News & Press
Commissioners Mike Pipe & Mark Higgins believe in the freedom of the press. The media helps our democracy function in an open and transparent way. We salute the members of the press and appreciate the coverage they provide of the great work happening in Centre County Government.
“Centre County to Seek Funds for Addressing Opioid Crisis”
StateCollege.com - March 7, 2019
“Centre County will apply for federal funds for expanding efforts to battle the opioid epidemic locally…
…The money would be used to support and expand the work of the Centre County Heroin and Opioid Prevention and Education (HOPE) Initiative...
…Commissioner Michael Pipe said the achievements of the HOPE Initiative to date also should put the county in good position to receive the funds.
‘I think in terms of the progress the HOPE Initiative has made it’s been phenomenal,’ Pipe said. ‘The fact that there’s only eight, it’s not as if it’s a mini-grant and everybody’s going to get a little bit. This is truly competitive so I think the fact we’re above and beyond where other counties are at in our response, I think it will position us well for this.’
Commissioner Mark Higgins said that through the efforts of the HOPE Initiative and the Criminal Justice Advisory Board, ‘we’ve drastically shortened the time from the crisis to having them in treatment, but it’s still not quite a warm handoff. So it would be nice if for a lot of citizens we could actually begin treating them the day of or the day after the crisis.’”
“'We're Going to See Some Amazing Things Happen.' Officials Discuss Plans for Hotel Tax Revenue”
StateCollege.com - March 4, 2019
“Fritz Smith, CPCVB executive director, said at a press conference on Monday at the Visitor Center that nearly all of the new funds generated by the tax increase will be used directly for attracting more visitors to the region through a variety of sales and marketing initiatives, including expanding the grant program.”
"We need to develop more large festivals and events to draw more tourists to the county and also further improve our quality of life," Higgins said. "I know we have wonderful people here that just need some additional tools and financial support that the tourism grant program will assist them in helping their dreams come true."
"The innovative approach we’re going to be taking with these additional funds is going to be special to watch," added Commissioner Michael Pipe.”
“Expanding rural broadband access”
WTAJ - March 1, 2019
“Centre County: the first in Central PA to offer paid parental leave to employees”
WTAJ - February 28, 2019
“Centre County commissioners push family leave policy to consent agenda”
Lock Haven Express - February 22, 2019
At this week’s Centre County Commissioners’ meeting, the commissioners moved a trio of policies regarding leave of absence, public communications and office closings to next week’s consent agenda. And while they were all significant in their own right, the leave of absence policy stood out.
If the measure passes on Tuesday, Centre County will become the first county government in central Pennsylvania to offer paid parental leave to its employees.”
“Commissioners Higgins, Pipe to Seek Re-election”
StateCollege.com - February 11, 2019
“Centre County Commissioners Mark Higgins and Michael Pipe jointly announced on Monday their campaign to seek re-election this year.
Pipe, who currently serves as chair of the Board of Commissioners, is seeking a third term, while Higgins is running for a second. Both are Democrats.”
“A ‘clearinghouse’ for local food is coming to Centre County. Here’s how it works”
Centre Daily Times - February 9, 2019
“Producers of food are plentiful in Centre County. In fact, Centre County holds more than 1,100 farms, which sold over $91.5 million in agricultural products, according to the 2012 Census of Agriculture.
But only 1 percent of food produced in the county is actually consumed here, according to Commissioner Mark Higgins, proponent of a cheese factory in Centre County.”
“New voting machines to be ready for May elections”
Centre County Gazette - February 7, 2019
“The election staff will be trained and ready to go by Election Day, but the equipment is not that different to operate than the old equipment. The commissioners said voters should be able to navigate Election Day without much difficulty…
Commissioner Mark Higgins said Centre was one of the only counties in the state to hold two public town hall meetings concerning the voting machines, and the county received encouraging feedback.”
“Centre approves purchase of new voting machines”
The Express - February 7, 2019
“After looking at several different options, the Centre County Board of Commissioners approved the purchase of new countywide voting machines at a cost of $1.2 million…
According to Pipe, the change is a win-win for voters, officials and poll workers.
‘This allows us to stay paper-based with our ballots,’ Pipe said. ‘It improves the ADA accessibility with these new machines and gives us some safeguarding improvements we may not have had with our current machines but just adds another layer of safeguarding and security.’ ”
“Centre County to spend $1.2 million to buy new voting machines
Centre Daily Times - February 5, 2019
“New voting machines costing $1.2 million will be hitting Centre County in the next couple of months, after county Commissioners approved the purchase at their meeting Tuesday.”
“Centre Co. purchases new election equipment”
WTAJ - February 5, 2019
“Centre County Moves Forward with Purchase of New Voting Machines”
StateCollege.com - February 5, 2019
“Centre County's Board of Commissioners on Tuesday approved the purchase of new countywide voting systems for $1.2 million…
Commissioner Mark Higgins noted that ES&S also came in with the most affordable option. He added that for counties that were not using a paper ballot system, the change may have a learning curve. But in Centre County, voters and election workers shouldn't have an issue.
‘For your average citizen, it’s not going to seem any different at all,’ he said. ‘It’s still a paper ballot. You’re still filling in bubbles. For our elections workers, it is the same vendor.’ ”
“Centre County Commissioners honor SpringBoard Startup Challenge winners”
The Express - January 24, 2019
“It was a big day for Centre County entrepreneurs on Tuesday at the Centre County Commissioners meeting… ‘We wanted to honor our local entrepreneurs,’ Higgins said. ‘They’re going to help create a lot of jobs.’ ”
“Centre Commissioners donate $500,000 to new health care facility”
The Express - January 12, 2019
“Centre County Commissioners presented a check for $500,000 to Centre Care on Friday as a donation to the nonprofit’s effort to build the county’s newest state-of-the-art health center.
