator at the prison.

Prison Board

Census:  380 males and 68 females for a total of 448 inmates.

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133 unsentenced

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60 on work release (This is one-half of the number of inmates with jobs last year at the same time.)

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15 state-sentenced

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205 parole/probation violators

At a cost of $1200, Warden Karnes received permission to hold a job fair for work release inmates at the Hebron Fire Company around May.

March 19, 2009

Regular Meeting

Personnel Director Robson received permission to fill an MR Supports Coordinator position and an EI Service Coordinator position.

Commissioners also signed a 2009 Civil Service Compensation Plan for Children and Youth Services, MH/MR/Early Intervention, Area Agency on Aging, and Drug and Alcohol.

On behalf of District Attorney Arnold, John Ditzler presented a $39,826 Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) continuation grant and STOP Violence Against Women grant modifications.

Women’s Commission members Cindy Heisey, Nori Fisher, Sue Klarsch, and Pam Tricamo received a proclamation for Women’s History month.  President Heisey reviewed a list of achievements of the Women’s Commission.

Voter Registrar Nick Yingst presented a Help America Vote Act (HAVA) amendment to extend the timeline in which to spend funds.

Sally Barry presented a $704,846 Crossroads Grant application.

Commissioners discussed the need for a mandated backup PSAPs-Public Service Answering Point.  Sighting the Cornwall tower site, the majority of commissioners were not interested in moving ahead at this time.

Lebanon County will receive an $80,000 CDBG Economic Stimulus supplement.  Proposed projects could include enclosing a ramp at Renova Center and curb cuts.

Commissioners approved a Certificate of Consistency with the Consolidated Plan.

For an annual $1000 payment, Commissioners approved a farm lease with Ken Reist for land along East Walnut Street between the fire school, armory, and Lebanon County Career and Technology Center.

10:01  Gypsy Moth Spraying Program in Lebanon County PA -Posted to You Tube for your viewing pleasure.  Leigh Beamesderfer, Lebanon County Conservation District forester and gypsy moth coordinator, presented a helicopter fly-over contract and after questioning by Spring Hill Acre residents Stan Aleckna and Tom Sheridan, received permission to bill municipalities for gypsy moth spraying who in turn will be responsible for either covering the cost of spraying BT for their municipality or recouping the costs by billing residents.

The spray suppresses rather than eradicates gypsy moth on private lands.  Gypsy moths are cyclical and can ride into an area on silk-like strands in the wind.  Complicating the matter, Lebanon County has State forests and parks that are typically not sprayed. 

On behalf of the Lebanon County Board of Commissioners and Court of Common Pleas of the 52nd Judicial District, Solicitor Snelling delivered a Mandamus action to Sheriff DeLeo who, at 11:38AM, served Lisa Arnold, Prothonotary and Clerk of Courts of Lebanon County, with a lawsuit asking the defendant to bring all existing docketing and filing current within seven (7) days; within 24 hours, transmit information to Penn DOT as provided by law, and all future dockets within two (2) days; place all cash deposits into an account within ten (10) days; transfer all funds in her custody, care and control into an insured and collateralized deposit account within ten (10 days);…and purge all civil files which have been inactive for more than two years or be held in contempt of Court.  David L. Schwalm, Esquire of Thomas, Thomas & Hafer LLP, 305 N Front Street, Harrisburg PA, will represent the County in this suit. 

Election Board 

3:39  Casting of Lots to determine ballot position in the May Primary Election -Posted to You Tube for your viewing pleasure.

Commissioners sat as the Board of Elections to oversee Casting of Lots to determine ballot position in the May Primary Election. Voter Registrar Nick Yingst and Sharon Long assisted by organizing, calling and recording numbers. If a candidate was present, he or she drew their own number. If a candidate sent a representative, a signed proxy was produced. In the absence of the candidate or proxy, commissioners took turns drawing numbers. The lowest number received the first ballot position and so on.

Assessment Appeals Board

8:46  Assessment Appeals -Posted to You Tube for your viewing pleasure.  Lebanon County Commissioners sat as the Board of Assessment Appeals.  Chief Assessor Dan Seaman and Commercial Appraiser Carl Stump presented one appeal, homes abandoned to make way for a railroad bridge, disabled veterans for exemption, and a technique to reduce the cost of a reassessment from around $50 per parcel to around $20 per parcel.  Lebanon County has approximately 50,000 parcels.  During the court-ordered reassessment, non-profits may have to restate their mission statements…and meet five criteria outlined in the HUP test to retain tax exempt status.

March 12, 2009

West Nile Virus - Tire Collection

West Nile Virus  -Posted to You Tube for your viewing pleasure.  7:55

Phil Hall, Lebanon County’s Penn State Extension West Nile Virus Coordinator, explains an April 6, 2009 tire collection program that will take place between 8AM and 6pm at the Lebanon Expo Center, 80 Rockerty Road., Lebanon PA.  Tires are recycled as bedding, mud flaps....  The County of Lebanon provides $4000 toward the program, which combines about $9,000 in municipal funds and a matching grant from the state of Pennsylvania.  Lebanon County residents may bring 12 auto or 2 large tires for free disposal.  Each municipality is allotted a quota of tires.  Additional tires will be accepted at $2.50 per auto and $20 per large tire.  Rims, water, and mud are not allowed.  Preregistration will help to avoid waiting in line and guarantee that your 12 tires will be accepted for free.  Call (717)675-2077 or email LPH1@psu.edu today.  If you use tires for swings or otherwise, please drill holes near the edges of the tread to allow water to drain.  In addition to tire collection, Phil scouts the county with his four-wheeler looking for mosquito larvae to eradicate.   If you watch the video, you'll meet "Fuzzy" his stuffed female mosquito used as a teaching aid.

