Commissioners discuss veterans affairs
Veterans affairs, transportation and the upcoming election were topics of discussion at the Nov. 2 Montgomery County Commissioners meeting.
First on the agenda was a Veterans Affairs Veterans Day Recognition. During a short presentation, Sean Halbom, department head for Montgomery County Veterans Affairs, presented Montgomery County’s statistics on veteran benefits including the county’s veteran transportation program.
“Our mission, like all county VA offices, is primarily to assist veterans accessing VA benefits and services,” said Halbom. “So far in 2018 we have just un-
der 1200 cases opened, of which about a little over two thirds have been resolved.”
Halbom went on to explain that Veterans Affairs has assisted veterans in Montgomery County this year in just over 100 cases involving homelessness. Additionally, the transportation program which helps veterans get to medical appointments and other necessary places has seen an increase in fares over the past year. Halbom said in 2018 so far, 527 fares have been counted for veterans using that service. He expects that number to climb up to near 650 by year’s end.
A resolution passed during the Nov. 2 meeting also included approval of applicants for funding through the Montgomery County Transportation Program.
The program is a new grant initiative that uses revenues from the $5 County Vehicle Registration Fee to expand the reach of transportation investment and achieve the goals of the county’s comprehensive plan. The program makes available $1 million each year to fund transportation projects throughout the county. Municipalities can receive up to $100,000 in grant money or up to $200,000 for multi-municipal applications.
“Back in 2017 the county chose to enact a $5 vehicle registration fee. With that fee we are funding the expedition of our county bridges and road improvements. In addition, we’ll use about a third of the funding for a competitive grant program for our municipalities. A third of our municipalities contain no county owned roads or bridges so we felt that it was a more equitable distribution of the funds raised from the $5 fee to provide an opportunity for our municipalities who own more than 2,700 miles of road in the county, 330 bridges and practically all of the traffic in the county,” explained Jody Holton, executive director of the county’s Planning Commission.
The program partners with PennDOT’s Green Light Go Program which updates signals throughout the county and state. County grants will be used toward a 50 percent match for projects receiving a Green Light Go Program award.
Awards were given to municipalities including Abington, Horsham, Lower Merion, Lower Moreland, Towamencin, Trappe, Upper Moreland, Whitpain, East Norriton, Hatboro, Upper Dublin, Upper Providence and Worcester.
Additionally, bid advertisements on behalf of Assets and Infrastructure for fence installation for the Schuylkill River Trail in Pottstown and a request for proposal on behalf of the Planning Commission for a Trail Access, Diversity and Awareness Plan for the Montgomery County Trail System were also announced.