Wyoming County Clerk Bill Gaylord gave an update Tuesday about liquid fuels monies which the state auditor general accused the county of missapproriating back in October.
“First off, we did not ignore these monies, and never would,” Gaylord said after conversations with PennDOT. “Yesterday,we were notified we got or will get very shortly all the money that were accused of potentially losing.”
“The truth is, and I’ve said this before, the county only owns 11 bridges. We cannot do pothole patching on roads we don’t own,” he said,noting work could be done on bridges but most are in good shape.
“We’re looking to reopen one of them, and soon” he said. “But it really irks me that people are going around saying we lost this money. It’s just not true.”
In other business, the commissioners approved the promotion of John Wildenstein to corporal on the second shift at the Wyoming County Correctional Facility.
They heard from EMA Director Gene Dziak who urged commissioners Tom Henry and Judy Mead to sign onto an arrangement with a partnership task force with six other counties regarding a counter terrorism activity.
Dziak said there was $908,000 available with the Private Industry Councilof the Central Corridor inSchuylkill County as the pass-through agency for funds.
Dziak spoke a little about the latest flood insurance maps and said there would be a meeting Wednesday night (Jan. 9) to lay out opportunities for appeal.
Solicitor Paul Litwin said that even though this is a FEMA program and the federal government is out of work,local municipalities needed to abide by the original deadlines imposed.
Community Planner Lynelle Forba was on hand to talk about an advertisement for an open space program for municipalities to look into potential funding.
Henry and Mead welcomed representatives from both the Dietrich Theater/Wyoming County Cultural Center and the Tunkhannock Public Library for a proclamation about the ‘Wyoming County Reads: One County, One Book, One Movie” that is about to get underway.
The library’s Kristin Smith-Gary said they were looking forward to an examination of ‘The Color Purple’ by Alice Walker, and the Dietrich’s Erica Rogler spoke to a movie based on the book by Steven Spielberg on March 6.
Margie Young also piped in about the program being in its 15th year, and she wanted to give a salute to the late Commissioner Ron Williams who prompted the idea to bring both the library and the theater together in a way that built up the community.
Henry also apprised the public of a couple of meetings coming up: The Hope Coalition would be meeting Thursday at 10 a.m. in the Dietrich Theater, and had plans in the year ahead to meet every other month to tackle the opioid crisis.
He also noted on Tuesday, Jan. 29, the mock trial team from Tunkhannock Area High School would be using the main courtroom from noon until 4 p.m.
At the outset of the commissioners meeting, former resident Chris Ziemba pleaded with Mead and Henry to listen to his situation, that he had been found guilty, but at his trial evidence that would have been worthwhile to his side was never allowed.
He shared that he had attempted appeals with the state superior court which had given him a little bit of a hearing.
Ziemba said he thought he was making progress on an evidentiary hearing in December, but then he discovered “they” filed a motion to have everything dismissed.
He said he had differences with the Judge,district attorney and public defender.
Henry thanked him for apprising the commissioners of his plight, but what he was asking for was outside the scope of what elected commissioners can do.