Filing of Records Further Streamlined by Commissioners / Northern Tier Planning and Development Reorganized
By Rick Hiduk
In a relatively brief Bradford County Commissioners’ meeting on Dec. 1 that was dedicated primarily to wrapping up annual contracts and realigning the administration of several departments, commissioners also approved an agreement to further digitize the civil and criminal case files held by the Bradford County Prothonotary Office in an effort to make better use of limited space there and reduce long-term storage costs.
The board voted unanimously to reconfirm the lineup of administrators associated with the Northern Tier Regional Planning and Development Commission, including, for economic development, Dan Close, Tony Ventello, and Mike Lovegreen; for local loan review, Kevin Rimmey, Sheryl Potocek, and Anthony Gabello; for rural area transportation, Ray Stolinas, Doug McLinko, and Rick Biery, and for workforce development, Paul Kreischer and Mike Narcavage.
A host of other county employment positions, including those for Bradford County Manor and the Bradford County Probations Department, were approved as per the recommendations of Bradford County Human Services Director Bill Blevins, who explained prior to the meeting that the appointments are based on yearly evaluations and needs that are often formalized well after the fact due to a state-imposed system that often delays and bogs down the process. Much of the budget revolving around the appointments, he suggested, is based on projections and prorated to maintaining the fluidity of county business and to prevent situations that might require agencies to wait for funding from the state. When asked about the recent addition of a number of new employees to the Probations Department, commissioner Mark Smith explained that recruiting and maintaining staff members for that department has been an ongoing challenge.
It was also noted that deputy sheriff trainee Bryan Bellows was promoted to fulltime deputy sheriff as of Nov. 28.
To help limit the impact imposed on the prothonotary office as of late, the commissioners approved an agreement with IMR, a company that makes digital copies of municipal records, to process existing 16mm microfilm at an estimated cost of $100 per roll so that it can be accessed via public computers in the prothonotary office, rather than the existing microfilm reader that suffers from mechanical issues. The total cost of the project may not exceed $35,000, which is equal to an amount collected by the department from fees levied for copies of documents requested by the public.
Bradford County Prothonotary Sally Vaughn noted that the $100,000 project must be completed in phases to avoid using public funds. Replacing the old microfilm reader with another public computer, she added, will reduce maintenance costs and free up space. Through a new storage program offered by the state, the original microfilm will be stored in vaults at a one-time fee of $2 per roll, as opposed to the current $1 per roll per year that the county has been paying.
The next Bradford County Commissioners’ meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 15, at the Bradford County Courthouse in Towanda.