Clearfield commissioners satisfied with new reapportionment plan|
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
By Jeff Corcino Staff Writer
The Clearfield County Commissioners are satisfied with the revised reapportionment plan for the state House of Representatives and will not oppose it in court. At their regular meeting yesterday, all three commissioners agreed the new plan approved by the state Reapportionment Committee last Friday was satisfactory and they would not oppose it.
The commissioners had opposed a previous proposal by the committee that would have split the county among three districts, the 75th, 73rd and 72nd, with much of Clearfield County being included in the same districts as Cambria County.
That plan was bitterly opposed by the commissioners, many local municipalities and both political parties in the county, and last month Solicitor Kim Kesner testified before the committee to voice the county's opposition to the plan. Commissioner Mark McCracken, Democratic State Committee Member Terry Noble and Republican State Committee member Susan Williams also testified before the committee.
The new reapportionment plan splits the county into two districts with the 74th district moving to Chester County, but the new 73rd district closely mirrors the old 74th district, and would encompass much of the county, McCracken said.
McCracken said the new map achieves most of what they requested and said about 75 percent of the population of the new 73rd District would be made up of Clearfield County residents.
The new 73rd would encompass Clearfield and most of its surrounding areas - Curwensville, Pike, Penn and Knox townships, Grampian Borough and the entire Moshannon Valley.
Commissioner Joan Robinson McMillen said although it is not perfect it is "a far cry better than the previous proposal."
McCracken agreed and said although he is satisfied with the plan it does have some downsides such as it splits Lawrence Township into two separate districts with Plymptonville being in the 75th district and Hyde, Golden Rod and the Glen Richey areas being in the 73rd district.
The 73rd district also extends down into Cambria County but he said this probably is unavoidable in order to pick up additional population to give the 73rd district a population of approximately 65,000.
In other business:
• commissioners approved sending letters in support of a bill proposed by Rep. Camille "Bud" George, D-74 of Houtzdale, and co-signed by Rep. Matt Gabler, R-75 of DuBois, that would place a moratorium on injection well disposal sites in Clearfield County.
Windfall Oil and Gas plans to develop a deep injection well in the Highland Street Extension area of DuBois to dispose of "frack" water from Marcellus shale drilling operations
Darlene Marshall of DuBois said 279 people signed a petition in support of George's bill and asked the commissioners to do so as well.
McMillen agreed and said although the commissioners support the natural gas well drilling industry "100 percent" it must be done in a way that protects the environment and said the commissioners support the recycling of frack water instead of disposal in an injection well.
McCracken agreed and said he is pleased by the bi-partisan support the bill has.
• commissioners also approved the following personnel changes: resignations, Amity Perks, Department Clerk III/controllers office; new hires Darlene Gross, department clerk III/controllers office and Kim Demi, director/tax assessment and claims. McCracken voted in opposition to the hiring of Demi. Family Medical Leave Act leave of absence, David Farabaugh, corrections officer at the Clearfield County Jail starting June 20 for 12 weeks.
• the commissioners approved the change in the contract with Appalachian Youth Services to increase its rates for housing juveniles in its group home in Ebensburg.
The new rate will be $165.14 per day, according to Chief Clerk Lisa McFadden.
Commissioner John Sobel said he supports the change very reluctantly saying the county had a contract with the organization and believes it should be followed and not changed in mid-stream. But he said the county has several juveniles who are in programs with the organization and in order not to disrupt their treatment he would support the change.
And McMillen said the county is looking for competing bids for other organizations to offer similar services when the county's contract with Appalachian Youth Services expires.
• the following Liquid Fuel allocations were approved: Coalport Borough $3,300 and Jordan Township $4,064.
The Salary Board approved the following: change the temporary casework supervisor in Children Youth and Family Services to permanent casework supervisor and set the salary at $30,000; approve the request by Prothonotary William Shaw for a temporary full time clerk II position for approximately 6-8 weeks due to an employee going on medical leave and approve the request by Rick Redden, director of Domestic Relations Office to create and post the position of temporary secretary II for scanning purposes.
McCracken said the department is in the process of digitizing its old files and the new employee would assist in scanning documents.