Commissioners adopt Polk Center resolution

The new board of Venango County commissioners adopted a resolution opposing the closure of Polk Center at the panel’s first business meeting Tuesday.

Describing Polk Center as “an integral part of the County of Venango since 1897”, the resolution says the county is “fully invested in the welfare of the residents and employees of Polk State Center.”

The resolution and an accompanying letter of opposition will be sent by the county to the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services and state legislators.

Sam Breene, who is chairman of the commissioners, said he and fellow commissioners Mike Dulaney and Albert Abramovic hope the resolution will “change the hearts and minds of the legislators” as they come to vote on the fate of Polk Center.

“We felt that as the new county commissioners we should affirm our commitment to keeping Polk Center open,” Breene said.

“This is an important issue,” Breene added. “We want keep it visible and let Governor (Tom) Wolf and the state legislators know our opposition to closing Polk Center.”

The resolution notes the approximately 800 Polk Center employees who would be affected and the negative impact of the loss of millions of dollars the closure would have on the regional economy.

“The Venango County Board of Commissioners do hereby declare their opposition to the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services proposed closure of Polk State Center,” the resolution says.

In other business Tuesday, the commissioners approved a contract with STV Inc. for bridge inspection services in the county.

The services would be for all the county and municipal bridges in Venango County and would be paid for out of liquid fuels money, Abramovic said.

Commissioners also approved the appointment of Glenn Speer and the reappointment of Greg Miller and Rick Burchfield to the Venango County Regional Planning Commission.

Breene also thanked former commissioners Tim Brooks and Vince Witherup for their many years of service on the board. Brooks served 12 years and Witherup about 10.