Centre Care, the nonprofit that currently operates Centre Crest in Bellefonte, plans to open a new 240-bed nursing facility on the Benner Pike in 2020.
‘The Board of Commissioners is honored to assist in the future growth of Centre Crest. The transition to a new, modernized facility will serve the residents of Centre County for generations to come. The $500,000 county contribution is presented in memory of all those who have and will need care from the Centre Crest team,’ Commissioner Michael Pipe said.”
“Centre County focusing on improving quality of life”
The Express - January 1, 2019
“According to chair Michael Pipe, there’s a lot on the horizon for Centre County.
‘In 2019, I’m looking forward to continuing to improve the quality of life in Centre County. The county will be ocusing on many projects including upgrading our voting machines, renovating our historic courthouse, improving our energy infrastructure throughout our county buildings, enhancing 9-1-1 and public safety in our communities, and finding innovative ways to help invest and grow our small businesses,’ Pipe said. ‘The future success of these programs and initiatives is made possible through teamwork and partnerships. That’s why I’m especially looking forward to being a part of the ongoing commitment to collaboration in Centre County government.’
The upgrade of voting machines will be done soon. In December, the commissioners hosted a Town Hall meeting where residents could get an up close and personal look at the machines. It gave them a chance to “kick the tires” and ask questions.
‘This is a long term commitment,’ commissioner Mark Higgins said during the Town Hall meeting. ‘This equipment usually lasts 15 to 20 years because you only use it two days a year.’ ”
“Centre County commissioners adopt budget”
The Express - December 28, 2018
“Commissioner Mark Higgins applauded the efforts of everyone who helped put the budget together.
‘A lot of effort went into it. A number of department heads started on it back in July,’ Higgins said. ‘Here we are at the end of December, finally approving everything … no property tax increase from Centre County Government for the ninth year in a row.” …
Commissioner Michael Pipe said that Centre County continues to serve its residents well.
‘Not only is there no tax increase, but no services are being decreased. In many cases, we are increasing services. That should be noted as well. We are not cutting anywhere,’ Pipe said.”
“Centre County lets residents, poll workers check out new voting machines”
The Express - December 11, 2018
“A crowd of approximately 100 Centre County residents turned out on Monday night for a Town Hall meeting to discuss new voting machines.
The Centre County Commissioners … hosted the event, which was held at the Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology…
‘It’s good to see engaged people. We’re seeing many people who work those 16-hour days on Election Day,’ Pipe said. ‘We have poll workers here and people who are just interested in the election process. They want to see what happens with their vote, they care about voting and they want to see what the future holds.’ …
Commissioner Mark Higgins was thrilled with the turnout. He was happy to see Centre County residents “kicking the tires” on the new machines.
‘Great turnout,’ Higgins said. ‘I want to compliment our citizens and especially our election workers. We definitely wanted them to test the equipment, ask a lot of questions and give us some feedback.’ ”
“No tax increase in proposed 2019 Centre County budget”
The Express - December 5, 2018
"Good news, Centre County residents: The tentative 2019 budget features no tax increase. …
‘It’s the ninth consecutive year without a property tax increase and that doesn’t just happen,’ Pipe said. ‘It happens through diligence and hard work of every single team member here in Centre County.’ ”
“New voting machines are coming to Centre County. How will they be different?”
Centre Daily Times - November 30, 2018
“As part of a swift timetable for all Pennsylvania counties to have new voting machines with verifiable paper trails, the Department of State hosted a voting machine expo in Centre County Thursday night for residents, poll workers and commissioners to test and give commentary on new voting machines…
‘We’re looking forward to receiving feedback from the citizens, and most especially, from our election workers. Because they’re the ones that show up at 6 in the morning and are often working until 10 at night,’ Higgins said. ‘So if we could receive some slight productivity improvements with the new (voting) equipment, that would be great, but our focus is gonna be, paper based, audit-able, very transparent, voter-verifiable ballots, and the ability to rerun elections for months into the future.’ ”
“Centre County honors veterans in Sunday ceremony”
The Express - November 12, 2018
“Chilly temperatures didn’t deter hundreds of Centre County residents, political leaders and, of course, veterans from turning out and packing the lawn at the Centre County Courthouse on Veterans Day for a pair of special ceremonies…
Following the traditional Veterans Day ceremony, the Centre County commissioners … helped re-dedicate the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial and Andrew Gregg Curtin Monument that have stood in front of the courthouse since 1916.
The approximately $120,000 project was helped along by a $49,475 Keystone Historic Preservation grant from the state, while the remaining cost was covered by Centre County government.”
“How secure is casting your vote in Centre County?”
Centre Daily Times - November 5, 2018
“ ‘There are many different checks and balances that occur’ on Election Day, said Centre County Commissioner Chairman Michael Pipe.”
“Checks and Balances Keeps Voting in Centre County Secure”
Centre Daily Times - November 5, 2018
“New Grant to Repair Centre Co. Bridges”
WTAJ - October 18, 2018
“State, county and local officials discuss repairs of ‘challenging’ bridges”
Centre Daily Times - October 18, 2018
“State, county and local government officials came together Thursday to discuss the uses of a $1.365 million Pennsylvania Department of Transportation grant that will fix three structurally deficient bridges in Centre County.”
