2009-04-23 / Local & State

County Moving Forward With Renovation Project

Field rep for Congressman Shuster's office meets with commissioners
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

Fulton County commissioners Bonnie Mellott Keefer, Daniel Swain II and David Hoover II touched on an array of topics Tuesday including increased talks with the staff of Congressman Bill Shuster, the unveiling of the May 19 election specimen ballot and the progress of the county's retirement fund.

Jeremy Shoemaker, field representative from the Chambersburg based office of Congressman Bill Shuster, touched upon increasing the number of sitdown visits with the commissioners to improve communications and remain more in touch with Fulton County.

The group decided to meet four times annually to discuss federal, state and county issues. Among the local topics to be brought to the attention of the congressman as a result of the April 21 meeting are the need for additional transportation funding, expanded broadband services and job creation here.

The commissioners spoke via conference call with Brian Haines, architect with Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates, to review building plan options. According to Commissioner Bonnie Mellott Keefer, the commissioners have already approved the ground-level plans for the Services for Children facility.

Haines added the plans for the Services for Children facility and the proposed geothermal loop will both be bid separately. In addition, the remainder of the renovation plans for the county buildings will be combined and bid as one project. Haines concluded on the proposed renovations they are "moving full steam ahead."

Haines and the commissioners also discussed the demolition of several houses adjacent to county property that had been previously purchased. Once demolished, Haines indicated the spoil or extra dirt from the digging associated with the geothermal loop could be used as fill for the basement areas where the homes had been located.

Haines also broached the topic of repairs to be made to the courthouse bell/clock tower. Commissioner Dan Swain indicated they need to speak with business manager Tim Stanton on financing the repairs before they proceed with the project. Keefer added the worst case scenario would be doing some of the repairs until grant funding could be obtained to subsidize the project.

Ron Froeschle of F&M Trust met with the commissioners and the county business manager to update the group on the county's retirement fund, which posted a total account return loss of 3.93 percent for the period ending March 31, 2009. The account is currently divided between cash equivalent (4.86 percent), equity (57.17 percent) and fixed (37.97 percent).

It was noted by the commissioners C.S. McKee Investment Managers is slated to take over the investment portion of the county's retirement fund, while the custodial aspect and reporting process will be overseen by F&M Trust.

Jason Hawkins, chief executive officer of Fulton County Medical Center, discussed the consolidation of the hospital's operations onto the main campus as well as the construction of a new facility, which will house administrative offices, specialty clinics and a training/lecture room.

Chief Probation Officer Roger Strait reviewed grant opportunities available on a federal level for the adult probation program that could potentially fund a new probation officer over a period of two years. Strait was given approval by the commissioners to prepare the grant paperwork to be submitted for the Edward Byrne Memorial Competitive Grant.

The commissioners attended a luncheon held by the Fulton County Partnership at Fulton Theatre, where Ken Walker of the Fulton County Center for Families presented information related to the Community Engagement Program and the Children's Trust Fund.

County technology director Eldon Martin announced the May 19 election specimen ballot will be posted on the county's web site for public review.

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