ACCOG elects new officers and shares action priorities

The Adams County Council of Governments (ACCOG), which includes representatives from boroughs, townships, and school districts around the county who work together to identify, discuss, and study regional issues and opportunities, has elected new officers.

Mount Joy Township Supervisor Terry Scholle was elected president and Carroll Valley Mayor Ron Harris was elected vice president. Patricia Smith, Fairfield Borough, will continue to serve as treasurer, and Daniele Helwig, Butler Township, as secretary.

Scholle said he would be making some changes but would continue to have presentations when they can be scheduled. “I will be asking the folks what topics interest them. I don’t want to bring in someone with a topic that few think is important,” he said. 

The ACCOG legislative committee has developed a three-tier focus on its concerns. The first tier consists of previous bills introduced and includes expanding broadband access, amending the funding formula for charter and cyber charter schools, waving grant application fees on duplicate applications, increasing funding for mental health, and increasing funding and support for workforce development initiatives.

The second-tier concerns are election reform laws, increased infrastructure funding, permitting fees to be charged for commercial requests for right-to-know, and stormwater issues.

Included in the third tier are the reduction of health insurance costs to employees, funding for Pennsylvania Department of Transportation projects inside the boroughs, exempting projects under $500,000 from the prevailing wage, permitting local police to use radar/lidar technology, and amending the old school funding formula.

Ron Harris, past ACCOG vice-chair and member of the legislative committee, asked why the speed radar concern was relegated to a Tier 3 issue since it saves lives. Adams County Commissioner Marty Qually explained that the concerns were tiered in the order they will be expected to get positive legislative attention. “Do the concerns have a chance of moving? Things may be more important but may not change. That’s why radar is on Tier III,” he said.

“The immediate importance is saving people’s lives,” Harris said. “This has been going on for many years. We want our representatives to support our version of the Radar bill.”

Bob Gordon, ACCOG Legislative Committee member commented, “The tiers are set up to separate what’s possible and what’s not possible to get done.”

In other board business, broadband feasibility study committee member Bob Mauser reported that the broadband survey resulted in 4,000 returns, 2,500 of which were from Adams County. “It will help us as we do the analysis and start to develop formal technical requirements. But this is a long process and is not going to happen overnight.”

Harlan Lawson, County Economic Development Specialist, said the survey was part of a state effort that began last fall. “The state process needs to be complete before receiving federal funding and then they need to think about allocating the funding. However they do it, we need to have an argument prepared about why we need the money.”

The next ACCOG meeting will take place Feb. 16, 8:30 a.m.

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Judith Cameron Seniura is a freelance reporter. She began her journalism career in the early ‘70s and has written for newspapers, magazines, and other media in Ontario, Canada, Alaska, Michigan, Nebraska, San Antonio, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

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