“Centre County’s Board of Commissioners having press conference”
The Express - October 18, 2018
“Centre County’s Board of Commissioners are hosting a press conference at 1:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 18 to accept a $1,365,000 state grant to fund bridge repairs. Included in the Local Bridge Bundle Project are the Fox Gap Road Bridge in Miles Township, Lower Coleville Road Bridge in Spring Township, and the Front Street Bridge in Curtin Township.”
“Final hearing Wednesday on Centre, Bellefonte CDBG funds”
The Express - September 21, 2018
“Centre County’s list of projects under consideration for grant funding include: construction of a new potable water storage tank in Unionville Borough ($272,552), with approximately $59,910 earmarked for grant administration.”
“Storage building approved for the Centre County Safety Center”
The Express - September 19, 2018
“Giving the final nod to a state grant-contract, the Centre County Board of Commissioners also approved agreements with two vendors for construction of an equipment storage building at the Centre County Public Safety Training Center…
A member of the Centre County Public Safety Training Center advisory committee, Higgins said it is the first substantial construction in years at the Training Center, which offers training for firefighters and emergency responders throughout a 12-county region.”
“Energy-Saving Projects Move Forward for the County”
StateCollege.com - September 10, 2018
“The Centre County Commissioners have agreed to proceed with a $4.7 million project that will update some of the county's older buildings with energy-saving improvements, with plans to cut energy costs and save the county money in the long run.” …
‘This will be the single largest investments into the Centre County energy infrastructure in quite some time, and it is going to serve not only us today, but well into the future,’ said Chairman Commissioner Mike Pipe.
Added Commissioner Mark Higgins, “Between choosing the new electric supplier and these 11 projects, we have the potential to save the citizens of Centre County several million dollars over a 20-year period in energy costs.”
“Centre proclaims National Recovery Month”
The Express - September 5, 2018
“Acknowledging not only addiction’s pervasiveness in Pennsylvania but the need for treatment and the potential for recovery, the Centre County Board of Commissioners voted to proclaim September 2018 as “National Recovery Month” at its meeting on Tuesday…
‘It’s a major issue for Centre County,’ said board vice-chair Mark Higgins. ‘I attended many events over this weekend and talked with many people who have addiction in their families. We have to get control over it.’ ”
“Centre eyes solar energy for savings”
The Express - August 2, 2018
“The Centre County commissioners remain in support of a solar component in the county’s Guaranteed Energy Savings Act program.
The program, a partnership between the county and McClure Co., Inc. offers an energy audit identifying 12 projects that, as estimated, could save the county $5.6 million in energy costs over time.”
“Could a new cheese factory help Centre County’s struggling dairy farms?”
Centre Daily Times - July 18, 2018
“Centre County has many amenities — more than 1,000 farms, University Park Airport, two busy interstates, a highly skilled workforce and the capability to process large amounts of sewage — that are attractive to dairy processors, Higgins said.
However, those companies aren’t currently jumping at the opportunity to expand. Higgins said state and county officials are in the process of courting potential processors, but that could take a year or two and then another year and a half to have a factory up and running.
‘This is a priority and we need to keep pushing on it because we have dairy farmers going bankrupt… And we need to give them hope and we need to be proactive in assisting them,’ Higgins said.”
“A Hub for Innovation”
Pennsylvania Business Central - June 29, 2018
“ ‘If you go to one of the major meccas for entrepreneurship with a million dollars, that million dollars isn’t going to last you long,’ Centre County Commissioner Mark Higgins said. ‘If you have a million dollars in places like Pittsburgh, or even better, State College, you can make it last years. We’ve got a high quality of life, we’re fairly affordable compared to almost all competition and our location is sort of in the center of everything but also in the middle of nowhere.’ ”
“Centre to extend tax benefits for Philipsburg firm”
The Express - June 27, 2018
“A manufacturer within the Moshannon Valley Regional Business Park is looking to expand and provide more employment opportunities in the Centre region.
During their Tuesday meeting, the Centre County Board of Commissioners discussed a resolution that would provide tax benefits to Advanced Powder Products, Inc., or APP, which will be breaking ground soon on an approximately $5 million expansion.”
“Centre eyes pedestrian safety improvements”
The Express - June 20, 2018
“The Centre County Commissioners are looking to help increase pedestrian safety in State College…
[T]he county will be submitting a liquid fuels application to PennDOT in the amount of $30,000 for pedestrian safety improvements at West College Avenue and Corl Street… The county’s liquid fuels fund is used to supports its municipalities’ construction, reconstruction and maintenance and repair of transportation infrastructure.
‘It’s a great application and we look forward to approval,’ said Commissioner Mike Pipe.”
“Centre supports grant application to enhance Holt Library”
The Express - June 13, 2018
“During the Tuesday meeting of the Centre County Commissioners, a resolution was made in support of the application for the Keystone Grant for the Philipsburg-based Holt Memorial Library. The funding will go toward a more energy-efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system”.
“Bellefonte borough switches to LED lights to save money and environment”
WJAC- June 13, 2018
“ ‘It’s a significant advantage to the led street lighting, it last 2-4 times longer than traditional lights,’ Centre County Commissioner Mark Higgins said. ‘You’re going to save a lot of money on replacing the bulbs and having people out on very high extension ladders or cherry pickers replacing those bulbs…they’ll also save about $14,000 in energy cost alone.’ …
‘Energy efficiency is becoming more and more cost effective, which is tremendous. It’s a win for everybody,’ Higgins said.”
“Centre supports $615,000 Hess Farm conservation project”
The Express - May 30, 2018
“The Centre County Commissioners are on board with ClearWater Conservancy’s conservation easement acquisition of the Hess Farm in State College.