March 11, 2009

Lebanon County Womens Commission

Lebanon County Womens Commission   -Posted to You Tube for your viewing pleasure.  8:07

The Lebanon County Women’s Commission met to discuss projects and future plans for celebrating Women’s History Month:

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By recording women’s history in articles that are appearing weekly on Saturdays in the Lebanon Daily News (Samples are posted to WomenInPolitics );

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By a celebration on March 17, 2009 for Women’s History month--6:30PM at Harrisburg Area Community College, 735 Cumberland St., Lebanon PA.  At 4PM the Ironed Jawed Angels film, a 2004 HBO documentary about the women’s suffrage movement, will be aired.  Guest speaker Carol Nechemias, PhD, an associate professor of public policy in the School of Public Affairs at Penn State Harrisburg, will talk about “The Obama Administration:  Gender Perspectives” (The public is invited);

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By delivering copies of the Ironed Jawed Angels to local school boards;

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By a local Prom Gown Exchange planning session on March 20 at LV Family Health;

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By supporting reuse of old Salem Lutheran church (call 273-3830 for more information);

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By working on a Habitat for Humanity House during "Women's Night Out" on March 31 from 6-9PM;

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By a “Girl Power” event to be held in April at Lebanon County Career and Technology Center to empower eighth grade girls in non-traditional occupations;

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By teaching a Financial Literacy class at PROBE: and

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By discussing “Hot Topics” like health care.

March 5, 2009

Treasurer Sallie Neuin reported that the State paid $870,000 in Children and Youth services.  This brings the C&Y account up to date.  However, $202,000 in Community Action Partnership funds are due the County.

 
Domestic Violence Intervention Shelter Grant  -Posted to You Tube for your viewing pleasure.  2:51

Lynn Snead presented a $177,400 Domestic Violence Intervention Emergency Shelter Grant application for approval.  Over two years, $85,000 would be used to rehabilitate 3.5 baths and a kitchen and $87,000 will be used for operating funds.

 

 
Mental Health Contracts  -Posted to You Tube for your viewing pleasure.  2:10

Kevin Schrum presented an administrative agreement with Capital Area Health Collaborative reducing the County percentage adjustment for administrative percentages from .75 to .68%, which will move more dollars from claims to services.  At no cost to the county, a $66,901 amendment also passed for 18 Contract changes.

 
Settled after 5 years--LFD vs GLRA and the County of Lebanon  -Posted to You Tube for your viewing pleasure.  1:40

Administrator Wolgemuth reviewed a Supreme Court decision awarding  the Greater Lebanon Refuse Authority $50,000 in a five-year old lawsuit by Lebanon Farms Disposal over flow control provisions.

 

Commissioners made the following appointments:

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Library Board:  Donna Hartranft, Mary Louise Sherk, and Angel Price as the County representative;

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Farm Preservation:  Tim Sheffy and Richard Moore; and

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RC&D Council:  Chuck Wertz and Dick Blouch as well as Commissioner Carpenter with Stephanie Harmon and Bob Sentz appointed as alternates.

A motion passed to disallow Renova Center employees from taking residents to the Winner’s Circle Saloon and Hollywood Casino on County time. 

 
Hiring Census Takers -Posted to You Tube for your viewing pleasure.  2:17

Lisa Becker was present to recruit census takers for the 2010 census.   These are part-time temporary jobs.  Only short forms with eight questions will be completed.  Long forms were moved to the American Community Survey.  Successful candidates will complete a test; be at least 18 years of age; have a social security number; and consent to a background check.  Bilingual residents are needed too.  Work would go through May 2010.  For more information call 1-866-861-2010 or visit www.census2010.gov

February 26, 2009

South Annville PollPosted to You Tube for your viewing pleasure. 

10:04 South Annville Poll

South Annville Township residents Pat Stephens, Sandy Eberly, Herbert Braden, and Chet Horst debated a potential polling place move from Zion EC Church on Route 934 to Fontana Church on Route 322.  Of 1,350+ voters, 251 voters signed a petition requesting a move.  For the November presidential election, the Election Board, consisting of the County Commissioners, moved the poll from the Fontana Municipal Building with 17 parking spaces and 1200 sq' to Zion with 150 parking spaces and 1276 sq'.  Fontana Church has 91 parking spaces and 2128 sq'.  Residents raised concerns over speed limits, a day care center, line of sight, possible closing of a driveway, 570 new homes scheduled to start construction in 2009, a red light ....  Voter registrar Nick Yingst listened to points, and added that neither poll is at the geographic center of the Township.  However, 30% of residents live within one mile of Zion EC Church while 12% of voters live within one mile of Fontana Church.  Further, the next most populated community lives one-half mile closer to the Zion EC Church.  In the end, commissioners did not vote to move the poll.
Boscov's Loan Receives Final Approval from Lebanon County Commissioners
 

Posted to You Tube for your viewing pleasure. 

