Peters Township Council

David Ball, seated at center, retains his position as chairman of Peters Township Council for 2021. Monica Merrell has been re-elected vice chairwoman. Other members are: front, from left, Frank Arcuri and James Berquist; back, Gary Stiegel Jr., Robert Lewis and Frank Kosir Jr.

Peters Township officials have a message for the powers that be with regard to vaccinations against COVID-19.

“We’ll be happy to make available the facilities that we have should you need a place for large-scale inoculation,” said David Ball, township council chairman.

A discussion at council’s Jan. 4 reorganization meeting focused on what the township can do to help ensure vaccinations are administered as expediently as possible.

Bebout Road resident Ronald Boocks addressed the topic in two letters to council suggesting the implementation of a local vaccination program, including the possibility of using public sites.

Council member Monica Merrell agreed with pursuing the idea.

“I don’t think there’s a downside to trying to figure out who to talk to, so that we can say, ‘We’re available to help. We’re here if you need us,’” she said.

Township manager Paul Lauer said his staff has begun the process, contacting legislative and Pennsylvania Department of Health officials about making the appropriate connections.

The department’s 68-page COVID-19 Interim Vaccination Plan, released Dec. 11, references “county mass vaccination clinics” to be put into use when large numbers of vaccine doses become available.

According to the document, the state agency will partner with county and municipal health departments on a dispensing framework to “provide at least one venue in each county and will ensure access to densely populated as well as remote areas.”

The plan further states that in jurisdictions without local public health departments – Washington County lacks its own – the state Department of Health “is responsible for coordinating COVID-19 vaccine administration.”

Featured in the plan is a phased approach, with healthcare personnel, first responders and people with high-risk conditions among those to receive the initial doses.

“What I’m concerned about is that the hospitals and first responders are easy pickings. They’re in a contained area. Presumably, everybody there is capable of giving a shot and receiving a shot. So I don’t see a problem,” Ball said. “But when you get beyond that, I don’t know what they’re going to do.”

In other business at the reorganization meeting:

  • Ball, who served as council chairman in 2021, was re-elected to the position by a 4-3 vote. Merrell also was nominated, with support from counterparts Frank Arcuri and Gary Stiegel Jr.

Subsequently, council unanimously agreed to re-elect Merrell as vice chairwoman.

Retained as professional consultants for the township were John Smith as solicitor; Gateway Engineers Inc. as consulting engineer; Lennon, Smith, Souleret Engineering Inc. as alternate consulting engineer; and Traffic Planning & Design as traffic engineer.

Multimedia Reporter

Staff writer Harry Funk, a professional journalist for three-plus decades, has been on the staff of The Almanac since 2015. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and master of business administration, both from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

See what people are talking about at The Community Table!