Blair County briefs


Deal inked to study prison upgrades

Blair County commissioners are signing an agreement with CDI-Infrastructure LLC of Ebensburg to prepare bidding documents, outlining specifications for upgrades to several electronically controlled systems inside the county prison.

Warden Abbie Tate asked commissioners Tuesday for an approval on the proposed base cost of $69,452 for engineering services that will examine and yield recommended upgrades to the prison’s central control center, door controls and housing unit controls. In addition, the documents are to address improvements to or replacements for the prison’s utility controls, security intercom, paging system, wireless duress system and video surveillance system.

Commissioners indicated Tuesday that the 2017 bond fund has money to cover the cost of the agreement. Money to cover the cost of the project will need to be identified if commissioners follow through with advertising for bids.

Ankle monitoring services renewed

Blair County is renewing an agreement with Reli Alert GPS for ankle monitoring services for juveniles under supervision of the county juvenile probation or Children, Youth & Families office.

Commissioners approved a contract, extending through June 30, that sets the cost at $5.50 per device per day for those in use and $1.50 per day for idle devices, generally covered by the supervising county department.

Blair County has used ankle monitoring devices with juveniles for several years, with numbers provided by the juvenile probation office showing a decline in recent years.

In 2016, the county required ankle monitors to be applied 40 times to juveniles, which would have included repeat users. In 2017, the number of uses dropped to 36, then in 2018, it fell to 26. In 2019, the county required ankle monitors to be used 15 times.

The average time for a juvenile to use an ankle monitoring device would be about 30 days, according to Jon Frank, juvenile probation office supervisor.

Webster offers reassessment help

Blair County Commissioner Amy Webster is offering to help property owners who continue to have questions or concerns about the county’s reassessment project.

Webster, prior to her election as a commissioner, helped local residents examine property value changes and consider options to pursue tax relief.

“I know there are people with questions and frustrations,” Webster said. “My message to them is that I’m willing to help people figure out what they don’t understand and what they can do.”

Webster said she can be reached at the commissioners office at 693-3030 or at awebster@blairco.org.

This year’s deadline for property owners to challenge their property assessment is Aug. 1.