Latest News from the Borough
Who is the Centre Area Cable Consortium?
The Centre Area Cable Consortium (CACC) was organized in 2004 with the purpose of negotiating a regional cable franchise. It includes the following municipalities – the Boroughs of Bellefonte and State College and the Townships of Benner, College, Ferguson, Halfmoon, Harris and Patton. The CACC Board is comprised of one elected official from each of the eight member municipalities. The costs for negotiating the cable franchise are split among the eight members by the percentage of Comcast subscribers in each municipality.
When was the last franchise adopted?
The last franchise was adopted in 2008. It was the first franchise with Comcast, who purchased the cable system from Adelphia after that company declared bankruptcy.
Why isn’t there competition in the area?
Comcast holds a franchise in all eight municipalities. Windstream holds a cable franchise in State College Borough and College and Ferguson Townships.
We are not opposed to having other cable companies serve our area. They would have to negotiate a franchise, similar to what both Comcast and Windstream have done. To date, we have not received interest from any other providers.
What items can be negotiated?
Under federal law, we are allowed to negotiate customer service standards, density and build out requirements, technical requirements for the cable system, use of our rights of way and provisions for public, educational and governmental access channels. We are not permitted to negotiate pricing structures. We are also not allowed to negotiate internet or phone service.
What are Public, Educational and Governmental Access Channels?
We are allowed under federal law to have access channels. C-Net is our educational (channel 98) and our governmental (channel 7) access channels. We have language in our franchise that provides for technical provisions for C-Net. C-Net also received a capital grant from Comcast the last time the franchise was negotiated.
We currently do not have a public access channel, though there is language the permits the addition of a third public, educational or governmental access channel when a programming threshold is met. There was interest in public access in 2008, but that interest has largely waned over the last 10 years.
Who oversees Comcast’s performance?
The CACC does have a provision that allows for a bi-annual review of the cable franchise in its current agreement. The last bi-annual review was completed in 2011. We did not identify any deficiencies with Comcast or its performance under the franchise.
What is the timeline for negotiations?
The CACC is in the beginning of the franchise negotiation process. Comments from the public hearing will be gathered and considered as we begin the process. We hope to have a new franchise in place by mid summer.
Can I submit additional comments after the hearing?
Written comments can be submitted by email to [email protected] or mailed to Amy Farkas, Harris Township, 224 East Main Street, Boalsburg, PA 16827, until March 12th.
To review materials from the Feb 22nd Public Input Session, including the conceptual trail alignment, please follow this link:
Ash collection is currently done on Wednesdays; however, beginning January 1, 2018, ash will be collected with your trash. It can be mixed in with the rest of your trash. Please be sure that the ashes are cold and fully extinguished before placing them in your trash can. If you have any questions, please call the Borough office at 355-1501.
The Chamber of Business & Industry of Centre County (CBICC) recently launched “Drive Forward,” a grassroots campaign for the purpos of supporting the Centre County Metropolitan Planning Organization (CCMPO) in its efforts to secure necessary state and federal funding for two major highway improvement projects in Centre County.
These projects–which have significant implications for commerce, tourism and new business investment into the region–include the construction of a new high-speed interchange between I-99 and I-80 to replace the Bellefonte interchange, as well as upgrades to the two-lane stretch of U.S. Route 322 from Potters Mills to State College.
As both of these projects are longtime priorities for which adequate funding has not been available, the CCMPO’s work–and the subsequent grassroots community support campaign–are both efforts that will require durability and longevity into the foreseeable future.
As there is strength in numbers, you can assist this cause by adding your name to the growing list of supporters comprising businesses, organizations and individuals that are backing these transportation improvements and the “Drive Forward” campaign. Penn State University, the Central Pennsylvania Convention & Visitors Bureau, Shaner Companies, keller Engineers and Garbrick-Shadle Agency, Inc., are examples of initial supporters. You can add your name by letter CBICC know at [email protected]
FirstEnergy’s Pennsylvania Utilities Remind Customers Assistance and Service Programs are Available to Help Pay Utility Bills
Reading, PA–Metropolitan Edison Company (Met-Ed), Pennsylvania Electric Company (Penelec), West Pennsylvania Power Company (West Penn) and Pennsylvania Power Company (Penn Power), all FirstEnergy (NYSE:FE) utilities, remind customers having difficulty paying their utility bills that they may be eligible for special financial assistance or other programs that could reduce the amount of electricity they use.
Assistance programs available to Pennsylvania residents include:
- Pennsylvania Customer Assistance Program (PCAP). PCAP helps residential customers maintain electric service and eliminate their past-due balance by offering a reduced bill based on a percentage of income and debt forgiveness. Debt forgiveness credits are applied directly to participants’ electric service accounts in recognition of payments that are made on time and paid in-full. PCAP participants also are automatically enrolled in the Equal Payment Plan (EPP) that provides the ability to make consistent monthly payments. Enrollment in the EPP is a requirement for PCAP. For more information call (888) 282-6816.
