Franklin County Commissioners will begin evening meetings

April 2 – The Franklin County Commissioners approved last week to begin evening meetings. 

Franklin County Commissioner John Flannery said, “We will be meeting every evening on the third Wednesday of each month. That starts April 17. So this month will be 6:30 at our offices at 272 North Second Street, and then we have May 17th. We’re going to try every quarter to move that meeting off site. So June 19 will be our first off site evening meeting and I think we just got the approval from Antrim Township to have it in their building. So I’m excited about that. Hopefully we engage the community and we get some folks out to sit and converse with us and see how we conduct business.”

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM said, “That’s great because we’ve been talking for 15 to 20 years. So I’m glad it’s come to fruition.” 

Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM added, “Let’s make sure that people are engaged, too. We heard Chris Bigger hold a couple of community forums. The first community forum was packed with a handful of teachers and a couple of folks that wasn’t necessarily the greatest cross section of people in that particular meeting. We want to make sure that okay, this is what you wanted. Now they need to see you.” 

Flannery suggested, “I think the issues that are out there within our community are going to dictate how many people show up. Recently the phone’s been ringing off the hook with up in Fannett Township, that Aspen Road solar farm. There’s a lot of residents that are unhappy about that right now. They’re upset with their township supervisors. I’ve said on the air many times that we don’t create zoning. The townships do that individually. We have no control over that within the county and the commissioners. The only role the county has is we allocate funds to farmland preservation, which last year we allocated more funding for that than they have since I’ve been in office the last four years. We hope that some of the farmers that want to keep farming and keep their farms in the family for generations will take advantage of that program. We also offer a lot of education through our planning department. We have summits once or twice a year and we’re willing to provide resources to our townships to help them figure out zoning, if they want to try and alter the situation that seems to be a trend that’s happening right now in Franklin County.”

Jansen said, “That project, that’s a huge education for a lot of the rest of the townships. Now once something’s underway, it’s been agreed upon, it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to reverse it. This is the agreement that was made. People have, as they say, the right to do with their land what they want based on the ordinances that exist. I think people need to wake up. There’s a huge push from the Biden administration to force townships to change ordinances. There’s even some issues at the state level. I’ve seen some laws where they want to force townships to change ordinances based on oh, all this money we can get for these green programs. That’s where people need to wake up, pay attention, see where this is coming from, see where the carrots and sticks are, but if they don’t get engaged and start listening to this, then they will miss it and then it’ll come to their township and they’ll be like, how did this happen?” 

Flannery agreed, “Do you want to get the state or the feds involved in township zoning? I think that’s something that’s relatively unique about Pennsylvania. I’ve said this with the different Chambers of Commerce that I’ve been involved in. Each one of our communities in Franklin County is different, whether you’re in Greencastle Antrim or you’re up in Guilford, or wherever it is, each one’s different. I think that’s what some of the allure is with Franklin County is that you have so many choices, whether you live in Chambersburg or if you’re up in Fannett Metal or wherever you’re at and I think people need to be very conscious of their elections and put people in in charge that respect what their wishes are, where they’re going to live. It’s a very sensitive topic. I’m the first guy that says, I paid for this land, you’re not going to tell me what I can and can’t do with it. But then it comes down to where it affects other people. Well, is the aesthetics affecting other people? Are there noise restrictions? Ordinances? It gets to be a very, very touchy subject.”

Three weeks away from today will be the April 23 primary election. 

Flannery said, “I think people need to realize that that’s county responsibility and we kind of switch roles. We’ve had ballots printed. We’ve done all the necessary duties but the commissioners and the county are really gearing up for April 23.”

The commissioners will meet tomorrow at 10 a.m. 

Flannery said, “It’s a great meeting to show up to tomorrow’s commissioners meeting. We have a salary board. We have a salary board scheduled four times a year. We’ll have some requests coming from our IT department, our sheriff’s department and our public defender. Also, we are hiring a new Director of Emergency Services. Our last director only lasted about six months, so we’re looking forward to the 36 applicants we have, which I was actually reviewing this morning and we’re looking to hire a new Director of Emergency Services.”
For tomorrow’s meeting, click here.