The Warren County Commissioners have a decision to make.
Should they take Secure Rural Schools funding or a percentage of timber receipts on the county's portion of the Allegheny National Forest?
Commissioner Chairman Stephen Vanco heard a report from the Allegheny Forest Alliance and had a dialogue with the Warren County School District's board of directors last week.
The county's municipalities and the school district are confident they will see more dollars if the commissioners select the 25 percent of receipts option.
However, the county stands to receive about $50,000 if the commissioners choose Secure Rural Schools (SRS).
On Monday, the commissioners discussed another aspect of the process.
"We get a payment in lieu of taxes from the ANF," Commissioner John Eggleston said.
That payment is higher under SRS than it is for the percentage of receipts.
"We don't know if the payment in lieu of taxes will be high enough to offset the SRS," Eggleston said.
Vanco said he has been in touch with neighboring counties regarding their decisions. "McKean is going to stay with 25 percent," he said. "Forest is going with SRS."
Because of the state prison in Marienville, Forest County will receive more dollars through SRS because it has a high percentage of its population that is poor.
The commissioners have until the end of the month to make a decision. Their last scheduled meeting this month is Wednesday, Sept. 26.
The commissioners opened bids for a wireless call system for the Rouse Home.
Under the existing system, "when a resident wants assistance, they push a button, lights come on in the hallway, and an audible alarm comes on," Rouse Chief Financial Officer Jeff Sedon said. With the new system, calls will send signals to pagers carried by the appropriate staff members. "It will make our facility quieter and more efficient."
Rouse officials would use federal Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) grant dollars left over from the Tidioute Medical Center project.
The lower of the two bids was for $82,900 from Horizon Information Services of Glenshaw. Both bidders "came in and visited our facility," Sedon said.
He said he would review the bids and return them to the county for examination by Grants Administrator Lorri Dunlap.
The commissioners are getting ready for budget season.
After eight years without a tax increase, "it gets harder every year" to hold the line of taxes, Eggleston said. "We've managed to consolidate and be efficient, but at some point... If we have any fat anywhere, I don't know where it is."