- Low-income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). LIHEAP, a federally funded grant program administered by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through its network of local county assistance offices, provides customers help with paying winter heating bills, and occasionally summer cooling bills. LIHEAP funds may be used to pay an electric bill even if electricity is not the main source of heat. Call (866) 857-7095 for information.
- Dollar Energy Fund. The Dollar Energy Fund is an emergency hardship fund designed to help residential customers who have suffered a recent financial hardship and need temporary help to pay their electric bill. This program is funded, in part, by FirstEnergy employees, shareholders and customers. The distribution of funds is administered by Dollar Energy Fund in conjunction with community-based organizations throughout our Pennsylvania service territories. For more information, call (888) 282-6816 or visit www.dollarenergy.org.
- WARM Program–Low Income Usage Reduction Program (LIURP). The WARM Program can help low-income customers reduce their electric bills and keep their homes more comfortable in the winter and summer months. It is available to homeowners and renters with landlord approval. Customers participating in WARM:
- Receive an in-home energy evaluation
- Work with a trained energy educator to create an energy-savings plan
- Have the opportunity to receive the following energy-saving items installed in the home:
- Caulking and weather-stripping
- Refrigerator/freezer testing and possible replacement
- Electric water heater inspection
- Energy-saving light bulbs
The specific improvements that a customer is eligible to receive will be determined during the home energy evaluation. No payment is required for these installations/services. There are household income requirements and electricity use requirements. To determine eligibility, call 1-800-207-9276.
Residential customers of FirstEnergy’s Pennsylvania utilities who are interested in finding a more convenient way to manage their electricity bills also can sign up to extend their bill due date or for an extended payment program. To learn more call (800) 545-7741 (Met-Ed and Penelec customers); (800) 686-0021 (West Penn Power customers); or (800 720-3600 (Penn Power customers).
West Penn Power serves about 720,000 customers in 24 Pennsylvania counties. Connect with West Penn Power on Twitter @W_Penn_Power and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WestPennPower.
FirstEnergy is dedicated to safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its ten electric distribution companies form one of the nation’s largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. The company’s transmission subsidiaries operate more than 24,000 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Follow FirstEnergy online at www.firstenergycorp.com. Follow FirstEnergy on Twitter @First EnergyCorp.
We all need to know how to engage in disaster preparedness actions in our community, whether it is at home, at work, at school, etc. To learn more about National Preparedness Month and what you can do to help your community, visit https://www.ready.gov/september.
Bellefonte Borough is the home of a Little House, a safe place wherein Girl Scouts are able to meet. There used to be hundreds of Little Houses, but now there are only 11 active Houses left in the entire United States. The care and support of the Girl Scout Council Little House here in Bellefonte has been taken over by Friends of Bellefonte Little House, a non-profit organization formed to help keep a piece of Girl Scout history alive in our own backyard. Friends of Bellefonte Little House is asking the community to help keep this Little House going. The house needs some upgrades as well as funds to keep the utilities going each month. Friends of Bellefonte Little House has replaced the old, outdated furnace with a new, energy efficient one but there are other items that need replaced such as light fixtures, doors, windows, updated wiring, and WiFi. Please consider making a charitable, tax-deductible contribution to Friends of Bellefonte Little House, 209 Limestone Dr., Bellefonte, PA 16823.
Another way to help is when you order from Amazon. Go to “Smile.Amazon.com,” pick “Friends of Bellefonte Little House” and Amazon will donate a percentage of the total that you spend to “Friends of Bellefonte Little House.” It is an easy way to contribute and costs you nothing extra every time you place an order through Amazon.
Bellefonte Borough Council will hold a public hearing regarding the repeal of the Borough of Bellefonte Safety and Property Maintenance Code, 2011 Edition and amendments, at their regular meeting on Monday, June 5, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. in Council Chambers, 236 W Lamb Street, Bellefonte, PA 16823. They will also consider approval and adoption of the Centre Region Building Safety and Property Maintenance Code, 2017 Edition, effective July 1, 2017, to be known as Chapter 425—Property Maintenance and Safety. A complete copy of the proposed change can be viewed in the Borough office during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or click here.
The Borough will begin collecting the grass/brush containers on Wednesday, April 5, 2017. They will collect the grass/brush every Wednesday through November 15, 2017, unless it is during a week with a holiday. There will be no grass/brush pickup on the following Wednesdays due to holidays: April 12, May 31, July 5, and September 6. Please be sure to have your container out at the curb the night before after 6:00 p.m. If you have any questions, contact the Borough office at 355-1501.