1:58  Boscov's Loan Receives Final

Boscov's Loan from federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds received final approval from Lebanon County Commissioners.  Redevelopment Authority Director Ray Bender outlined Al Boscov's pledge of collateral and equity interests.

Further, Neva Lutman was reappointed to the Housing and Redevelopment Authority Board.

LVEDC Vice President Susan Eberly discusses a Next Generation Farm LoanPosted to You Tube for your viewing pleasure. 

1:08 LVEDC Vice President Susan Eberly discusses a Next Generation Farm

Lebanon Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) Vice President Susan Eberly discussed a $450,000 Next Generation Farm Loan for Marlin and Trisha Sensenig to build a second broiler house for chickens on their 35-acre farm.
 
EMA HazMat

Posted to You Tube for your viewing pleasure. 

1:30 EMA HazMat

For the Emergency Management Agency, Commissioners blessed a Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Preparedness Assessment.  Ben and Director Dan Kaufman also answered Lebanon Daily News reporter John Latimer's questions about equipment stored at Mt. Gretna Fire Company.  Station 50 does not have enough indoor storage area for equipment.

Posted to You Tube for your viewing pleasure. 

4:57 Economic Stimulus 

Penn DOT, and other members of the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) listened to Tom Kotay, Earl Meyer, and Mayor Trish Ward discuss the federal Economic Stimulus Package's impact on Lebanon County PA.  Congressman Tim Holden will hold a municipal session with experts from Washington DC who will be available to answer questions. Ward reviewed the 9th and 10th Street bridges over the railroad tracks that run through town.
419 Scenic Byway Subcommittee

 

Posted to You Tube for your viewing pleasure. 

:58  419 Scenic Byway Subcommittee

Jon Fitzkee proposed and received approval for a 419 Scenic Byway Subcommittee.

A 2008 $75,774 West Nile Virus grant was approved at a reduced rate of $67,210.50 for 2009.  One part-time position for storm sewers was cut. 

A proclamation for Arc of Dauphin and Lebanon Counties was approved.  An Art Fair for display of art created by retarded residents will take place at the Lebanon Valley Mall on March 7 during National Intellectual Disabilities Awareness month.

February 18, 2009

Cedar Haven

Census 301:  86 male, 215 female for a 95% occupancy

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The sprinkler system is done.  Life Safety provided a verbal approval, but written confirmation has not yet arrived.

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Administrator Schlegel is investigating providing beds for VA clients.

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A new “wound program” was reviewed.  A physician makes rounds with a nurse on Tuesdays to make recommendations for treatment.  After six months, an evaluation will take place to consider allowing the physicians to write orders.

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Fields, Miller, Tumilty and Thierolf were reappointed to the MHMR board.

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Warden Karnes presented proposals for commissary vendors.  Compas, the current vendor offered 27/28/then 29% over three years; Oasis 25%; and Keefe, the oldest commissary providing the widest range of inventory, offered 37% commission.  Keefe is a subsidiary of Enterprise Rent-A-Car.  Their service interfaces with the computer system, eliminating an on-site person and cutting out paperwork.  Orders are taken over the phone.  Commissioners approved Keefe as the new vendor.

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Warden Karnes also proposed a “Work Release Job Fair.”  80 inmates are looking for work.  Inmates with jobs are down from 108 in February 2008 to 71 in February 2009.  Therefore, inmate room and board contributions are down significantly to cover their stay at the prison.

Prison Board

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Population 445:  378 male, 67 female

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Unsentenced 133

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Work Release 71

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State Sentenced 20

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Parole/Probation violators 193

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Sentenced by Court of Common Pleas 29

February 19, 2009

Regular meeting

Posted to You Tube for your viewing pleasure. 

PA Farm Preservation 2-19-2009

Commissioner Litz attended a State Agricultural Preservation Board meeting.

 

On 2-19-09, the Pennsylvania Farmland Preservation Board preserved 4,682 acres on 48 farms bringing the State's total to 411,892 acres on 3,745 farms.  Based on productivity of soil and other criteria, each county processes and recommends farms for preservation.

Land Trusts allow reimbursement of up to $5000 in incidental costs to a non-government entity, which helps Mennonite and Amish farmers to preserve their land.  The Mennonite and Amish communities normally do not deal with government.  For this purpose, PA has a maximum annual pool of $200,000.

Preservation funds come from a number of sources—a cigarette tax, $20.5 million; the Environmental Stewardship Fund from garbage tipping fees, 14.8% of the total fee; (grant portion based on realty transfer tax and the match is based on ag production); Federal Farm and Ranch Land protection funds; Pennsylvania; counties; municipalities; and in one county, a percent of Earned Income Tax is earmarked for preservation of farms.

At meetings, some farms are discussed in great detail.  One such farm withheld approximately a 100 acre section of the farm used for recreation, and preserved the other 150 acres.  Another farm worked out an agreement with a neighbor.

