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Mifflin County Commissioners proclaimed October National Disability Awareness Month on Thursday. Presenting and accepting the proclamation are, left to right, Commissioner Kevin Kodish, Commissioner Robert Postal, Judy Fitzgerald of CareerLink of Mifflin County, Kathy Whalen, Juniata Valley Behavioral and Developmental Services Administrator, Lisa Bollinger, Administrative Officer of Juniata Valley Behavioral and Developmental Services, and Commissioner Mark Sunderland.

LEWISTOWN — Mifflin County commissioners announced Thursday plans to distribute $8.9 million received by the county under the American Rescue Plan Act.

Federal legislation provides $360 billion to create a state and local fiscal stimulus fund to allow local units of government, including townships, boroughs and counties, to receive relief from the Covid-19 pandemic, with the aim of enabling local governments to lay the foundations for a strong economic recovery.

The funding allowed Mifflin County Commissioners to hold a pre-application process through June 30 to accept applications from municipalities, city authorities, broadband providers and nonprofits for use funds. In total, the county received 67 applications for use of funds totaling more than $32 million.

Generally, Commissioners have considered the following principles:

• Protecting current and future citizens from rising property taxes, capital projects and deferred maintenance projects have been identified and funded instead of borrowing and incurring debt;

• Dealing with the costs associated with the COVID pandemic and preventing the future effects of the pandemic;

• Whether or not there were other funds besides ARPA that could be used or whether ARPA funds are used in conjunction with other funds;

• Support volunteer fire departments and first responders protecting citizens in their communities, as well as county workforce and social services impacted by the pandemic; and

• Initiate a capital improvement fund, making no interest loans available for needed infrastructure and capital projects, thereby reusing funds for future countywide projects.

In the plan revealed on Tuesday, most of the money will go to capital improvement and infrastructure projects – nearly $4 million of the total. These include water and sewer projects in the townships of Armagh and Brown, the boroughs of Burnham and Lewistown, and a countywide water extension. The Mifflin County Industrial Development Corp. also receives funds for the demolition of a building.

The second largest item of expenditure — just under $3.3 million — goes to public safety. Most of that sum — $2.6 million — will be used for an updated HVAC system and other improvements at the Mifflin County Correctional Facility. Local volunteer fire companies are also expected to receive more than half a million dollars for equipment.

Nearly $1 million will be invested in education and workforce, including the Geisinger School of Nursing, Mifflin County Library, Academy and Mifflin County Wireless, plus upgrades county systems.

Other recipients include the Juniata Valley YMCA, Habitat for Humanity, One Dog at a Time, the county coroner’s office, and other county expenses.

Also at the meeting, Commissioners:

• Welcomed Lisa Bollinger of Juniata Valley Behavioral and Developmental Services while proclaiming October as National Disability Awareness Month.

• Received an update from Chief Electoral Officer Paula Hoffman regarding readiness for the November general election. The last day to register to vote or change political affiliation this year is October 24. Mail-in ballot requests must be received by November 1.

• Approved budget changes to the FY2021 Community Development Block Grant program.

• Reiterated a Fair Housing Policy for Mifflin County and on behalf of the Township Supervisors of Armagh, Brown, Derry and Granville and Lewistown Borough Council.

• Approved a request for tax exemption for the Township of Wayne and removed a mobile home from the Township of Granville from the tax rolls.

• Approved an agreement with the Juniata Valley Tri-County Drug and Alcohol Abuse Commission for Coordination of Services for the period September 30, 2022 through September 29, 2023, for $38,761.

• Approved Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) agreements with Calvary Bible Church, Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard, VFW Post and Salvation Army, all in Lewistown.

• Approval of a First Amendment to the Cooperative Bridge Replacement and Rehabilitation Agreement with the Township of Brown for a West Railroad Street Bridge not to exceed $588,000.

• Approved an agreement with Nittany Building Specialties Inc., Port Matilda, to demolish and dispose of existing carpet and base trim and supply and install LVT and base trim in common areas of the courthouse for 95 $990.

• Approval of an agreement with Carrier Corp., Harrisburg, for the prison chiller for $90,518.

• Approved a sub-grant agreement with Kristen Price to provide a grant writing service for the period October 1 through November 5 at a rate of $25 per hour.

• Approval of a Keystone grant agreement with the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission through September 30, 2024, for the historic courthouse, for $25,000.

• Acceptance of a proposal from J-Way Architectural, Summerhill, for the Mifflin County Historic Courthouse Capital Improvement Plan for $52,300.

• Approved the reappointments of Mary Ann Demi and Mary Ann Stratton and the appointment of Roxanne Garret to the Mifflin County Library Board for a three-year term.

• Acceptance of the resignation of Jessica Rogers from the Financial Supervisor of Children and Youth effective September 30th.

• Approval of hiring of probation officer Kristen Neavling effective October 3rd.

• Accepted the resignation of Tax Services Clerk Amy Spickler effective October 11th.

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