What’s new in the Upper Delaware region March 11-17
ALBANY, NY — The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) recently announced that all New Yorkers enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will receive the maximum allowable level of food benefits for March. Roughly half of all households participating in SNAP will receive the supplemental allotment later this month, which will result in an infusion of roughly $100 million into the state’s economy.
Additionally, all SNAP recipients will continue to receive a 15-percent increase to benefits for March, which will be reflected in their normal monthly allotment. With the increase included, the maximum benefit level for an individual is $234 and $782 for a family of four. This increase is to continue each month through June.
HONESDALE, PA — Honesdale Borough Mayor Sarah Canfield recently responded to charges against the borough of engaging in unfair labor practices.
In an effort to address understaffing issues within the Honesdale Police Department, the mayor sent an order to police chief Richard Southerton in January to “schedule shifts as manpower and officer safety dictates, taking into consideration the availability of other law enforcement departments to provide assistance to the borough, if needed.” The order continued, “Officers are expected to carry out all of the functions of their position while on duty irrespective of whether one or two officers are assigned or are available to cover the shift.”
The Honesdale Police Officers Association then filed a complaint with the PA Labor Relations Board, arguing that this order created “unsafe working conditions,” by revoking the long-standing policy that officers can only respond to calls if there are at least two officers on duty. Canfield has called these charges “misinformation.”
“I [issued the order] to balance officer safety with the need to efficiently provide public safety services for the protection of the tax-paying citizens of this borough,” she said. “That is my sole focus and I will continue to do everything possible to balance the safety of our personnel with the needs of our citizens. We will always seek new and cost-effective solutions to provide public safety services.”
HARRISBURG, PA — Local government officials across the state are urging that Pennsylvania begin participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) , citing the “pressing need for action to curb climate change, improve public health and create new clean energy jobs.”
More than 80 local government officials, including mayors, council members and supervisors, expressed their support in joint letters to the state’s Environmental Quality Board earlier this year as part of a public comment process to gather input on the state’s RGGI proposal.
According to expert analyses, RGGI can produce a 21 percent reduction in carbon pollution, more than 27,000 jobs, an injection of $1.9 billion into Pennsylvania’s economy, and $6 billion in health benefits through 2030.”
HARRISBURG, PA — The PA House Appropriations Committee recently finished three weeks of budget hearings, probing the governor’s budget secretary Jen Swails. As was expected given the especially liberal budget proposed by Gov. Wolf, House Republicans are just as critical, if not more, of the budget following these hearings. Republican appropriations chairman Stan Saylor said “the governor’s budget continues his legacy of unmitigated overspending.”
Other Republicans are saying that the budget lacks a focus on vaccine distribution, noting repeatedly that the governor’s budget address speech didn’t mention vaccines once. In her testimony, Swails responded to this criticism noting that vaccines are “a federal effort” and are “being paid for by federal dollars.”
HONESDALE, PA — Kitty Hawk Technologies, a local defense and aerospace engineering firm, has acquired Paratech-VA, a Virginia-based provider of modeling and simulation verification, validation and accreditation services. The official announcement was made February 21 from Kitty Hawk’s corporate offices in Honesdale, PA.
Kitty Hawk Technologies provides engineering services, strategic and programmatic support, and advanced materials research and development to the Navy, the Missile Defense Agency, NASA and other defense industrial partners. The recent acquisition will further enable Kitty Hawk’s growth in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington DC and Huntsville, AL, according to the business.
“The addition of Paratech to Kitty Hawk’s portfolio is a tremendous gain for our company,: said Dave Suhosky, president and CEO. “Paratech’s unique capabilities and reputation with regard to VV&A [are] unsurpassed and we are thrilled to have them as members of our team.”
GOSHEN, NY — The Orange County Legislature recently voted to completely replace the county’s seven-member Industrial Development Agency (IDA) board while the district attorney and comptroller conduct investigations into its finances. Legislator Paul Ruszkiewicz said that this decision does not imply that “anybody’s done anything wrong,” but simply allows for communication between the IDA and the legislature, which was being restricted because of the investigation. “We are now in a situation where we have no communication with the IDA and are not being able to receive updates as to the status of their many projects and work that is critical to economic development in the county,” he said.
According to reports, district attorney David Hoovler is investigating allegations against the former IDA of financial impropriety and conflicts of interest. Depending on his findings, the legislature said that some or all of the former board members could be reappointed.