Potter County Commissioners addressed further concerns about the times of their meetings on Thursday, Sept. 9.
“We have the right to tell you when we have these meetings,” said resident Dan Cowburn with Free PA. “We elect you. You work for us.”
For several years, commissioners meetings have been at 11 a.m. two Thursdays per month. On Aug. 25, commissioners held their first evening meeting, which they said was in an attempt to allow residents who work during the day to attend.
“We have no plans to make every meeting a night meeting,” said Commissioner Nancy Grupp.
She explained that the current meeting schedule accommodates the county’s billing cycle. Any bills approved by commissioners at their regular meetings are worked on by the fiscal department immediately after the meeting.
However, commissioners decided to re-advertise the meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 17 as a town hall and hold a regular business meeting at 11 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 18.
Also during public comment, a concern was again voiced about Commissioner Barry Hayman serving as controller on the jail board of inspectors. State code says the county’s treasurer should serve as the controller on county jail boards, but Potter County’s treasurer declined to be on the board.
“As controller, I’m essentially just signing off on bills and expenses,” explained Hayman. “Essentially, we do that now as commissioners when we approve bills. So, if there’s a conflict of interest, I don’t know how else to address it.”
In addressing a question about housing female inmates at the jail, Hayman said doing so would require hiring five to nine female corrections officers. He said just to hire four would cost the county $329,779 annually.
“This doesn’t take into consideration the extra food and supplies and structural changes to the jail,” he said. “We’re actually seeing a savings of about $200,000 by sending them out (of county).”
Commissioner Paul Heimel added that a new email has been set up to field jail-related questions at email@example.com.
Also at the meeting, commissioners:
• Accepted the resignation of Colleen Wilber as Potter County Human Services drug and alcohol administrator, effective Oct. 15.
• Accepted the resignation of Denise Minderler from the Potter County Human Services Advisory Board, effective July 31. Heimel said Minderler was a valued part of the board for many years, an accomplished Special Olympics athlete and an ambassador for the mentally disabled.
• Accepted a bid from IAA Construction for blacktop work to the back parking lot of the Gunzburger Building at a cost of $73,993.50.
• Approved an agreement with ROK Technologies for GIS managed cloud service for $4,154 per month, effective Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, 2023.
• Approved applications for liquid fuel tax funds from Keating Township for $1,559.25 and Clara Township for $810.71.
• Acknowledged a county-wide action plan recognizing projects to improve the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, developed by the Potter County Conservation District as directed by the Department of Environmental Protection.
• Signed a proclamation recognizing Hunger Action Month in September and working with the Central PA Food Bank to address hunger locally.
• Reestablished a voting location from the United Methodist Church in Shinglehouse to the Potter County Fairgrounds at 176 Fairground Rd., Millport.• Heard from Grupp that a recent 5k held by the Yellow Ribbon project raised more than $3,000 for suicide prevention programs in the county.