At the farmer's discretion, House Bill 505 seeks to allow up to a 20' non-motorized trail when open to the public without charge.  Trails could only be on the perimeter of the property.

Personnel Director Gary Robson presented Collective bargaining Agreements for approval for 2009-2011:  Social Service Agencies represented by Teamsters, Local 429 and the County Detectives Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Linnea Miller and Chet Horst presented a petition, and requested that the South Annville Polling Place be moved back to the Fontana school house (Municipal Building) or some other suitable building.  One question involved traffic.  Commissioner Litz had prepared an overview of the Zion ECC poll on 934 MeetingHighlights/Zion ECC on 934.pdf, the Fontana poll on 322 MeetingHighlights/Fontana on 322.pdf, and an overview of traffic provided by PennDOT and a sketch of proposed development for South Annville  MeetingHighlights/S Annville Poll.pdf.

On Saturday, March 21 at 9AM, Stephanie Harmon is presenting a Rain Barrel Workshop at the Lebanon County Conservation District, 2120 Cornwall Rd., Lebanon.  Cost is $25, which includes a rain barrel worth about $75.  Limited capacity.  Registrations can be taken by phone with a credit card.  Call 272-3908 extension 4.

On a related note, Stephanie directed interested parties to the Conservation District web site www.lccd.org for trees and plants.

Sally Barry presented a $90,420 Electronic Monitoring Grant for Adult Probation.  An intermediate Punishment Plan was also submitted for approval.

Commissioners Stohler and Carpenter approved transfer of an additional $36,500 in Growing Greener funding to the Schaefferstown Water Company toward Fountain Park.  The original grant was $4,700, and the new total is $41,200.

Assessment Appeals

Because Commission Carpenter was absent, Commissioner Litz chaired the Assessment Appeal hearings.  Two appeals were heard.    

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Disabled veteran Dennis Reitz was approved for tax exemption.

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Commissioners approved Solicitor Snellings recommendation concerning Londoncroft.

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Five City bridge properties were removed from the tax roles:  N 9th Street properties at 232, 315-317, 325, and 329 as well as 332 N 10th St.

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Because of an 85,680 square foot addition to the building, Chief Assessor Dan Seaman discussed a Hershey Foods warehouse formula to share tax revenue with Dauphin County.  The overall value of the property went from $32,702,000 to $38,567,000-$43,493,000.  At 35%, on the original value, Lebanon County's portion is $11,445,800.  At 35% on the new value, Lebanon County's portion is $13,498,000.  At a Dauphin proposed 68/32% split, Lebanon County's value would only be $12,600,000.  Hershey made a gift of land to Palmyra schools, which warrants a $390,000 adjustment.  Also, a guard house was placed in Lebanon County.  Even so, commissioners question how improvements to the land would reduce the value of property located in Lebanon County.

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Chief Assessor Dan Seaman is also looking into a Universal Parcel Identifier using Pictometry.  The cost is around $100,000.  With five flyovers, software would allow the photos to overlay onto an existing map, and point out changes to staff, which would allow an in-house reassessment saving in excess of $1million.  Cumberland and Green Counties are using this technology in their reassessments.  A presentation to commissioners by the company is planned for a future meeting.

February 12, 2009

Pam Tricamo, Habitat for Humanity, invited commissioners to a "Home Dedication" on Sunday at 2PM--239 S. 5th St.  Before and after pictures of the burned out structure were provided.

Treasurer Neuin reported that $720,000 was drawn from the Tax and Revenue Anticipation Note (TRAN).

Commissioner Stohler talks about Cyberspace

Posted to You Tube for your viewing pleasure. 

 

Commissioner Stohler talked about Cyberspace.  Since 2002, Lebanon County has had a web site located at www.lebcounty.org .  For the last few years (approximately 2005), the week after a meeting and approval of the minutes, "Meeting Highlights" are posted on the "Commissioner's Office" page, which is under the "Departments" link.  Official minutes are kept in a ledger at the commissioner's office.

Since 1998, usually within 24 hours, I post "Meeting Highlights" to my web site, which is located at www.JoEllenLitz.com .  Look under the LitzOnLebanon link.  Admittedly, my Highlights are from my perspective. 

I think the addition of video of the meetings helps with transparency, reminds me what I and other people actually said, and lets people feel like they are more connected to their local government. 

Weavertown Terrace - Spruce ParkPosted to You Tube for your viewing pleasure. 

6 minutes and 19 seconds

bullet67 of 153 units are Section 8 Housing
bullet$1.5 million investment by owners
bullet$1.5 million sought for improvements
Andy Cohen, from Rock Properties, talked about the image of Weavertown Terrace (formerly Spruce Park), and a request for a letter of support to obtain $1.5 million in federal and state funds for upgrades to the property.  No motion was taken pending satisfaction of details outlined in a letter from the Housing Authority.  Mr. Cohen was provided with a copy of the letter, which addressed a HUD contract on each of the Section 8 units on topics like reasonable rents, rent increase notices, and gas hook-up.

Adam Hain and Dennis Wampler were appointed to the Lebanon County Agricultural Preservation board.

Anita Fuhrman, Maria Dissinger, Stephanie Shirker, Emily Guilliams, Ashley Stoltz, and Kathy Kulbitsky were appointed to the Lebanon County Women’s Commission.