During their Tuesday meeting, the commissioners approved writing a letter of support to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development for a request of $250,000, the maximum available amount, in funding from the Greenways, Trails and Recreation grant program.”
“Chamber of Commerce to celebrate 80 years”
The Express - May 2, 2018
“Eighty years of helping the growth of small and big businesses, along with nonprofits, is quite a big benchmark, one that the Bellefonte Intervalley Area Chamber of Commerce (BIACC) is proud to celebrate this month.
At their Tuesday, May 1 meeting, the Centre County Board of Commissioners recognized this achievement with a special proclamation, proclaiming the week of May 6 through May 12 as Bellefonte Intervalley Area Chamber of Commerce Week…
‘Bellefonte’s a wonderful place and the Chamber is a big part of that,’ Higgins said.”
“Scholarships available for EMS volunteers in Centre”
The Express - April 26, 2018
“Centre County government is offering scholarships to encourage new emergency responder volunteers.
The scholarships may be used for any certificate or degree program offered by Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology (CPI) or South Hills School of Business and Technology.”
“Centre makes plans for $382K in CDBG funds”
The Express - April 25 2018
“The Centre County Commissioners have approved a contract totaling $382,213 for community development projects in the boroughs of Bellefonte and Millheim.
These two projects, handicap barrier removal in Bellefonte’s Masullo and Governors parks and water transmission main replacement in the north side of Millheim, will be funded through a 2017 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).”
“Centre supports $300,000 grant for wildlife center”
The Express - April 11, 2018
“With the help of grant money, the Wildlife for Everyone Endowment Foundation may soon have a $1.8-million recreation project underway.
‘We have got beautiful natural resources here in Centre County, a lot of state parks; it’s a wonderful place to recreate and this would just augment that,’ Commissioner Mike Pipe said. ‘This will be a really nice thing for our community.’ ”
“Centre eyes lease agreement with wildlife foundation”
The Express - April 4, 2018
“A $1.8 million trails project may be on the horizon for Centre County.
At the Tuesday morning meeting of the Centre County Board of Commissioners, a 25-year lease agreement with the Wildlife for Everyone Endowment Foundation was discussed…
Over the years, the wildlife foundation has been involved in a number of similar ADA and wildlife projects, including one in Berks County, Commissioner Mike Pipe said.
‘They’ve done some of these ADA and wildlife projects and have seen great results, so they are trying to replicate that here. It’s a great investment that they’re making in the area and if we can get towards a finale on this and assist them, it would be great,’ Pipe said.”
“Centre supports $1.95 million at-risk bridge bundle project”
The Express - March 14, 2018
“At Tuesday’s meeting, the Centre County Commissioners vocalized their support for a bridge bundle project that the county is re-seeking funding to save these three bridges.”
“Centre approves bonds to help Mount Nittany”
The Express - February 7, 2018
“During the Tuesday morning meeting, the Centre County Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution to have the Centre County Hospital Authority issue tax-exempt bonds, the proceeds of which will not exceed $80 million, to assist Mount Nittany Medical Center. This, in conjunction with a combination of taxable bonds, will provide funds to refinance a portion of the authority’s hospital revenue bonds and approximately $32 million worth of capital projects that will take place at Mount Nittany’s area medical facilities.”
“Ready, Set, Bellefonte!”
State College Magazine - February 1, 2018
“ ‘When cyclists go on vacation, they spend the second most of any type of active sport vacationer,’ says Centre County Commissioner Mark Higgins. Golfers spend the most but typically stay at resorts, where their spending is concentrated. ‘Cyclists are going to stay at a B&B, they’re going to go to State Burger Co. or The Blonde Bistro for lunch, they’re going to go to a brewpub for dinner.’ ”
“‘At-risk’ bridges getting attention in Centre County”
The Express - January 24, 2018
“On Tuesday, the Centre County commissioners considered increasing county funding for the Township Route 810 Gum Stump Road Bridge, which will be replaced thanks to Act 13 Local At-Risk Bridge funding.
The increase will receive final approval at next Tuesday’s meeting.
The funding increase will be from $25,000 to $84,250, which will cover 25 percent of the project”.
“Centre County drug court is up and running”
Centre Daily Times - January 11, 2018
“After about two years of preparation, Centre County officials announced on Thursday that the drug court program is officially operating…
In October, Center County received a federal grant of $400,000 to start the drug court, and according to Centre County Commissioner Michael Pipe, the county will assess the taxpayer savings as the program progresses.”
“Commissioners discuss adoption of resolution for redistricting reform”
The Express - January 10, 2018
“ ‘It’s a great opportunity to reduce some of the divisiveness we have within congress, within the general assembly and Harrisburg, and allow for some more compromise and dialogue to occur,’ said Commissioner Mike Pipe…
Commissioner Mark Higgins said the reelection rate for a lot of elected officials in gerrymandered districts is about 97 percent.
‘In my opinion, if you have a competitive district, you’re going to serve your constituents better, so I think we need a resolution and we need some changes in the state,’ he said.”
“Centre grant aims to combat violence”
The Express - January 3, 2018
“Centre County’s efforts to combat domestic and sexual violence continues to grow, with continued grant funding in the new year…
‘I really want to thank PCCD for increasing the amount,’ said Commissioner Mike Pipe. ‘There were some decreases in the initial funding and a lot of victim advocates across the state had advocated for additional funding.’ ”
“Centre adopts budget with no tax increase”
The Express - December 20, 2017
“Centre will see county property taxes remain the same for the eighth year in a row.”
