Increase in Room Tax Allows for Greater Distribution of Funds
By Rick Hiduk
As the Bradford County Commissioners tackled one of the heavier meeting agendas that they have had since flood recovery efforts waned, it was obvious that the effects of the August and September storms will be felt for months to come. On Dec. 15, the commissioners voted to refund taxes to the owners of 14 parcels of land that had been uninhabitable since December. They also voted to work more closely with New York state on flood mitigation projects in Bradford and Chemung Counties that will address both flood protection and more adequate warning systems.
Some of the more upbeat news to come from the meeting, which also involved a lot of year-end business, was the announcement that increased revenue from the hotel room tax will allow for the distribution of $100,338 in funds via the Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau to 27 different tourism and cultural agencies.
Some of the recipients include $7,000 to the Wyalusing Valley Museum Association for its annual wine festival, $1,850 to the Greater Wyalusing Chamber of Commerce for the Quilted Corners of Wyalusing promotion, $1,500 to the Wyalusing Community Corporation for a historic trail project, $1,700 to the Endless Mountains Heritage Region for Susquehanna Greenway interpretive signage, and $10,000 for new signage for the Bradford County Parks Committee.
The Parks Committee came out a winner as per another agenda item, which involved the approval of a letter to request a $1,000 matching grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for Bradford County to participate in a Peer-to-Peer program. The initiative paves the way for a partnership with Peer-to-Peer, who will mentor the commissioners on how to better manage county parks and make changes and upgrades.
Another interesting partnership was that between the county and Chesapeake Appalacia, who will provide aerial photography to the county in exchange for electronic updates to the county tax parcel identification system. Commissioner Mark Smith explained that the state used to supply the photographs, which are used by the county for planning and to update maps.
Commissioners seemed disappointed by the single bid for an electronic hoist for the antique chandelier at the Bradford County Courthouse. Craig Lee Construction of Mansfield offered to install a hoist for $98,400, which was “well over” the $30,000 to $50,000 they had expected to pay for the work. Smith made the motion that a vote on the matter be tabled and that the bid be taken under advisement.