MERCER COUNTY More funds sought for juvenile watch

The program gets community agencies involved in efforts to reduce delinquent activity.
MERCER, Pa. -- Funds are being sought to continue a highly successful program to monitor juvenile offenders.
Mercer County commissioners agreed Thursday to apply on behalf of the city of Sharon for a $13,099 Justice Assistance Grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Chief Juvenile Probation Officer Mark Benedetto said the city has agreed to apply the funds toward paying police officers wages to continue "saturation patrols" for the probation department's "Operation Night Light."
That program involves police, probation officers, clergy, social workers and schools in a cooperative effort to keep close tabs on juveniles on probation to try and prevent further problems.
Benedetto said the program has been highly successful in lowering recidivism to about 4 percent and reducing overall delinquent activity, as well as improving the relationship between youths and the police.
He said the program, in effect for three years, may be used as a model for other programs and is currently the subject of a study by Penn State University at Harrisburg.
Other business
The commissioners also:
UAccepted a $300 bid for purchase of a 1995 Chevrolet Corsica with 170,000 miles. Director of Administrative Services Bill Boyle said the bid was the highest of those received.
UAppointed Fran Billen and Shirley Logan to the Mercer County Affordable Housing Board. They appointed Susan Kovacik of the Good Shepherd Center, Greenville, as an alternate. All the terms run through June 30. The appointees are filling unexpired terms of members who resigned.
UApproved an agreement with Black, Bashor & amp; Porsch, LLP, Certified Public Accountants of Sharon, to provide calendar year 2004 auditing services for Mercer County for up to $42,000, and for Children and Youth Services for fiscal year 2005 for $9,750.
UApproved a resolution by Berks County Commissioners to support county tax reform in Pennsylvania to shift the tax burden away from sole reliance on the property tax to personal income and sales taxes.

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