“Centre adopts proposed budget with no tax increase”
The Express - November 29, 2017
“Centre County remains committed to preventing a tax increase, with a new budget calling for no increase for the eighth consecutive year…
‘It’s a huge credit to the department management and staff in Centre County government,’ said Commissioner Mark Higgins. ‘I know of a broad variety of other counties that had significantly larger deficits than Centre County is projecting, and in actuality, I think for the last two years we projected small deficits. Then, as the budget year went on, we ended up with a very small surplus.’ ” …
‘A lot of hard work has gone into this, a lot of effort, and it truly represents our commitment to continue these services to the people of Centre County,’ said Commissioner Mike Pipe.”
“Proposed 2018 Centre County budget doesn’t raise real estate taxes”
Centre Daily Times - November 28, 2017
“Centre County won’t increase its real estate tax for the eighth consecutive year.”
“Centre gets $750,000 for sewer project”
The Express - November 15, 2017
“Wastewater issues in the village of Potters Mills will become a thing of the past… [T]he county was awarded $959,000 last week to help with a project that will create a public sewer system to alleviate water contamination in Potters Mills…
It is the biggest competitive grant the county has ever applied for [and] may be the biggest competitive grant the state has awarded.
‘That’s going to benefit the citizens of Potters Mills, especially those on a fixed income, because we will be able to reduce their monthly fees for the new system,’ Commissioner Mark Higgins said.
The project is shovel ready…and work is expected to begin next summer.”
“Centre officials hear findings of space utilization study”
The Express - November 9, 2017
“ ‘We’ve already had the District Attorney’s Office moved over to the Temple Court building, and we want to be very cognizant and thoughtful about the next moves that occur within the courthouse, annex and Temple Court building,’ said Commissioner Mike Pipe.”
“Potters Mills sewer project nets $750,000 grant”
Centre Daily Times - November 3, 2017
“About seven years ago, Potter Township identified that some of the sewer systems in the Potters Mills area were malfunctioning. Now, they finally have the funding to fix the problems.
The township has been awarded a $750,000 grant to help fund the construction of a public sewer system in Potters Mills…
The funding comes through the state Community Development Block Grant program, which Centre County applied for on the township’s behalf.”
“Centre seeks naloxone grant, plans to digitize court records”
The Express - November 1, 2017
“Centre County is ramping up its efforts to stop opioid overdoses… ‘As we have expanded the program, it has saved additional lives in the last couple months,’ said Commissioner Mark Higgins…
In other business, county court records dating back to 1800 will soon be digitized… According to Debra Immel, county prothonotary and clerk of courts, [the vendor] will digitize 366 docket books which contain civil and criminal cases that have gone through court. The docket books date from 1800 to 1994.
‘This project is a benefit by improving public access, while preserving our books,’ Immel said.”
“Centre to host economic town hall meeting”
The Express - October 24, 2017
“The Centre County commissioners will host a town hall meeting this week to talk about economic data and future opportunities.
The Penn State Extension, Center for Economic and Community Development and the Penn State Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education have compiled key economic data that can create opportunity for more jobs and investment, commissioners believe.”
“Officials support $185M in Centre road projects”
The Express - October 18, 2017
“Centre County is hoping to make the I-99 and I-80 interchanges safer.
During the Tuesday meeting of the Centre County Board of Commissioners [were] asked for a letter of support to apply for grant funding for projects that will connect the two interstates, which the commissioners unanimously approved. The projects are estimated to cost $185,450,000.”
“Centre officials discuss successful flood repairs”
The Express - October 11, 2017
“It has been less than a year since last October’s severe storm flooded parts of Centre County, and now, 10 affected landowners’ properties have been repaired.”
“Work completed on 3 sites damaged by last year’s flooding”
Centre Daily Times - October 10, 2017
“The Centre County commissioners were updated Tuesday on watershed work in response to erosion and flooding caused by heavy rains in 2016…
The county was awarded $187,800 in grant funding, he said, and more than 30 sites were evaluated by the conservation service and the state Department of Environmental Protection. In the end, he said, three sites owned by 10 separate landowners were deemed eligible for work…
[Staff] thanked the commissioners for sponsoring the project, saying the county made it easier for work to get done by coming to the commissioners for the agreement instead of needing to go to the individual municipalities.”
“Centre drug court receives $400,000 grant”
The Express - October 4, 2017
“ ‘If we implement this correctly, we can help upwards of maybe a dozen to two dozen people at the same time,’ said Commissioner Mark Higgins. ‘Move them out of the correctional facility and integrate them into the community much more quickly, which helps a dozen to two dozen families every couple of years and reduces expenses at the correctional facility.’ ”
“Centre to pursue CDBG funds for sewage treatment”
The Express - September 27, 2017
“The Centre County Board of Commissioners has authorized Potter Township to apply for the biggest competitive grant the county has ever applied for.
During their Tuesday, Sept. 26 meeting, the commissioners unanimously approved the township moving forward with the application to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) for $1 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to help with a project to resolve wastewater issues in the village of Potters Mills.”
“Officials plan for new surveillance at Centre prison”
The Express - September 20, 2017
“A video surveillance replacement project will be taking place at the Centre County Correctional Facility.”
“Parking lot expansion to benefit Centre”
The Express - September 13, 2017
“Only initial plans for the county repurposing of the facility will take place over the next few years, which will include gathering information and ideas from the community, Commissioner Mark Higgins said. The top priority is to help the facility with its move, and the future plans of the facility will be discussed further under the term of a new board of commissioners.”
