2012-04-05 / Front Page

County Could Use Uniform Parcel Identifier Program

Sets July 1 date to get program details in order
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz
STAFF WRITER

The Fulton County commissioners have penciled in a date of July 1 to allow for ample time to make arrangements for the possible implementation of the uniform parcel identifier program in county.

Meeting with chief tax assessor Michelle Sowers and Mary K. Seville, mapping and planning director, Tuesday morning, the commissioners heard an over-view of the UPI program that would identify land parcels through coding consisting of variables such as state, district, county, section and lot numbers.

By implementing the UPI program here, the county would be able to generate additional income through an established UPI recording fee. Many counties, according to the department heads, have a $10 UPI fee. Other counties have chosen to implement a $20 charge in connection with the program.

As part of introducing the new board of commissioners to the nuances of the program, the women pointed out the new funding stream would easily cover the majority, if not all, of a new, full- or part-time employee. The employee, it was suggested, could work not only on the UPI program but could lend a hand in the various duties needing attending at the assessment and mapping & planning offices.

As both offices are manned by a single employee, the department head, additional help is desperately needed when field visits are conducted as well as during emergencies and time off. To support her case, Sowers presented the commissioners with a list of her current job duties and a comparison of assessment staffing in other counties.

Commissioner Rodney Mc- Cray indicated even though they did not want to leave Sowers and Seville “high and dry,” they wanted to acquire as much information as possible before rendering a decision. Seville said they would be obtaining more information later that week when they attend a meeting in Bedford County, which is also researching the implementation of UPI on a local level.

In the event the county decides to pursue the issue, an ordinance would need adopted that states all instruments recorded at a county level would require a UPI code. The ordinance would also stipulate an official start date of the program. It was the wishes of Seville and Sowers that a person be brought on board one month prior to the implementation of UPI to familiarize themselves with the system and office duties.

In addition to time needed to advertise the ordinances, it was noted extra time would also be needed to advertise and fill the position; and meet officials from the prothonotary’s office, attorney offices and researches to get everyone up to speed on the process.

Sowers and Seville, it was pointed out, sat down with the prior board of commissioners to discuss UPI. In December, they informed the commissioners they had visited Cumberland County, which records 40,000 instruments or items annually that require a UPI and UPI fee. Among those instruments are deeds. Items not qualifying for a UPI fee are wills, general powers of attorney and deeds of dedication for road rights-of-way.

It is estimated Fulton County records 2,300 instruments on a yearly basis and would also fall under the UPI legislation through Act 1 of 1998.

In other county business on April 3, special projects coordinator Karen Hann conducted a public hearing to review the final statement of objectives for the allocation of Community Development Block Grant funding in 2012. Projects currently listed for consideration are the Hustontown Area Volunteer Fire Co., Fulton County Food Basket, Mc- Connellsburg Sewer Authority, Belfast Township-Needmore water and program administration. The total allocation for CDBG money this year is $212,608.

Hann also reviewed repairs needed at the Warfordsburg Senior Center that stem from a May 2011 hail storm. Among those items up for repair are shingles, screens, gutters, down spouting, shutters and vinyl siding. Eight contractors have shown interest in working on the project, Hann said.

The commissioners penned an agreement with the American Red Cross for the use of the county’s three senior centers in the event of an emergency.

Late last Tuesday afternoon the commissioners conducted a telephone conference with architect Brian Haines of Crabtree & Rohrbaugh to discuss finishes in the old jail. The commissioners then went on to approve a series of change orders dealing with the ongoing renovation project. Those receiving a nod of approval include $42,598 to Carl Frantz and $27,465 to Rodney B. Smith.

Furthermore, the commissioners amended a contract with Crabtree & Rohrbaugh for the completion of design documents and administration of construction for the completion of the old jail. The amendment is slated to cost the county an additional $54,300 as well as $1,630 for resolution of issues related to the construction of the handicapped ramp to the jail.

The commissioners met with Steve Keefer and Shelly Matter of Automated Logic Controls to hear an overview of the capabilities of Automated Logic controls equipment and various control maintenance options available to the county.

Chief Probation Officer Dan Miller and District Attorney Travis Kendall sat down with the commissioners last week to discuss the submission of an intermediate punishment program grant. Miller stated the county used to receive nearly $20,000 annually but funding levels have dropped to around $7,800. He further said the program has been changed to a competitive grant and eighthclass counties, such as Fulton, are eligible to receive between $10,000 and $20,000.

However, as a result of program requirements of the grant, Miller said if the grant is received a number of cases would be pulled from the officer’s caseload who currently oversees the program. Those cases would then be assigned to other officers. He concluded that the Intermediate punishment program pays for itself in prison days saved.

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