Noting that the Fabin Brothers Farm, in Center Township, reflects the continuing importance of agriculture in Indiana County’s economy, the county commissioners Wednesday approved a $250,000 loan from the Indiana County Revolving Loan Fund to help the farm expand its corn storage capacity.
Fabin Brothers is a multi-generational diversified farm specializing in soybean processing, crop production, cow-calf operations, and commodity buying and marketing.
Co-owner Rick Fabin told the commissioners the farm’s success as a soybean processor has cut into the capacity the farm had for storing corn, which now needs to be increased.
“A lot of our neighbors rely on us to dry their corn,” because many farmers can’t afford to have their own dryer, Fabin said. A lot of the corn passing through Fabin’s farm is being shipped to an ethanol plant in Clearfield, he said.
The Fabin farm three years ago received another revolving loan fund loan to help establish the farm’s soybean processing operation.
“These are very good programs you allow us to be able to take advantage of,” Fabin said of the revolving loans. “We’re proud to use your assets to grow our business and be good stewards of those assets.”
The corn storage expansion at the Fabin farm is expected to retain two full-time jobs and create eight full-time jobs.
The interest rate on the loan will be fixed at 2.75 percent for a term of 84 months.
The commissioners also on Wednesday took action on several housing items.
They entered into a contract for $49,620 with Mullin & Lonergan Associates Inc., of Pittsburgh, to undertake the Indiana County Housing Plan. The goal of the plan is to describe any gaps between housing supply and demand and identify trends that will form a foundation for plans to address multiple housing issues.
They also agreed to accept $550,000 through the state’s Department of Community and Economic Development to assist with construction and operation of the county’s Homeless Veterans Housing Project, in White Township, that will create six permanent affordable rental units for homeless veterans.
And they agreed to support the applications for a $400,000 grant from the state for the White Township Senior Housing Project along Barclay Road that proposes to build 40 one-bedroom apartments for income-qualified residents 62 and older, and for a $650,000 grant from the state for the proposed Oak Street Senior Apartments Project in Indiana that proposes to build 53 one- and two-bedroom units for income-qualified seniors.
It was noted the two housing projects will be competing against each other for available state grant money.
The commissioners also approved a contract for $282,188 with Murin and Murn Inc., of Glassport, to extend utilities and roads to Lot No. 5 of the new Windy Ridge Business and Technology Park. Lot 5 will be the future home of Creps United Publications’ printing plant. The company’s former plant was destroyed by fire last fall.
A new building on Lot 5 could be started in the next month or two.
The commissioners also approved a new labor contract with the Pennsylvania Social Services Union representing 22 clerical employees in the county’s probation and domestic relations offices and in the district magisterial courts.
Under the new four-year contract the employees will continue to contribute 10 percent to the cost of their health care coverage, and will receive annual pay raises of 2 percent in the first year, 2.5 percent in the second and third years, and 3 percent in the fourth year.
And the commissioners proclaimed May as National Mental Health Awareness Month and as Foster Care Month, noting that the county’s 29 licensed foster care families took in 53 foster children last year.