Commission seeks new candidate

The regional commission does planning for eight counties.
MERCER, Pa. -- Mercer County commissioners are seeking a minority county resident with business experience to serve on the Northwest Pennsylvania Regional Planning Commission.
Commissioner Brian Beader, who is treasurer of NWPRPC, said at Tuesday's chief clerk's meeting that Diane Gardner, the current minority member, had to resign because of her work schedule. Gardner works for National City Bank in Farrell.
The volunteer position would require attendance at meetings in the Oil City or Franklin area every two months. The group does planning for eight counties -- Mercer, Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Forest, Lawrence, Venango and Warren.
Deborah Plant of the Mercer County Chamber of Commerce, also is a Mercer County commission board member. Anyone interested in the post should contact the commissioners' office at the courthouse at (724) 662-3800.
Also, Commissioner Michele Brooks announced the state has awarded the county a $38,451 grant to study the county's recycling program.
She said it will help identify weaknesses and strengths in the current programs and help decide future direction.
For example, she said the county has small front-loading recycling trucks which need a significant amount of work. The study will recommend whether it would be more cost effective to replace them. The recycling program lost a major part of its funding last year due to a state court ruling and is operating with an allocation from the county and with staff cuts.
Beader commented that the study "will tell us what we already know." He added that the program will be very hard to sustain without imposing a fee on consumers.
Brooks also commented that commissioners are working on pre-qualifying requests from county groups and municipalities totaling $5 million for state Growing Greener grant funds.
She said, however, that any applicants who have an opportunity to apply for other grants for their projects should do so because of the limited Growing Greener funds.

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