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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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.
Lebanon County Commission for Women
Web site paid for by Jo Ellen Litz.
Lebanon County Commissioner Meeting Highlights
Votes taken by the Lebanon County Commissioners 2015-16:
Also visit my Lebanon Daily News Blog: http://blogs.ldnews.com/peopleabovepolitics/
Videos are posted to YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/joellenlitz/videos?shelf_id=4&view=0&sort=dd
County of Lebanon Job Openingshttp://www.lebcounty.org/Human_Resources/Pages/JobAnnouncements.aspx
Census Information: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/dashboard/PST045215/42075
2016 & 2017 Lebanon County Commissioner Meeting Highlights
David Weisnicht stated that over 110,000 troops have been trained at Fort Indiantown Gap thus far this year. 700 people enjoyed the butterfly walk. A 28-mile Extreme Sport event will take place on September 16. The 6th annual March for the Fallen, a 14-mile event will also take place. Exercises in live fire and exercises at Muir Air Field continue.
Sallie Neuin requested $4,711.12 to purchase a printer for the Controller’s office to print personnel related forms like W2s and paychecks.
Sally Barry, Parole Chief, presented a Grant-in-Aid request.
Elizabeth Bowman, Redevelopment Authority Director, presented an Act 137 Grant Request for a Community Homes Elevator, Commissioners awarded $125,000 of a $250,000 request in the form of a grant. Total cost of the elevator is $378,000. Commissioners receive about $20,000 per month for housing with a balance of $1.6M. Community Homes will be returning to borrow funds to renovate Washington Arms.
Further, Commissioners approved a letter of support for a $600,000 loan through the Community First Fund to Brothers Grocery owner Aaron Camara. Repayment will be at 2% on the 13,000sq' facility between 9th & 10th Streets, and provide 30 full-time and 21 part-time jobs.
Jay Wenger presented a resolution to self fund advances to Honeywell Energy Savings Projects to qualify for tax exempt financing, which can be reimbursed with proceeds from a bond issue when implemented. To date, no Honeywell contract has been signed.
Dan Seaman, Assessment Chief, presented five disabled veterans for real estate tax exemption. Commissioners also approved two assessment appeals.
Robert Dowd and Gary Verna presented a 3-year $8,907 Transcar Exercise grant for approval. The 80/20 grant trains first responders on safety….
In closing, Kathy Kirby presented a tourism grant request from Mount Gretna Historical Society to renovate the piers at the entrance to the community.
David Weisnicht reported on Back at the Gap.
Human Services Director Michelle Edris presented commissioners with a November 12, 1964 Civil Service Commission agreement, which commissioners rescinded for the Emergency Management Agency.
Commissioners hired William Wertz as a part-time door monitor for Building Security.
Sallie Neuin presented a request to open a new bank account at First National Bank of PA to accommodate the new Human Services Block Grant fund of $4.5 million for MHIDEI, CAP, Drug & Alcohol….
James Holtry, Children and Youth Director, presented Service Provider Contracts and a Northampton County Detention Facility contract for approval.
Dennis Firestone reviewed a low bid of $310,251 from Mar-Allen to repair the South Locust Street Bridge in Myerstown. The firm is from Ephrata, and when completed, the bridge will have the same appearance as the historic bridge. Construction will start August 27 or sooner.
Jamie Wolgemuth reviewed a recently released Standard and Poors A Bond Rating for Lebanon County.
At a cost of $26/day with a $40/day minimum, Jamie also presented a contract with DB Fisher Transportation for Renova Center clients to be transported to EARS. The charge is 25-cents more than last year.
Commissioners awarded Fixed Liquid Fuel funds to municipalities: Millcreek $3892; North Lebanon $11,429; Myerstown $3062; Jonestown $1905; Swatara $4555; and Mt. Gretna $196.
David Weisnicht presented his Back at the Gap report.
Penn State is restructuring, and Stephanie Shirk brought Tara Mondock, Associate Director of Client Relations, to the meeting. Tara will be the new "fellow" for the County Commissioner's Association of PA.
Treasurer Sallie Neuin received permission for staff to work up to five extra hours to process doe licenses. She also presented a request to open a new bank account with First National Bank of PA to process taxes collected for West Lebanon Township.
Judge Tylwalk brought Mercedes, a 27-year employee, to the commissioner's meeting where she received a proclamation from the Lebanon County Commissioners. Mercedes worked under three District Judges. We wish her well in her retirement.
Kevin Schrum, Director of MHIDEI stated that Lebanon County received Block Grant status on June 13. He also updated commissioners on Fair Weather Lodge. Finally, Kevin received approval for an Operating Agreement, Provider contracts that increased by 1.25% and 16 Amendments totaling $78,213. No additional County funds are sought. Kevin does not know how the State budget will impact his budget.
James Donmoyer, Director of Drug and Alcohol, presented Provider Contrasts and a Budget Summary representing a 1.15% increase for approval. With 80 beds, Teen Challenge in Rehrersburg is a new provider for Adult Detox and Rehab.
Chief Detective Dan Wright presented a $25,000 Impaired Driving Grant for DUI checkpoints; Cops in Shops to deter underage drinking; as well as Roving Patrols.
Carol Davies, Director of the Area Agency on Aging, presented 44 presented provider contracts, amendments and budget information. Carol also received appointment of Evelyn Sites and James Schucker to fill the 15-member Area Agency on Aging Board.
Roman Shahay, Director of Renova Center, said that most contracts will remain the same. Unfortunately, a contract with DB Fisher was not received.
James Holtry, Director of Children and Youth, presented third quarter invoices of $1,335,841.70 for approval.
Nicole Eisenhart, District Attorney’s office, presented RASA and VOJO grants for approval.
To further diversify our pension portfolio, Brett Holland and Mike Battistelli recommended two new managers, Nuveen Asset Management for Small Cap, and Legg Mason for Large Cap Growth.
Jamie Wolgemuth presented:
At 11:30AM, commissioners met with members of the MPO—Metropolitan Planning Organization. During the MPO meeting, we learned that PennDOT Connect is more than potholes. It's all about planning--Bike to Work, Green Infrastructure, Community Health, Utilities... Funding will be available.
At 1:30PM, commissioners sat as Board of Assessment and Revision to hear to appeals.
David Weisnicht returned with an update on Back at the Gap. Troops from all branches of the service are trained at Fort Indiantown Gap.
Mike Schroeder and Ann Pinca returned to update commissioners on their training with Delaware Riverkeepers to monitor pipelines in Lebanon County. Since they took a train-the-trainer course, they are prepared with videos and PowerPoints to train others who are willing to respect the law and property rights as they monitor installation of the Sunoco and Atlantic Sunrise pipelines in Lebanon County. They also talked about restoration of the 98% impaired Quittapahilla Creek and the Garbage Museum.
Penn State will now have a regional representative servicing Agricultural Power House counties like Lebanon County along with other counties in the breadbasket-of America: Lancaster, Berks, Chester, and Schuylkill.
In 1999 Honeywell first audited energy and received a 10-year contract to upgrade lighting in the Lebanon County courthouse. Among other things, over 20 years, the second audit improved water usage at Cedar Haven, the prison, and some at the courthouse. The third audit proposes to once again upgrade lighting to LED, more water conservation at the prison…over 20 years. The total bond issue at 3.4% is $2,483,100. In addition to guaranteeing that the County will recoup this money, we should see an additional cash flow of $373,686.
For energy conservation and the environment, Commissioner Litz also asked for serious evaluation of Window Solutions to replace windows (some of them visibly failing) that have been in place since construction of the courthouse. This investment is recaptured in as little as 3 years or up to 7 years, depending upon the type of windows installed. Benefits include environmental, safety from shattering, comfort of employees—keeping heat in and cold out in winter, and heat out and cool air in during the summer months; as well as improved building appearance. Patrick Salmon has been with the County of Lebanon through all three audits.
Carol Davies presented $39,059 in contract amendments to the budget for Area Agency on Aging. The changes do NOT impact the County budget.
First Aid and Safety Patrol received a proclamation for EMS week. FASP responds to 28,000 calls annually. They have been recognized by Life Lion for their CPR education and given a Gold+ award for responding with their quick access Cath Lab within 5 minutes. The expectation is a 10-minute response.
Controller Bob Mettley gave his interpretation of the actuarial report on the pension plan. The ARC payment is $2,627,000, but would be reduced to $900,000 annually if the pension is fully funded rather than at the current 85.3%. Afterwards, Commissioner Ames talked about his part in the process. The other side of the coin includes::
Administrator Jamie Wolgemuth presented:
Memorial Day Weekend:
David Weisnicht, Fort Indiantown Gap, shared updates about training through May 21, exploding ordnance May 22 & 26, and a Chamber breakfast on May 23. Answering a question, he stated that flights can be daily between the hours of 7AM and Midnight.
Rik & Andrew Rhoade represent the 445 Foundation, and received a proclamation for Miracle Child Week. Since their inception, they have raised $105,000. They encourage viewers to watch WGAL TV8 on June 5 between 6-8PM to see a live broadcast. Tyler, a Miracle Child, also spoke about the services he’s received.
Brett Holland and Mike Battistelli—Stifel Nicolaus, updated commissioners on the pension fund. Brad Baker, Sovereign Asset Management explained how managing 14% of the County pension plan, they choose companies that use Aps for Millennials to grow their businesses—McDonalds, Starbucks, Exxon…
WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital and Philhaven as well as the Veterans Administration Hospital were on hand for proclamations for both nurses and hospital week.
Captain Ernesto Portillo and Terry Weaver received a National Salvation Army Week proclamation. The Salvation Army has served Lebanon County since 1896.
Sally Barry recently received a regional award from her peers. Congratulations, Sally. She also presented a Crossroads Grant request, which reduces the budget by $138,739, and does not increase County share. Sally explained how this successful program treats people, avoiding incarceration, reducing recidivism, and saving taxpayers large sums of money in the process.
Commissioners awarded 3 MATP contracts.
Disabled Veterans were given real estate tax relief.
PCS won the appeal on a zoning hearing decision to run a Day Reporting Center. The City has the option to appeal the decision to the Commonwealth Court.
Lebanon County follows the law, which currently requires a warrant to detain illegal immigrants. Lehigh County was sued for detaining an American Citizen. The courts then said a detainer is not sufficient, and required a warrant to arrest and place an illegal immigrant in prison. Federal facilities for this purpose are located in York PA and Newark NJ. Each year, Lebanon County arrests about 50 illegal immigrants who have committed a crime in Lebanon County, and our local courts hear these cases. Lebanon County cooperates with ICE, which is documented by thousands of emails and phone calls. The "list" is misleading and inaccurate. A PAC in Ohio started the Sanctuary List. By design, PACs are created to influence the outcome of elections. Therefore, yesterday's prison board vote was a bit of saber rattling. As in the Lehigh County case, the courts will decide the outcome of this, not us. When housed in Lebanon County, our real estate tax payers are footing the bill for food, clothing, shelter and medical care. Rightly, if illegal immigrants are not charged in Lebanon County, they should go straight to the federal facilities.
CLA State of the County
David Weisnicht shared that being a USO volunteer is like being a mentor, parent, or grandparent to a soldier away from home. 90 volunteers are needed for their peek season, which is coming up shortly when 9500 troops will be on the installation at Fort Indiantown Gap.
Human Resources Director Michelle Edris reads highlights of the court related nonprofessional union contract. Deputies were working under the terms of their old contract. The new contract is retroactive.
Audrey Rakow and John Shott present Probation Grant in Aid and Supervision Fund contracts for approval. From collected funds, 50% are turned over to the State for eventual return, well some of the funds are returned. While reimbursements are supposed to be 80%, we don’t know how much we’ll actually get back from the State. Of $1M requested last year, the County was reimbursed $77,000.
For Fulton Bank, commissioners passed a resolution to create an Escrow Improvement fund to deposit developer fees collected in cash in lieu of developers posting a bond for subdivided lots.
Commissioners approved amendment #10 for the Collaborative Behavioral Health Choices Agreement.
Further, commissioners approved an annual letter granting the Lebanon County Historical Society $20,000 in operational costs and certifying them as Lebanon County’s official Historical Society.
Commissioners approved appointment of Jane Schott Yorty and Dr. Elishka Muhiire to the Commission for Women.
The State is short $800M, and to balance their budget, in many cases, wants to cut mandated county services to zero. It's up to the commissioners to share how such cuts will impact the county, then trickle back up to the State.
David Weisnicht: Back at the Gap. An informational meeting will take place May 23 at 7:30AM.
Board of Elections: Voter Registrar Michael Anderson, and the Election Board consisting of Commissioners Phillips and Litz and Judge Charles approved sample ballots. A $38,000 base agreement to prepare ballots was also approved.
Timothy Horstmann, McNees, Wallace, and Nurick LLC, received approval for a LERTA originally approved in 2013. An amendment to the agreement preventing appeals of the assessed value, and extending the agreement by 3 years, was accepted. An out-of-state firm will be occupying an existing 800,000 sq’ building, and adding 200,000 sq’. Hundreds of jobs will be added.
John Shott, Probation, presented an $11,122 grant application for equipment including 7 scanners, 4 security cameras for the hallways, and 6 taser battery packs.
"Every day there is transportation of hazardous substances within Lebanon County, either by highway or freeway or by rail." The HazMat Team has grown from 6 to 30 members with 2 specialists and 25 technicians, all volunteers, along with staff. EMA Director Bob Dowd and HazMat Chief Gary Verna presented:
Purchasing agent Dennis Firestone presented two job orders for LoBar Construction to complete renovations at the Probation Department. Construction will cost $224,021.91 with an additional $9,382.70 to comply with State mandated purchasing requirements. The President Judge will pay for the upgrades with his discresionary funds.
Administrator Wolgemuth presented items for approval:
David Weisnicht returned with Jenna Price, a representative from the Pennsylvania Liberty USO. She is looking for volunteers to help serve hundreds of service men and women daily at Fort Indiantown Gap. Also at FIG, over 300 controlled burns have taken place, and there are 687 burns to go.
Treasurer Sallie Neuin pays interest and principle on Bonds for the County, and lets people know when the State will be visiting to check if people have dog licenses for their pets. It’s time. They’ll be here April 24.
Sallie will get back to commissioners on amounts for both a 2006 and 2008 Bank Loan Fund at Wells Fargo. Three bond and loan payments were outlined in detail:
Human Resources Director Michelle Edris presented a request from Warden Karnes to eliminate 8 part-time LPN positions to create 3 full-time LPN positions at 80 hours biweekly at the prison.
Voter Registrar Michael Anderson informs commissioners that Absentee Ballots can be picked up in his office no later than May 9th at 5PM. Post mark dates don’t count for civilians. There are other conditions for military personnel. The Honorable Judge Charles is serving on the Election Board along with Commissioners Phillips and Litz.
It’s time to bid the 500’ Boardwalk at Governor Dick. With a concrete segment, there will be 700’ of smooth surface. SICO matched DCNR funds for this project. Also, with a $7500 grant from Marcellus funds, a new 10-year CAP Forrest Management Plan has been completed for Governor Dick by Barry Rose, Forrest Regeneration Services. http://www.parkatgovernordick.org/ has more information.
Jenny Murphy Shifflet has been at the helm of SARCC—Sexual Assault and Resources Counseling Center for years. She received a proclamation promoting being an active participant and intervener in stopping sexual assault. Jennie will be retiring from her position in the near future. We wish her all the best.
Beth Hoch, joined by District Attorney Dave Arnold, discussed the Victim Witness Assistance program, and received a proclamation for Crime Victim’s Rights Week in Lebanon County. The message to victims is strength, resilience, justice. 475 families have been served in Lebanon County.
Chief Assessor Dan Seaman presented seven veteran’s exemptions from real estate tax for approval. These veterans have been 100% disabled due to their service.
Dennis Firestone recommended a bid award of $274,644 to Barwis Construction for the Lebanon Valley Rail Trail. Then, three bids were received for Fair Weather Lodge on Cumberland Street in the City of Lebanon. The winning bid is $209,207.12. The Lodge should open on July 1, 2017.
For approval, Kevin Schrum presented twelve contracts with total changes of $91,827.
EMA Director Robert Dowd and presented a revised TMI plan to commissioners for approval. The plan updates shelter locations on four pages in the document.
Jon Fitzkee presented a license agreement for bus shelters to service Lebanon Transit. Penn DOT is using Lebanon County as a pilot to site shelters to try to simplify the process. What seems simple, takes property owner permission, municipality requirements, engineer drawings….. At least one shelter will adjoin the Lebanon Valley Rail Trail on Hanford Drive in Lebanon Valley Rails Business Park behind Lebanon Valley Mall, and and another will be at 12th and Walnut Streets. In addition to marking bus pickup points, riders will have shelter in inclimate weather.
Under old business, Assistant Administrator Kathleen Kirby presented a request from the Lebanon County Historical Society for a letter of support for a DCNR grant to install ADA walkways and parking, replace the boat dock, install bike racks…around the Krall barn at Tunnel Hill Park.
Finally, commissioners reappointed David Paxon to the Drug and Alcohol Board.