Paul Vranesic and Dennis Firestone were appointed to the Community Action Partnership board.

February 6, 2009

Sallie Neuin presented the treasurer’s report.  An additional $500,000 was drawn from the TRAN.

Personnel Director Gary Robson and Melissa Light presented personnel transactions and conference and seminar requests. 

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Further, they presented a Clean Indoor Air Policy, which Commissioners passed in accordance with PA’s Clean Indoor Air Act. 

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Next, Commissioners signed a Delegation of Signatory Authority for Civil Service Agencies.

James Holtry presented Children and Youth contracts for approval.  All contracts reflect a zero percent increase with the exception of those programs funded completely by Medical Assistance or new programs which did not exist last year.

Administrator Wolgemuth presented a proclamation for Gene Kreitzer who was elected as president of the PA Builder’s Association.

Commissioners also certified $424,329 in 2009 Agricultural Preservation funds from federal Farm and Ranch Land Protection ($424,329) and Municipality ($82,100) funds.

A resignation was accepted from Andy Marhevsky who served on the Agricultural Preservation board.

Commissioner Litz completed a six-year maximum term on the Resource Conservation and Development Council, which means either Commissioner Stohler or Carpenter will fill the position.  A commissioner can send a delegate to meetings.

Prayer 2-5-09

For your review, this portion of the meeting has been posted to You Tube Prayer 2-5-09

3 minutes and 45 seconds in length.

 

As requested by Martin Barondick, a prayer discussion was placed on the agenda.  Lebanon County Commissioners listened to Martin Barondick say that he is an atheist who is opposed to prayer.  Then, Jonathan Sonnen and Pastor Tim Anderman spoke in favor of prayer. 

 

2-5 A Lebanon County commissioner tries to introduce prayer to meetings, but it doesn't pass
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Fox coverage of prayer request

 

Commissioner Litz stated that:

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In 1802, Thomas Jefferson used the phrase “separation of church and state” in a letter to the Danbury Baptists.  “I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of (a single) religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”;

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Speaking to the intent of our forefathers:  For a couple of centuries, ever since the first Congress (attended by Thomas Jefferson) drafted the first amendment to the Constitution, Congress has opened with prayer; 

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In 1983, the Supreme Court affirmed that because it follows a rich tradition in America, prayer is allowed at government meetings;

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The PA House and Senate open with prayer; and

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City Council opens with prayer;

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Commissioner Litz made a motion to allow prayer, spoken by clergy of various faiths or silent, at the beginning of each Lebanon County commissioner’s meeting.  The motion died for lack of a second. 

                                 

January 29, 2009

Public members present included Pam Tricamo, Mike Booth, and Martin Barondick. 

Prayer
For your review, this portion of the meeting has been posted to You Tube .
 
2:54
 joellenlitz no rating
 

So the public has an opportunity to comment, Barondic requested that a discussion on prayer be placed on a future agenda.  Prayer will be an agenda item for the next meeting on Thursday, February 5, 9:30AM, in the commissioner's conference room, 400 S. 8th St., Lebanon--2nd floor.

Treasurer Neuin presented the treasurer’s report.  Another $906,000 draw on the TRAN to meet payroll brings the total draw to $2.231 million.

Director Gary Robson and Assistant Director Melissa Light presented personnel and training requests.

Dan Kaufman and Ben Hershkowitz presented an EMA report for approval.  Commissioner Stohler scrutinized the report, and asked to have it corrected.  However, Commissioners Carpenter and Litz said volunteers can continue to serve as the HazMat commander at incidents.  Ben said that these volunteers are uncompensated professionals.  A few volunteers are board certified to a national standard.  This system has yielded higher morale, grows volunteers with depth, and teaches volunteers multi-tasking.  The EMA staff commander, who is expected to respond 24/7/365, has distinct duties like supervision of 911 emergencies, which are different from the HazMat on-call duty officer. 

Archie Batestelli presented an update on the County’s retirement plan.  2008 was down by 21.3%, but performance was better than many indicators.  The beginning balance was $93,061,625.15, and the ending balance was $72,066,052.22.

Commissioners passed a proclamation declaring February 1-6 as Boy Scout week.  Activities will be held at the Lebanon Valley Mall.

An Eagle Scout proclamation passed for Kyle Henry Pennypacker of troop 412.

At a cost of $3,206 annually, Commissioners approved an MIS agreement with the County Commissioners Association of PA to host the county web site.  CCAP is undergoing installation of a new framework.

Administrator Wolgemuth presented a tax claim property at 220 Melonie Lane, Jonestown.  Upset sale price was $1,302.82; judicial sale price $575; and the bid by Kim Rolon of Palmyra, $1.

Wolgemuth also presented a $22,358.10 Dell PC 4-year lease for approximately 100 computers.

Mike Booth, North Londonderry Township, was on hand to receive an endorsement letter for an H2O PA $17.4 million wastewater treatment state grant. 

Finally, Wolgemuth presented the 2008 Annual Liquid Fuels report.  The fund started with $409,989.97 and will end with $67,867.12 after all obligations to municipalities are paid in full.

