An upgraded automated weather observation system may be the next major improvement at the Indiana County/Jimmy Stewart Airport.
The county commissioners Wednesday approved a conditional contract to have Bronder Technical Services, of Prospect, install a new AWOS. Bronder submitted the low bid of $80,600 for the project.
The commissioners also approved a grant offer request to the Pennsylvania Bureau of Aviation to pay for the new AWOS. The grant offer of $87,710 would cover the costs of the system and legal, engineering and bid advertising costs.
The new weather equipment may be installed in the spring.
The commissioners Wednesday also honored Dr. Ralph May and proclaimed him Indiana County’s Rural Health Hero for the year, in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health. May is the chief clinical guidance officer at the Community Guidance Center in White Township.
The commissioners thanked May for his work with state and community organizations and his use of local resources to expand and improve mental health services in the county. He has recently been instrumental in the creation of a suicide task force in the county.
“We are losing mental health services … at a time when the need is increasing,” May said after accepting the recognition.
But, he added, “Indiana County is a wonderful place because we have the resources (to respond to mental health care needs) here in our people.”
The commissioners also approved a labor contract between 24 employees of the county’s Children and Youth Services and the Office of Planning and Development and the Pennsylvania Social Services Union.
Under the contract the employees will continue to pay 10 percent of their health care premiums and they’ll receive wage increases of 2 percent the first year, 2.5 percent in the second and third years and 3 percent in the fourth year of the contract.
The union has already ratified the agreement.
And the commissioners approved a contract to have county tax collectors join those from municipalities and school districts who are bonded through a plan offered by the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania. The move will save the county $20,000 over the next four years.