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State of Emergency declaration tops Blair County Commissioners meeting

Effective February 17, 2003, the Blair County Commissioners signed papers authorizing the declaration of a State of Emergency in Blair County due to the heavy snowfall. This comes soon after the governor declared a State of Emergency for Pennsylvania.
“We talked about the State of Emergency that we declared,” said Blair County Commissioner Donna Gority. “We signed the papers yesterday, John Ebersole and I did. We authorized it officially on the record today.
“We did that primarily so that if we or any of our municipalities incur expenses with snow removal or dealing with the snow, and if there becomes federal or state funds available, that they will be eligible for reimbursement because we declared an emergency.”
Another main issue discussed at the meeting was the adoption of a resolution for placing properties on the tax exemption list. This is in result of the properties of Conrail or Norfolk-Southern and will now allow these properties to be exempt from real estate taxes.
“That applies to what we’re calling the Conrail or Norfolk-Southern properties here at the Hollidaysburg yard,” said Gority. “We had earlier put three of those parcels back on the tax roles, but we have since done more research and discovered we were in error. So, we’re putting them back on the exempt list where they had been.”
Rounding out the meeting was the authorization to renew a fiscal year 2002-03 mental health contract between Blair County and CONTACT Altoona for $48,000.
“That’s basically a contract with CONTACT Altoona,” said Gority. “They’re a helpline that answers phone calls from people. We have a contract with them basically to support people with mental illness.”
CONTACT Altoona is a helpline service for the people of Blair County to call for assistance in different situations, like loss of a loved one, loneliness or depression. CONTACT Altoona also makes calls to people, especially the elderly, at certain times to remind them to take medications or to check on their health.