In an effort to engage and educate the public the Wayne County Commissioners will make a series of “State of the County” road tours this month. The series of seven dates began September 10 in Damascus and will continue into the last week of the month.
Commissioners’ Chair Brian Smith said the first-of-its-kind tour builds off the county’s comprehensive plan and will include an informational forum including the county’s general structure and services and update of “things going on” in the county, with a focus on the “Wayne Tomorrow” initiative.
Each session is expected to run 45 minutes to one hour, he said.
“Wayne Tomorrow,” introduced last summer is a joint venture with the Wayne Economic Development Corp. (WEDCO) “to help guide future development and enhance the quality of life,” according to a 2012 press release.
Since its introduction, a visioning process resulted in the creation of five workgroups, purposely made up of people with diverse interests to gather input and community participation. The groups’ areas of concern are: agriculture, business and economic development, quality of life, sustainability and workforce/education.
For more information about participating, individuals can contact Chief Clerk Vicky Botjer at 570-253-5970, ext. 4050.
The board will accept and respond to written questions from the audience; written so those not addressed at the meeting can be answered later, Smith said.
The commissioners are looking for input “to help us with issues coming our way and hoping people will turn out,” he said.
Commissioner Jonathan Fritz said they were “taking the show on the road,” to cultivate their conversation with constituents.
Commissioner Wendell Kay said the county panel needs to be more accessible. “While we’re in the office every day, we need to be out and about…” and as they are looking for input, “it is important to listen.”
The county planned to have a Power Point program of presentation highlights available online at www.co.wayne.pa.us  following the September 10 program.
The remaining dates scheduled are: at the Wayne County Park Street Complex, Wednesday, Sept. 11, at 4 p.m.; Preston Elementary School in Lakewood on Tuesday, Sept. 17, at 7 p.m.; R. D. Wilson Elementary School, in Waymart on Wednesday, Sept. 18, at 7 p.m.; Ledgedale Fire Hall, on Sunday Sept. 22, at 2 p.m. Hawley Senior Center, on Monday Sept. 23, at 6 p.m.; and Newfoundland/South Elementary School, Thursday, Sept. 26, at 7 p.m.
In other business the commissioners, with Fritz opposed, approved two bids from Quandel Construction of Scranton, for a $359,066 contract to install an elevator in the old Courthouse, and $14,000 bid alternate for fourth floor renovation of the courthouse annex.
The project had been re-bid after an initial low bid of $482,000 was rejected in late July, but in explaining his opposition Fritz said it still “doesn’t pass my cost to benefit requirements.” He declined to elaborate saying he did not want the issue to become divisive on the panel.
Fritz also voted no earlier, when his colleagues approved the reallocation of $10,546 of federal Community Block Grant Development funding, which had been returned to the county pool.