2009-03-12 / Local & State

County Discusses Upcoming Gypsy Moth Spraying

By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

The Fulton County commissioners received a refresher course Tuesday on the ins and outs of the gypsy moth residential spray program that is due to get under way for 2009 in several months.

During a conference call with longtime program coordinator Earle Yearsley, Commissioner Dan Swain stated he was approached by an individual last week regarding the preparation of maps outlining spray blocks across the county. The individual, Swain said, was surprised to see such a number of blocks in the county for 2009 when there may not be a need for the residents to spend money on a spray.

Yearsley stated participation in the program is based entirely on requests made by residential property owners. Each property is surveyed at the request of the landowner and certain criteria such as blow-in potential and egg masses are taken into consideration by Yearsley when giving a recommendation to the landowner, who is required to pay for their participation up front. Of those who qualified for spraying this year, 30 to 40 percent of those individuals opted not to proceed with the program.

Even though there has been a decline in both requests and infestation this year, hot spots do still exist in certain areas of the county. The Needmore area, Yearsley said, is still under infestation and areas of Big Cove Tannery, even though short in egg mass numbers, often receive "blow-in" from Scrub Ridge.

"There are always people wanting to protect themselves," noted Yearsley. "... We're on the downhill side right now. Last year's participants were satisfied and are following up this year."

Following up on their talk with Yearsley, the commissioners met with county projects coordinator Karen Hann on ongoing projects through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. In conjunction with the meeting, the commissioners signed a change order for Southern Contractors, which granted an extension until March 18 to complete work related to signage, heating and the new addition at the Warfordsburg Senior Center. The change order totalled $4,450.

In addition, the commissioners signed a contract with Edgewood General Contractors in the amount of $1,175 for the addition of handicapped parking, a loading zone, and additional lighting. The project will be completed by April 1, in plenty of time for the spring primary election, Hann noted. Funding for the project will be taken from administrative funding available through the CDBG program.

A public hearing was held regarding proposed projects to be submitted through the CDBG program application for 2009. Projects approved for submission to the state include Wells Tannery Community Building upgrades, HVAC renovations for the Fulton County Food Basket, handicapped accessibility upgrades for the Hustontown Sewage Authority and a wastewater treatment facility and collection system in the village of Needmore. The funding requests total $228,371.

The commissioners signed several letters of support to be submitted to Congressman Bill Shuster as possible appropriations projects in 2010. Possible projects are a geothermal loop for the county and a turning lane at the entrance of JLG Industries. An additional letter of support was signed for Fulton County Medical Center, which is seeking to expand its facility with the construction of a building to house specialty physicians.

Hann also informed the commissioners that all counties have been given a two-year extension from March 2009 to spend their allotted Help America Vote Act money. Hann expressed the difficulties involved in spending the money as it can only be utilized on certain items. In conversations with HAVA officials, Hann learned the funding cannot be used to create handicapped-accessible bathrooms for poll workers or voters at polling locations such as at the Green Hill Sewing Club.

The commissioners agreed on Tuesday that District Attorney Travis Kendall should proceed with a proposal to use weekend sentences at Franklin County Prison as a sentencing option to keep individuals convicted of lesser and non-violent offenses integrated with the community and in the workforce.

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