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M AI NLI NE newspapers

Summerhill Twp. supervisors ponder purchase of blighted buildings Vol. 114 No. 15

USPS 439-000

By Ron Portash

of Mainline Newspapers

The Summerhill Township supervisors held a lengthy discussion over several dilapidated buildings in the township at their April 3 meeting. With the creation of a county fund for blighted building demolition under Act 152, which placed a $15 fee on all property deeds transferred in the county to be used for the fund, the supervisors pondered the chances of getting funding through this program. The municipality must own the blighted property to be eligible for this grant funding administered through the Cambria County

Portage, Pa.

Redevelopment Authority. The issue debated involves the risk of purchasing these properties through a judicial sale in the fall. The township was informed that it could apply for funding prior to the purchase, but the timeline of awarding the grant is almost the same time as the judicial sale. The risk of purchasing these dilapidated properties and then not receiving funding through the redevelopment authority would leave Summerhill Township liable for the properties. The first grants were awarded late last year and only six properties were funded for demolition, including the property on Main Street in South Fork that

Thursday, April 12, 2018

was in danger of collapsing and had Main Street closed for several weeks. The demolition grants are in high demand throughout the county because of the increasing number of blighted and hazardous structures left abandoned, or owned by those lacking sufficient funding to maintain the structures. Municipalities across the county, state and nation are dealing with the problem of blighted buildings. It is estimated that in the city of Johnstown, there are more than 200 blighted homes, businesses and industrial structures. The supervisors decided to SEE PURCHASE, PAGE 4A

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Spring time

Jordan Bilak, Madison Gribbin and Lily Mathieson are ready for the Spring Fling Dance start at the Portage Elementary School gymnasium April 7. Photo by Ron Portash.

Portage Station Museum opens for 2018

By Ron Portash

of Mainline Newspapers

Spring Fling

Portage Area’s junior high girls basketball team sponsored the annual Spring Fling dance held April 7. Approximately 80 students attended including (from left) Alyssa Hoberney, Isabella Bartoletti, Sydni Sossong, Reese Tremitiere, Maryn Swank, Julia Papcun, Lauren Shaffer and Maddy Hudak. Photo by Ron Portash.

Portage Municipal Authority receives audit results, discusses ATV runs

By Ron Portash

of Mainline Newspapers

The Portage Municipal Authority received a clean audit report from the accounting firm Kline Kimlin at its April 5 meeting. An audit report classified as “clean” means that the financial statements of the authority are accurate, complete and in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. This is the highest ranking of audit results. A clean audit means the financial statements of the authority were

without material misstatements and there were no negative findings on reporting and no reports of non-compliance with legislation. The audit report of 2017 shows the financial strength of the authority increasing slightly. The authority was able to decrease operating expenses from $1,153,385 in 2016 to $1,118,581 in 2017. This enabled the authority to reduce debt and increase its net worth. The audit showed that the authority is in a strong position in regards to the funding of its pension fund. Many municipalities and school districts across the state struggle with pension funding. The audit indicates the authority is nearly complete in its funding obligations. This improves the financial standing of the authority and increases the

chances of future capital projects though PENNVEST or private loans at lower interest rates. The audit is performed annually and submitted to the state to ensure compliance to fiscal responsibility. In other matters, authority superintendent Ron Cadwallader informed the board that he is pursuing a grant to purchase three water source monitoring probes. Two are replacements for probes in Martindale, and the other is a new probe for the Benscreek watershed. The grant application process is being assisted by state representative Frank Burns’ office. The authority conditionally approved the Blue Knob Volunteer Fire Company’s request for two all-terrain vehicle SEE AUDIT, PAGE 3A

Ready to dance

The Portage Station Museum held its annual seasonal opening with musical festivities Saturday April 7. The local band, Corn Silk, comprised of Rich and Annette Bernazzoli, Terri Koenigsberg and Jenn Bobolsky, played a concert of folk and patriotic songs to entertain the crowd. The Portage Historical Society was founded in 1992 and operates the Portage Station Museum at the original 1926 railroad freight station at 400 Lee Street. The museum is open April through December, SEE MUSEUM, PAGE 3A

Juile Washko (left), Levi Marsh and Kara Roles are dressed in their finest for the Portage Area’s Spring Fling Dance held April 7. Photo by Ron Portash.

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