DANVILLE — The Montour County commissioners approved a $10,000 hotel tax grant for the Danville Business Alliance for holiday events.

At Tuesday's commissioners meeting, Commission Chairman Ken Holdren said the alliance provided a required match of $2,500 for the grant.

Alliance Executive Director Rebecca Dressler said the money will be used for advertising, carriage rides and holiday events that are enjoyed by residents and people from the region.

Events kick off with an open house at downtown businesses Nov. 22, 23 and 24 followed by Santa's arrival in a parade Nov. 29. 

A Hometown Holiday Weekend Celebration will be held Dec. 6, 7 and 8.

Dressler said there will be a late shoppers night, church members caroling downtown, holiday story time at the Thomas Beaver Free Library and at Canal Park on Mill Street. Geisinger will offer free flu shots. There will be a kids' puppet show and kids will make ornaments for a tree in Canal Park, where there will also be a bonfire.

Commissioner Trevor Finn said he often meets people from outside of Danville in downtown Danville. "They say this is such a great and quaint downtown with so much to do and they say we'll be back," he said. 

"You're doing a great job," Holdren told Dressler.

Dressler also commended the commissioners on their plan to fund the Montour Preserve and Montour Area Recreation Commission long-term.

"Thank you so much for finding a solution to MARC and funding the preserve, which is extremely important to the vitality of our community," she said.

Commission Chairman Dan Hartman said the commissioners "are pretty excited" about the plan.

Holdren said the Columbia Montour Visitors Bureau is expected to approve increasing the hotel tax from 3 to 5 percent at a meeting next week.  The commissioners will approve the measure at their meeting Oct. 22 and the MARC board will vote on it Oct. 28. 

The commissioners announced at their meeting Sept. 24 the plan to increase the hotel tax paid by people who stay in hotels and motels in Montour County. Holdren expects the tax to bring in about $167,000 a year for the recreation commission, which is more than two-thirds of its $200,000 annual budget. 

Grants and contributions for the preserve run out in September 2020.  

In other business, the commissioners:

Adopted a resolution seeking $500,000 in affordable housing funds from the state Department of Community and Economic Development to rehabilitate owner-occupied homes of people who qualify by income for the program. There are 36 applications on a waiting list. The grant would be used to rehabilitate more than 40 homes with projects including boilers, roofs and windows.

Finn said he and Holdren met Monday with U.S. Department of Agriculture officials who are very happy with what the county is doing to help people with low to moderate incomes and the elderly. He said the agriculture department may be able to offer more help to county residents.

Approved a modification in a lease with Diversified Treatment, a school occupying the second floor and part of the third floor of the former Danville Elementary School the county purchased as an administration center for offices. The new lease allows Diversified to terminate the agreement after one year.

The rent Diversified pays increased by $1,000 a month to $4,768 as of Sept. 1, which will continue for two years. As of Sept. 1, 2021, the rent will increase another $1,000 per month for three years.

Sold a 2004 Ford Explorer from the probation department to high bidder Jane Shultz for $4,788. Six bids were received. 

Appointed Mahoning Township Police Chief Fred Dyroff to the 911 advisory board to represent police in the county and to the Children and Youth Advisory Board.

Terminated the employment of correctional officer Brandon Hoskins, who didn't pass a probationary period, effective Oct. 4. He worked less than six months at the jail.   

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