WAYNE COUNTY—Following the advice of Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Dennis Davin, the Wayne County Commissioners authorized representatives of the Hawley Silk Mill and the Wayne Economic Development Corporation (WEDCO) to reapply for a second round of funding through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) for ongoing economic development projects.

Both projects were authorized to apply for $1 million in funding.

The two projects are targeting different allocation pools for years 2010 and 2017 of the grant, explained Commissioner Chairman Brian Smith at last Thursday's business meeting. “So they're not competing with one another, they're just thrown back into the pool for those particular year allocations.”

Commissioner Joseph Adams explained in a later interview on Thursday, “Dennis Davin, secretary of DCED, came last week and highly suggested that we reapply for these two projects...They were submitted last year and not fully granted. He highly suggested that they both be resubmitted utilizing the two remaining allocations that we have.”

Adams explained the two projects are a $4-5 million expansion of the Hawley Silk Mill and further development of the Sterling Business and Industrial Park.

Of the Silk Mill, Adams noted it's the final phase of the project, looking to add 20,000 square feet to the commercial space, “...intended for partial retail, partial office and secondarily healthcare services—behavioral health-, psychological-, drug and alcohol-type services, as well as primary care.”

The Commissioner explained the WEDCO project, totaling between $2 million-$2.5 million, is looking to “... take one of the existing lots, prepare the site and construct a building for either warehousing or manufacturing.”

In addition to the RACP funding, other funding sources for these projects come from their respective developers.

“We're excited about both of these opportunities,” said Adams, noting the projects “are going to be construction-oriented number one, and then secondarily provide full-time employment opportunities for people of Wayne County.”

The applications will be reviewed alongside other RACP proposals, with award announcements expected to come in October or November.

Agricultural initiatives

At last Thursday's meeting, the commissioners also approved $50,000 in certification funds available for the Ag Land Preservation Program this year.

For comparison, Smith noted the state allocation is “a little over $200,000.”

Since its inception in 1989, Wayne County's Ag Land Preservation Program has acquired 53 easements, allowing the permanent preservation of over 6,000 acres of farmland.

Applications for 2019 easements are due by March 31.

More information about the Ag Land Preservation Program is available online at www.waynepreservation.com.

In a separate matter, the Commissioners executed a professional services agreement with ACDS, LLC not to exceed $17,000.

The agreement is for consultation services in generating an agricultural development plan to bolster the farming industry in Wayne County.

“It is something that has identified quite a few opportunities for farmers,” said Smith. “It also talks about processing, not just processing of milk but processing of meat, processing of fruit and vegetables, and what we can do here locally to gain shelf life for the things that we can grow here.”

Details of the plan are expected to be unveiled at the Dairy and Ag Day scheduled for February 18 at Honesdale High School.

Other business

The commissioners updated a memorandum of understanding and maintenance agreements in the Unified Case Management (UCM) program through the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP).

The update affects the Adult Probation, Correctional Facility and Public Defender county offices.

“We've been using this system for a few years now and I think it's proven useful for ... the partners in the criminal justice side of county government,” explained Commissioner Wendell Kay.

Kay further explained the UCM program streamlines data entry for the county's criminal justice departments.

Increasing efficiency and accuracy, Kay noted the program allows data to be entered once and shared with all departments, rather than re-written several times as each office was responsible for its own records.

In a separate matter, the Commissioners also executed a provider agreement with Children's Service Center of Wyoming Valley, Inc.

Children's Service Center is taking over operations formerly served by Merakey.

Separately, the Commissioners also executed an annual recertification of the supports coordination qualification application.

Lastly, the Commissioners approved the first quarter certification statement for Children and Youth Services, totaling $828,661.

Salary Board

At last Thursday's meeting, the Commissioners approved the promotion of Jason Rickard as a Caseworker-2 to Caseworker-3, with an increase to a base 40-hour work week, effective February 11. Rickard's salary was approved at $39,083.20, a rate of $18.79 per hour.

The County also approved a ten-year anniversary step increase for Transportation Driver Randal Kizer, effective February 11. Kizer's new compensation rate was approved at $13.81 per hour.

Thomas Lucas was promoted from part-time meal transporter to full-time food service worker, effective from February 11. Lucas' compensation was approved at $10.87 per hour.

Elizabeth Ennis was hired as a Housing Caseworker-1, effective February 11. Ennis' salary was approved at $30,147, a a rate of $15.46 per hour.

The Commissioners also approved the reclassification of Kelsey Fasshauer from Casework Supervisor to County Caseworker 2, effective from January 30. Fasshauer's salary was approved at $0,033.50, a rate of $20.53 per hour.