KITTANNING – Armstrong County Commissioners started off the new year last week by clearing up a debate as to whether or not the county was eligible for one of the state’s new mini casino licenses.

At their Jan. 4 public meeting, Commissioner Jason Renshaw brought up the matter, saying there has been a lot of “miscommunication” in the county about the question of the county’s eligibility.

Apparently, the question arose because rules related to the issuing of the new mini casino licenses state that no 6th Class county that abuts a 2nd Class county is eligible to receive a license.

However, Renshaw said that in speaking with state Rep. Jeff Pyle (R-Ford City), who was recently appointed as the chairman of the House Gaming Control Oversight Committee, Armstrong County would be eligible.

“It is a possibility for us,” he said, noting that Armstrong County only connects with Allegheny County in a small area of the Allegheny River in the southwest corner of the county.

Renshaw noted that the matter is still up to local municipalities to determine if they want a casino to locate within their borders, and that a number of townships in the county had already declared their opposition.

Also at last week’s meeting, the commissioners proclaimed Jan. 4 as Jack Bennett Day in the county, honoring the longtime Armstrong County Tourist Bureau volunteer.

The proclamation states that Bennett served as the tourist bureau’s president for 13 years and has been deeply involved with a number of events in the county for decades.

“Mr. Bennett’s accomplishments and achievements are many and proof that he truly believes in and loves Armstrong County,” the proclamation states.

Bennett is retiring from those duties, but said he will remain involved in some way.

He also offered a word of caution, noting that he doesn’t see many people stepping up as volunteers in the county to replace him and others who have been involved for years.

“Our county runs on volunteers,” he said.

Other Business

• The commissioners approved a tax and revenue anticipation note in the amount of $3.2 million to help get the county through the first several months of the year before property tax revenues start to flow. NexTier Bank was awarded the loan after submitting the lowest interest rate of 1.79 percent.

• The commissioners set their public meetings in the new year at 9:30 a.m. on the first and third Thursdays of each month in the commissioners’ conference room. Salary Bard meetings will be held at 10:30 a.m. on the first and third Thursdays, while Retirement Board will meet at 10:30 a.m. on Feb. 7, May 9, Aug. 8, Oct. 10 and Nov. 7. Prison Board will meet at the county jail at 8:30 a.m. on the second Thursday of the month.

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