David Weisnicht, Fort Indiantown Gap, stated that the PA National Guard activated 700 troops to assist with Snow Storm Stella….
Ann Pinca, Pipeline Awareness, reviewed the status of the Sunoco Mariner East and Atlantic Sunrise pipelines. March 23 is the hearing where eminent domain cases will be heard in Williamsport. Appeals are pending in court for 105 and 102 permits that were issued on February 14, 2017. Commissioner Phillips stated that he did not approve of promoting civil disobedience at meetings held in the courthouse. Pinca responded that Lancaster, not Lebanon, has such plans. Members will hold the next meeting of Pipeline Awareness at the Mt. Gretna Fire Hall on April 25, 2017.
To meet current laws, Human Resources Director Michelle Edris requested approval of a new employee handbook.
The District Attorney received approval to reclassify one PT Assistant District Attorney position to FT.
IT Director Danielle Hogg was granted a change from 37.5 to 40 hours per week for Barry Hartman and Michael Collins.
Cheri Grumbine and Lori Books, North Lebanon Township, updated commissioners on a Tree Planting Project that used $7000 in Marcellus Shale grant funds.
Transportation Planner Jon Fitzkee and Purchasing Agent Dennis Firestone were on hand to open bids to restore 8.1 miles of the Rail Trail (sections 1-3). Please note that WG Land Co. and Rutledge met the requirement to be delivered to the courthouse by this date and time. While in the building, the documents came to the commissioner’s office shortly after their meeting. To be fair, these documents were opened and included for consideration. Our consultant will review the bids for completeness and accuracy. A recommendation will be made to commissioners at our next meeting.
Comcast requested an easement on County owned land east of the City of Lebanon, near the Driver’s Center. The cable will be placed underground on the northeast corner of the County’s land. A Party interested in purchasing this parcel will be notified.
EMA Director Bob Dowd provided an update on Snow Storm Stella, and received a vote of affirmation declaring an emergency for the event. The Emergency Operation Center, EOC, was not activated as the storm produced less snow than expected. Also, a National Joint Purchasing Agreement was approved with MCM Consulting to execute a contract with Frontier Communications to install and maintain a Mitel phone system that will work with Next Generation 911. Finally, a PEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant of $56,300 was accepted.
Nicole Eisenhart prepares grants for the District Attorney’s office. Commissioners accept a $23,057 award to cover salaries and benefits for VOJO and RASA.
Attorney George Christianson returned to respond to questions concerning a LERTA for Union Township’s Vision Properties owned by Jeff Camp. The project will create 400 jobs, and will pay tax on improved land with utilities and parking lots. Forklift operators will start at over $16/hour. The LERTA was approved on a vote of 2-to-1, with Ames voting nay, to ramp up taxes on the building by 10% per year over 10 years.
Board, in schools, at Wernersville State Hospital, and is celebrating her birthday.
At 11AM, the commissioners sat as the Election Board. Voter Registrar Michael Anderson guided the process while commissioners observed casting of lots, which is a hands-on process that involves candidates and/or the public choosing numbers to decide ballot position in contested races for the primary election. The whole process is transparent. The lowest number chosen for each office is positioned first on the ballot.
At 1:30PM, commissioners sat as the Board of Assessment and Review to hear one appeal. Also, tax exempt status was granted to the Lebanon Valley Council of the Arts at 8th and Cumberland Streets. Another request for the Fredericksburg Sewer Authority is under review.
For Treasurer Neuin, Dawn Edris presented a resolution for approval from First Citizen’s Bank for a new money market account. Also, today’s payroll came from an internal TRAN, which will be returned to savings once real estate taxes start coming in. Tax bills will be in the mail by tomorrow.
After posting notices for two weeks, Voter Registrar Michael Anderson reported no comments received on the move of the closed Avon Fire Company polling place to the Masonic Hall across from the AES Ironwood Playground in South Lebanon Township. All 2200 voters in the District will be notified of the change by mail. The ballot will appear in the Lebanon Daily News at a cost of $450, and in the Sun at a cost of $235.
Children and Youth Director James Holtry presented 2nd Quarter Invoices totaling $1,374,993.49 for approval.
Drug and Alcohol Director Jim Donmoyer presented $10,000 in contract amendments for approval. This would cover Positive Recovery Solutions to stage a mobile Winebago in Lebanon County once each month to administer Vivitrol, which is paid for by a person’s insurance or Medical Assistance. While the cost of an injection is $978.67, one shot per month is more convenient and requires less mileage than Methadone, a daily treatment to wean people off of heroin.
Kevin Schrum, MHIDEI; Jim Donmoyer, Drug & Alcohol; and Phyllis Holtry, Community Action Partnership; polled their Boards for consensus to sign onto a Community Development Block Grant CDBG for Lebanon County. Advantages include using remaining funds in one category or department to help fund shortages in another category or department. For example, in 2016, Drug and Alcohol had $70,000 that had to be returned to the State while Mental Health had a waiting list to serve. The three department heads work closely together on serving dual diagnosed clients. Previously, Children and Youth and Area Agency on Aging were included in the Block Grant process, but removed by the State without explanation.
Kevin also received approval on contract amendments in the amount of $69,644.
Purchasing Agent Dennis Firestone and EMA Chief Bob Dowd returned to rescind a previous recommendation to purchase an airbus. After adding in the cost of maintenance, the consultant stated that what appeared to be the second lowest bidder, Frontier 911 Public Safety Communications, not Carousel, was actually the lower bid at a cost of $567,556.94.
Administrator Jamie Wolgemuth presented numerous requests for consideration by the commissioners: 1) Three disabled veterans were approved for real estate tax exemption; 2) from the repository of unclaimed property, a bid for a mobile home at Twin Maples Park was approved for $1; 3) appointment to the Housing Authority Board of Richard Randall, a resident of the properties, to replace Neva Lutman who served with distinction for a long-time; 4) Support for an Historic Schaefferstown grant for restoration at the Alexander Schaffer Farm; and a proclamation for PA Keystone Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society was granted.
Commissioners then met in Executive Session.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Amanda St. Hilaire, Investigative Reporter for WHTM abc27, interviewed commissioners for a regional report on why commissioner meetings are held during the daylight hours, and asked, what does the job of commissioner entail?
At a Wednesday workshop on March 1, 2017, Mayor Sherry Capello outlined her request for a City Land Bank, which would allow the Bank to bid on City properties with a Trump card. The Mayor considers the Land Bank to
be one of her top three priorities, along with moving City offices downtown and implementing the BID. The goal is to raise the percentage of owner occupied housing units in the City. Questions centered around impact to Habitat for Humanity, payment to the Redevelopment Authority to administer the program.... Commissioners will consider the request for a future vote.
Liberty USO of PA and NJ needs volunteers to help with recreation for soldiers at Fort Indiantown Gap. Over 12,000 visitors have passed through their facility in five months. Donate food, like their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=liberty%20uso%20of%20fort%20indiantown%20gap or email Jenna.Price@LibertyUSO.org.
Treasurer Sallie Neuin presented her report, and to earn more interest, requested signatures to open two new accounts, one for the General Fund, and one for Super Funds, with the 1st National Bank of Pa.
Commissioners met with Purchasing Agent Dennis Firestone and representatives installing a new digital phone system at the courthouse. In addition to typing in a department name, common terms/key words should help to guide callers to find building permits, dog and hunting licenses, marriage licenses.....
Voter Registrar Michael Anderson proposed a new polling location for Avon, at the Masonic Temple, 499 S 14th Ave., Lebanon, as the fire company and social hall has been sold. Avon and Hebron Fire Companies are merging. He will accept comments for two weeks before posting the move and notifying impacted voters. The 2017 Primary ballot will be advertised in both the Lebanon Daily News and Hummelstown Sun.
Wellspan proposed a Wellness Center in the City as a prototype for integrated human services. The $10M project is being studied, and seeks $3 million through an Urban Corridor Revitalization grant facilitated by the county commissioners. The facility would be separate from the hospital, thus pay property taxes. It was uncertain, pending the outcome of a study, whether the facility would be built on existing hospital property, or on new land. A 50/50 match is required. Per Jason Trout, while applying through the same grant pool, the City municipal building and hospital would be listed in different categories, and if qualified, theoretically, both could be funded.
Purchasing agent Dennis Firestone and EMA Director Bob Dowd brought in MCM consulting to help open bids for a new EMA Airbus DS Vesta 7X Geo-Diverse Solution to assist us on our migration path to Next Generation 911 to accommodate text, mapping, call handling, routing... Three bids will be checked for compliance and awarded to the lowest qualified bidder: Carousel of North America $279,279.05; Frontier 911 Public Safety $280,701.13; and CenturyLink Government $317,499.38. A fourth envelope from Motorola did not contain a bid.
Michael Battistelli & Brett Holland, Stifel Nicolaus, joined commissioners and the Pension Board to review 4th Quarter Performance Reports. With a mix of 60% in stock, 30% in bonds, and 5% cash, today's balance is $119,760,596. 2016 saw 8.59% in interest. To pay pensioners, approximately $550,000 is withdrawn monthly.
Children and Youth Director James Holtry presented 49 Provider Contracts for approval. 30 companies had no increase in rate, and the remaining 19 providers averaged an increase of 2.7%.
DEP awarded Lebanon County a $75,000 grant for the Greater Lebanon Refuse Authority GLRA to begin a 3-year process to develop a new 10-year plan that will increase capacity from 5-6 years to 25 years. Director Larry Taylor also discussed electronics waste recycling.
Administrator Wolgemuth presented Board nominations for approval:
Commissioners approved relief of real estate taxes for a totally disabled veteran on East Cumberland Street in Lebanon.
At a cost of $150 per year, commissioners approved a one-acre farm lease in South Annville Township.
Finally, commissioner passed a proclamation supporting PA One-Call Safe Digging 811 on April 20, 2017.
11:30AM Metropolitan Planning Organization MPO with the Federal Highway Administration, Penn DOT, and local partners. Song Kim presented updates on the LV Rail Trail.
1:30PM The Board of Assessment and Revision met to hear four appeals.
At this week's commissioner's workshop Sheriff Klinger proposed scanners for the front and rear entrances, and once again the Inwood Bridge plans have been revised based on comments by DCNR.
David Weisnicht presented an update on Back at the Gap. 299 deer were harvested, which helps to control Lyme disease. 33,329 troops trained at FIG in 2016. Next week will see 5,385 soldiers on post.
Human Resources Director Michelle Edris presented a request for approval of the 2017 Civil Service Compensation Plan pertaining to Children and Youth, MHIDEI, Area Agency on Aging, and Drug and Alcohol.
Voter Registrar Michael Anderson presented the $371,735.01 HAVA-Help America Vote Act-grant for approval as well as certification of Political Parties--Democrat and Republican--for Lebanon County based on the percentage of votes cast for candidates in the two most recent elections where a candidate received at least 5% of the highest vote total of any countywide candidate. Major political parties may nominate candidates via the petition process that culminates with the primary, and Minor political parties who nominate candidates via the paper process beginning March 8 -August 1 after which candidates are placed directly onto the November election ballot. Major parties have at least 15% of voters statewide registered with their political party.
Township manager Tom Long and Steve Sherk were on hand to review the recently completed 19.645 acre Gloninger Woods Park with 80 parking spaces. At a cost of $1.4 million, North Cornwall Township completed Phase 1 of their Park on Dairy Road near 23rd Street, across from the Lebanon Valley Mall in Pleasant Hill. They allow dog walking, and feature baseball fields. Phase 2 will hook this Park to the Lebanon Valley Mall, Wengert Park and the LV Rail Trail, and install amenities like water, sewer, and electricity.
State of the Coroner's Report: Dr. Jeff Yocum, joined by MHIDEI Director Kevin Schrum and Drug and Alcohol Director Jim Donmoyer, shared the sad fact that 20 people committed suicide in Lebanon County, 11 of them by gunshot--1 knife, 1 bow, 2 hangings, 2 gas related, 1 MVA, and 2 asphyxiation. If you or a loved one are contemplating suicide, call Crisis Intervention at 274.3363.
Over all, drug related deaths exceeded motor vehicle deaths 16 to 14. 2 trees fell on and killed people. one person had an anaphylactic reaction; one drowning; and one elderly woman was run over by her own vehicle. There were 2 homicides; 2 undetermined involving children; and 1 pending.
Kevin Schrum presented provider contract amendments totaling $71,617.
Phase 7 of the Lebanon Valley Rail Trail LVRT, which runs through North Lebanon and West Lebanon Townships, is underway. Jon Fitzkee presented formal plans to commissioners for approval. To facilitate Phase 9 N of Jonestown, commissioners signed an agreement for an easement with the Lebanon Water Authority to pass through their property.
At a cost of $16,3 million, Mayor Sherry Capello asked commissioners for a letter of support for the City to obtain a $10 million Urban Corridor Revitalization grant. The Mayor met with Kerry Kirkland, a new DCED regional manager. As stated in Grow Lebanon 2020, she shared her vision to move the City offices to downtown and build a parking garage. Capello says that Lebanon is the only city with a population of more than 20,000 that does not have a parking garage. Kerry liked the project, and asked if the City was on the Capitol Improvement List. When Melissa Quiones checked, they found out that Lebanon is on the list, thanks to Jackie Parker. This designation moves any grant application to the top of the list. Capello emphasized that this is not a loan. Also, this is her priority project.
The deadline is Friday. The new City building and 400-space parking garage would be constructed at 9th and Cumberland Streets. 80 spaces are currently rented out with a long waiting list. The Mayor is counting on this being a revenue generator at $50/space and an economic driver for the City. 60 of 150 employees, including the police, would work in the new space. 10,000 square feet will be rented as offices. The lot would count as a match for the project. The current City space would be sold, most likely to the County.
Timeline: The building should be constructed within two years. Architects, engineers…would start as soon as the grant is awarded, probably in three months.
City of Lebanon’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grant submission for their Urban Corridor Revitalization Project would be titled “Market Square Parking Garage and City Hall”. This resource would help to finance a multi-tier public parking garage with a three story municipal building for all city offices including the police department headquarters in the heart of downtown Lebanon City.
The land currently is improved with a surface parking lot, which carries a waiting list of potential renters. Currently, business owners and their staff find it difficult to arrange for long-term parking and daily find themselves feeding the meters and/or moving their vehicles every two hours during the course of routine business. This activity disrupts the natural flow of business and adversely impacts the employees’ experience of working in the downtown. Let alone curbing the desire to invest in a new business start-up.
Parking is often viewed as a single-focused feature, addressing capacity issues only. However, increasingly cities are leveraging parking structures and strategies to help achieve economic development objectives.
The City released an economic development strategic plan eighteen months ago. Any city is only as strong as its core. Lebanon’s Central Business District (CBD) represents the heartbeat for its neighboring districts and neighborhoods. The plan documents that it must be a goal to ensure the highest degree of integrity and functionality for the CBD. Although the district is well-defined, over the past years, vacancies in the CBD have had a noticeable impact on the quality of the shopping and dining experience for visitors and residents. New investments in the past couple years are starting to add to its vibrancy; ensuring that this trend continues to catalyze additional development is a critical next step.
The City’s economic development vision is to become: “A Place to Learn and Work”, “A Destination”, and “A Community”. A specific action item identified the potential relocation of the City offices and police department to a location within the CBD as a desired and potentially beneficial outcome for the urban core. The benefits of ensuring that municipal and public services remain in the urban center, not only for the convenience and greater access of all residents, but also for the added benefits for city employees and customers to frequent downtown businesses.
Public investments such as this can lead to private sector development and businesses to support that activity, having a catalytic impact on the downtown urban corridor as a whole and thus, also positively advancing the County as well.
George Kaufman was reappointed to the Housing and Redevelopment Authority Board. Gloria Brown, Mike Arnold, and Mike Devan were appointed to the Renova Center Board.
A $15,077 PCCD Juvenile Justice grant was approved to conduct LSIR assessments.
A $1200 farm lease was renewed with Ken Reist for the property by LCCTC.
Commissioners approved a proclamation for the Boy Scout Mall EXPO at Lebanon Valley Mall.
David Weisnicht shared the national first place Army National Guard Environmental Award bestowed on Fort Indiantown Gap. FIG is the busiest training center in the united States. Further, FIG is working with Union Township on access gates, which are 1.5 years away. A manned visitors center will all issue temporary passes to use base facilities.
Michelle Edris presented a request from AAA Director Carol Davies to add 4 substitute meal transporter positions for delivery of Meals on Wheels.
Michelle also presented a request form Chief of Voter Registration Michael Anderson to reclassify a part-time clerk to regular part-time position.
With a March 1 deadline, Gary Verna and Brian Burke presented a $10,000 Williams grant request to purchase coveralls, helmets, safety glasses...for 30 EMA HazMat volunteers. Grants are non-competitive, and can be requested every six months.
Chief Assessor Dan Seaman presented a disabled veteran for real estate tax exemption.
LVRT and Farm Preservation 1 19 2017 - Duration- 3 minutes, 29 secondsA $2M Transportation grant was accepted for Phase 7 of the Lebanon Valley Rail Trail. Jon Fitzkee was given signatory authority.