January 22, 2009

Treasurer Neuin stated that this week $350,000 was drawn from the Tax Revenue Anticipation Note bringing the total draw to $1,300,000.

Daryl Cox and Stan Aleckna attended as members of the public.  Aleckna questioned whether a gypsy moth coordinator was selected for 2009.  Commissioner Stohler said, no.  Commissioner Litz shared that the Conservation District reversed a previous decision, and, providing they can recoup their costs, has offered to continue administration of the program.  In the past, the Conservation District provided the science by identifying, qualifying, and mapping gypsy moth laden forests.

Bureau of Elections Chief Nick Yingst presented a Certification of County Maintenance of Effort; quarterly HAVA and performance reports; and certification of political parties that may nominate candidates in the 2009 primary.  Both the Republican and Democratic parties met the criteria.

Coroner Jeffrey Yocum provided a 2008 annual report:

458 cremations, up from 386 in 2007.  A $25 fee is charged, which brings in $11,000 annually.  Approximately $50,000 is spent each year for autopsies, which helps to keep crime scenes from being burned.

105 Natural deaths autopsied, down from 128 in 2007.

55 Accidental Deaths, up from 44 in 2007

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2 Homicides

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1 Train accident

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19 Suicides
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4 hangings

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9 Gunshots

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4 Carbon Monoxide

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1 Train

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1 Tylenol Toxicity

 

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18 Motor Vehicle Accidents, up from 12 in 2007

Accidental deaths

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1 Aspiration

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1 Carbon Monoxide poisoning

3 Undetermined

10 Overdoses

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4 from Prescribed drugs resulting in an adverse reaction

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1 Morphine-antidepressant toxicity

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1 Heroin, down from 4 in 2007

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1 Alcohol/cocaine

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1 Cocaine

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1 Oxycodone (Perkeset)

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1 Oxycontin

Since Snyder and Butler Counties turned down participation, Gordon Weise asked what will happen next with the Boscov’s loan.  Commissioners did not receive notice whether the entire process, including hearings, must be redone, or if an addendum to the existing paperwork is permissible. 

January 21, 2009

Cedar Haven:

Total Census stood at 301—86 male and 215 female.

Number 4 elevator, also known as the only elevator to stop on the Ground Floor, is in need of a new control valve.  At a cost of $12,000, a motion passed to complete repairs, which will keep the service contract at $980 verses $1480 monthly. 

An improvement by closing holes in the electric room should reduce insurance premiums.

Administrator Wolgemuth shared pictures of a debris pile at the Yordy Bridge.  Quotes are being gathered to remove the pile.

Notification came that DEP has discontinued the tire collection grant.  Phil Hall is working on a scaled down version.

Commissioner Litz discussed a medical insurance audit and nurse background check tool.

Administrator Wolgemuth stated that we have eight to nine months left to pay on the Honeywell contract.  A previous communication and refund was misleading.  City Bank sold the note, and had returned a payment.

Prison Board:

Tina Vera and Carrie Elliott completed a Discharge Referral Guide for legal issues, educational issues, mental health/mental retardation services, drug and alcohol services, employment issues, medical and health issues, as well as housing/clothing/ and food issues.

Total Census stood at 431—368 male and 63 female.

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Unsentenced 112

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Work release 78

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State sentenced 21

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Parole/probation violators 190

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Sentenced by the Court of Common Pleas 26

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Domestic Bench Warrants 17

January 15, 2009

Habitat for Humanity Director Pam Tricamo presented a request for volunteers to help with a federally mandated homeless count on January 28.  To encourage any homeless persons to come in out of the cold and be counted, a meal will also be provided.  For more information or to volunteer, contact Monica Boyer at MH/MR 273-3415 or mboyer@lebcnty.org .

Treasurer Neuin presented the treasurer’s report for approval.  To meet all obligations, Neuin completed the first withdrawal ($975,000) from the tax and revenue anticipation note.

Personnel Director Robsen presented transactions for approval.  Commissioners approved filling of two full time LPN positions at the prison.

Melissa Light presented training requests for approval.  Commissioner Carpenter asked if all of the training must take place during the first quarter when money is tight.  A motion passed to allow the training, but postpone as many sessions as possible until after the first quarter of 2009.

Juvenile Probation Director Bill Sullivan, along with Brooke Emenheiser, presented the $11,112 - 2009 Gatekeeper program, a front-end alternative to “give more kids opportunity” when they get into trouble with the law.  While past practice only provided first-time non-violent offenders this opportunity, this year, some first-time violent offenders (fist fights) will be given a second chance by completing community service, making victim restitution, writing letters of apology….  Of the 122 youth referred to the program, 90 juveniles were accepted.  69 (approximately 76%) successfully completed the program, while 21 youths were dismissed.

Assistant Administrator Kathy Kirby presented a Tax Claim property bid of $1 by Wilma Via to purchase 20 Lakeside Park, Lebanon.

At the cost of $21 per acre to spray BT on 3,292 acres, Kirby also presented a DCNR gypsy moth suppression agreement.  Motion carried.

On behalf of the Housing Authority, Commissioner Litz presented an updated letter for signatures to move the Mifflin Mills project on 7th Street in the City of Lebanon forward.  Ground should be broken in March.