“Officials OK tax benefits for Centre business park lots”
The Express - September 6, 2017
“ ‘There’s a lot going on in Philipsburg, thanks in part to the MVEDP and the downtown improvement district,’ said Commissioner Mark Higgins. ‘At this point, we have three business incubators in Philipsburg.’ ”
“Centre moves forward with office space study”
The Express - August 16, 2017
“The county is moving forward with a space feasibility study of its courthouse, courthouse annex and Temple Court buildings.”
“Centre looks at $7M of road improvements”
The Express - July 26, 2017
“Over the next five years in Centre County, at least $7 million could be invested into local infrastructure projects and at least 105 additional jobs could be created and/or retained.”
“5-year infrastructure plan estimates county could create 100 jobs by 2022”
Centre Daily Times - July 25, 2017
“The Centre County board of commissioners is considering implementing a five-year transportation infrastructure funding plan that could create jobs and address backlogged construction projects…
Commissioner Mark Higgins said the construction projects generated by the increase in revenue will stimulate the economy and create jobs.”
“Centre looks toward $1.7 million bridge projects”
The Express - July 12, 2017
“Centre County is hoping to receive funding to repair three large-scale structurally-deficient bridges, projects that will accumulatively cost $1.7 million.”
“Centre officials approve submission of grant to aid re-entry program”
The Express - June 21, 2017
“ ‘This is really a model, after the HOPE initiative has done an excellent job,’ Commissioner Mike Pipe said. ‘They got a website up and this is almost sort of copying that and just changing some of the names and individuals associated with it. It’s been a great asset to the HOPE coalition.’
“The website created by the HOPE (Heroin and Opioid Prevention and Education) initiative has really helped get the word out in the county, especially in terms of education, events, and how to help out, Pipe added.
“ ‘The reentry coalition has been doing a wonderful job,’ Commissioner Mark Higgins said. ‘I know the number of county inmates in our facilities has been on a relatively steady decrease ever since that group started working. That’s more grandparents taking care of grandchildren, more parents taking care of their kids, more young adults helping to contribute to their family and assisting everyone in the county.’
“The Centre County Reentry Coalition was formed in 2014 with the mission to identify new ways and programs that would successfully return incarcerated individuals to the community.”
“Centre County thanks senior volunteers”
The Express - June 16, 2017
“The Centre County Commissioners recently adopted a proclamation recognizing the valuable contribution made by the more than 800 volunteers of RSVP. A plaque was presented with the words ‘Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, Lifetime Achievement Awards, Centre County Board of Commissioners.’ ”
“Centre OKs bid for repair of flood-damaged properties”
The Express - June 14, 2017
“The bids have been made and Centre County is ready to move forward with repair of five properties that were significantly damaged by last October’s flooding…
The five properties are broken into three projects based on the three areas in the county that were approved for funding from the Emergency Watershed Protection Program”.
“Bellefonte historical monument to be repaired and preserved”
Centre Daily Times - May 23, 2017
“The Centre County board of commissioners on Tuesday approved a contract to restore and preserve the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial and Curtin Monument located in front of the courthouse…
Last year, the county was awarded a Keystone Historic Preservation Construction grant of almost $50,000 through the state Historical and Museum Commission…
‘This is a several months process,’ board Chairman Michael Pipe said. ‘But the end result is really going to help preserve something that is a gem to downtown Bellefonte.’ ”
“Centre officials pass resolution opposing state funding cuts”
The Express - May 17, 2017
“The state has proposed $782,460 in funding cuts to key services in Centre County, and the commissioners are not happy.
During the Tuesday, May 16 meeting of the Centre County Board of Commissioners, a resolution was unanimously approved to oppose these cuts, which arise from PA State House Bill 218, the Pennsylvania House budget. They sent a letter to local legislators that stresses the importance of funding these services.
‘We have the responsibility of making sure that our legislators understand the effects of some of the votes they are putting out in Harrisburg,’ Pipe said.”
“Commissioners want to save police barracks”
The Express - May 3, 2017
“The Centre County Board of Commissioners have put their full support behind saving the Philipsburg State Police barracks.
At the May 5 meeting, the commissioners unanimously approved sending a drafted letter to Gov. Tom Wolf, a letter which asks the governor to reconsider his decision to close it…
‘It pinpoints the tens of thousands of citizens who currently receive state police protection and talks about Centre County being the fourth largest county in the state,’ said Commissioner Mark Higgins. ‘I don’t know if it mentions it, but the county population is the second fastest growing in the state as well.’ ”
“April proclaimed awareness, prevention month in Centre County”
Centre Daily Times - April 10, 2017
“With blue ribbons tied to nearby trees and blue pinwheels blowing in the breeze, officials declared April as both Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month in Centre County.”
“Town hall discusses additional transportation funding in Centre”
The Express - April 10, 2017
“Centre County has the potential to bring in an additional $602,685 annually for transportation projects throughout the county…
Based on a survey the commissioners sent to all county municipalities, 12 of the 19 responding municipalities are in favor of the additional fee and have said that it would be very helpful in projects that they need completed in their jurisdictions.”
“Start-up giving voice to the voiceless in Centre County”
The Express - March 14, 2017
“Those who cannot speak can have their voice heard through biomedical speech devices, and one project in Centre County is making the option more affordable.
Project Vive, pronounced “vee-vay,” which is Spanish for “to live,” is one of the first startup businesses to graduate from Happy Valley LaunchBox and was created by a recent Penn State and Happy Valley LaunchBox graduate, Mary Elizabeth McCulloch, of Milesburg…
According to Commissioner Mark Higgins, Project Vive is the type of startup business that the county would like to see flourish in one of its business incubators, such as the upcoming Bellefonte SpringBoard incubator.”
