EMA contracts will help Venango planning commission

Venango County commissioners on Tuesday approved the county planning commission’s use of a $1 million Federal Emergency Management Agency grant for several contracts with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.

The first contract is a $422,082 purchase of generators for the Sandycreek Township building, the Sandycreek fire hall and the Franklin Professional Building.

“The generators there are outdated and in need of an upgrade,” planning director Jason Ruggiero said. “These are sites that the county emergency management agency uses.”

The board also approved Pennsylvania EMA contracts for $88,594.96 for the purchase of messaging signs and $485,725.38 for a fiber optic line through Sandycreek Township and the City of Franklin.

“That’s to create a joint emergency operations center for the EMA in the (Franklin) Professional Building,” Ruggiero said.

Commissioners approved the use of a $150,000 Appalachian Regional Commission grant for the creation of an entrepreneurial academy, which is expected to launch in the 2019-2020 school year.

Training for the academy will be scheduled for half the school day, similar to Venango Technology Center, for high school juniors and seniors interested in business entrepreneurship, with Clarion University providing classroom space at its Oil City campus.

In other business Tuesday, commissioners ratified a school sheriff agreement with Franklin Area School District that will provide four part-time Venango County sheriff’s deputies for the school district buildings.

The board also approved a human resources request for an agreement with Clarion University to provide students to intern as corrections officers at the Venango County jail.

While giving an update on Two Mile Run County Park activities, park director Rich Mihalic mulled over the day’s erratic weather.

“Just today we had 60 degrees and sunshine, a hail storm with marble-sized hail, a lightning storm, a wind storm, and I have no idea how many trees came down,” he said.

Mihalic noted that Winterfest is scheduled Jan. 26.

The next public meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12, in Room 100 of the Courthouse Annex in Franklin.