Jamie Wolgemuth was granted signatory authority for the ECMS Bridge Engineer Reimbursement Agreement with PennDOT.
$164,274.40 was certified for Farmland Preservation.
Liquid Fuels balance at the end of 2016 was $296,043.58 with $80,947 encumbered for current projects, and $244,962.43 set aside for County share of the Inwood Bridge. The federal government provides 80%, and the State provides 15% of the cost.
A $65,203 West Nile Virus grant application was approved to fill a vacant position shared with Lancaster County.
The Commission on Crime and Delinquency awarded a $46,058 grant for Evidenced Based programs in Probation.
A $26,625 grant was approved for utilities and repairs to three houses for Community Action Partnership's Continuem of Care through HUD in Harrisburg. Houses will be used for homeless families with children.
MATP drivers were approved for the Community Action Partnership.
Also, 3-year staggered terms were changed to a rotating basis for CAP. Ursula Richardson was appointed to the Board.
Sue Killinger was appointed to the Drug and Alcohol Board.
Chris Gebhard was reappointed to the Health Facilities Authority Board.
Ann Thompson and Sara Fuller were reappointed to the MHIDEI Board.
Laurie Zimmerman was appointed to the Library Board.
A proclamation was approved for LCCTC on the 100th Anniversary of the Smith Hughes Act celebrating Career and Technology Centers. An event will take place January 31.
Abilities in Motion received a letter of support for paralyzed veteran disability grants to modify homes and vehicles in 14 counties.
President Judge John Tylwalk and Probation Chief Sally Barry requested that the County approve remodeling of the Probation Office at the Court's expense using Act 35 funds. Some interior walls would be moved to create a more appealing workspace, and new furniture purchased and installed that could be moved should the office move. The total cost is $434,270. So that the project can start as soon as possible, State bid contracts that have included prevailing wage will be used--Keystone Purchasing Network, CoStars.... Lobar will do the work and coordinate with Honeywell, maintenance, purchasing and an architect.
At 2:30, commissioners sat as Board of Assessment and Revision to hear five appeals.
Pat Kerwin thanked commissioners for approving purchase of a sign for the Expo Center.
Reorganization votes took place: Reorganization of County Commissioners 2017
Board--Bob Phillips will remain as chairman; Bill Ames as vice-chairman; and Jo Ellen Litz as secretary. Jamie Wolgemuth will continue as the Chief Clerk and Administrator, and Dave Warner as the solicitor. All employees on the County payroll were reappointed to their respective positions.
Meeting Dates--The first and third Thursday monthly as well a s July 27 at the Lebanon Area Fair and December 28 to vote on the final budget that has been on display for 20 days.
Liaison Assignments--(The Energy Consortium was removed.) Changes from 2016 are in red.
Salary Board--Philips, Chair; Litz Vice-Chair; and Ames Secretary. Warner, Solicitor. Also Row Officers Mettley, Neuin, Lutz, Resanovich, Smith and Klingler voted to appoint respective employees.
Assessment--Litz, chair; Ames vice-chair; Phillips, secretary; Wolgemuth, administrator; Warner, solicitor; Seaman Chief Assessor. Meeting Dates 1.19; 2.16; 4.20; 5.18; 6.15; 7.20; 8.17 & 31; 11.16; & 12.21.
Elections--Ames, chair; Phillips, vice chair; Litz, secretary; Michael Anderson Chief Clerk; Warner, solicitor.
Depository Banks--First Citizens, Santander, Jonestown, Fulton, First National, & Northwest Savings.
Election Board/Registration Commission--Ames, chair; Phillips, vice chair; Litz, secretary; Michael Anderson, Chief Clerk; Warner, solicitor.
David Weisnicht, Fort Indiantown Gap: 42 soldiers are on base today, but 1,000 are expected next week. 27,000 were trained in the first quarter. 295 deer have been harvested on the 17,000 acre base, 30% of which is open to hunters.
Treasurer Sallie Neuin requested a new account for Capital Improvement Funds to be held at the First National Bank.
Michelle Edris presented personnel transactions.
Commissioners received an anonymous letter requesting that holiday notices be recorded on the phone system.
Bob Dowd was named as the new Emergency Management Agency Director.
On behalf of Treasurer Neuin, commissioners approved tax collections for Cleona and North Cornwall.
Controller Mettley voted against the Salary Board recommendations.
After being on display for 20 days, commissioners voted on the 2017 budget, which passed 2 to 1 with Commissioner Litz voting nay because the $7.1 remaining from the sale of Cedar Haven was not being returned to the people. Instead the majority commissioners placed the funds in an unrestricted account.
Even so, the millage remained at 3.2925 on a $45,015,213 General Fund budget. With State reimbursements, the total budget is $74,539,585. A $32,000 COLA award reduced the General Fund surplus to $32,308. Between Cedar Haven funds not being returned, this year's tight budget after raising taxes last year by over 30%, and awarding a COLA rather than paying down the pension deficit, Litz voted nay.
During the Pension Board meeting, past minutes were approved. Interest on employee investments will remain at 4.5%. The 180th class requires a 7% mandatory employee contribution. Changing the status would have required a 9% contribution. Hay Benefits Group will again prepare statements at a cost of $1.85 each. A $32,000 /.03% COLA will pay employees $2.86 more. Back payments were eliminated by the State. It is necessary to revisit the COLA every three years. Treasurer Neuin and Controller Mettley joined Commissioner Phillips in passing the COLA. Because a $22M deficit remains in the Pension Fund, Litz and Ames voted nay.
Refunds to former employees, death benefits, and payments to 2016 retirees were approved. Mettley is also researching new pension reporting software.
To chart a course and share a vision for Lebanon County, Commissioner Litz again requested a Strategic Plan, of which one arm is a well thought-out financial plan including an Unrestricted General Fund account; a Capital Improvement Fund; and an Investment Plan; among others recommended by the CPA.
Last week's minutes included Ame's reference to removing Commissioner Litz from signing checks. Litz addressed the comment at today's meeting. Re: Social Security #, Birth Date, ID Theft
At the last commissioner's meeting, it was suggested by Commissioner Ames and reaffirmed by Commissioner Phillips that I would be removed from signing checks to pay bills...because I withheld my birth date and social security number. I strongly object to this maneuver . As a minority commissioner, I am part of the system of checks and balances concerning payment for services, taking out loans.... In light of world events, this system of checks and balances carries a heightened role.
Over the years, I have resisted these requests from several agencies and the Treasurer. In fact, at one point, I endured cyber bullying where a high-level bureaucrat threatened to withhold payments for services to those in need--unless I turned over my personal information. The Privacy Act of 1974 makes it clear that I do not have to submit this information. Please consider that:
Attached please find examples of communications and a newspaper article addressing identity theft.
Thank you for the opportunity to share my point of view and insist that I retain my elected right to sign contracts with agencies and banks.
Sincerely, Jo Ellen Litz
From a folded Industrial Development Authority fund, $108,000 was approved for a new digital 25' high sign at the LV Expo on Rockerty Road. The IDA fund was originally $170,000 with $25,385 spent on an economic impact study. The remaining balance is $36,615.
For approval, John Fitzkee presented a $1,116,724.57 National Bridge Inspection 5-year agreement with Wilson Consulting.
Next, Fitzkee requested commissioner approval on a $2 million multimodal grant to complete a culvert under Tunnel Hill Road and for LV Rail Trail improvements in West Lebanon and North Lebanon Townships. The culvert will take one-half of the funds.
Commissioners also agreed to a signature delegation agreement, which would, after approval by the commissioners, designate Jamie Wolgemuth as the signatory authority for commissioners.
Next, commissioners approved a Marcellus grant extension for the John Wengert memorial park along Chestnut Street, across from Lebanon Catholic High School.
Chief Assessor Dan Seaman presented the 188th disabled veteran for real estate tax exemption. All total, disabled military veterans are saving $108,000 in County real estate tax.
Commissioners approved a proclamation for 20-year employee Charlene Simaska who retired from the Lebanon County Correctional Facility.
Commissioners approved a $70,716 maintenance contract for 1170 hours of technical labor, vehicle, and test equipment for support and maintenance of the Emergency Management Agency's Radio System.
536 Inmates: 455 male, and 81 female
The Tourist Promotion Agency TPA changed their chairs. Outgoing Chair Jill Weister welcomed incoming Chair Josie Ames, Bill Ames' wife.
At 4PM, the City held a Zoning Hearing on the Day Reporting Center DRC to be run by PA Counseling Services PCS. The Hearing Board denied a permit.
David Weisnicht updated commissioners on Back at the Gap. The recent deer harvest by hunters yielded 280 deer--94 buck and 186 doe; and 4 coyotes. Coyotes are hunted because they are invasive, raiding dumpsters, carrying rabies, and eating chickens and small dogs.
Weisnicht again thanked the County for accepting 4-5 bus loads of troops to vote at Union Township on Election Day. Finally, FIG was cooperative to assist with a Pictometry flyover of their restricted air space.
Treasurer Sallie Neuin presented a request to collect taxes for Cleona Borough. Commissioners voted to extend the service to Cleona.
Chief Assessor Dan Seaman presented two disabled veterans and two surviving spouses for real estate tax exemption.
Liquid Fuels were approved for East Hanover, $2801 and the City of Lebanon $25,477.
Commissioners approved a $629,957 contract with Wellspan Philhaven to run the Crisis Intervention program for Lebanon County. Funding comes from several County Human Service departments--Children and Youth, MHIDEI, Drug and Alcohol.
Farms and Farmers are Valued. The goal is for the farm and Rail Trail to co-exist. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i92n5RyrUzU
Rail Trail Phase 7: The Meily's, Rail Trail members, commissioners and others met during our regular meeting. The goal is for the farm and Rail Trail to co-exist. Commissioners support farms and farmers through farmland preservation and Clean and Green, which waves higher real estate taxes on productive land. The Meily farm is enrolled in both programs. The courts will be asked to review title claims and make a decision. Also, utilizing a stream cattle crossing and rail-bed crossings, all segments of the farm are accessible. Pink lines on the attached map represent existing farm lanes and crossings. Lime green lines represent potential farm lanes.
At 11AM, commissioners were briefed on the Inwood Iron Bridge Rehabilitation and Replacement Project, Route 24` Corridor Safety Project, Wilhelm Avenue Intersection Realignment, Killinger Road Intersection Improvement Project, South Spruce Street Bridge Project, Lebanon Transit Bus Shelters, Ramona Road and US 422 Intersection Improvement Project, and Rout 501 and US 422 and Locust Street and Us 422 intersection improvements during the Metropolitan Planning Organization to prioritize road and bridge projects.
At 1:30PM, commissioners met in Executive Session to interview personnel concerning the EMA Director opening.
Christine Horn is the 2016 Athena Recipient https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RGFq9Kwb1zs
LHS Show Choir and Chamber Singers entertain at Quest https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIFjzT4ls-0
Northern Lebanon Rotary mans the Salvation Army Kettle at BGs in Jonestown PA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pb-htQbZGCg
A Renova Center Christmas https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckPJYnE9pq8
Meet Lois Herr, author of Woman of my Dreams https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zW2TaL3rKRk
Meet Jan Helen McGee, author of Carriers of Genius, the Mothers of 12 Famous Men https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyJBmRj4hTQ
Children and Youth Director James Holtry presented $1,461,932.45 in First Quarter invoices for approval.
At the same rate as the previous contract, Voter Registrar Michael Anderson presented commissioners with a one-year extension to maintain and program Lebanon County's voting machines. While cost varies with services rendered, it is expected that around $38,000 will be the annual cost.
Today, with their signatures, commissioners Phillips and Litz certified the 2016 election. Commissioner Ames, who was participating by phone, will sign the documents upon his return. While counties like York received challenges, Lebanon County did not.
Assessment Chief Dan Seaman presented one disabled veteran for Real Estate Tax Exemption.
Lebanon County Commissioners approved a $74,374,311 budget that goes on display for 20 days before final adoption. Included in the full budget is a $44,936,000 General Fund Budget. The Annual Retirement Contribution is $3,400,000, but a healthy portion is State reimbursed. The Pension fund is 83% funded. Excess funds from health insurance refunds will be placed in a Capital Account to fund depreciable projects. Because $7.1M remains from the sale of Cedar Haven, has no written plan, nor returned to the tax payers, the final vote was 2 to 1 with Commissioner Litz voting against the budget.
Jean Reidenbaugh reported that using local talent for design, Colortech as a printer, and Lebanon County tourism dollars, the Lebanon Valley Conservancy has finished seven of fourteen maps of villages, boroughs--Mt. Gretna, Myerstown, Schaefferstown, Annville, Palmyra, and Jonestown--as well as the City of Lebanon. Commissioner Litz requested PDF versions for use by smart phones. The future will see electronic versions as well, perhaps with assistance from Hotel Tax dollars.
Steve Sherk and Chad Smith with Steckbeck Engineering are working with Jackson Township Supervisor Clyde Deck and others to install Bocce courts, pickleball courts, a pavilion and more in their Park, which will accommodate seniors and children. Previously soccer fields and a walking trail were installed for the younger set.
Commissioners gave Pennsylvania Counseling Services PCS the green light to open a Day Reporting Center. Ruth Davis said the proposed Center is zoned "Office" like their other 4 buildings, and other providers, within the City limits. To add offices within the existing structure, a building permit was sought, but there is a City zoning hearing on May 21 to address whether or not a different zoning classification is needed. Apparently, there was a misunderstanding that people would be spending the night, which is not the case. In addition to teaching people how to make good decisions, PCS will coordinate Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol services, help people to find a home or apartment, help them to find a job.... The judges, probation, DA, and others will have a say in who has earned the privilege to attend these classes. However, a clause was added to the contract for either party to pull out should the zoning not be resolved. Also attending today's session was Kim Ernest and Sally Barry. The program will provide services 68 hours per week from Monday-Saturday. 3.5-8 full time positions will service 40-110 clients at a cost of $28.25-$15.25 per day. Reducing the prison population will also reduce medical, food, clothing, utility...costs at the prison. Kutztown University will work with PCS to monitor data, and improve program services.
Library Board appointments included Don Kline, Lebanon and Frank Yeager, Annville.
A contract with James Miller was approved to drive for the Medical Assistance Transportation Program at the Community Action Partnership.
Because Friday was Veteran's Day, the Election Board, consisting of the three county commissioners, counted absentee, write-in and provisional ballots for 9 hours on the following Monday. Then, on Wednesday, overseas military ballots were counted. The next step is for the commissioners to vote on the final tally for all races on the ballot. This will take place at their next voting session.
The Chamber of Commerce turned 100 years old. President & CEO Greg Buckler received Congratulations for the Chamber of Commerce on uniting small businesses for a century in the Lebanon Valley. Later in the evening, Bell and Evans was chosen as the Century Business.
Betsy Bowman and Dan Lyons from the Redevelopment Authority present amendments and contracts for commissioner approval. Commissioner Phillips abstained from voting on the Community Development Block Grant CDBG funds.
Acting EMA Director Brian Burke received permission from Lebanon County Commissioners to upgrade the 30-year old phone system in EMA with the $490,609.54 technology called Next Generation to include a new switch and the ability to receive text messages, pictures and video from callers to 911. Funds come from Act 56 and 911 funds
Nicole Eisenhart, from the District Attorney's office, presented RASA and VOCA modifications for approval.
MH.ID.EI Director Kevin Schrum presented a $22,044.38 Gordian Group design agreement for the Fair Weather Lodge at 418 Cumberland Street in Lebanon. The reinvestment dollars come from Health Choices. LoBar will perform construction/rennovations.
Drug and Alcohol Director Jim Donmoyer received approval on Provider Contract Amendments.
Daniel Seaman presented one disabled veteran for real estate tax exemption.
Michael Battistelli and Brett Holland, Stifel Nicolaus, reviewed the third quarter retirement fund, which has a 6.22% performance rate. With the County's $3.6 million Annual Retirement Contribution ARC deposit and payouts of $6,624,325, the balance in the retirement account is $116,341,369. The ARC was kept in cash for additional near term payouts. Mike Quigley with Wedgewood Partners also provided an update.
Commissioners approved $193,314 for Juvenile Crime Justice Grant-in-Aid.
Administrator Wolgemuth made the following requests:
Commissioners approved appointments to the Destination Marketing Organization DMO, Visit Lebanon Valley as follows: Greg Bracale and Charles Hildebrand. However, because Commissioner Ames said he was going to continue to serve on the same Board with his wife, believing this was a conflict of interest, there was a split vote to appoint the following group: Josie Ames, Jan Morrissey, Warren Parks, and Stephen Somers. Josie Ames will automatically assume the position of Chair according to DMO by-laws as she has served as Chair-elect during 2016. Ames moved, and Phillips seconded the motion to proceed. The majority commissioners voted for approval while Litz voted nay.
Commissioners unanimously voted to appoint Randall Leisure and Brent Kaylor as farmer directors to the Conservation District Board.
Next, commissioners approved two grants from the Hotel Tax Fund: $1500 to the Kris Kindle Mart to help rent a vendor's tent, and $1000 to the CLA to put on the Holiday Parade.
