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INDIANA COUNTY: Officials unsure of cuts' impact

by on February 28, 2013 11:00 AM

Indiana County commission Chairman Rodney Ruddock said Wednesday that county officials don’t know yet how the massive, automatic federal spending cuts set to begin Friday will impact county operations.

But, Ruddock said, the state’s budget office estimates that Pennsylvania will lose 7 percent to 8 percent of its federal funding.

“Where we will feel the biggest budget hits in Indiana County will be in public welfare and education,” Ruddock predicted.

He urged county residents to pay attention to what’s happening in Washington with the planned federal spending cuts.

“It does have a local impact,” he said.

The commissioners are about to take another step in preparing for the coming countywide property reassessment. Discussions are being held with Pictometry International, a Henrietta, N.Y.-based company that provides detailed aerial photography. Its images are taken at a 40-degree angle from low-flying airplanes.

It’s expected that Pictometry may aerially photograph every foot of the county and the new photographs would be used to upgrade the county’s geographic information system.

The aerial photography is expected to cost approximately $139,000.

Ruddock said updating the county’s GIS data is a critical piece of moving forward with the reassessment, scheduled to proceed in phases through 2015.

The commissioners Wednesday recognized Linda Artman as the new 911 coordinator at the Indiana County Emergency Management Agency. She succeeds Gary Ryan, who recently left the county position for employment elsewhere.

Artman, who has been employed at the 911 center more than 20 years, most recently was the center’s quality assurance supervisor.

Tom Stutzman, director of the county’s Emergency Management Agency, said Artman is “very-well acquainted with the internal operations at 911.”

On the recommendation of the county’s Office of Planning and Development, the commissioners approved a contract and a change order with BCS Construction Inc., of Altoona, for repairs to the Parkhill Apartments in Josephine, Burrell Township. The apartments are owned by the Indiana County Community Action Program and provide affordable rental units for low income households.

The county contributed some its 2010 Community Development Block Grant money to help pay for the $185,775 in repairs, which will include roof and porch replacements to some of the six buildings in the apartment complex.

And the commissioners reappointed eight people to the Local Emergency Planning Committee for terms to expire in February 2015. They are EMA Director Stutzman; Rick Byerly, Bill Otto and Jon Pina, all of Indiana; Danny Sacco, Randy Thomas and John Mulroy, all of Homer City; and Dennis Rolls, of Plumville.



Randy Wells has been a reporter and staff writer at The Indiana Gazette since 1988. His regular assignments include coverage of the Indiana County commissioners, Indiana Borough council and the Marion Center Area School District. His email address is
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