The Wyoming County Commissioners heard concerns Tuesday from a local inspector of elections concerning the pending changing to the polling places in Falls
Jeff Zimmerman, a majority Inspector of Elections in Falls, expressed a concern about the pending consolidation of the two precincts in the area.
Zimmerman asked why the location of the Falls 2 precinct was being moved from the United Methodist Church to Assembly of God Church so close to the next General Election.
He also wondered why the switch was being made, because the poll had been located at the United Methodist Church for so many years.
Later, after the meeting, Director of Elections/Voter Registration Florence Kellett explained that she petitioned to consolidate both the Falls 1 and Falls 2 precincts, because she’s having problems finding enough people to serve as elections officers.
Wyoming County had a 10-year lease to with the United Methodist Church to serve as Precinct 2, she said, which recently expired. It was determined that the church is actually located in Overfield Township, requiring that a new location in Falls be selected.
Originally, Kellett said, it was intended that the combined precinct be located at the Falls Township municipal building, which now houses Precinct 1. However, many people complained about the decision, primarily due to lack of parking space.
Finally, the decision was made to place the precinct in the Assembly of God Church.
“It’s been a tedious process,” she explained.
Kellett said the law allows her to choose a precinct’s location at least 20 days before the next election.
Judge Russell Shurtleff is scheduled to rule on the request to combine the precincts on Oct. 9. If the judge grants the request, a single precinct will be located at the Assembly of God Church, Kellett said. If not, Precinct 2 will be located at the church, while Precinct 1 will continue to be at the municipal building.
The commissioners were informed on Tuesday that the county is eligible for federal assistant to help pay for some of the damage caused by the recent flooding.
Emergency Management Director Gene Dziak reported to the commissioners Tom Henry and Judy Mead - with Commissioner Ron Williams absent - that the county sustained approximately $130,000 in per capita damage from the flooding. In order to be eligible for federal funding, the county must sustain a minimum of $104,000 in per capita damage.
Dziak said Wyoming County and other areas are now waiting for President Donald Trump to sign an executive order, releasing the necessary federal funds.
The money, he explained, will be used to repair numerous roads throughout the county damaged by the flood waters.
Dziak also reported that repairs to the bridge which spans Caitlin Hollow Road are 95 percent complete. The bridge was severely damage in the flooding, and had to be repaired quickly, because it is on the only access road for several houses in the area.
The $250,000 for the project was paid out of Act 13 funds, earmarked for bridges and roadways. Henry said he hopes the county will be able to obtain a grant to replace the money in the future.
Also, Dziak reported that the paperwork is about 80 percent complete to use money from a Department of Community and Economic Development grant to purchase several properties in Meshoppen Borough damaged in the 2011 floods. There are still three to four houses in question concerning being eligible for the grant money, but everything else is progressing smoothly.
Buildings purchased through the grant will be razed and the locations converted into ‘green’ properties, making them unavailable for further development.
Also during the commissioners’ meeting, Henry announced that a celebration will be held Friday from 3 to 6 p.m., commemorating the 175th anniversary of the Wyoming County Courthouse. The event will include refreshments, plus a tour of the building - including the basement which contains cells previously used to house prisoners.
In other business, the commissioners:
*Voted to accept the resignation of Chris Faux, of the Conservation District, effective Oct. 4.
*Voted to accept the resignation of Andriana Serpico-Sipple, of Adult Probation, effective Oct. 9
*Voted to hire Michael Skumanick and Luke Cruver as part-time correctional officers, effective Oct. 1.