“Historic grant could help Centre courthouse”
The Express - March 1, 2017
“Centre County is hoping for a $100,000 grant to fix retaining walls at the courthouse…
The county commissioners have authorized the planning department to go for a Keystone Historic Preservation Construction grant to rehabilitate the deteriorating concrete-parged retaining walls that surround the left and right sides of the courthouse.”
“Centre considers grant to help fund drug court”
The Express - January 25, 2017
“Centre County is looking into a national grant that could help fund a drug court that it plans to start this October…
The Bureau of Justice Assistance grant, if awarded, would provide a maximum of $400,000 over a period of 36 months. Arbogast said that the grant could be used to fund court operations and services, participant supervision, case management, and treatment services.
“The big reason why we are doing a drug court is because it works,” said Commissioner Mike Pipe. “It’s shown it works; it has effectiveness.”
“Centre projects hopeful to receive state assistance”
The Express - January 18, 2017
“At least six Centre County redevelopment projects, from economic development projects to new facilities that will benefit the local community, are hoping to be included in the state capital budget this year…
Examples of uses for the county and Moshannon Valley economic development projects include assistance with entrepreneurship and expansion of a current employer, explained Commissioner Mark Higgins.
‘I’m glad to see the planning department working on this type of thing so we can help create more jobs in Centre County,’ Higgins said.”
CDT 2016 Year in Review: County Government
Centre Daily Times - December 30, 2016
The competence and resolve of the officials was placed front and center in October when the county experienced historic flooding in Milesburg and Howard.
County commissioners Pipe, Higgins and Dershem declared a disaster emergency on Oct. 21, and oversaw the recovery efforts, which included applying for financial relief from government agencies, such as Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Small Business Administration.
“Centre OKs budget, Money for housing”
The Express - December 21, 2016
“Centre County homeowners will not see a tax increase to their county real estate taxes next year.”
“Centre considers funding sustainable home project”
The Express - December 15 2016
“The State College Community Land Trust wants to make affordable, sustainable homes a reality for homeowners in Centre County…
Recent data shows that low- and middle- class families use about 17 to 19 percent of their income for energy costs. [Chair of GreenBuild and State College Community Land Trust volunteer, Peg] Hambrick said that the GreenBuild homes will ensure that homeowners only use about two percent of their income on energy.”
“Centre talks federal flood assistance”
The Express - December 8, 2016
“Centre County will receive federal public assistance to help several areas damaged by the October flash flooding…
[T]he federal disaster declaration that President Barack Obama signed will open federal funding for 75 percent reimbursement to local municipalities, which will assist with public infrastructure damage. The state may then reimburse part of the remaining 25 percent, up to 23 percent, for the affected municipalities.
The funding will cover flood damages to Park Forest Middle School in State College, along with damage to roadways, bridges, culverts, railways, and other transportation-related public infrastructure”.
“Federal disaster funding announced for October flooding”
Centre Daily Times - December 2, 2016
“The federal reimbursement will cover up to 75 percent of county costs, according to the release. Eligible expenses include ‘costs associated with paying overtime, repairs to damaged public infrastructure, equipment rentals, materials, search and rescue operations, and opening and operating shelters.’ ”
“Work continues to help flood victims in Centre County”
The Express - November 16, 2016
“A lot is being done to help the 408 households and businesses that have reported damages from the recent flooding in the Bald Eagle area.
At their Tuesday morning meeting, the Centre County Board of Commissioners heard a flood update from Faith Ryan, director of Centre County Adult Services, and Jeff Wharran, director of Centre County Emergency Management Agency.”
“Centre County praised for response to flooding”
Centre Daily Times - October 25, 2016
“The impact of last week’s disastrous flooding in Centre County is far-reaching, but so is the community’s support of those in need.
Both the flooding and how people can receive help were topics of discussion at Tuesday’s Centre County Board of Commissioners meeting.
‘Phenomenal,’ ‘fantastic’ and ‘incredible’ were words used to describe the response.”
“It may be the ‘worst case of flooding’ in more than a decade”
Centre Daily Times - October 21, 2016
“Centre County Commissioners Mike Pipe, Mark Higgins and Steve Dershem have declared a disaster emergency in Centre County.
More than 100 Milesburg and Howard residents were rescued and evacuated due to flooding early Friday morning. Bald Eagle Area High School is being used as a shelter by the American Red Cross for those evacuated.”
“Centre supports Philipsburg for facade grant”
The Express - October 12, 2016
“The commissioners unanimously approved a motion to sign a letter of support for the request of the grant [that] would be used to rehabilitate buildings in need of help, which includes repointing bricks, masonry work and fixing other structural issues with buildings.”…
“Commissioner Mark Higgins pointed out that there are currently two groups that are looking to move into Philipsburg, and each of those groups would bring half a dozen to a dozen additional jobs to the area. In addition, the Philipsburg Business Incubator recently gained its first tenant.
“Centre County declares October Domestic Violence Awareness Month”
The Express - September 28, 2016
“During their Tuesday morning meeting, the Centre County Commissioners proclaimed October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month in the county and approved the 2017 STOP Violence Against Women continuation grant application. The grant, which is between the county and the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, comes to a total of $145,000, with $125,000 federal funding, $10,000 in funding from State College Borough and $10,000 in county funding.”
“Centre applies for housing assistance grant”
The Express - September 7, 2016
“At Tuesday’s meeting, Centre County Commissioners approved a grant application that would provide housing assistance for the local homeless population.
The Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant would provide rental assistance, security deposit and case management support to homeless individuals and families for up to 12 months.”…
“The county aims to help 26 individuals, including children in the first year.”
