2009-01-22 / Local & State

County Holds Public Transportation Meeting

Southern Alleghenies Planning & Development Commission to prepare long range plan for region
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

The Fulton County commissioners gave input this week on the development of a long-range transportation plan in its initial planning stages by the Southern Alleghenies Planning & Development Commission.

In a brief overview of the planning process, SAPDC representative Chris Allison informed commissioners Bonnie Mellott Keefer, Daniel Swain Jr. and David Hoover II that meeting with county commissioners within the entire four-county region is only one of the beginning steps toward completing and distributing a final draft on current and future transportation needs.

In spite of the fact no members of the general public were on hand to hear Allison's stages for completion, the commissioners suggested in order to get additional public involvement, township officials could be involved in more than giving input and could also spread the word in hopes of engaging more individuals in the development process.

A first draft of the plan, according to Allison, should be completed by mid-February and will be reviewed publicly during a second-round of public meetings. Allison said a final draft, which is intended to be more of a planning document than a list of area projects, will be published in May or June.

The plan will include county vision statements for Fulton, Bedford, Huntingdon and Somerset counties as previously dictated from their county's comprehensive plans; details on existing transportation systems ranging from highways and bridges to bike and pedestrian plans; a county vision plan; and a list of proposed area improvements from the 2009-12 Transportation Improvement Plan.

The conversation on transportation between the commissioners and Allison turned to a need to replace a lighted sign on top of the Mercersburg mountain along Route 16 that alerts truck drivers to winding roads ahead. It was mentioned a federal stimulus package is being reviewed that, if approved, would provide monies for bridge and roadway repairs across the country. If the monies are received locally, Allison stated, the possibility exists that projects on the improvement plan could be bumped up and addressed sooner. However, in these situations, the monies must be spent within a short time frame.

On the heels of the discussion about runaway tractortrailers on Route 16 and the need for a new sign, the commissioners also proposed to Allison the need to connect routes 16 and 30 to detour tractor-trailer drivers from McConnellsburg Borough.

In other matters addressed on January 20, the commissioners approved a change order for the Warfordsburg Senior Center project that will allow for the replacement of an indoor and outdoor heat pump system. Southern Contractors will complete the alteration at a cost of $4,300.

Barbara Covert and Terry Sheffield of CareerLink discussed the current economic situation within the county and the proposed move of their office. Covert and Sheffield will meet with the commissioners again on March 3 to further update the county.

Chief Assessor Michelle Sowers discussed a letter sent to the commissioners by officials from the Great Cove Golf & Recreation. In reviewing the correspondence, the commissioners agreed that a response should be sent to the golf course informing them their lone option is to appeal their taxes, which could in turn either increase, decrease or remain at their current rate.

Eldon Martin, technology director, continued his talks on Internet use by county employees and the county's policy on this matter; an online auction to see county property; and the upcoming election.

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