At 1:30PM, commissioners sat as the Board of Assessment and Revision to hear four appeals.
Tom and Joya Morrissey own a number of properties in Lebanon County, including the Farmers Market and Richland Quarry. They credit the vendors and Bart for being instrumental in attaining 10 years since the Farmers Market re-opened.
At the Foundry Craft Grillery above the Market, Kenny Montjo, Executive Director of the United Way and Campaign Chair energize the crowd to raise needed dollars to support non-profits in the Lebanon community.
Lebanon PA, 11.6.2016: Lebanon Democrats staged from 608 Cumberland Street, and special guest, former ambassador to the United Nations, and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright dropped in to wish the canvassers well. She was quite articulate, and shared a few stories about how Hillary Clinton told her husband to hire her because among other things, it would make his mother happy.
11.17.2016: Congratulations to Chefs Peffley and Corle on completion of remodeling the Hilltop Café at the Lebanon County Career and Technology Center. Awesome opening cutting the baguette followed by a chili cook off to highlight your talented students. Awesome!
11.19.2016 High School Bands, Fire Companies, dance troupes, and more--like Santa Claus at the end. Great community parade, CLA. Thank you.
When Tropical Storm Lee hit, people lost many things--cars, homes, and personal belongings. Swatara Watershed Association lost picnic tables, a van, their shed, and more. The shed followed a power line opening across a small creek, and rested in an isolated area. Tree growth on paths back to it's original location did not allow the shed to be transported whole. So today, the Fairland Youth Group provided community service by dismantling and reassembling the shed, well almost. The floor and three walls have been rested on stone in the original parking lot from where it came. The last wall and roof are for another day. Thanks everyone, for your kindness and generosity. SWA is truly grateful.
Per David Weisnicht, 3,800 soldiers are training at Fort Indiantown Gap. Hotels are booked by contractors. On another note, the Kittatinny Ridge Coalition is seeking Central landscape Designation in order to qualify for additional funding to preserve land, which also encompasses St. Anthony's Wilderness--Stony Trail.
Treasurer Sallie Neuin presented a request to collect taxes for North Cornwall Township. Commissioners approved.
Under personnel transactions, EMA Director John Wilson moved to the Planner position.
John Shott presented a $15,077 PACCD Justice Reinvestment Funding Application. This is a joint application with Lancaster for a "train the trainer" program so that in the future, Lebanon County can provide in-house training. LSIR, Level of Service Inventory Revision, is an assessment tool for supervision of offenders. This proprietary software costs $3 per assessment, and will move paper assessments to online. $13,130 of the contract is with CCAP, and the information will be available to the prison, day reporting, and central booking. The balance of the grant is to purchase two tablets with wifi.
WLBR Radio has been in the Lebanon Valley for 70 years. Owner Robert Etter is the second generation committed to serving the Lebanon Valley with News, Sports, and Weather. Today, Lebanon County Commissioners presented Robert Etter with a proclamation in honor of the occasion. Joining Robert were Mickey Santori and Tim Ritchie.
According to the Centennial Edition, Lebanon, Pa., Saturday, Sept. 30,1972: Groundbreaking for the present studios, located in Ebenezer, took place on June 18,1956. A number of officials from the city and county joined with WLBR personnel to mark the occasion. Among those attending were County Commissioner Harry S. Forney, Lebanon's Mayor Frederick (Fritz) Miller, and the Chamber of Commerce president Donald Shepherd. The new studios, occupying some 3,500 feet of floor space, were occupied in December of 1956, and a public open house followed in March of 1957. An estimated 10.000 persons visited the new studios during the two-day open house celebration. WLBR-Radio was the brainchild of Lester P. Etter, a Lebanon native who now serves as managing director of the station and secretary- treasurer of the Lebanon Broadcasting Company, and H. Raymond Staiem, a native of North Carolina, who serves as general, manager and president of the corporation. 21 Full-Time Employees Today, the "Voice of the Lebanon Valley"...WLBR has produced a number of personalities, both locally and nationally, in the broadcast and entertainment fields. During its early years, Bill Haley, now reputed to be one of the originators of the present rock 'n roll sound, was a featured entertainer over 1270. One of the early news directors was Chet Hagen, who went on to become an official in the National Broadcasting Co.'s news department, and a producer of many top network news and special events shows. WLBR continues to follow its long-established policy of service to the communities it covers — services designed to promote growth, business, education and the general welfare of the public. Since November, 1946, WLBR has been the "Voice of Lebanon Valley."
EMA Deputy Director Brian Burke presented a grant through the Hazardous Material Response Fund to cover eleven sets of uniforms for HazMat at a cost of $6,179 as well as two cradle points to allow Internet Access in the field.
Peter Edelman, Stevens & Lee, and John Hewlett, Susquehanna Advisors, were on hand for refinancing of the GOB, Series 2011 Bond with Fulton Bank, which lowered interest rates from 4.4 to 2.74%. The County will save $157,000, 80% in 2017. The County owes Honeywell $1,199,999.72 from the sale of Cedar Haven, and will pay the debt with remaining CH proceeds. The remaining bond totals $2,180,000.
Deputy Chief Assessor Ted Connelly presented two disabled veteran's real estate for exemption.
The County built the methadone treatment clinic, and the tenant, White Deer Run, financed the project allowing the County to pay them back by deducting rent payments from the mortgage. The building has been paid off for some time, and WDR was sold to CRC. Now there's another change to Treatment Advantage and Acadia. Therefore, Solicitor Dave Warner prepared new leases, which required commissioner approval.
Administrator Jamie Wolgemuth presents Board appointments to both Children and Youth--Michelle Kaufman, Val Grimes, David Laurel, Melissa Kulbitsky, and Michael Chanoff; and the Women's Commission--Allysa Perado; as well as Proclamations for commissioner approval. Today, Sue Bowman was honored upon her retirement from the Housing Authority. Also, commissioners honored Eagle Scout William F Foster V from Troop 426. William built a 2-person outhouse on the Campbelltown Fire Company Grounds.
Voter Registrar Michael Anderson explains how Active Military stationed at Fort Indiantown Gap will be able to vote on Election Day, November 8. David Weisnicht reviews war-fighter simulator exercises scheduled for FIG.
Anderson also received approval for the 2016 General Election ballot layout and advertising the Notice of Election in both the Lebanon Daily News and Hummelstown Sun. While the Merchandiser is delivered to every household, it is not a daily paper, therefore does not meet the requirements provided in the law. :( Mike also reviewed voter registration numbers after the Voter Registration deadline. Democrats conducted a voter registration drive netting a noticeable gain. There are approximately 47,000 Republicans and 27,000 Democrats in Lebanon County. Commissioner Ames, who was participating by phone, was cut off, then reconnected to participate in the process.
Kevin Anspach is retiring after 35 years of service to the County of Lebanon. He worked in the Children and Youth Department investigating child abuse cases, then served as a supervisor at the Boys Group Home, before retiring from the Area Agency on Aging. He has helped children, families, and seniors. Thank you for your service to the community, Kevin.
Cheri Grumbine and Lori Books presented an update of North Lebanon Township's Marcellus Shale Grant Project. In 2014, the Commissioners awarded $20,000 for three projects totaling $361,000. A baseball field was moved, trail constructed....
Mike Ritter, president of the Domestic Violence Intervention Group in Lebanon County, received a Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week proclamation for November 12-19, 2016. Twenty percent of the nation's children are homeless. Since 1974, the week before Thanksgiving brings awareness to hungry children.
Kevin Schrum presented Contract Amendments for MH.ID.EI.
Sallie Neuin presented a request from Maintenance Director Steve Kline to purchase shelving at a cost of $14,240 for the storage building on S 11th Street. Funds will come from the record improvement fund, which has a balance of $139,310.
Probation Chief Sally Barry and Juvenile Chief Sue Christman presented a Juvenile Court Judges Commission financial statement showing proper spending of $193,314 for salaries for five probation officers, training, radios, tablets....
Commissioners passed Ordinance 56 changing the hours at Monument Park to Sunrise to Sunset.
Ralph Zimmerman was appointed to the Destination Marketing Organization. Ralph represents the Mt. Gretna Historical Society.
Commissioners awarded a fixed allocation of $7,553 in Liquid Fuels funds to North Cornwall Township.
To notify victims, commissioners approved an annual agreement with the District Attorney's Institute for Centralized County information concerning release of prisoners.
An Hispanic Heritage Month proclamation was discussed.
Finally, a $255,990 pretrial Assessment and Placement Grant from PCCD was approved.
Next week, budget hearings will commence.
As Lebanon County's largest employer, the military does a stellar job of keeping the County informed. Thanks for the good working relationship. We are blessed to host such a wonderful training facility at Fort Indiantown Gap.
Pam Bishop and Ann Pinca, Pipeline Awareness, addressed commissioners concerning updates on eminent domain as ruled by the Supreme Court where underground caverns are used as storage for gas; sample ordinances; a State website, and more.
HazMat Chief Gary Verna will apply for grants for a table-top exercise focusing on rail car accidents, and will update written plans. $15,578 with an 80/20 match, and possibly Transcare and Norfolk Southern providing the 20% match.
Per Deputy EMA Director Brian Burke, a $142,110.00 grant will provide a 50% match for 1/2 reimbursement for salaries.
According to Jim Donmoyer, Drug and Alcohol Director, while the same amount of people were served, D&A was $216,000 under-spent due to MA expansion, which paid for many expenses the County normally covered. Act 152 funds are categorical, and could not be transferred to another area of need. Therefore, the funds were returned to the State hub for redistribution. In the past, Lebanon County received money for over-expenditures from the hub. Governor Wolf has made heroin a top priority, and additional funds also came in during 2016 to cover treatment of heroin addiction. Narcan is being used on a regular basis, which has reduced heroin deaths from 17 last year to 5 this year. Bryan Smith said it's the second most used drug on his truck. Eight police have used Narcan too. Family dispensers are nasal rather than injections. A kit is worth $80, and 40 kits were given away during a recent event.
108 people were interviewed for D&A treatment at the prison. All but four people were either placed in-patient or are receiving out-patient treatment.
Renaissance Crossroads, a very successful inpatient drug and alcohol treatment center applies for a State grant to continue operation at the VA Medical Center.
D&A Director Jim Donmoyer receives a proclamation for Red Ribbon Week, which is scheduled October 21-29, 2016 in Lebanon County. An overall healthy lifestyle, the theme is "Be Drug Free" #YouOnlyLiveOnce . 11,000 red ribbons will be provided to school districts. Education and support is available too.
In an effort to deter vandalism and litter in historic Monument Park, commissioners are advertising an Ordinance to make Park hours from sunrise to sunset. The origin of the Park dates back to 1867, right after the Civil War when it was known as Camp Coleman. Monument Park was built by women, led by Mrs. G Dawson Coleman, who set out to erect a monument in honor of the 93rd regiment who was stationed there.
The Privacy Act of 1974 states that citizens do not have to provide their social security number unless a law specifically demands it. IRS is a prime example of a time when you are mandated to provide your social security number. The Patriot Act aims to guarantee who a person is that is signing a bank statement. Banks ask for social security numbers, but in the case of the County, which is an entity similar to a corporation that is solely responsible for their debt, a government entity is responsible for their debt, not commissioners individually. Therefore, Commissioner Litz requested that she be allowed to sign in person or provide a notarized statement to the bank. She also asked that the bank's attorney review the Patriot Act, and provide a written response. Commissioner Phillips also requested an interpretation by the County Solicitor.
Working together with municipalities is an important function of County government. In Lebanon County, we administer zoning for many municipalities, distribute liquid fuels funds, bundle and bid bridge projects, coordinate road projects through the Metropolitan Planning Organization, declare emergencies during times of disaster to facilitate reimbursements that may come from the state and federal governments, make GIS mapping services available, set property values upon which municipal millage is calculated, provide detective to aid police forces with investigations.... Since Municipalities often host polls for elections, the cooperation goes both ways.
At a Business and Economic Summit sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce at HACC, on a panel with her colleagues, Commissioner Litz presented a review of her liaison duties, which include Board of Assessment and Revision chair; Community Action Partnership CAP; Children and Youth; Geographic Information Systems GIS; Mental Health/Intellectual Disabilities/Early Intervention MHIDEI; United Way; Veteran's Affairs; and the Women's Commission.
Commissioners also sit jointly to manage Emergencies along with municipalities, PEMA & FEMA; on the MPO--Metropolitan Planning Organization to prioritize road & bridge repairs with PennDOT & the Federal Highway Administration; the Prison Board; and Retirement Board.
Human Resources Director Michelle Edris received approval for President Judge John Tylwalk's request for Brenda Silva, Assistant Fiscal Supervisor of Probation Services, to work an additional 2.5 hours per week, not to exceed 40 hours between 9.19-11.4, 2016.
Further, commissioners accepted Kevin Schrum's recommendation to eliminate the Intellectual Disabilities Case Management unit. All staff were hired by two private firms providing service to clients. Both firms are establishing offices in Lebanon County.
For approval, Michael Anderson, Voter Registrar, provided commissioners, sitting as the Election Board, with sample ballot layouts containing the names of candidates for the November 8 election.
· October 11 - Last Day to Register to Vote
· November 1 - 5PM, Last Day to apply for Absentee Ballots
· November 8 - Election Day - Polls open 7AM-8PM
A ballot question will also appear: "Shall the PA Constitution be amended to require that justices of the Supreme Court, judges, and magisterial district judges be retired on the last day of the calendar year in which they attain the age of 75 years?" (Note: The current age is 70.)
On behalf of the District Attorney, Nicole Eisenhart presented Victims of Juvenile Offenders VOJO modification and $231,057 in grant requests that included RASA.
Children and Youth Director James Holtry presented $1,311,876.13 in 4th quarter invoices for approval. He will also will file an appeal for reimbursement of $782,060 in over expenditures.
Commissioners renewed a new 3-year management agreement for the Area Agency on Aging at the Maple Street Senior Center. The County will provide $100,000/year in building upkeep and utilities, including the fire company. Excess funds will be placed into an account for the City, owner of the building.
Tim Sheffy resigned, and Peggy Morcam was appointed as Labor Counsel at the rate of $185/hour. Work for an associate at Buzgon Davis will receive $150/hour, and a paralegal, $75/hour. Previously, Peggy was doing non-union work for the County. An example is the County handbook.
A proclamation was approved for Bill Christner who is retiring from the Prison after 32 years of service to the County.
Rita Groy retired from the Renova Center Board.
The HazMat team received recertification for four years.
While no action was taken, upon the City's request, commissioners will consider changing Monument Park to a dawn to dusk park, which is consistent with Coleman and other City Parks. Currently, the Park closes at 11PM.
At 1:30, commissioners sat as the Board of Assessment and Revision.
Commissioners, Judge Tylwalk and the District Attorney visited the Day Reporting Center presentations one more time before Administrator Wolgemuth was asked to pursue a written management agreement with PA Counseling Services PCS. Commissioners will take formal action after an acceptable agreement is reached.
Cornell Wilson addressed commissioners.
For Voter Registration, Commissioners approved a casual temporary position through December 22. To accommodate the Presidential election, other Voter Registration employees were approved for an additional 5 hours per week, not to exceed 40 hours/week through November 18.
President Judge Tylwalk requested a title change for the Fiscal Technician in Domestic Relations to Fiscal Administrator.
Dan Seaman, Director of the Lebanon County Assessment Office, presented one disabled veteran for exemption from real estate tax.
Betsy Bowman, Director of the Redevelopment Authority, presented $542,300.80 in revised Community Development Block Grant CDBG agreements for approval, as well as $104,000 for Annville to replace curbs and sidewalks on West Queen Street, and another for $33,000 in ADA improvements to J-1 Baseball Field in Jonestown. $1855.12 will be reprogrammed to the County 1st Time Homebuyers Program.
The Suicide Prevention Task Force brings together many agencies to address suicide. Kevin Schrum and Holly Leahy presented statistics and care sponsored by the Task Force. Suicides peaked at 25 a few years ago. While still a tragedy, the number is down to 13 so far this year. Cards for Crisis Intervention along with tips on recognizing a potential suicide victim are available. Colorful wristbands are also available. Commissioners passed a proclamation in honor of Suicide Prevention month.
Warning signs of suicide include:
Crisis Intervention --Call 274.3363 --or Text 741741
For more information,
visit Crisis Intervention 274.3363
Jim Holtry is at the helm in Children and Youth while Sally Barry steers the ship in the Probation Office. It's important for them to work together to protect and guide children who are in need of help. Jim read the numbers certifying $7,201,276 with a county share of $1,764,363. Implementation and Needs Based Budgets were approved. Funds are used for foster care, residential placements, as well as treatment of sexual offenders and mental health placements not covered by Perform Care. Jim will also file an appeal to try and recoup $576,194 in additional revenue to offset the almost $800,000 increase in County share.
Drug and Alcohol handles the paperwork, and pays bills for treatment services, including $27,475 for improvements to fighting the heroin epidemic. Contract amendments were also approved. As important of a job as this is, so is teaching the next generation about the process. Kudos to D&A Director Jim Donmoyer for mentoring a college student.