Based on a request from COLT board chairman Al Freed, Litz moved to appoint Fred Goudy to the COLT board.  The motion died for lack of a second.

Commissioner Stohler moved and Carpenter seconded a motion to appoint Joseph Eisenhauer to the COLT board.  The motion passed 2 to 1 with Litz voting nay.

Litz thanked her colleagues for asking for public input.  This week, written comments received from our constituents were shared.  People have asked for more convenience.  Some of the highlights include:

bullet“Government is supposed to become more transparent (sunshine and open records).”  Further,
bullet“Attendance is often low at day time meetings, so it doesn’t seem as if attendance should be a determining factor.  I think making it possible for constituents to attend meetings and participate in the governmental process is the vital issue here.  Whether or not the possibility is acted upon is not important – it’s the extension of opportunity.”
bullet“Sometimes it's good to get your opinion heard and on the record, instead of calling a commissioner and having a private conversation.”

Because of public interest, Litz revisited the suggestion to hold night meetings.

To make meetings more "accessible" to the public, Litz moved to hold one night meeting each month.  The motion died for lack of a second.

bulletMeeting on a Monday night can utilize existing security.  Of course so we don’t conflict, we’d coordinate our meeting with the City.
bulletAlternatively, North Londonderry Township and Ono Fire Company have offered a meeting site.

Next, Litz moved to open commissioner meetings with prayer.  The motion died for lack of a second.

bulletCarbon, Fayette, Lycoming, Washington, Westmoreland, and York Counties open their meetings with spoken prayer.  Other counties open with a moment of silence.
bulletWe can ask for or invite volunteer clergy of various faiths to pray.
bulletIn addition, commissioners can rotate praying should a scheduled clergy have to cancel at the last minute.
bulletFurther, veterans can be invited to begin the pledge.
bulletOther counties have written guidelines similar to the following:

Prayer Guidelines for Lebanon County Commissioners Meetings could include:

Mission Statement:  Ask God to help the Commissioners make wise decisions and for God to bless Lebanon County, and be more effective in their service to the County.

Concerning the Prayer:

Prayer should be based on 2 Chronicles 7:14- “If My people who are called by my Name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”       

The guest Clergy should keep in mind that Lebanon County is comprised of people of many different faith traditions, and should not put any other tradition above another.

The length of the Prayer should not be more than 5 minutes.

The prayer must be free of any personal political views or partisan politics, and from any intimations pertaining to foreign and domestic policy.

The prayer must exclusively and in its entirety be given in the English language.

The prayer should be a quiet moving time not one given in haste.

Finally, Litz moved to research broadcasting commissioner meetings on the Internet. Thomas Jefferson said, “Information to the people is the most legitimate engine of government.”  The motion died for lack of a second.

bulletThe county already has computer infrastructure that should handle a webcam broadcast.  The web broadcast could be recorded and made available for download 24 hours a day seven days a week from the county's website.
bulletThe webcast would improve services to constituents by making meetings available to both people who are working and shut-ins as well as provide a direct communication tool during disasters.

In the afternoon, commissioners met as the Assessment board.  Several disabled veterans, Lickdale Fire Company, the American House parking lot owned by the City of Lebanon and South Londonderry Township were awarded tax exemption.

January 8, 2009

At 9:30AM, during a public comment period, Sebastian questioned whether or not taxes could be paid online.  Treasurer Neuin provided details of this service.

Also, Stan Alekna inquired whether or not commissioners appointed a new gypsy moth coordinator for 2010.  Commissioner Stohler stated that the topic would be re-visited in a few weeks.

Sallie Neuin presented the Treasurer’s report and tax collection agreements for approval.

Gary Robson presented personnel transactions.  Further, commissioners approved filling of an administrative specialist position in the District Attorney's office.  An existing employee will move into that slot, and the vacated spot will be terminated.  Finally, a wage reopener with AFSME for correctional officers is finalized.  During the final year of a three-year contract, the 75 employees will receive a 3% raise, an additional 5 cent shift differential, and the same benefits.

For approval, Kathy Kirby presented Eugene Mavretic’s resignation from the COLT board.  Both Brenda Wurges and Al Freed were reappointed to the board.

In order to meet Act 165 criteria, Commissioner Stohler presented EMA planning committee names for approval to forward to PEMA.

At 10AM, a hearing convened to listen to testimony concerning Section 108 for Boscov’s New Department Store project.  Sighting a statutory requirement to display the application for five days, Carl Jarboe questioned the legality of holding the hearing.  Redevelopment Authority Director Ray Bender stated that the draft copy placed in the commissioner’s office on Monday was a courtesy duplicate copy.  As advertised, the original application was on display at the Redevelopment Authority for the required time.   Because it contained information on Snyder County, both Jarboe and Martin Barundick stated that the original application was different than the display in the commissioner’s office.  Bender acknowledged the removal of Snyder County from the application, and pointed out that the display is a draft.  A final version could only be compiled after today’s hearing, which would produce a sign-in sheet of the approximately two dozen people in attendance and minutes of the meeting.  West Lebanon Township Supervisor John Brenner and Representative Rose Marie Swanger were among the attendees.  Bender and Solicitor Snelling recommended that the hearing proceed. 

