Candidates corrected on expense filings

Ed Allison

Come December, there will no longer be a Voter Registration/Election Department at the Lawrence County courthouse.

The office will be known as the Department of Voter Services, at the request of Lawrence County director of elections Ed Allison.

Allison requested the name change Tuesday at the Lawrence County commissioners’ meeting. He said the Voter Registration Department and Elections Department were consolidated in 1991. The name change, he said, will bring the county into line with other counties.

Currently, Allison said, services that are provided by the office include processing voter applications, which has been done since 2015, and processing online absentee applications that began this year, and has processed all voter applications whether mailed, over the counter or online as the department continues to expand services.

However, due to confusing matters to come before the voters on Election Day next week, Allison asked that the change not take place immediately, as he had intended.

Allison said voters have been confused about being asked to vote for two of the four candidates for county commissioner, and are also confused about being asked to decide for or against a home rule study question.

Meeting “on the road” at the Wampum Gym located along Main Street in Wampum, county commissioner chairman Dan Vogler, who is a Wampum native, welcomed all to the “historic Wampum gym,” built in the 1940s and was the site three WPIAL and state basketball championships. L. Butler Hennon coached teams in 1955, 1958 and 1960 to glory.

The tiny school district closed in the early 1960s, Vogler said, and after that, Wampum residents went to Ellwood City schools and New Beaver Borough children became part of the Mohawk Area School District.

John Loughhead, a Recreation Commissioner member in Wampum, said the old gym is still used. The facility is rented almost every night at $25 for two hours to teams from New Castle, Wampum, Ellwood City, Beaver Falls and other communities.

Vogler also noted that his mother had been a 1939 graduate of Wampum High School, which was located across Main Street from the gym. He said she had been a classmate of former, long-time county commissioner Frank A. Vitril.

“Only one member of that class is now alive,” Vogler said. “Bill McBride, a retired four-star general who is now 97 or 98 years old and lives in Texas.”

The commissioners received notification of plans of Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania to construct a 1,358-foot-long, four-inch gas pipeline along Princeton Station Road in Slippery Rock Township to serve three new customers.

County officials were also notified of the intent of the New Castle Sanitation Authority to apply to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development for an H2O PA Water Supply Sanitary Sewer and Stormwater Projects grant to upgrade the wastewater treatment plant in Mahoningtown.

The sanitation authority also will submit an application to DCED for a PA Small Water and Sewer grant to repair and replace existing sewer lines.

The commissioners also:

•Awarded a $183,914.14 contract to Youngblood Paving of Wampum, the low bidder, to finish the Ellwood City Border Avenue street improvement project.

•Tabled for further study two proposals for services to do title searches for the Lawrence County Tax Claim Bureau.

•Authorized a contract amendment with Direct Image Copy Systems of Butler Avenue to add a copier system for the district attorney’s office, relocating to the Krause Center.

•Amended an agreement with LumenServe of Austin, Texas, to include the Spartan Park Public Safety communication towers in existing lighting systems and a maintenance service agreement.

•Contracted with CARBYNE of New York, New York, for software that will enhance emergency response by the public safety department

•Renewed contracts with Auberle Ward Home, Families United Network Inc. and Family Pathways through June 30, 2020, at the request of Lawrence County Children and Youth Services.

•Will apply to the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Fund, which includes Marcellus Shale Impact Fee Reality Transfer Tax and National Housing Trust Fund for funds to be used by local municipalities and county agencies in targeted neighborhood stabilization efforts, site preparation and blighted or vacant property demolition and housing rehabilitation.

•Created a Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy financing program to promote funding for clean energy projects for commercial properties, encouraging economic development by property owners, developers and local governments.

•Reappointed Penny Kretzer of Washington Township and William Allen of Wilmington Township to three-year terms on the Agricultural Land Preservation Board. Their terms will expire on Dec. 31, 2022.

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Nancy Lowry is a former reporter at the New Castle News, retiring Dec. 31, 2019, after many years covering government, school boards and writing feature stories.

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