Mark Zettlemoyer from Reintzel Kuntz and Lesher gave Lebanon County Commissioners and overview of the 2015 audit report which was recently completed.
Lebanon County Commissioners can award grants to nonprofits to promote tourism. Two grants were considered this date with $1500 going toward a music and beer festival, and $12,500 toward a video of Historic Schaefferstown and restoration of a drawing by Ferdinand Brader of a local building. For consistency and because of her belief that the beer festival is counter to the mission of Drug and Alcohol, a County agency, Commission Litz voted nay to funding the festival.
West Cornwall Township was awarded $1979 in Liquid Fuels funds.
A Medical Assistance Transportation Driver MATP was approved for Community Action Partnership CAP as well as a $1,268,462 allocation. Further, commissioners approved a $1,279,936 assurance of compliance wrap-up report for 74,954 trips by 1,023 consumers.
Commissioner Phillips requested a letter of support to help him raise funds for a 211 hotline. Commissioner Litz asked for more time to return a call from Kenny Montejo and to gather information from a survey of PA counties. Commissioner Litz also asked if there may be the appearance of a conflict of interest. The motion was passed with Commissioner Litz abstaining.
Commissioners then met in Executive Session with Human Services Director Michelle Edris.
Karen Light was on hand as Penn DOTs John Kennedy briefed commissioners on his plan to rehabilitate the Inwood Bridge and place it on the Rail Trail, then build a new bridge across the Swatara. Penn DOT would take over the construction project and absorb the County's 5% share. In the end, the County would own both bridges. While the old iron bridge would be moved for rehabilitation soon, anticipated start date for the new bridge is 2020, with a drive-through date in 2021.
President Judge John Tylwalk, District Attorney Dave Arnold, Warden Robert Karnes, Probation Chief Sally Barry, and Lebanon County Commissioners exchanged notes on presentations by GEO Group, PA Counseling Services, and Youth Advocate to run a Day Reporting Center as an alternate to incarceration, which would reduce space needs at the jail, treat the whole person, and in many instances, avoid a record of incarceration for individuals with mental health, drug and alcohol and other situations such as not working and getting in arrears on child support. The Court liked GEO, which is a national firm. The commissioners like PCS, a local firm with a good record administering the Renaissance Crossroads program. Also, PCS would be open 7 days a week in a downtown location, be open more hours than the other two bidders, and be less cost to real estate taxpayers who would partially foot the bill. The group will reconvene in two weeks to try to come to an amicable agreement.
211 - Is it right for Lebanon County?
Two call centers were visited in 2010. One was Dauphin County, which due to low call volume, no longer runs a 211 system. Armstrong, Cumberland, Cameron, Elk and other Counties do not have a 211 system either. Some believe it adds cost, uses dollars that could go for treatment, and duplicates existing programs like those run by the American Red Cross during times of disaster. I was in the field during the Campbelltown Tornado, Tropical Storm Lee..., and saw the American Red Cross helping people at their homes, offering people comfort.... I saw tractor trailer loads of bottled water donated by stores like Giant and Weis. I saw Home Depot and Lowes set up tents to distribute buckets, gloves, and other cleanup items. We pull together in time of need and get the job done. After the disaster, I sat on a Disaster Recovery Group Board. We worked with FEMA, and the local American Red Cross who called every victim and offered assistance. Lend-a-Hand treated mold; Mennonite Relief ground up stumps and helped to replace roofs. Lebanon County used "Home" funds to provide $500 to help people with their insurance deductibles....
Lebanon County also has searchable data bases on their website 24/7. Other counties do not provide these comprehensive alphabetical and word searchable documents. See below, or visit www.LebCnty.org , click on Departments, then Community Action Partnership. In time of need, people often turn to someone they trust--teachers, policemen, counselors, pastors... These professionals can utilize existing information.
No Wrong Door: 64 pages - Created by CASSP at MHIDEI
Human Services Directory: 159 pages - Created by Community Action Partnership
Further, these PDF Guides can be downloaded to a smart phone or iPad for use when phones are down or WIFI is unavailable. Additionally, hard copies of these manuals are available at County Libraries. Millenials will probably Google an answer on where to get service.
Lebanon County Department Heads meet to discuss how to maximize our dollars to treat the whole person. Similar numbers may be confusing--311 for services; 411 for phone numbers; 511 for roads; 711; and 911 for emergencies.
The United Way has committed to $30,000 per year, and projects 100 calls per month. That's about $25 per call for 3-4 calls per day; which would not overwhelm Crisis Intervention and 911 staff. The County already provides funds to Crisis and for 911. Commissioner Phillips committed to raising money for the project.
Scott Aungst said that he was one of the original three founders of the tourist bureau that was at the Quality Inn. He said that he collects the new 5% fee, which is an increase from 3%, but Air Bed and Breakfasts in homes do not pay the hotel tax.
Long-term employees William Christner (1984) and Thomas Neuin (1989) submitted their retirement notices. Thanks for the longevity and loyalty to the County of Lebanon.
Both full time ADAs and APDs will work 40 rather than 35 hours per week.
Prothonotary Barb Smith thanked commissioners for funds to rearrange her office.
Probation Chief Sally Barry requested $1,037,000 in Grant-in-Aid from the State. 2016 actual was $77,000. Sally also distributed a handout showing an historical overview of funds.
John Wilson brought a request for commissioners to approve a $1,715,551 Homeland Security grant agreement for the South Central Terrorism Task Force. The money will be used for equipment maintenance, HazMat, SWAT Teams...
Michael Battistelli and Brett Holland of Stifel Nicolas presented the second quarter Retirement update. The Retirement fund stands at $115,408,658. $4.9M has been withdrawn year-to-date. Jeff Davidek, Senior VP at CS McKee, also made a presentation and answered questions.
Phyllis Holtry, Director of Community Action Partnership, asked commissioners to approve $27,010 in Act 137 Funds to study needed upgrades to the Bridge and Transitional Houses for homeless families. Joe Conner, Beers and Hoffman Architecture, explained some of his observations on the original walk through of the 1986 and 1998 purchases. Arthur Funk and Sons can provide a cost estimate of recommended repairs to see if they make sense.
Amy Mozella DiBasco is employed by the Greater Lebanon Refuse Authority created by the County of Lebanon as a subsidiary to handle Lebanon County's trash disposal needs. Recycling is one component of the GLRA. Amy presented a $39,147 80/20 matching Municipal Waste Planning Grant with DEP. County share can be in either cash or in-kind professional services.
Commissioners approved one Medical Assistance Transportation Program contract with Nicole Heater.
Two disabled veterans were approved for real estate tax exemption.
Fixed Liquid Fuels allocations were awarded to Bethel $5007, Cleona $2080, Palmyra $7320, S Londonderry $6991, and Union $3099.
From the Repository of Unclaimed Property, commissioners accepted a $1000 bid from Sue and Robert Foltz on N Quarry Road, Swatara Township.
Rosemary Millgate was appointed to the Drug and Alcohol Board.
A $363,263 PCCD grant award was received for Victims of Crime.
Back at the Gap with David Weisnick: August 13 & 14 is Demolition Training. The Flight Schedule will avoid populated areas. 2000 troops are on base currently, but will go up to 4000 troops with training ending on September 30. 121,000 troops trained at FIG in 2015, which makes FIG the most heavily used installation in the United States. 8.21, the swimming pool closes. Repairs of the Route 443 bridges are underway. One lane remains open. Effective 8.15, Gate Closure is in it's final phase, but Fisher and Clement Avenues will remain open. David was also appointed to the Local Defense Group.
Chief of Assessments Daniel Seaman presented three (3) disabled veterans for real estate tax exemption.
John Wilson and Gary Verna, new HazMat Chief and lifelong resident of Lebanon County, were on hand. Verna introduced himself, and reviewed a sulfuric acid incident on Route 81; and the short response time needed for a local team to contain the spill verses waiting up to four hours for an outfit to respond from New Jersey.
Further, commissioners affirmed a burn ban, which will run for 30 days, and expire on August 26. Even with the recent rain that ran off of the hardened soil, DEP has Lebanon County under a drought watch. A long soaking rain would help the ground water to recharge. To help comply with a voluntary 5% cut in water usage, consider turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth, repair leaks, install low-flow heads on your faucets and showers....
Next, the Annual HazMat Emergency Response Preparedness Report was approved. Finally, a $15,018 Radiation Emergency Response Fund Grant Agreement was approved to help calibrate radiological equipment and computers used during drills or incidents.
Fixed Liquid Fuels funds were awarded to North Lebanon $11,429; Mt. Gretna $196; South Lebanon $9463; Jackson $8163; and Richland $1519.
Contracts for Medical Assistance Transportation for the Community Action Partnership were awarded to Lebanon Transit, Central Medical, and Philhaven Behavioral Health Care Services.
Controller Mettley requested that per Kessler Topaz, commissioners withdraw their class action suit "lead" status as Chicago Police Pension plan had already filed as lead. Gerdau SA, a Brazilian Steel Mill company, defrauded the federal government by not paying $400M in taxes.
At the previous meeting, a $4M carryover from insurance refunds acknowledged, which is 10% of our General Fund Budget of $41M. This is good. Add that to the left over $8M from the sale of Cedar Haven, and you have $12M in funds that are uncommitted. That's over 1/2 of the $22M they want to borrow. We can self-fund, and probably save another $11M in interest. Are we fiscally conservative, or not? PS. On our year-end financial statements, pension debt has not used against our borrowing capacity, but a loan or bond does go against our borrowing capacity. Therefore, pension is a soft debt, and borrowing or bonds are hard debt.
If this borrowing goes through, that means, Cedar Haven was sold for $25.5M; Taxes were raised 32% to 3.4925 mills; now majority commissioners want to borrow $22M--all without a written plan, as required by the CPA completing our annual financial statements, to share a vision and guide this and future Boards of Commissioners.
David Weisnick provided an update on Back at the Gap. 6900 troops are training. Clement and Fisher Avenues are still open.
Dan Seaman, Chief of Assessments, presented disabled veterans for real estate tax exemption.
James Holtry, Director of Children and Youth, presented Juvenile Probation Detention Contracts with Northampton ($250/day) and Lancaster ($299.37 for Secure Detention and $182.63 for Secure Shelter).
Controller Robert Mettley received approval for Lebanon County to be the lead in a Class Action Suit to recover funds lost when Gerdau SA, a Brazilian Steel Mill company, defrauded the federal government by not paying $400M in taxes. Kessler Topaz will represent Lebanon County, and file a motion in an effort to recover $100,000.
West Nile Virus Coordinator David Schmidt presented a $24,268.50 DEP Zika Virus grant for acceptance. Funds are split between Lebanon and Lancaster. The Agent Tiger mosquitoes have made their way to PA.
Chief Clerk Jamie Wolgemuth presented items for commissioner approval:
7.23.2016 Wednesday Workshop:
At 1:30PM, commissioners sat as the Board of Assessment and Review where they heard four appeals.
Dr. Charles Greenawalt was on the air during the 911 attacks on the Twin Towers in New York. A respected professor of political science at Millersville University, Dr. Greenawalt spoke to the Northern Lebanon Rotary on Presidential National Conventions.
Lt. Col. Dale Waltman attended his last "Back at the Gap" report to commissioners. The Colonel is retiring. David Weisnicht, his replacement, accompanied Waltman to the meeting. 500 people from all over the world saw the Regal Frittilary butterflies, and two more walks at 10AM will take place this Saturday. Gate closure is being channelized. July 18 will allow access on 443 and Fisher Avenue. The bridge project on 443 is delayed. The helicopter flight pattern is normally above 4000 feet and extends up and down the Lebanon Valley. Darkened skies between Blue Mountain and St Anthony's Wilderness (no street or other lights) are valued training routes. Berks County is a turn-around point, like other small airports in the area.
Pam Bishop, Concerned Citizens, asked commissioners to send a letter to Sunoco requesting that a hearing be held in Lebanon concerning the 300 mile twin line, Mariner E, and that they extend the comment period for another 30 days through September 24. 19.7 miles is located in six municipalities within Lebanon County. Pam says that the application is still being revised and is complex, which warrants both more time for a thorough review and a local hearing.
Ann Pinca provided an update on the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline, and asked commissioners if they provided comment. Commissioner Litz said she submitted her personal comments. Pinca encouraged commissioners to submit a joint statement.
Mike Schroeder, co-president of the Quittie Watershed, expressed concern about flood control, water quality, and storm water run-off from the sale of 4 acres owned by the County of Lebanon on the East end of the City. He would like to be informed about and included in future meetings. Commissioner Ames explained that the interested party is going through due diligence, may take a long time during which we hear nothing, and real estate may not transfer. Commissioner Litz explained that municipalities, in this case South Lebanon, make the rules that must be followed concerning installation of conservation measures like pervious parking and rain gardens, but businesses can benefit financially from such installation while receiving accolades from the public. Also, there is a time when real estate inquiries are not public until a potential purchaser is ready to request an agreement of sale. Next, to inform the public about topics to be discussed, meeting agendas are posted on the County website at least 24 hours in advance. (At www.LebCnty.org click on Departments, then commissioners, or for the MPO agenda, Planning.) Finally, by law, storm water is to be contained on site.
Treasurer Sallie Neuin received permission to have Colette Aurentz and Ranae Lemke help process deer licenses for 6-8 weeks, about five hours per week.
Diane McKinney retired after 25 years of loyal service to the County as an administrative assistant at Community Action Partnership CAP delivering Human Services to the residents of Lebanon County.
Michael Anderson was promoted to Voter Registrar/Chief Clerk in Voter Registration, replacing Lori Oliver.
Gary Verna was hired as the new Haz-Mat Chief, replacing Juan Rodriguez. Gary worked at First Aid and Safety Patrol. The first order of business will be to complete an overdue report.
Those present mourned the loss of Brenda Napierala, a fellow employee, who passed away earlier the same morning.
John Wilson, EMA Director, presented a 3-year contract, with MCM Consulting, to complete a 911 Planning Services Contract at a cost of $60,000, which will be paid from collected 911 fees. The previous $47,500 contract did not deal with requirements contained in the new law concerning PEMA upgrades....
Jay Wenger, Susquehanna Group Advisors, was back, and received approval to refinance a $3.6M General Obligation bond from 2011, which has the potential to save the County $330,000 in interest. Brian Bradley represented RBC Capital Markets who will carry out the transaction, and Peter Edelman, Esquire, Stevens and Lee, who will provide legal counsel.
Also, the majority commissioners approved further exploration of borrowing $24M to pay a pension deficit. If completed, the County's hard debt would be more than doubled from $20M to $48M, require monthly payments on the newly borrowed $24M, plus interest, and the money invested in the stock market, a Ponzi scheme in the opinion of some authors--one that could provide a false sense of security and saddle future generations with additional debt because the debt may not be attributed to the pension by future Boards of commissioners. On a 2 to 1 vote, Commissioner Litz voted nay.
Kevin Schrum and James Holtry, directors of MHIDEI and Children and Youth respectively, received approval on the Human Services Plan for Lebanon County.
Kevin Schrum also said that of 9 positions, 3 are open in ID. There is high turnover, and it is expensive to keep training people. People tend to burnout, and transfer to other units. Therefore, it is recommended the County permanently close the Intellectual Disability coordinator unit. Case loads are about 60 clients per case manager. Sara Fuller from the MHIDEI Advisory Board said there are concerns, but there should be more flexibility, and the Board recommends closure. CMU, Harrisburg and SAM, Reading are interested in setting up shop in Lebanon to provide service. The Supervisor will continue, and coordinate with a provider. Remaining employees have options like transferring to other departments or a provider. Letters will be sent to consumers.
James Holtry also presented $1,315,625.60 in third quarter invoices for approval to pay bills at Children and Youth.
Roman Shahay presented a financial services contract with Aztec Inc. for Renova Center. While a final figure was not available, since less units are involved, the contract is expected to be less than last year's $54,180.
Daniel Seaman, Chief of Lebanon County Assessment Office, received approval of two disabled veterans to receive exemption from real estate taxes. Further, no change was recommended on a $675,000 property owned by Lee Allwein, Annville.
Patrick Salmon along with Sergio Diaz-Moresco returned for an annual audit report concerning Honeywell installation of energy efficient water fixtures and other conservation measures on County properties. To add additional conservation measures, like solar panels or new windows when they become cost-effective, the 20-year contract can be amended at any time. Energy savings are guaranteed to pay for all improvements. Honeywell performs audits for governments, schools, and businesses. A vote occurred to remove Cedar Haven from our Honeywell contract. With the Cedar Haven sale adjustment, cumulative net savings to date total $1,189,821, and the County was guaranteed to save $958,740. So, the County has actually made $231,081 and helped the environment.
Finally, Jamie Wolgemuth presented fixed Liquid Fuels allocations for approval for West Lebanon Township $781 and Annville Township $4767.
June 16, 2016
Colonel Dale Waltman is a regular visitor to commissioner meetings as he gives Lebanon County updates on "Back at the Gap." The Colonel will soon be retiring, and is mentoring his replacement.
