The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

March 31, 2014

Snyder County hopes to attract some of 700 new jobs

— SELINSGROVE — Snyder County officials say they’ll lobby hard to attract some of the 700 new positions proposed under Gov. Tom Corbett’s Healthy PA plan.

State Department of Public Welfare spokesman Kait Gillis confirmed Monday that hundreds of new jobs, including caseworkers, administrative and support staff, are slated to be added statewide as part of the governor’s initiative to improve access to health care and reform Medicaid.

But, she added, “Not one of those locations has been determined. We’re still in negotiations with the federal government and are literally looking at all of our options.”

Sources said they’ve been hearing rumors that the state is eying the Selinsgrove Center and another location in Lancaster to serve as call centers.

“One plus we have is the buildings are already there,” said state Rep. Fred Keller, R-85 of Kreamer, referring to several vacant buildings on the Selinsgrove Center property. “The only question is how cost-effective it would be to convert the space for their use.”

Snyder County Commissioners Joe Kantz and Peggy Chamberlain Roup said they’ll do what they can to lure some of those new jobs to the Valley.

Operated by the DPW, the center is an intermediate care facility that serves 261 people with intellectual disabilities and employs 881. The facility has downsized in the past several years, dropping steadily from a population of 700 in 1994 and leaving several vacant buildings on the 254-acre campus in Penn Township.

In January, the DPW announced it would save thousands of dollars relocating the Snyder County Assistance Office from leased property in the borough of Selinsgrove to an unused office building owned by the state at the Selinsgrove Center.

Roup said bringing those services to the state-owned campus is a more efficient use of tax dollars.

“I’ve long felt the building and the campus have been under-utilized,” she said. “These are functional buildings, and I don’t want them to waste away.”

Not only are the buildings available, Roup said, but the location offers ample parking and on-site maintenance employees.

“We’re ready for them,” she said of the potential jobs.

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