Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • Conservation District budget for 2014 discussed

  • -During the monthly meeting of the Wayne County Conservation District, the proposed 2014 budget was a topic of discussion.
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  • -During the monthly meeting of the Wayne County Conservation District, the proposed 2014 budget was a topic of discussion. “We're in a good position because of some funds we've received,” said District Manager Bob Muller. Those funds include the unconventional gas well money. Muller said so far they've received $56,818, but are expecting over $6,000 more to come in from the unconventional gas well money. This will give the district $62,904. “That money can be used for administration, projects, salary reimbursements, etc.,” Muller said. “The difficulty with it is the state never told conservation districts that the amount will be the same each year. We have to do it year to year.” Currently, he said there is $36,000 that “isn't committed” to anything. Muller said that Governor Tom Corbett stopped giving money for reimbursement, but added that they had $45,075 reinstated from the state budget. “We weren't reinstated 100 percent,” Muller stated. “It was around 80-90 percent.” He said that they are “ok for the first half” of the year for 2014, but they don't know how the second half of the year will go. “We don't know where we'll end up from the state,” he said. “I'm hoping that the governor starts realizing that conservation districts are good things.” The board decided they would come up with a plan about what to do with the rest of the unconventional gas well funds. Salary reimbursements were also discussed. “The last three years we've averaged around $130,000 for salaries,” Muller stated. “We're projecting $147,000 for 2014.” He said that part of the salary reimbursements go back to the county and suggested that they “maintain 60 percent” going there. “We're in pretty good shape,” Muller said. “The padding is good to have.” Muller added that the proposed budget is “not considering” carry-over money and he also said the audit price has decreased. The board asked if there's any problem with the carry-over or if there's a ceiling and Muller said no to both. The proposed budget was approved as presented and now moves to the next stage for final adoption Other business • The board also discussed getting a no-till plot seeder. The machine discussed is 5 feet x10 feet and has 10 inch wheels. Muller said it's heavy duty and can be used at the fair as well. “We got two bids back with similar prices,” he said. He asked if the board wanted to purchase it now or wait until March. It was decided not to wait so there was “more time to use it.” The trailer is around $1,400 and the battery boxes are another $3,000. “It has an electric lift to deal with as well,” said Heidi Ferber, nutrient management specialist. “It can deal with the battery. There's an extra battery on the side in case.” She said that with the harness it can be hooked up to a tractor and be “utilized off that.” “It's the safest thing to do,” Ferber said. “With the battery mounted right on and the other on the trailer, it will help with the winch.” After the discussion the board voted to purchase the seeder from Lindsey Equipment along with the associated equipment needed. • Roy Richardson has accepted the vacant Dirt and Gravel Roads Program coordinator position. He started on Nov. 4. Richardson previously served as a conservation district program specialist with the State Conservation Commission. He also has experience working with conservation districts in the Nutrient Management and Plan Development Incentives Programs. He was a construction inspector and worked for over seven years as a Nutrient Management Technician for the Bradford Conservation District in the 1990s. Richardson is familiar with GIS and is a graduate of Penn State University with a degree in Forest Technology. • The Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) program has received 210 applications as of Oct. 15, with approximately $6,469,000 in tax credits. Remaining available credits for fiscal year 2013-14 is $3,531,000. Joel Semke is also the new REAP program coordinator. He was the Chesapeake Bay technician with the Adams Conservation District and has previously worked for the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) and as a herdsman for Highland Spring Farm. • The project on Lake Cross and Daw Road in Mount Pleasant Township is completed. Swamp Road in Buckingham Township is also completed. Muller said there is a cost overrun for the Swamp Road project of $3,100. The township is supposed to send a request for additional funding. • The Pike-Wayne Envirothon will take place on May 1, 2014 at the PPL Environmental Learning Center. There are five participating schools including Western Wayne, Honesdale, Wallenpaupack, Delaware Valley High Schools and Canaan Christian Academy. • In relation to the Pike-Wayne Envirothon, watershed specialist Jamie Knecht said she applied for a $500 mini-grant to offset costs.
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