Representatives of a West Cornwall Township citizens group addressed commissioners about Quentin Apartments, and challenged the affordable housing application requesting funds from Lebanon County. Rodney Gernert, Dennis Tulli, and Ron Richard were in attendance. They asked that commissioners fact check information provided; that the people who provided information be held accountable; and said that stripped topsoil made the land poor. The group believes that the C1 designation is for business, not low income housing; there is indeed other subsidized housing, over 200 units, at Gretna Springs in West Cornwall Township; and the land should be returned to usable land for farming. Otherwise, in their opinion, the land would not be in harmony with the community and adjacent area. Schools, fire and police protection, and water pressure were also issues.
Sue Christner presented an opportunity for the County to acquire stop gap funding for Juvenile Offenders to receive multi systemic therapy using evidence based programs. The $46,000 bridge funding is available in year one, and the County would be required to pay 30% of the cost in year two. By paying $550 per week for direct placement, this program will save the County money from funding detention placements at a cost of $150-$250 per day. On a 2 to 1 vote, commissioner Ames voted nay.
Troy Williams, Director of Lebanon County Christian Ministries Food Bank LCCM, addresses commissioners with a food distribution plan, and receives approval to utilize TEFAP, a State Food purchase program, but not commit a dollar amount due to local donations and vendors with favorable pricing.
LCCM, the County, and local organizations join forces to feed the hungry in Lebanon County. LCCM has satellite offices, and works with the Central PA Food Bank as well as JOY in Jonestown and the Country Cupboard in Palmyra.
Carol Davies, Area Agency on Aging Director, and Melissa Martinez, presented three contract amendments to Lebanon County Commissioners. No additional funds were requested. Funding comes from State Departments like Human Services and Aging. The four-year plan was also approved
From the Cedar Haven funds, commissioners approved transfer of $212,500 and $55,500, which is the assessed value of the Eldercare and Storage facilities built by the State for the Area Agency on Aging.
AAA Board appointments included James Rupetak, Joan Norman, Priscilla Heist, Aaron Ilius, Patricia Mallet, and Jan Fryer.
EMA Chief John Wilson and Bob Dowd were on hand for approval to purchase upgraded CAD software for the 911 call center. $268,070 will come from the $1.65 per phone line fee collected for 911. Tyler Technologies will train dispatchers and work with Dowd on installation. The new software will allow sirens at fire companies to be activated one time only per call. Implementation will take about six months.
Administrator Jamie Wolgemuth presented Ordinance 54, which increases the Hotel Tax 40%,from 3 to 5%. At 55%, the Visit Lebanon Valley Tourist Promotion Agency will receive $222,000 annually, LV Expo at 35% will receive $141,000, and at 10% the County $40,400. Teeth were added to the collection process by implementing penalties and enforcement by the District Attorney. Act 18 requires a 25% match for grants and a 4% administration fee. The vote was 2 to 1 with Commission Litz voting nay due to refusal of the Board to address nepotism.
Jon Fitzkee, Transportation Planner for Lebanon County, updated commissioners on the Killinger and Clear Spring Road realignment bid. Pennsy Supply, the only bidder, was awarded the contract.
Reappointments to Lebanon Transit included Franklin Shearer and Loel Brogan.
Fixed Liquid Fuel distributions were approved for Jonestown at $1,905; South Annville $8550; and Heidelberg $4069.
Metropolitan Planning Organization MPO meeting to prioritize roads and bridges
Ellie Sallahub read a statement requesting a bike path study. Pat Krebs also addressed the Board concerning bike paths.
Adam, from Penn DOT, presented amendments to Lebanon County's road and bridge projects.
Commissioners listened and/or addressed seven real estate appeals on assessment.
June 15, 2016
Census 469: 372 males, 97 females
Carolyn Robinson, Pa Prison Society, asked the Board about Muslim services. She was told that no Muslim clergy have volunteered to come into the prison. Further, inmates are allowed to pray in their cells, have ornaments like prayer rugs, and can read in their cells. Carolyn also inquired about Mental Health treatment for inmates.
Dr. Weaver and Captain Ernesto Portillo made a presentation highlighting the Salvation Army.
June 2, 2016
Lieutenant Colonel Dale Waltman presented a report from Back at the Gap. He tells about mutual aid, the closing of Route 443 for the replacement of two bridges, Asher Minor Road Bridge on June 20 (A paved alternate route on a tank trail will be available) and Clement Avenue Bridge, which will be reduced to one-lane on July 5. Regal Fritillary butterfly tours on Jul 1,2, 8 &9, and a partnership with Zoo America were also in the Colonel's report.
Treasurer Sallie Neuin reported that beginning June 6, the State Department of Agriculture will be in Lebanon County checking to make sure that owners have dog licenses and rabies shots for their animals.
Further, Colette Aurentz was approved for temporary work June 13-June 17.
Commissioners approved a Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Chocolate Workers' Union, Local 464 involving the EMA Telecommunicators, will run through 12.31.2019. A 3.5%/3%/3%/3.5% wage increase plan was approved for the 4-year term. Employee contributions to health insurance costs, increased deductibles, and increase co-pays for doctor visits and prescriptions are also part of the agreement, which covers 28 employees.
Lebanon County Chief Detective Daniel Wright presented a $30,000 Penn DOT DUI enforcement grant for checkpoints, Cops in Shops, and roving patrols. Each 2-way checkpoint takes 13-15 officers to implement. The Sheriff's Department has been assisting with the checkpoints.
MH.ID.EI Director Kevin Schrum presented $100,813 in Provider Contract Amendments for approval. Next, Kevin presented a $2,963,1184 budget for Provider Contracts. Essentially, his department has been flat-funded for 10-years. Finally, Kevin presented an overall budget summary of $7,980,633, $162,000 more than last year to cover salary increases.
Drug and Alcohol Director James Donmoyer presented an Annual Fiscal Report. His budget went from $1,273,923 down to $1,193,174. Also flat funded. In addition, James submitted $42,800 in additional Provider Contract Amendments for Compassmark and Pyramid Health Care.
George Christianson returned for consideration of a LERTA on the Ridgeline Property Group application. The motion passed 2 to 1 with Commissioner Ames voting nay.
EMA Director John Wilson received approval to submit a $42,225 Hazard Mitigation Grant application, which covers 75% of the project totaling $56,300. MCM Consulting will prepare the Plan.
Justin Mandel, BT Management LLC, accompanied by Mike Swider, reviewed a $700,000 proposed Agreement of Sale for 4.5 of 13 acres of County Property on East Walnut Street by Home Depot. Commissioner Litz stated that the agreement of sale does not address preservation of the Quittapahilla Wetland Park, which is important for ground water and Quittapahilla Creek recharge as well as to help protect the City of Lebanon from flooding. Mandel agreed to provide up to $8,000 to subdivide the wetland parcel for preservation. However, he refused to budge on covering the entire broker fee and allowing the County to retain $2500 of a down payment should BT withdraw their offer in the first 90 days. In the end, the vote was unanimous.
Jay Wenger proposed to borrow $24 million to fund the remainder of the pension deficit. Known as Pension Obligation Bonds, a Chamber of Commerce sponsored seminar by Richard Dreyfuss warned that POBs pose serious risks and are lousy public policy. His comments are supported by a 2014 Boston College study prepared for the Center for State and Local Government Excellence. Commissioner Litz compiled tidbits from the numerous reports:
8. Finally, and most importantly, in 2010, the State made such borrowing illegal.
Phillips accused Litz of being negative when he and Ames want to try something to improve the pension fund. Litz responded with two final quotes:
Dreyfuss: "Would you, in today's world, take out another mortgage on your house at three percent and invest in the stock market?"
"It's foolhardy to trust politicians with found money and expect them not to be tempted to put it toward what's politically popular."
Eric Boehn: "Sometimes the cure can be worse than the disease."
On a Phillps/Ames motion, Wenger was given approval to seek financing bids from banks. Commission Litz voted Nay.
Jamie Wolgemuth presented an Emergency Resolution to clear stream debris from Yordy's Bridge. The debris is a dangerous barrier for paddlers on the Swatara Creek, and could cause additional flooding during hurricane season, which is just starting. The $28,100 bill will be covered with liquid fuels money. John Reigle retired. Shuey Excavation will perform the work. Wood will be chipped and donated to Levitz Park. A previously obtained Submerged License Land Agreement will allow work to commence next week.
Doug Siegried, Carlos Maldonado, and Eva Harter were approved as Medical Assistance Transportation drivers for Community Action Partnership.
Allison Gosh was appointed to the Board of Drug and Alcohol.
June 1, 2016
Area Agency on Aging held a public hearing to review their Aging Block Grant and 4-year Plan.
Jay Wenger reviewed a Standard and Poors report. Responding to the S&P narrative and statements by Commissioner Ames at the previous meeting, Litz stated that the current Board including Ames and Phillips have not acknowledge that they contributed to the deficit by ignoring a 2012 budget line containing a $500,000 pension contribution that was not made. (A $101,000 payment came from not funding medical supplements to retirees.) Therefore, the majority have contributed to the pension deficit while blaming previous administrations. Further, because Cedar Haven was sold, Lebanon County now has more retirees collecting pensions than paying into the retirement system. Also, had CRC run Cedar Haven for the County, their proposed budget included pension payments. Finally, after the sale, the majority commissioners refuse to return $8.1 million in excess funds to the people or apply them to the remainder of the pension deficit to fully fund the pension plan, and reduce the ARC to a minimal contribution, thus allowing the County to grow a reserve fund. Instead, they would borrow money to pay on the pension.
Litz believes that chasing a Standard and Poors rating is the wrong reason to justify such actions. By their own qualifications, an S&P rating is simply a statement of opinion, not a statement of fact. In fact, S&P does not audit or guarantee the accuracy, completeness, (or) timeliness..., of content. Content is provided on an "as is" basis. It is subject to bugs from software, errors and defects.
Jeri Sills and Paul LeVan disclosed that the Red Cross building in the City of Lebanon will be sold, but services will continue.
May 8, 2016
PRISON BOARD @ 11:30AM:
Total Inmates: 462: 375 male and 87 female
WORK SESSION @ 1:30PM: Members of two local pipeline organizations approached commissioners about updating the website; requesting an extension of time to comment; submitting comments; and requesting that DEP hold a public hearing in Lebanon County. Pam Bishop agreed to put the request in writing for consideration at Thursday's voting session.
May 19, 2016
Commissioner Phillips announced that today is the County's first attempt at video recording meetings in their entirety, without edit.
Lt. Colonel Dale Waltman presented a report on Back at the Gap. Ordnances are exploding during drills. The community pool will open to the public on June 4.
Pam Bishop requested that commissioners approve the following concerning pipelines:
Rik Rhoade, son Andrew, Aarron, an HMC representative, as well as Jennie and Tyler Shyda and his grandparents were on hand for Children's Miracle Network recognition. Commissioners, and sometimes the City, have been providing support for over 25 years. The money raised in Lebanon County stays in Lebanon County to help children and their families utilizing the Hershey Medical Center children's unit. For the past two years, Rik and the 445 Foundation raised $12,000 per year to donate to CMN. Lebanon County Commissioners will pose a friendly challenge to Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Juniata, Mifflin, Lancaster, Perry and York Counties to issue a proclamation, and host a CMN recognition day at one of their meetings.
Michael Battistelli and Bret Holland presented a quarterly retirement board update. The current value is $111,732,000.
Robert Mettley reviewed the Actuarial Report received earlier than in previous years due to audit details being turned in timely. With a majority of the payment scheduled for reimbursement, $2,862,255 is the new Annual Retirement Contribution ARC. The funded ratio is 82.9%. The balance of unfunded Annual Required Contributions is $23,940,974. The budget contained almost $1M more for the ARC. Due to the sale of Cedar Haven, for the first time, more retirees are collecting pensions than there are employees paying into the pension. Stating that only a 100% funded pension plan is fully funded, Commission Litz requested that the County apply the remaining $8.1M in funds from the sale of Cedar Haven to further reduce the outstanding unfunded contributions. This in turn would further reduce this and future ARC payments, and free up dollars to cover an internal TRAN. Her request was dismissed.
Michelle Long and Susan Girrarti presented a Trail map with the theme, Blaze a Trail, produced by the Community Health Council, Area Agency on Aging, and the Merchandiser.
Children and Youth Director Jim Holtry presented 49 contracts for approval. 22 contracts show no increase; 12 of the remaining 17 contracts were approved by the State; and the final contracts are within State approved rates.
Daniel Seaman presented three disabled veterans for real estate tax exemption.
With the theme, EMS Strong, First Aid and Safety Patrol's Brian Smith and Jim Rittle were on hand for a proclamation recognizing Emergency Medical Services week. FASP attained a GOLD level for heart care.
George Christianson was on hand to request approval of a LERTA for a Union Township property, formerly George and Gloria Speck's farm. Union Township approved the request on May 3. On May 13, Northern Lebanon School District approved the LERTA pending passage by the County. Commissioner Ames made a motion, but expressed opposition stating he didn't want LERTAs for warehouses. Commissioner Litz asked for storm water information from SID Tool to see if commissioners ever foreclosed on a bond, which might have similar owners to this property. Commissioner Litz moved to table the motion until requested information is provided. Instead, Commissioner Ames moved to withdraw his motion. Litz seconded the motion.
Sally Barry presented a two-year $236,000 pretrial diversion grant request to fund two positions to identify Drug and Alcohol offenders at the point of arrest. This is a competitive grant process through PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency using federal dollars. Persons targeted include newly charged people, those with bench warrants, who fail to appear for court.... People can be sentenced to this treatment program on more than one occasion by a MDJ or the Court of Common Pleas. Expectations are that 100 people per month will be diverted from prison stays, AND recidivism (the number of reoffenders) will be reduced. Commissioner Litz moved to approve submission of the grant providing that we revisit the program when it expires in two years to make sure the program meets outcome expectations. The motion passed 2 to 1 with Commissioner Ames voting nay accompanied by comments concerning a union contract.
Administrator Wolgemuth presented items for a $15,000 grant to be submitted to PCoRP to control loss. No match is required, and the submission is due by May 31. Included in the request are two victim shields at a cost of $2400 for the Sheriff's Department; $2475 to upgrade MHID fire alarms; $1197 for panic alarms at AAA; outdoor cameras to cover AAAs parking lot; and ballistic glass for fines and costs at probation.
Community Action Partnership received approval for an Medical Assistance Transportation driver.
Richard Wertz was appointed to represent the Historical Society on the Destination Marketing Organization.
Commissioner Ames moved and Commissioner Phillips seconded a motion to raise the Hotel Tax from 3 to 5% to support tourism in Lebanon County. First, Commissioner Litz asked to revisit Board composition to remove any trace of nepotism among these high ranking decision makers. Her request was dismissed, and the motion passed 2 to 1 with Commissioner Litz voting nay.
Commissioner Litz also asked whether the Sunshine Law had been broken responding to a Central Penn News article on the Hotel Tax. Reporter John Latimer, Lebanon Daily News, said he asked commissioners the question at the end of the last long public meeting after Commissioner Litz had excused herself. Litz accepted the explanation. Ames and Phillips chastised Litz, disapproving of her destination and her question about the Sunshine Law.
No Assessment Appeals will be heard today.
Sallie Neuin reported that $5million has been set aside to cover payroll through October 13.
Michelle Edris presented a resignation from Voter Registrar Lori Oliver.
James Donmoyer provided a Drug and Alcohol Abuse contract amendment.
Awards were made to local groups and municipalities using Act 13 Marcellus Shale grant funds:
Commissioners approved a proclamation for Teen Pregnancy prevention.
A fee agreement contract for Peggy Morcam with Buzgon Davis, was approved at a rate of $185/hour for her services.
Tyler Technologies took over Harris Communications. EMA Director John Wilson received approval to replace a switch gear at a cost of $10,000 plus an annual $5120 fixed service fee.
Commissioners appointed Sheila Davidson to the Library Board.
Nicole Carter was approved as a Medical Assistance Transportation Partnership driver for Community Action Partnership
Commissioners reappointed members Tom Harlan and Dave Eichler to the Board of Governor Dick Park.
REGULAR MEETING 4/21/2016
Treasurer Neuin reported that the balance in the Cedar Haven account is $8,139,785, plus, payroll and other investments total $4,851,828.
Lt. Col. Dale Waltman provided an update on Back at the Gap.
Ann Gruber read a report on her experiences.
Upon her retirement, Commissioners presented MaryEllen Angley with a proclamation for her decades of service at Renova Center.
Jackie Gould and Bonnie Pietruch, WellSpan; Joanna Black, Philhaven; and Margaret Wilson, VA Medical Center all received proclamations for Nurses and Hospital Week.
Dennis Firestone received approval for a $58,419 bid award for Alden Place Trailhead.
EMA Director John Wilson was appointed as signatory to process Snowstorm Jonas reimbursements for Lebanon County. Also, Lebanon County will be hiring a new HazMat Chief. In the interim, Brian Burke will coordinate completion of recertification. The State graciously provided a 6-month extension.
The Lebanon County Historical Society was appointed as our official historical Society.
