COUDERSPORT — Potter County has been working on broadband initiatives for a while but has started working directly with local school districts in an effort to reach underserved families with kids in school, Will Hunt, planning/GIS director said during the Sept. 24 Potter County Commissioners meeting.
The county has partnered with the Tioga County Redevelopment Authority to create a broadband survey, which is planned to be sent out in mid-October. The two entities partnered because they share a lot of the same agencies and providers, he said.
“Our hopes are to identify in higher detail, granule type information where we can identify providers for the gaps that are missing broadband service,” Hunt said.
Small business grants were offered through the county’s CARES Act funding, in which 71 applications were received, Ellen Russell, director of community development, said. Thirty-nine businesses were awarded a total of $382,131 and eight municipalities were reimbursed for COVID-19 related expenses for a total of $30,120.
Businesses that applied had to meet specific guidelines; Russell said each business that applied that also met the guidelines were awarded some funding. KOS, Coudersport Volunteer Fire Department and the Coudersport American Legion were each awarded $25,000, God’s Country Creamery was awarded $24,878 and Hamiliton’s Maple Products was awarded $19,176, some of the highest in the county.
The commissioners acknowledged David Buckler’s resignation from the Potter County Housing and Redevelopment Authority. The commissioners thanked him for his 25+ years of service.
Loren Fitzgerald was appointed to the Potter County Housing and Redevelopment board to fill a vacancy. His term will end July 12, 2025.
Ellen Russell was appointed to the Potter County Housing and Redevelopment board to fill Buckler’s resignation. Her term will end July 12, 2021.
Commissioner Paul Heimel said it was “somewhat unconventional” for a county department head to sit on an authority, board or commission.
“We feel it’s a very positive development for … a communication network and pipeline for Potter County commissioners and the Human Services agency,” Heimel said. “The housing authority and redevelopment authority basically support their objectives and support the county’s objectives at the same time.”
Heimel touched on Project 2025, a goal to reverse the county’s population loss, which Russell and Hunt have spearheaded. Heimel said pulling these two entities together was good for the county.