Under protest, both Barondick and Jarboe asked commissioners to deny support of a $5.833 million loan from federal CDBG funds in the custody of the State of PA and allocated to Lebanon County. 

Ken Phelps, manager of the Lebanon Valley Mall, requested a favorable vote.

Bender presented an outline of terms:

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Boscov’s Inc., a tenant of Al Boscov’s properties, is now bankrupt and out of business.

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Boscov’s Department Stores, LLC is a NEW COMPANY seeking to occupy Al Boscov’s properties.

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Al Boscov will provide his properties (worth $258,688,000 less debt) and $83,000,000 in inventory as collateral for the new company start-up loan of $106,125,835.  In Lebanon County, the application stated that the Boscov store and Lebanon Valley Mall are worth $19 million.  A 2006 appraisal done for the Lebanon County Assessment Office valued the property at $29 million.  So, in this case, the application may state conservative, not inflated values.

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DCED Acting Secretary John Blake provided a written guarantee for Lebanon County that states, “…in the event of a default by Boscov’s NEW CO(MPANY) in repaying the 108 Loan, the Department will make the necessary payments on the 108 Loan so that the Community Development Bock Grant funds otherwise available to Lebanon County will not be seized by HUD….”

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In 2008, Lebanon County received $449,040 in CDBG funds, which were used for curb cuts, ADA entry doors, Homeless, Homebuyer assistance, blight removal….  The $7 million in consortium funds are new for Lebanon County.  The extra $1.2 million can be used for other community projects.

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The $5.8 million is a loan, which must be paid back.  It is not a grant or gift.

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State guarantees hold up, even if they are slow to pay.

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147 jobs are at stake in Lebanon County.

Commissioner Litz stated that this is a federal, state, and county partnership.  Al Boscov is willing to put his name, land, and integrity on the table to make the new Boscov’s Department Stores, LLC work.  When I think of Lebanon County, I believe that The Boscov Lebanon Valley Mall is a fabric of our community, and serves as a de facto town hall.

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How many of your children have camped at the LVM or participated in a pine wood derby with the Boy Scouts?

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There’s the Jail Bail and fund raising for the American Cancer Society;

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The Apprentice Challenge to teach high school students about running a business;

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ARC programs to support the mentally retarded;

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American Idol contests;

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ABWA Christmas gift wrap booths that have provided scholarships for our youth;

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Voter’s Guides put together by the League of Women Voters each spring and fall;

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And the list goes on.

I can’t think of another business in this county that has done so much to support our community. 

Commissioner Carpenter said that he has known Al Boscov for years, and believes that if anyone can make the new store work, it is Al Boscov….

A unanimous vote passed to support the loan.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.

January 5, 2009

Re-Organizational Meeting

County

Commissioner Stohler was appointed as chairman; Commissioner Carpenter as vice-chairman; and Commissioner Litz as secretary of the board.

Jamie Wolgemuth was reappointed as administrator, and commissioners reappointed Penny Snelling as solicitor.

Employees were reappointed to their respective positions.

A schedule of meetings was presented—every Thursday in Room 207 of the Municipal Building beginning at 9:30AM; the third Wednesday of each month at Cedar Haven beginning at 10:30AM….

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Commissioner Litz asked consideration of one night-time meeting monthly. 

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Commissioner Carpenter said no one attended night-time meetings when they tried it years ago.  He said that overtime had to be paid to employees. 

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Commissioner Stohler thought that if someone really wanted to attend, they could make arrangements to attend a daytime meeting. 

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Commissioner Carpenter said that we are accessible.  People can reach us everyday of the week.  They don’t need to come to a meeting to be heard.

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Commissioner Litz agreed that many people can make daytime meetings, but not everyone.

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Additionally, department heads are salaried, and would not qualify for overtime.  At some meetings, hearings are scheduled.  Without hearing a party’s presentation, to testify, ask, and answer questions may be difficult to accomplish ahead of time.

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The motion passed 2 to 1 with Commissioner Litz voting nay. 

Liaison Assignments will remain the same in 2009.

Stohler

Litz

Carpenter

Area Agency on Aging

Ag Extension Agency

Assessment

Children & Youth

Chamber of Commerce & Economic Development

Building & Grounds

Drug & Alcohol

COLT

City of Lebanon

Emergency Management

Conservation District

Elections

Mental Health/Retardation

Housing & Redevelopment

Management Information

Tourist Promotion Agency

Southcentral Employment

Planning

Renova Center

United Way

Veterans Affairs

A list of depository banks was approved.

Board of Elections and Registration Commission

Bill Carpenter was appointed as the chairman, Larry Stohler as the vice-chairman, Nick Yingst as the Chief Clerk of Elections, and Penny Snelling as Solicitor.

Board of Assessment Revision of Taxes

Commissioner Carpenter was appointed as chairman, Commissioner Litz as vice-chairman, Jamie Wolgemuth as Administrator, Penny Snelling as Solicitor, and Dan Seaman as Chief County Assessor.  Hearing dates were established as follows:

January 15; February 19; March 19; April 16; May 21; June 18; July 16; August 20 and 27; September 3, 17, and 24; October 1, 8, 15, and 22; November 19; December 17.

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