Ralph Watts was appointed as an Ex-Officio Board member representing Palmyra Area Business Association to the Lebanon Valley Destination Marketing Organization.
Commissioners approved an MOU, Memorandum of Understanding, for a detour on 501 due to repair of the 1700s Locust Street Bridge, Myerstown.
Commissioners certified a $25,483.75 Lebanon Transit match for one quarter.
ASSESSMENT APPEALS: Three were heard in the afternoon.
WEDNESDAY WORK SHOP 4.20.2016
Pat Kerwin shared an update on the Lebanon Valley Expo.
PRISON BOARD 4.20.2016:
489 inmates: 395 males & 94 females
Governor Tom Wolf was in Town.
Bill Clinton spoke at the Keystone Building in Harrisburg.
Ryan Pelton and other Elvis Impersonators sang at the Eagles for the Palmyra Elvis Festival.
April 7, 2016
Lt. Colonel Waltman presented "Back at the Gap," and informed commissioners that DeHart Dam will be preserved through a conservation easement, and the Harrisburg Water Authority will retain ownership while receiving $9M for 8,000 acres through the Comprehensive Use Buffer Program to also preserve Dark Skies for training at Fort Indiantown Gap. Clean water will also be protected.
Abigail Jarboe again requested time on the agenda to raise an issue with Children and Youth. She spoke about SIDS, and requested a written response concerning the solicitor's opinion on whether or not her Constitutional rights were violated. She then asked what Children and Youth stated was the reason she was denied the ability to use a Power of Attorney to help a man in court. Commissioner Litz explained that no one had done this before, and Children and Youth requested that their solicitor review the request. In doing her due diligence and research, she found a few cases, which were shared with the judge, and he issued a court order. Abigail disputes the scenario. Commissioner Litz asked if she had considered an appeal to the courts to which she responded that she doesn't have standing.
Because of the 32% real estate tax increase, numerous phone calls, emails, letters, and letters to the editor were received since County real estate tax bills were mailed. One woman, a senior citizen on social security, attended the commissioner's meeting to share her story.
Dawn Edris presented the Treasurer's Report. Bond and loan payments, due April 15th, were presented for approval:
Michelle Edris had a long roster of personnel transactions, including the hiring of Dan Wright as Chief County Detectives. DA Dave Arnold was on hand to speak to the interview and selection process.
John Shott presented an Intermediate Punishment grant proposal for Drug and Alcohol Treatment-based Punishment at Renaissance Crossroads, a 34-month in/out patient program since 2001, and Electronic Monitoring, totaling $1,300,000 over the next two years. Medical Assistance will add $200,000 to the budget.
Carol Davies presented a federal/state $2,120,548 annual Cooperative Grant Agreement between the County AAA and the Department of Aging. Essentially, this is the base agreement for the AAA to receive its federal and state funding for 2016-2021. There are a few changes, most notably, a provision providing for payments during a budget impasse.
President Judge Tylwalk, Judge Charles Jones, and Jamie Wolgemuth sat as the Election Board to approve the ballot for the Primary Election. Two candidates names were formally withdrawn, but too late to be eliminated from the ballot. Any votes received for these candidates will not be counted. There are many laws and deadlines which Voter Registration must follow, and Absentee Ballots started going out in the mail on April 1.
Jon Fitzkee and Tom Kotay will sought approval on a grant application for Rail Trail Phase 9C, which is a portion of the trail in the Bunker Hill/Jonestown area. The $250,000 Inwood Iron Bridge will count as a match for Penn DOT.
Jon also presented a PennDOT-required agreement for “Policy and Procedure for Consultant Selection” for approval. This agreement states that the County will follow PennDOT’s prescribed process for the selection of a County Bridge Engineer. This must be done every five years. Lastly, Jon presented a proclamation designating the Commissioners as signatories, on behalf of the MPO, for agreements with PennDOT.
Dr. Yocum presented his Annual Coroner’s report. He was joined by Kevin Schrum and James Donmoyer for discussion about suicides and overdoses. There were 671 cremations up 72 from last year. Yocum has to approve each cremation. If an autopsy is ordered, it costs about $2000. There were 128 natural deaths, and 37 accidental deaths, 20 of them drug-related. Three homicides occurred in Lebanon County, and 13 suicides--6 from gunshots.
Jim Donmoyer present a $39,250 contract amendment from PA Counseling for a Spanish-speaking Family Facilitation Service. He is working on a Vivitrol option for treatment, which would be added to the methadone, a 2-year treatment program and saboxin treatment. While Vivitrol costs more, it only needs to be taken once each month for one year.
Kevin Schrum presented a minor amendment to the existing Healthchoices contract held by the Capitol Area Behavioral Health Collaborative.
Ben Reed, Rhoads & Sinon LLC, and Jay Wenger, Financial Advisor to Tel Hai Retirement Community, presented a resolution for $30M in tax-exempt financing through the Lebanon County Health Facilities Authority (LCHFA) for the Tel Hai Retirement Community in Honey Brook, Chester County. LCHFA is the conduit because all other Authorities are maxed out on their annual allotment of bank-qualified tax exempt financing and LCHFA still has funds. This would not preclude any Lebanon County facility from financing for the rest of the year. Local facilities and the hospital verified that there are no local needs for this type of financing for the rest of the year 2016. Similar to Cedar Haven, Tel Hai serves 50% Medicare/Medicaid patients.
Beth Hoch, Victim Witness Coordinator, and Dave Arnold, accepted a Proclamation with the theme, "Serving Victims. Building Trust. Restoring Hope." for Crime Victims’ Rights week. 275 child victims were seen at the local child abuse center.
Jay Wenger and Dilworth Paxson, LLP, presented an agreement to pursue recovery of unpaid 911 line fees that may be owed from telephone carriers. Dave Eckhart, representing NW Financial Group and Dilworth Paxson, proposed a 40% fee for recovery. Signing the agreement means that Dilworth files a Writ to preserve the opportunity to go backward in time, up to 6 years, and forward 2 years, to recover fees, around $900,000/year, and they would initiate a letter to telephone carriers asking them to open their books for an audit of the fees remitted. Berks County sent a letter in an attempt to give carriers a chance to reconcile any fees they might owe. If they do not respond or refuse, then Lebanon could proceed, along with the other counties, to legally pursue the process of determining any fees owed through the Court. Commissioner Litz requested that two votes be taken, one to file the writ and send the letters, and a second vote for recovery through the courts, which would also obligate the County to future years when PEMA could be collecting the 911 funds. Ames moved to complete both transactions in one vote. Phillips seconded the vote, which passed 2 to 1 with Commissioner Litz voting nay.
Dan Seaman presented two 100% disabled veteran's widows for real estate tax exemption.
Jamie Wolgemuth presented a grant request from the Expo Center for $9,275 for Dynatech to cover the installation cost for a switchgear to connect the County’s portable generator to the Expo facility in the event of the power going out during use as our Primary Mass Care Shelter. EMA has funds available through a grant from Exelon Energy for broadly-defined “Emergency preparation”. The funding comes from an Exelon grant.
Jamie also presented a Proclamation of Disaster Emergency for original signatures from Winter Storm Jonas. The President declared Lebanon County eligible for disaster funds. The proclamation will be provided to FEMA as the process for municipalities to claim reimbursement should begin soon. A discussion ensued concerning when commissioners should sign a disaster proclamation. In the past, commissioners signed disaster proclamations during reorganization, but there was no disaster at the time. During drills, PEMA and FEMA expect commissioners to support the Emergency Operation Center, and provide staff credit for commissioners attending and declaring an emergency. Commissioner Litz asked that the drill procedure be retained as standard procedure to ensure that all commissioners are informed during any emergency when our EOC is in use. It is understood that electronic communication is acceptable as floods, storms, and personal safety may from time to time prohibit attendance. However, as soon as possible, each commissioner should sign the proclamation. Signing a disaster proclamation weeks after the EOC was activated does not guarantee that all commissioners were afforded the opportunity to participate in a decision to activate the EOC.
On behalf of the Local Defense Group (LDG) for Ft. Indiantown Gap, Jamie Wolgemuth and Lt. Col Waltman presented a proposal for Strategic Consulting Partners to develop a strategic plan for the Gap to be utilized in the event at the Gap is under threat of closure or reduction through a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC). The County received a $25,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Military Community Protection Commission in 2015. The LDG received three proposals and, after review, recommended Strategic Consulting Partners at a cost of $19,915.
Next, Wolgemuth presented one contract from Community Action Partnership for a Medical Assistance Transportation P driver and a proclamation for the SARCC Dinner on April 14th, recognizing April as “Sexual Assault Awareness Month”.
Also, two proclamations for March Women's History Month, one for the American Business Women's Association, and one for the Lebanon County Commission for Women, were approved.
Commissioner Litz requested that the data transmission and conversion from 2.5 to 1.6Megahertz be reviewed for the video equipment to be installed in the meeting room to make sure it is capable of operating without crashing, and to consider new microphones for audio transmission. After the meeting, Administrator Wolgemuth was assured by the FCC that using the mics outside of a 7 Megahertz range is not illegal. However, since our mics are capable of transmitting 700 Megahertz, where interference can occur with EMA transmissions, and per FCC, they may no longer be bought, sold, or repaired. Therefore, new microphones may provide a more solid foundation upon which to build a communications and video network.
March 17, 2016
Lt. Colonel Dale Waltman provided an update on Back at the Gap. In addition to providing aid, Waltman stated that Fort Indiantown Gap received mutual aid from Fire Companies--Ono in East Hanover, Green Point in Union, Perseverance in Jonestown, and Bellgrove in North Annville Townships.
Treasurer Neuin received approval for Belinda Spicer, Colette Aurentz, and Ranae Lemke to work additional hours for 8-10 weeks processing real estate tax payments.
County Real Estate Tax bills are in the mail. By law, you will receive a sixty (60) day discount period from March 16, the postmark on the bills. Per Capita bills for four municipalities are pending. ACA filing deadlines were met.
Assessment Director Dan Seaman submitted a 100% disabled veteran for real estate tax exemption.
Dennis Firestone opened bids for the Alden Place Trailhead. The lowest bid came in at $58,419 from Barwis Construction, Limekiln.
James Donmoyer, Director of Drug and Alcohol, presented an annual report. For the first time, Heroin has overtaken alcohol as the drug of choice for addicts. Through a State program, Jim has been interviewing and placing inmates in either short or long-term treatment programs in lieu of incarceration. 52 assessments were completed by Brandon Smith. Per his annual report, 571 unique clients were served. Jim credits the reduction in Heroin deaths from 18 in 2014 and 17 in 2015 to 1 so far this year to: 1) a new Drug Task Force, 2) use of Narcan, and 3) the new Prison Program. Further, $32,250 was received from DDAP to start a second Spanish speaking family program and a survivor of overdose case management program. Finally, he was asked how the new marijuana law will impact his office.
Kevin Schrum, Director of MH.ID.EI, received permission to sign an agreement of sale for what will be a Fair Weather Lodge at 418 Cumberland St., Lebanon PA. Five to six MHMR clients will vote on who can live there, and they will work or start a business like custodial, a driving service, or bakery to sustain the building. The purchase price is $129,900. The program has been in existence elsewhere since 1963. The residents live together as a community, and establish house rules. A provider assists and guides the residents with activities, and helps to solve any problems that arise. The provider will be required to make payments in lieu of taxes.
While appreciating their effort at transparency, before making a decision on which system to purchase, Commissioner Litz asked her colleagues for bids on newer technology called live-streaming; tagging the tape by topic; and providing an interactive format like tweeting questions, for viewers to participate in the meetings. Commissioner Ames moved, and Commission Phillips seconded a motion to videotape and store meetings in their entirety, then upload them unedited to YouTube at a future date. Cost of the equipment is $3,095 by Shenk in Myerstown. Because her request was not considered, the motion passed 2 to 1 with Commissioner Litz voting nay.
From the Repository of Unclaimed Property, commissioners approved a $100 bid for a mobile home at 1816 E Mifflin St., Lebanon.
Commissioners Ames and Phillips approved a proclamation for the Swatara Sojourn, which will be held on May 7 & 8. http://users.mbcomp.com/swatara/canoe/18thcanoe.htm
Commissioner Litz requested review of our policy to declare emergencies and sign these declarations.
Commissioner Litz also stated that she received an anonymous letter relaying that information was turned over to federal authorities. Commissioner Ames stated he has been getting unsigned emails. Communications are "signed" Just Us, a possible play on the word justice. None of the communications were viewed as threatening.
· 473 inmates, 383 male and 90 female
· 267 unsentenced
· 40 on work release
· 28 State Sentenced
· 225 Parole/Probation violators
· 8 District Judge sentenced
· 19 Court of Common Pleas sentenced
March 3, 2016
Colonel Dale Waltman returned for an update on Back at the Gap.
Abigail Jarboe asked for information on a court order concerning her rights with power-of-attorney concerning a case with Children and Youth. The County Solicitor will review the information.
Ann Pinca, Pipeline Awareness, returned with an update on a public meeting being held in the auditorium of the Courthouse, tree clearing, a hearing on the Quentin pumping station, and status of Sunoco and Williams.
John Shott, Lebanon County Probation Services, reported on a fifth mental health training agreement with Philhaven. The law enforcement seminar will be held on March 22 at a cost of $25 per person. Through the PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency, federal dollars will reimburse us for the training.
Killinger Road and US 422 realignment took another step forward today when bids were opened. Jon Fitzkee explained the process while purchasing agent Dennis Firestone opened the only bid from Pennsy Supply. Wilson Consulting will review the bid for compliance with advertised specifications. Jon Fitzkee and Tom Kotay are guiding the process for Penn DOT. Providing the bid meets all specifications, construction should begin during this season.
Paul and Mary Ann LeVan are a husband and wife team, volunteers for the American Red Cross for over 40 years. Nary a disaster goes by that they're not on the scene, then following up with victims to help coordinate services, or contacting members of the armed forces. Lebanon County commissioners thanked this volunteer couple for their service to the community, and issued a proclamation for the American Red Cross.
Penn DOT strongly encouraged counties in the south-central part of PA to merge public transportations systems at the administrative level to attain an economies of scale. If done, county share would be waived for five years. Lebanon County would stand to save one-half million dollars. The counties can write their own charter to include retention of employees.
It made the most sense to Lebanon County Commissioners to merge with Dauphin County since so many of our people work at the Hershey Co., Medical Center, Park..., or at the Capital in Harrisburg. Commute King already offers transportation to these venues as well as the train station where riders can continue on public transit east to Philadelphia, west to Pittsburgh, or south to Washington DC. To protect our interests, Commission Litz is looking for One County, One Vote similar to the Local Elected Officials overseeing the Workforce Investment Board.
Commissioner Ames talked at length about the process.
A vote was called, and the vote was unanimous to continue talks with Dauphin County.
In addition to Lebanon County fronting millions of dollars for State mandated services, we lost $3500 in interest as a result of the State budget not being passed. At risk are our county's most vulnerable citizens--children, homeless, people with mental health needs.... Lebanon County is expected to do with 10% less AND be excluded from block grants, which would allow an economies of scale and the ability to treat the person as a whole. A resolution requesting full funding of Human Services in a timely fashion was requested of the State Legislature and Governor.
Wednesday, March 2, 2016 Workshop:
In case you missed it, here's the Lebanon County Commission for Women' spot on Good Day PA ABC 27 promoting the Hall of Fame Wednesday, March 23 at 10:45 AM - 1 PM.
The Lebanon County Commission for Women was established in 2003 by the Lebanon County Commissioners to serve as a conduit on issues of concern to…
February 17-18, 2016
Prison Board: Warden Karnes said HazMat reviewed a puddle of fuel oil on the maintenance room floor, and determined that it came from a malfunctioning valve.
Commissioner Litz requested permission to work with a nonprofit to raise funds to host a thank you celebration for First Responders who had back-to-back disasters similar to 2011s Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. After TS Lee, the Wenger Foundation put together a wonderful tribute. First Responders recently dealt with clearing fire hydrants, clearing paths for emergency transports, clogged furnace vents...as a result of the 30" snow storm and blizzard, and then the Route 78 multi-car crash, both events maxing the resources, capacity and strength of Responders to help friends, family, neighbors, and total strangers. Commissioners Ames and Phillips wanted time to think about it.
Major Angela Sweigart updated commissioners on Back at the Gap. Two new educational videos are available.
Since interest rates are improving, at Integrity, using $4 million from the sale of Cedar Haven, Sallie Neuin suggested investing in CDs with staggered terms of 6 and 10 months.
Dr. Brown and Linda Jackson announced walk-in hours for the Lebanon Free Clinic on S 8th St., Lebanon on Monday and Wednesday noon-8PM and Friday 9AM-6PM. The hours tend to be the busiest times at the hospital. It is hoped the free clinic hours will alleviate unnecessary emergency room visits. There are no weekend hours at the clinic. Extended hours are possible due to a $300,000 Department of Health grant.
