2017 Coverage – Strategic Priorities

  • Public Governance – Open public meetings, access to public documents, procedures for decision-making, including the Centre Region Council of Governments voluntary coordination organization and agencies.
  • Public Finance – State College and CRCOG budgets; existing and hoped-for revenue streams including tax hikes; cost containment options.
  • Water & Sewer Systems – State College Borough Water Authority and University Area Joint Sewer Authority, and other water and sewer systems: governance, budgets, rates, tapping fees, infrastructure needs, ecosystem impacts; special projects (i.e. Nixon-Kocher filtration plant construction; beneficial reuse project.)
  • Land Use Planning and Zoning; Housing & Commercial Development – Land use decision-making, at the planning end, and at the implementation end through zoning code adoption and enforcement. Conversion of farmland to student housing; effects on ecosystems and municipal revenue streams. Public subsidies for development. State College zoning code overhaul. Rental property oversight, code compliance, rental costs for renters, housing costs for homeowners.
  • Centre County Courts – Corruption, fraud, incompetence, 2017 District Attorney race.
  • Penn State Governance & Public Safety – Non-local PSU governance as a local public safety issue. Corruption, fraud, non-transparency, administrative bloat. Enrollment, disciplinary policies, and externalized costs of student supervision and public safety. Impacts of unpunished crime on law-abiding students and year-round residents. Police departments, emergency management, fire departments, student alcoholism, personal and property crimes. Penn State’s new push to host large stadium events beyond just the fall football weekends.

Other issues that may get limited coverage during 2017

  • Energy Systems – Utility systems, especially Penn State’s energy supply and distribution system)
  • Food Systems – Farms, farmers markets, farming and gardening, local food vendors and online markets.
  • Manufacturing – We’re mostly a services (especially education) economy, but this beat will cover opportunities for ramping up small scale production of basic durable goods used locally.
  • Health Care – Rising health care costs both for public employees and taxpayers funding those plans, and for general public; options for different local health care systems.
  • Transportation – CATA, PennDot projects, passenger rail
  • Public Education – SCASD budgets and building construction.