“Commissioner seeks replacement for closing bank”
Centre Daily Times - August 30, 2016
“County Commissioner Mark Higgins sent out a plea to area banks Tuesday — Snow Shoe needs your help.
‘I have a lot of admiration for the people of Snow Shoe,’ Higgins said. ‘They’re fighters.’
The residents of the Snow Shoe area banded together to save the Mountaintop Area Medical Center and the Mountaintop Area Pool, he said. They now face the challenge of losing their only bank.
“Centre declares suicide awareness month”
The Express - August 19, 2016
“For the fourth consecutive year, Jana Marie Foundation and the Centre County Board of Commissioners are working together to proclaim September as Suicide Prevention Month and Sept. 10, as Suicide Prevention and Awareness Day.”
“Centre Commissioners: Buy from local farmers”
The Express - July 27, 2016
“The week of July 31 through August 6 has officially been declared “Local Foods Week” in Centre County.”
“Centre officials support town hall meetings on opioid crisis”
The Express - July 6, 2016
“The Centre County Commissioners announced their support for a series of town hall meetings focused on the growing heroin and opioid crisis in the area.”
“Centre trail grant application gets the green light”
The Express - June 29, 2016
“The Centre County commissioners announced Tuesday the necessary pledges have been made to complete the grant application for a proposed greenway trail connecting Bellefonte to Milesburg.”
“Centre supports grant application for recreation”
The Express - June 22, 2016
“A proposed pathway that would connect Bellefonte to Milesburg is closer to becoming a reality as the final stages of the grant application are underway.
The Centre County Commissioners approved a resolution for the Greenways Trails and Recreation Program Grant (GTRP) in the amount of $80,750”…
“Commissioner Mark Higgins said after the borough signed its letter of commitment, 20 letters were sent out asking local businesses to pledge the remaining $4,250 needed for the grant application. As of Tuesday morning he said they already received four letters of support with donations totaling about $3,000.”
“Commissioners Set Sights on Business Incubator”
Centre County Gazette - June 13, 2016
“When Mark Higgins took office as a Centre County commissioner in January, he vowed to assist the small business community in Centre County. He immediately went to work in an attempt to bring small business incubators to both Philipsburg Borough and the Borough of Bellefonte.
A few weeks ago, the Philipsburg project became a reality when leading county business officials visited Dixon.com on Front Street for a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the grand opening of the facility, which will help small businesses and new business ventures with the necessary resources and infrastructure to get on their feet.
On Tuesday, Centre County learned that progress is being made on the second of these incubators as county officials begin to look at suitable spots for such a project.”
“Centre takes next steps for natural gas co-op”
The Express - June 9, 2016
“The next phase of the proposed natural gas cooperative began Tuesday, as the Centre County commissioners were the first of three partners who approved articles of incorporation for the initiative.”…
“Pipe said this coop will also help lead the way to finding grant funds for such projects.
The involved counties hope to be able to finance the creation of pipelines in rural areas through this agreement.”
“Philipsburg Celebrates Opening of Business Incubator”
WTAJ - May 16, 2016
“Centre officials declare ‘Sexual Assault’ month”
The Express - March 30, 2016
“[T]he commissioners unanimously voted to declare April 2016 as “Sexual Assault Awareness Month” in Centre County.
Dawn McKee, STOP grant coordinator at the Centre County Women’s Resource Center, was present at the meeting and thanked the commissioners for the county’s continued support for victims of domestic and sexual violence.”
“Commissioners urge state government to restore human services funding”
Centre Daily Times - March 1, 2016
“All 67 counties of the commonwealth are being asked by the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania to adopt and publicize this resolution, Chairman Michael Pipe said, saying commissioners across the state are trying to be as proactive as possible to make sure another impasse doesn’t happen again.
‘It’s very difficult to provide social services when you’re either not receiving funding or it’s coming in at random times,’ Vice Chairman Mark Higgins said. ‘They’re cutting 10 percent here and there, and they’re doing the rebalancing, which means they’re skipping a full three months of payments.’ ”
“Additional funds sought for Centre Region senior center”
Centre Daily Times - January 26, 2016
“In order to finish the revisions, Woodhead asked that the forum increase the budget by an additional $10,000 per year over the next 10 years to cover the expenses. He said he would also be approaching the county Board of Commissioners on Tuesday to request a county increase of $6,250 per year as well…
County Commissioner Michael Pipe, who was in attendance, commented that the increase in seniors validated the need to increase funds, and would be advocating to increase the county contributions.
‘The staff (at the center), the dedication they show, is truly remarkable for the seniors there,’ he said.”
Pipe re-elected; Higgins Elected
Centre Daily Times - November 4, 2015
After monthslong debates over economic development and government transparency, the Centre County Board of Commissioners flipped to a Democratic majority Tuesday night with the election of Democrats Michael Pipe and Mark Higgins…
“I’ve done this kind of stuff for 32 years, walking into places that need the outside perspective, who need somebody that’s willing to work hard and approach it with a blank slate,” Higgins said. “It’s just that now I’m going to do it at a little bigger scale than usual.”
With two incumbents being re-elected, Pipe said he is looking forward to Higgins’ fresh perspective.
“I am excited that Mark is going to be joining me on the Board of Commissioners,” Pipe said.
“I’m excited about the new energy he’s going to bring in and to look at better ways that we can create jobs and opportunities for Centre County.”
The newly elected commissioners will be put immediately to the test if the state budget does not pass soon. Without aid from the state, commissioners will eventually have to decide where to cut costs.