Looking for growth in the economy to translate into growth in the stock market, Michael Batistelli and Brett Holland from Stifel Nicolas as well as Kevin Caron from Washington Crossing Advisors, provided an update on the pension fund, which is down less than Standard and Poors. They are investing in profitable companies with productive assets; companies with small debt, more cash and flexibility; and companies with value equity with debt and cash to support cash flows. Also, former Commissioner Ed Arnold made a request for COLA payments for retirees.
Nichole Eisenhart and Beth Hoch from the District Attorney's office requested permission to submit a $363,223 VOCA grant to the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency to support victims of criminal activity.
To purchase four scanners, MHIDEI requested $8,441 from the Record Improvement Fund. With the blessing of IT, MHIDEI staff will scan and store records, and relieve storage space demands on the courthouse IBM. The balance in the fund is $126,000.
To replace the elevators, mechanicals, windows...at the 100-unit Willow Terrace apartment complex, Charlie Rush, Director of Community Homes of Lebanon Valley, Mike Kearner who prepared the application, and architect Bob Hoffman approached Lebanon County Commissioners to request a $500,000 interest free loan from the Act 137 Affordable Housing Funds, collected on real estate transactions at the rate of $2 per deed in Lebanon County. The loan will be used as a match toward a potential $11 million pot from the federal government.
A second request for Lebanon County's Affordable Housing Dollars would compete with Community Homes of Lebanon Valley. The $250,000 request from Thomas Eisemann and Lancaster based Community Basics on an $18.3M project would locate 62 new units at Quentin Apartments in West Cornwall Township on land formerly zoned agriculture. A conditional use permit would require approval as the land is now zoned C1 commercial. Two apartments may be used for homeless people or veterans. The remaining 60 apartments would rent for $700-$1000 per month.
Lori Brandt made a presentation about Albright Life Center. An assessment of an individual is required. They have 41 participants, and are licensed for 70.
Emergency Management staff, Chief John Wilson, Communications Expert Bob Dowd, 911 Coordinator Eric Fahler, and Deputy Director Bryan Burke took turns explaining their roles to Lebanon County Commissioners in the Route 78 multivehicle incident on February 13, 2016. An After Action with PEMA and the State Police is forthcoming.
Michael Aumiller, Senator Bob Casey's Regional Manager, introduced himself to Lebanon County Commissioners, and offered the Senator's services for any federal programs.
John Fitzkee and Bryan Burke were appointed to the Community Action Partnership Board.
Don Kline was appointed to the Palmyra Library Board.
Mike Fry, Jen Shay, William White, and Mike Weirich were appointed to the Drug and Alcohol Board.
Donna Williams, Jessica Trimbal, Ann Decker, and Roberta Brummel were appointed to the Women's Commission.
Lickdale Fire Company was exonerated from real estate tax on a rental property where proceeds benefit the Fire Company.
To print 5000 Heritage Trail maps, commissioners approved a $2000 grant to the Lebanon Valley Conservancy from the commissioner's share of the Hotel Tax.
11AM Commissioners sat with members of the Metropolitan Planning Organization where they viewed a conceptual drawing of a roundabout for Cornwall, listened to a bicycle update, and more.
1:30PM Commissioners sat as the Board of Assessment and Review to hear 12 assessment appeals. Bureau Chief Dan Seaman reported that 50 neighborhood reviews were done of condemned or uninhabited properties. Further, Dan outlined five settled court cases.
So many times we are quick to criticize, but what happened February 13, 2016 with volunteers in subzero weather was truly amazing. I am grateful and humbled by the willingness of so many fire companies, ambulance crews, State Police and County Departments, PEMA, as well as others who withstood brutal winds and cold to help total strangers in need. I can't imagine what you experienced today, facing the unknown behind each piece of twisted metal and shattered glass. Somehow, you comforted those in need, gave them blankets and warmth. May God bless and keep each and every victim, families of those who passed away, our 911 telecommunicators, and all first responders for their dedication and service to this community. You are what makes Lebanon County Pennsylvania great. You are all heroes. Thank you. Jo Ellen Litz
As a follow-up to the Interstate 78 incident, Lebanon Emergency Management Agency was able to identify additional units on site to help with the response.
For example, in addition to the Salvation Army, the American Red Cross provided comfort and essentials to all. Further, both DB Fisher Bus Service and Lebanon Transit helped to transport victims to the Jonestown shelter….
Fire Companies and other First Responders included:...
Ebenezer was stationed on-call at Fort Indiantown Gap
In order to be all-inclusive, if your company was missed, please do not hesitate to list them in the comment secion below.
February 4, 2016
Major Angela Sweigart is a media specialist at Fort Indiantown Gap, and provided a report from "Back at the Gap."
Because of a California check fraud, Treasurer Sallie Neuin requested a new direct deposit bank account with First Citizens Bank.
Board of Elections: Voter Registrar Lori Oliver presented the Democratic and Republican Political Parties for certification.
ITS: Director Danielle Hogg requested appointment of an ITS committee to review consultant applications. Danielle Hogg, Donna Lutz, Bill Ames, Jamie Wolgemuth, Bob Dowd, Carol Davies, Eric and Stephanie Axarlis will comprise the committee.
Assessments: Chief Daniel Seaman presented two disabled veterans for approval for tax exemption.
Penn State Extension: David Schmidt presented a grant application for West Nile Virus, and said that the ZIKA virus is tested differently than West Nile. Therefore, the grant will only cover the West Nile Virus. While being monitored, because of climate and other factors, scientists believe that ZIKA, which can both be transmitted sexually and cause birth defects, should not make it this far north. Also, a tire collection will take place on April 20.
Repository of Unclaimed Property: A mobile home at 16 MyWay Drive, Palmyra received a bid of $1 from Oliver. Likewise, 3 Brook Lane, Fredericksburg received a $1 bid from Webber; and a property on the N side of Shaffer Rd, Cornwall received a bid of $150 from Brad Krim.
Act 89 Liquid Fuels Tax: A year-end report was accepted for projects like the Locust Street Bridge in Myerstown.
Farm Preservation: Harold Burkheiser was appointed to the board of Farmland Preservation.
Proclamations: Boy Scouts at the Lebanon Valley Mall on February 8, and Lebanon Valley College's 150th Anniversary.
Commissioners met in executive session to discuss personnel.
January 21, 2016
Back at the Gap: Lt.Col. Dale Waltman reported that the deer harvest at Fort Indiantown Gap netted 27 deer from a 300 head herd.
Lebanon Pipelines: Ann Pinca reported that tree cutting is taking place for Mariner E II. Further, the pipeline is scheduled to cut through the David and Sharon Bomgardner farm and through the Union Canal. Pinca asked for a letter requesting that they drill under the canal. Also, testing of the existing pipeline is projected to use 2.8M gallons of water over five days, and Pinca asked if this is desirable. Finally, FIG is hosting the Battle of the Bulge.
Public: Abigail Jarboe addressed commissioners concerning Call of the List.
Area Agency on Aging: For approval, Director Carol Davies presented $28,881 in contract amendments.
Emergency Management Agency: Director John Wilson requested authorization to proceed with HazMat Recertification. Further, a $6,825 grant agreement was approved for release of State funds to cover protective equipment. Also, $143,110.47 is requested for federal reimbursement to cover personnel.
Purchasing: Director Dennis Firestone and John Fitzkee were on hand to open bids for the Lebanon Valley Rail Trail, Alden Place Trailhead widening/improvement projects. Eight bids were received, and will be checked for bid compliance:
Board of Elections: Voter Registrar Lori Oliver asked for final approval on three new polling places: St Marks for the 5th Ward West; American Legion for Jonestown Borough; and Ono Fire Company for East Hanover Township. In addition, commissioners certified Maintenance of Efforts for the Help America Vote Act.
Mental Health/Intellectual Disabilities/Early Intervention: Director Kevin Schrum presented $18,406 in 2014-15 and $14,768 in 2015-16 contract amendments for approval.
Commissioners certified $188,914.9 for farmland preservation: $42,500 will come from Marcellus Shale funds, $55,300 from businesses, $86,100 from municipalities, $899 in interest, $659 from 2014 Clean and Green; and $3455 from 2015 Clean and Green. 36 applications totaling over 3000 acres are on file.
Repository of Unclaimed Property: A $1 bid was received from Steven Oliver for 845 Hill St., Lebanon.
Extension: Because a new contractor had to be hired, Nick Yingst, Annville Township manager, requested a one-year extension on their Marcellus Shale grant to complete S Lancaster Street.
Community Action Partnership: A Medical Assistance Transportation Program contract was approved with Brad Siegfried.
Blizzard of 2016 Recap, a record at 30.2"
Many reports came in where gas odors...were being reported in homes. Still others report that their heat went off, but not their electricity. Most heat sources have an exhaust pipe. Make sure your exhaust vent is not blocked by the snow.
Also, think ahead when shoveling. Be sure not to put snow in front of your downspouts, which could cause water to back up at your roof line. There will be thawing and freezing cycles, which will exaggerate leaks. With rain predicted for Tuesday, clearing downspouts and storm drains will be critical to reduce flooding.
Finally, have you checked on your neighbors and loved ones, especially widows and the elderly? If you are able to help them out, please do. We will get through this together.
Snow Emergencies: Many communities declared emergencies in advance of the snow storm. This is probably smart so that people find a place to park before the snow plows start moving. This way, plowing can be done safely and efficiently. Please cooperate. Feel free to add your community if you've heard that they too have declared an emergency. To date, Annville, City of Lebanon, Cleona, , Jackson, Millcreek, North Cornwall, Palmyra, and South Londonderry have declared emergencies.
Travel Bans: Several people have asked if the County declared a travel ban. It is municipalities like the City of Lebanon, Annville, Cleona, Jonestown, Myerstown, Palmyra, and Richland that can ban travel from the roads they own. I believe the State would control their roads, and the federal government the Interstates.
While the County of Lebanon has declared an emergency, the only road owned by the County of Lebanon is in front of LCCTC, and we do own about 13 bridges.
If people still aren't cooperating by staying home, I believe that the County could establish a curfew, which would help at night, but we haven't discussed this.
I recommend following http://www.lebanonpa.org/DepartmentOfPublicWorks/Pages/Snow-Information.aspx and the Lebanon City Police page for City restrictions. https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1059452657433450&id=320107678034622&fref=nf
EMA also has a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/LebCoEMA/
The Lebanon Daily News has a cancellation page: https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ldnews.com%2Fstory%2Fnews%2F2016%2F01%2F22%2Fstorm-cancellations-and-postponements%2F79160660%2F&h=lAQHGSvEX
Electricity: Customers without power are encouraged to call 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) to report their outage or click the “Report Outage” link on www.firstenergycorp.com.
Customers should immediately report downed wires to Met-Ed or the local police or fire department. No one should go near a downed power line, even if they think it is no longer carrying electricity.
• Keep a flashlight and extra batteries
handy. Use care when burning candles; open flames are a fire hazard.
For updated information on the company’s current outages, FirstEnergy’s storm restoration process and tips for staying safe, visit the 24/7 Power Center at www.firstenergycorp.com/outages.
Clearing your roof of Snow: https://www.facebook.com/notes/jo-ellen-litz/clearing-your-roof-of-snow/10153473023882545
Animals: Pets and farm animals need care during times of emergency. For example, if trucks can't get to farms to pick up milk, the milk may have to be discarded. Normally this isn't allowed, or would take a permit. The Department of Agriculture may have to waive certain requirements.
January 7, 2016
Lt. Colonel Dale Waltman provided an overview of Fort Indiantown Gap's Fire Company for 2015. They: assisted eleven municipalities; responded to 94 calls, 33 fires, 32 auto accidents, and one balloon landing.
Treasurer Sallie Neuin presented an intermunicipal agreement with Swatara Township to collect their real estate taxes. Further, a resolution for tax collection accounts with First Citizen's Bank was approved for West Lebanon and Swatara Townships as well as Jonestown Borough.
Necessitated by 23 new laws after the Jerry Sandusky hearings, Human Resources Director Michelle Edris presented two additional full-time Children and Youth caseworker positions for approval.
Voter Registrar Lori Oliver was on hand seeking three new polling places for approval, one for the 5th Ward in the City of Lebanon, as well as Jonestown and East Hanover. Subject to public comment, commissioners tentatively approved a move for the 5th Ward to St. Mark's UCC, 426 N 8th St., Lebanon PA; Jonestown to the American Legion, 334 N Lancaster St., Jonestown; and East Hanover to the Ono Fire Company Social Hall.
Lori Books was presented with a proclamation upon her retirement from the County of Lebanon after 28 years of service as a Sewage Enforcement Officer. She will move to North Lebanon Township.
John Shott received approval to modify the Mental Health First Aid grant with Lebanon County Probation. At a cost of $25 per attendee, another Mental Health First Aid training by Philhaven for law enforcement officials will take place in March 2016.
Laura Putt updated commissioners about Visit Lebanon Valley. The Marketing Plan's theme is "Unlock the Secrets." Partnering with the Chamber of Commerce, $8,000 was received on over 300 passports to small businesses in Lebanon County.
Assessment Chief Dan Seaman presented three 100% disabled veterans for real estate tax exemption.
After 28 years of dedicated service, Lori Books retires as a sewage enforcement officer from County Planning.
Administrator Jamie Wolgemuth presented nominees for a Local Defense Group Committee at Fort Indiantown Gap. Col. Waltman, Doug Etter from the VA Hospital, Greg Buckler with the Chamber of Commerce, Julie Cheney in Planning, Dennis Grub from East Hanover, Dennis Firestone from Union Township, Laura Putt from tourism, and Commissioner Phillips will work to spend down $25,000 awarded previously.
Commissioners approved a contract with Northampton County Juvenile Justice Center at a use cost of $250/day.
Two repository of unclaimed property bids were accepted: $100 from Buchanio at 503A W Main Ave., Myerstown; and $1200 from Ed Walter for 845 Hill St, Lebanon.
Two farm leases were also approved: $1200 from Ken Reist, 104 Fox Rd. to farm off of Walnut Street across from the Home Depot; and $150 from Horning to farm off of Route 934 near the S Annville Police Department.
Finally, Commissioner Litz made a motion to reopen Lebanon County's budget for discussion. The motion died for lack of a second. Because of delays in State funding, Commissioner Litz stated that Lebanon County's budget is especially difficult. For example, $1.3M in carryover amounts from insurance refunds and $900,000 to cover the January 7 payroll may not have been used to help front $3.5M that the State would have paid by now for mandated Human Services for Children and Youth, Drug and Alcohol, Mental Health ID/EI, and Area Agency on Aging. Further, inclusion of a $1M+ reimbursement for the 2016 Annual Retirement Contribution ARC does not appear in the current budget. However, the $775,000 the State owes Lebanon County for the 2015 ARC is in this year's budget. The County managed to pay bills in 2015 without borrowing money. In previous years, come January, a $4.5M TRAN--Tax Revenue Anticipation Note (loan) was obtained. From the sale of Cedar Haven, utilizing "a Reserve" of $4.5M would cover payrolls instead of taking out a TRAN. Money doesn't stop coming in on January 1. Department fees, fines and costs, grants and gifts, and eventually State money should continue to come in to cover other expenses. Of course the real estate tax dollars would start coming in May and replenish the $4.5M Reserve.
Even though they tore apart some of the numbers presented by Litz, as a concession, both Phillips and Ames admitted some good points were raised, and would revisit lowering the millage for 2017 provided the Reserve met their expectations. The bar was set high at an $8.1M Reserve.
January 4, 2016
8:30AM Sine Die took place to close out the year 2015, and minutes from December 24, 2015 were approved.
Commissioners then went to courtroom 1 where they took the oath of office for a new four-year term.
11:00AM Commissioners opened a regular meeting of the Board. Officers were selected: Bob Phillips, chair; Bill Ames, vice-chair; and Jo Ellen Litz, secretary.
David Warner was reappointed as solicitor.
Employees were reappointed to their positions for 2016 including Jamie Wolgemuth as administrator.
Public Meetings for the coming year were announced. Work sessions are held each Wednesday beginning at 1:30PM, and regular sessions at 9:30AM on the first and third Thursday of each month, commissioners will meet in room 207 of the courthouse, 400 S 8th St., Lebanon PA. To be on the agenda to address the commissioners, call 717.228.4427 in advance. Also, after registered people have been given the floor, the public has the opportunity to provide feedback at the beginning of each meeting. Dates include:
Liaison Assignments were made:
Bob Phillips: City of Lebanon, Drug and Alcohol, EMA, Housing and Redevelopment Authority, Penn State Extension, Planning, and Renova Center.
Bill Ames: Area Agency on Aging, Building and Grounds, Chamber of Commerce, Conservation District, Elections, Economic Development Corp/Industrial Development Association; Lebanon Transit, DMO, Information Technology, and SC Workforce Investment Board.
Jo Ellen Litz: Assessments; Children and Youth; Central PA Energy Consortium; Community Action Partnership; Geographic Information Systems; Mental Health, Intellectual Disabilities, and Early Intervention; United Way; Veterans Affairs; and Women's Commission.
Banks accounts were approved.
Officers of the Salary, Phillips, chair; Assessment, Litz, chair; and Election Board, Ames chair, were approved.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.
Community: Brushstrokes on Canvas