New Luzerne County website set to go live

By Jennifer Learn-Andes -
Luzerne County Courthouse -

Luzerne County government’s redesigned website will be activated this morning at, county Manager C. David Pedri announced at Tuesday’s council meeting.

CivicPlus, based in Manhattan, Kansas, will be paid $41,250 annually for four years, or a total $165,000, for the redesign, hosting and maintenance, according to a contract approved last summer. The county will own the website and archived information when the contract ends in July 2021.

The county’s capital budget earmarked $150,000 in past-borrowed funds for the upgrade. The remaining $15,000 will come from the county’s Convention and Visitors Bureau, an agency that promotes tourism and is primarily funded by 1 percent of the county’s 5 percent hotel tax, officials have said.

Pedri sought the redesign, saying the site created in 2005 was visually unappealing, difficult for the public to navigate and cumbersome to update.

All departments have added data, which will be organized in a more logical way for users seeking information on county services and events.

“It is a huge upgrade,” Pedri told council.

More information will be added in coming months, including databases to search campaign finance reports and information about prison inmates.

Ice jam damage

A section of the county-owned River Common fishing pier wall that toppled during this year’s ice jam will cost an estimated $50,000 to $60,000 to repair, Operational Services Division Head Edmund O’Neill told council Tuesday.

The large wall blocks, known as “cut stones,” fell over because the footing supporting them deteriorated, he said. New anchoring is needed, along with a crane to move the heavy stones.

Insurance is not expected to cover the work, O’Neill said. If no grants are available, the administration may be forced to fund the project with natural-gas recreation funding.

The county has received $228,623 to $307,629 in funding from natural gas drilling annually since the state authorized such earmarks under Act 13 in 2012. The funding has been largely spent on River Common maintenance, black fly spraying and recreation grants to outside entities, reports show.

This year’s $240,000 Act 13 allocation was recently forwarded to the county, Pedri said.

Board appointments

An appointment to the authority board that oversees the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre Township was postponed Tuesday because neither of the two final nominees received the required six votes.

Nine of 11 council members attended Tuesday’s meeting, with Stephen A. Urban and Chris Perry absent.

Five council members voted for board applicant James Reino, while four selected Neal DeAngelo. Council voted again in case anyone wanted to change, but the outcome was the same.

Due to the addition of new board applicants interviewed Monday, council filled four vacancies on the Children and Youth Advisory Board, which has been forced to cancel some meetings due to the lack of a quorum. The new appointees: Ciro Cinti, Eileen Song, Lawrence Marchetti and Martin Dartoe.

Luzerne County Courthouse County Courthouse

By Jennifer Learn-Andes

Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.

Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.