Central Keystone Council of Governments using ARPA funds to upgrade

Dec. 11—LEWISBURG — The Central Keystone Council of Governments is upgrading its equipment using COVID-19 relief funds from Union County.

Central Keystone-COG, located at 1610 Industrial Blvd., Lewisburg, was awarded $24,000 from Union County in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds last year. Rodney D. Neitz, the director and building code official of the COG, said the agency benefitted from the financial allotment.

“These monies were used to purchase an iPlan table, which allows us to review building plans submitted electronically via a dropbox on our website,” said Neitz. “This has proven to be a very useful tool for our plans examiner. We also updated the laptops carried by our field inspectors, which allows them to access any information they may need while working remotely in the field. Lastly, we purchased radios that can be used during an emergency while acting as emergency management coordinator in the areas we serve.”

Since October 2022, the county has awarded 26 local municipalities, organizations and projects a portion of $8,008,236 in ARPA funds from Union County. Union County received $9 million of the $6.15 billion federal funds allocated to Pennsylvania. The county has approximately $905,000 that has not been allocated, according to county officials.

Central Keystone-COG was formed in 2003 to provide building code inspection services outside of Union County. Prior to 2003, the building inspection service was part of the Union County Housing Authority. In April 2004, Pennsylvania adopted the Uniform Construction Code. This mandated municipalities to provide building inspection services to their residents, said Neitz.

“The CKCOG was able to provide this service to its member municipalities,” he said. “Since then, we have expanded the services we can provide to include zoning administration, property maintenance code enforcement, public housing inspections, just to name a few. We also provide emergency management services to a few of our members. We currently have 49 member municipalities in six counties in central Pennsylvania.”

Neitz thanked the commissioners for approving the COG’s application.

“The Central Keystone-COG is very appreciative of the grant we received from the county,” said Neitz. “These purchases will allow us to better serve the COG membership which includes all of Union County.”

“The Central Keystone-COG applied for ARPA funds to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of their service delivery, which is a good use of these funds,” commissioner Chair Jeff Reber said. “I appreciate that the Central Keystone-COG is looking for ways to improve their services without raising costs.”

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