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Facts About Dubois Creek
The State of Pennsylvania is responsible for maintaining and repairing Commonwealth waterways, not Susquehanna County or any of the towns/townships therein. Because PEMA provides funding for the repairs, the county must follow their regulations in order to get reimbursed for emergency projects.
The Dubois Creek debris removal project in Hallstead Township was not approved for funding by PEMA until November 6, 2006, even though the flooding occurred in June. Susquehanna County was directed by PEMA to use proper bid procurement standards in PEMA’s official project worksheet. PEMA officials were adamant that if the project was not bid out, that the funding would be denied.
The contractors who moved their equipment to the banks of Dubois Creek never received a written authorization, purchase order, or notice to proceed from the county commissioners. If the county allowed them to proceed without following PEMA’s bidding requirements, Susquehanna County would not be repaid for the project and our county taxpayers would foot the entire $111,000 bill.
Commissioner MaryAnn Warren and I have been involved in every aspect of the Dubois Creek project. We also return every phone call, voice mail, e-mail and correspondence that we are aware of. We have given out free copies of Dubois Creek PEMA correspondence to the county residents who have requested them.
As a lifelong resident of Susquehanna County, I care deeply for the needs of our people. Being employed as the controller of Irving Looms & Sons Bridge Division for 20 years (before becoming a commissioner), I learned how to bid on government projects and deal with government officials properly. Normally it takes 12 to 16 weeks to design, advertise, receive bids, review bids, and award large projects after receiving the official funding notice. We have fast-forwarded the Dubois Creek project and will be accepting sealed bids for review on December 13, 2006, just five weeks after receiving the November 6 funding authorization.
County commissioners and township officials have no power to compel state PEMA officials on what project to approve or on what guidelines to follow to receive funding for emergency repairs. We can only work within PEMA’s framework to award and carry out any emergency project as quickly as they allow.
Come Home For Christmas
On December 3, we lit the first candle of the Advent Wreath. This begins the preparation for the commemoration of the coming of Christ into our world. In the movie, The Nativity there is a scene where the story is told of how God cannot be heard in the fierce signs of nature, but of being found in the small quiet whisper.
Today that is about all there is in Christmas – a small quiet whisper of exactly what it is we celebrate. The bells, whistles and advertisements drown out the reality of the Eternal Word becoming flesh. In a world wrapped in self-indulgence and self absorption, many do not take the time to ponder this great gift of the Father. Christ came to give us the way to come home. He gave us the Church as our road map and He took upon Himself the responsibility of all of our sins.
He then offered Himself as a holy sacrifice to the Father in reparation so we could be eternally united with Him. Satan would have us believe that the sins of those in the Church destroy the truth of Christ’s Church – just as he made many who stood at the foot of the cross unable to see the Godhead in the spittle covered, bruised and bloody body of Christ.
Make this Christmas the one you give to Christ, on His birthday, the only gift He asks of you – yourself – the gift that only you can give. Come Home for Christmas and be a light for others lost in a world of sin.
Progress Report Review
I just read the Susquehanna County progress report from the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners. One item of particular interest was the report that the Retirement Fund is on track and has increased to ten million, plus. I believe there needs a clarification, if not correction to the report.
During the previous administration the retirement fund lost many millions of dollars. As a result it has had to be subsidized by approximately a million dollars per year for many years, at taxpayers’ expense. In fact, several years ago taxpayers were hit with a 32% tax increase that included money to get the fund out of the red.
Now my dear taxpayers, if you had to kick in millions of dollars to keep the fund afloat and the fund is just now approaching what it was years ago, how can you say the fund is on track? The taxpayer contributions over the years will never be returned.
I happen to have a 401K investment plan that, over the years, has had occasional losses as well as fantastic gains. These losses were my responsibility. I'm sure many taxpayers fall in the same category. It’s high time that the county switch to a 401K type of retirement package and relieve taxpayers of having to rescue the county retirement fund during times of investment loss. It’s ridiculous to burden taxpayers with losses and not compensate them during good times.
Taxpayers contribute heavily to employee retirement, and its not a one-time deal. Lack of planning along with dramatic increases in life expectancy result in the increased taxpayer burden.
Silver Lake Township
TO THE EDITOR POLICY
Thank you, Susquehanna County Transcript
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