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Indiana County OKs $4.6 M tax anticipation note, eyes security upgrades

| Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

Tax time is approaching – just not quickly enough for Indiana County.

The county commissioners at Wednesday's meeting approved a tax anticipation note totaling $4,687,741 to fund county operations and pay bills until tax revenues are collected.

S&T Bank was awarded the contract after county treasurer Sandra Kirkland submitted a request for proposals to four area lenders. S&T's bid offered the lowest interest rate at 1.359 percent, according to Kirkland.

“When the current-year taxes start rolling in, then this loan gets paid back,” Kirkland said. “... As soon as the documents are signed, I'll be heading down to Pittsburgh to the (Department of Community and Economic Development). I'll bring back one piece of paper and take it to the bank and it's worth $4.6 million. That will tide us over. We did pretty well this year but just couldn't quite squeak through until the tax money came through.”

Commissioners Chairman Rodney Ruddock said the county's reserve would be enough to cover costs for about one month but insufficient to carry the county through until tax revenues are in hand.

The commissioners also learned the amount of the county's Act 13 impact fee allotment and the proposed disbursement of those funds by the county's Office of Planning and Development.

Of the county's allocation of $282,419.45, the commissioners approved the following disbursement:

• $127,500 for Geographic Information System upgrades

• $64,919.45 to the Emergency Management Agency for costs associated with its radio communications upgrade project

• $60,000 for the delivery of social services

• $20,000 for Phase I of a storm water management plan

• $10,000 for records management.

Indiana County Parks and Trails was also allocated $75,405 through the Act 13 Marcellus Shale Legacy Fund. That money will be used for projects at Old Smicksburg Park, Ghost Town Trail and Kintersburg Covered Bridge.

Tom Stutzman of the county's Emergency Management Agency informed the commissioners of money available to the county for security upgrades at the courthouse.

“We have an opportunity to utilize some (Department of) Homeland Security money to provide for an upgrade in security for the courthouse,” Stutzman said. “Region 13, through a grant that Allegheny County had received, has made available to us $250,000 to perform upgrades to the courthouse security system.”

The security upgrades would include a new digital video surveillance system to replace the existing system and a new security scanner and walk-through portal at the main entrance, Stutzman said.

The money will also fund a new public announcement system in the courthouse and allow the county to provide enhanced camera displays for sheriff's deputies manning the courthouse entryway.

Ruddock said most of the money would be used for upgrades to the “antiquated,” camera system, which he said was installed well before the old camera system at the county jail, but the county is awaiting a camera system price quote from the state-selected vendor, according to Stutzman.

The county EMA also gained the commissioners' approval for two contracts. The first contract is an agreement between Allegheny and Indiana counties that would send $47,000 in Homeland Security money to fund one full-time position for the EMA.

Under the second contract, Essential Management Solutions will conduct wireless accuracy testing and assist EMA with fund management for wireless and wireline costs.

“This proposal will allow us to go out and validate the information we're receiving from wireless telephone callers at the tower sites,” Stutzman said. “It is to perform tests at each site to guarantee that the calls are directed correctly and the data we receive is complete.”

The cost for the second proposal totals $90,000, of which $60,000 is funded through the wireless fund and $30,000 through the EMA budget.

“Ideally we'd like to get more money back on the wireless side, but we cannot identify where those wireless calls originate from,” Commissioners Chairman Rodney Ruddock said. “So therefore there is no reimbursement formula other than ‘You get so much money based on what they think you need, instead of what you actually deserve.'”

The commissioners also approved contracts with Schillinger & Keith and Indiana Title Abstract to perform title searches on properties listed for judicial sale. The title search service cost of $100 per parcel is a pass-through cost and will be reimbursed by property buyers. The next judicial sale is set for 10 a.m. May 6.

The county approved a $100,000 loan to Fast Times Design and Screen Printing through the rcounty evolving loan fund to help the business relocate to a 7,000-square-foot facility at 2030 Shelley Drive in Indiana.

The loan's term is 180 months at an interest rate of 2.75 percent. Fast Times owner Anthony Medvetz said the loan and relocation will allow the company to retain its three full-time employees and add a fourth full-time position.

The commissioners also:

• Recognized local groups involved in the America's Promise Alliance Supply Drive. Indiana County organizations gathered 2,918 donated items and the county was designated one of the organization's 100 Best Communities for Young People.

• Authorized Indian Haven to offer two large tables for sale as surplus equipment.

• Administered several actions on behalf of the Indiana Borough Downtown Economic Development Project.

• Tabled two proposals from the Indiana County Airport Authority and approved two others concerning the runway expansion project. The approved proposals were to accept amended tentative grant allocations totaling up to a combined $1,617,000 and requiring a local match of up to $1,503,000.

• Approved a temporary loan in the amount of $110,000 to the Indiana County Community Action Program as the organization, to be reimbursed by anticipated state funds.

• Offered Gibson-Thomas Engineering a notice to proceed with its National Bridge Inspection Standards inspection and inventory of the county's bridges.

Greg Reinbold is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2913 or

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