Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Budget, Move to N. Queen, Farmland Preservation Top Commissioners' Stated Priorities

Asked by a NewsLanc reporter what their goals and priorities will be for their respective terms of office, Martin, Stuckey, and Lehman responded in generalities.

Scott Martin identified two main issues. He began, "Our number one priority is the budget and we are already delving into that as much as possible. As a matter of fact, we've already talked with the County Administrator and the staff about identifying everything in every department Countywide as to what is mandated and what is discretionary spending."

"The second thing is," Martin continued, "our space needs are changing. We need to evaluate our space needs for the future."

For his part, Craig Lehman responded, "My priorities haven't changed since the campaign. 150 N. Queen Street will be one of the biggest issues. We're going to have to figure out how to get County services over to 150 N. Queen St. without interrupting those services."

Lehman then highlighted the budget, promising that monthly budget meetings will be held, starting this month.

Commission Chair Dennis Stuckey's answer was farmland preservation and the "challenge to work farmland preservation in with the projects and the space that we have."

Also at their public meeting Wednesday, the Commissioners approved the appointment of Keith Harner to serve as Interim County Engineer effective immediately. Harner is replacing David McCudden, who revealed just recently to the Lancaster Newspapers that he is retiring as of this month.

The Commissioners also approved a $123,029 grant application from Vector Labs in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to provide "surveillance and control activities regarding the West Nile Virus and mosquito control in Lancaster County," and a $23,484 contract with Support for Prison Ministries of Lititz to provide chaplain services at the Youth Intervention Center. "All but about $220 dollars of that will come through state grants," explained YIC Director Drew Fredericks.

The hour-long meeting in front of some twenty guests in the Courthouse Wednesday morning was characterized by calmness and civility, as the Commissioners settled into their new roles and the public took them in.