COUDERSPORT — The Potter County commissioners are proposing the county’s 2019 Community Development Block Grant funds be allocated to the Galeton Borough Authority wastewater treatment plant. The county’s total allotment of CDBG is $220,560; $182,560 is to be used for rehabilitation of the facility and $40,000 for administration.
The Galeton Borough Authority requested $178,000 for a wastewater treatment plant improvement phase two project. The current system was constructed in 1986 and is in need of substantial rehabilitation.
The commissioners had already allocated $181,975 to the Galeton Borough Authority to undertake phase one of the wastewater treatment plant.
“This is just not routine maintenance,” Glenda Ruch of SEDA-COG said. “(The borough) is concerned about system failure.” Ruch said the borough could be facing a “pretty terrible situation in years to come” if the borough does not receive grant money to undertake the project.
Ruch is the community development director at SEDA-COG, which is contracted by the county to assist with administration of the CDBG program.
Two other applications for the funds were received from the Ulysses Municipal Authority and the Borough of Shinglehouse. Ruch suggested the Ulysses Municipal Authority, reapply next year. Ulysses Municipal Authority requested $167,000 for a water system improvement project. They want to rehabilitate an old well that stopped working about 15 years ago, to serve as an additional water source in the event of a drought. There is also a concern about not having enough water in the case of a fire. This project would also include upgrading 18 fire hydrants that have become difficult or impossible to use and present a danger to the community.
“Unfortunately what makes this hard is the county only receives a little bit of money and frequently we see counties receive requests from municipalities that far exceed what their allocation is and we have to make the difficult decision on who gets the money,” Ruch said.
The borough of Shinglehouse requested $100,000 for a water project for well number two improvements. The borough provides water to the residents through two groundwater wells — wells number two and three. Well number three is the primary well that serves the borough and well number two is for extended periods of operation to meet water demand for its users. Well number two currently does not meet water quality standards set by EPA and DEP.
Ruch said Shinglehouse has a project underway through a CDBG competitive grant. She said Shinglehouse intends to apply for a PennVEST loan.
A public hearing on the proposed use of these funds will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 12, at the Gunzburger Building. The commissioners will hold their regular meeting at 11 a.m. and will either approve or deny the 2019 Potter County CDBG application.Commissioner Susan Kefover reported she attended a meeting in Warren with Teresa Miller, secretary of human services, and Kristin Crawford, director of legislative affairs, along with several other government figures local to Warren and other counties. She said there was a lively conversation urging the state not to close state hospitals, as it shifts the responsibility from the state to the counties, which have little resources.
She also shared closing the Forensic Unit at Warren has caused major problems within the counties because those who have committed crimes sit in jail for 3-6 months with little or no treatment for mental health or substance abuse.
“I don’t think it is understood, up to this point anyway, that moving these people back into the communities only means they end up in our jails,” Kefover said. “We do not have the expertise, the staff, the education to deal with the problems that they have.”
She said the room was full and everyone made good arguments, but she didn’t think they’d get the response they hope for.