TRI COUNTY REPORT FOR FEBRUARY 10TH, 2020

Governor Wolf says he will nominate Richard Vague to serve as the secretary of the Department of Banking and Securities.  Vague, who is a managing partner of Gabriel Investments and chair of the Governor’s Woods Foundation, has served on several business and advisory boards.  Vague assumed the role of acting secretary over the weekend following the departure of Robin Weissmann.  Wolf says Vague will propel the Commonwealth to new heights.

Construction it expected to start today  on Wampum Road Bridge along Route 288 in Wayne Township and Wampum. PennDot says Single-lane alternating traffic will take place from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays through late February between Main Street and River Road.

Three weeks of budget hearings begin a week from Tuesday. State Senator Pat Browne  who chairs the Appropriations Committee, says he’s encouraged that we’re heading into the budget process in good fiscal shape, the product of hard work and tough decisions from both sides of the aisle.  Browne did express some concern over the level of spending  proposed by Gov. Tom Wolf, hoping it doesn’t send the state in the opposite direction.

The season’s first significant snowfall is being blamed for several accidents across Butler County.  Three people, two of which were infants, were hurt Friday morning after a wreck on Route 19 in Harmony.  There’s no word on the severity of their injuries.  In Middlesex Township, part of Route 228 Friday morning caused significant delays between Mars High School and Route 8, with that portion of the road eventually closed.  A pair of drivers were hurt on the 300-block of Saxonburg Road in two separate crashes Friday morning.

Families in Hopewell Township may see their fourth graders moving to the junior high.  Hopewell Area School District officials are weighing a plan to transition the fourth graders to Hopewell Junior High School next year.  Administrators are considering an upper elementary concept, with fourth-through-sixth graders considered part of one school within a school, while the seventh and eighth graders would be treated at the traditional junior high level.  If approved, about 150 students from three elementary schools would be making the move.

Sharon City School District officials are preparing for the possibility that they might have to ask city residents to pay more in taxes. According to the Sharon Herald the school board approved its preliminary budget early in preparation for the application, which is required if the district wants to raise taxes about the index set by the commonwealth. The budget is due by June 30 every year. Pennsylvania’s Act 1 uses wage inflation to calculate the maximum percentage property taxes may be increased. The district opted to apply to the state for an exception due to rising special education costs.

Crews are beginning work today on cleaning up a landslide that closed a section of Iron Bridge Road in Buffalo Township.  The weather-related landslide prompted the work, which is expected to be completed by mid-March.  The project is anticipated to cost a quarter-million dollars.

Classes in the Ringgold schools are canceled again today amid threats of violence.  District officials say the buildings are closed as a precautionary measure after a new round of threats surfaced over the weekend.  The Ringgold schools were closed on Friday because of similar threats.  Police are investigating for possible criminal charges.