Montrose Plans Community Space
Due to the legal requirement that schools reorganize in the first week of December, and a resultant conflict in meeting dates, this reporter arrived late to the Montrose borough meeting on December third, while the council was in executive session. Thus part of this report is based upon information from others present that evening.
The meeting dates for 2012 were set and advertised. They were to remain set according to custom, except for the meeting held September ninth.
A resolution regarding the Berkheimer Delinquent Cost Resolution was passed. The resolution, which this reporter was provided a copy of, stated that the borough had levied, assessed, and provided for the collection of certain local taxes. The resolution stated that Berkheimer was responsible for delinquent collections, and that there was a fee schedule which went with it. The resolution further stated that the council was okay with the fee schedule and adopted it.
Sean suggested $1500 charge to bring things to the zoning hearing board, to cover associated costs of board members, solicitors, stenographers, etc. It was also suggested that they look into a tier schedule. It was decided that they would look into this further, including what other municipalities did.
Mr. DiPhillips was approved to buy 26 locking mechanisms for the parking meters at a cost of about 375 dollars. The new plow truck, it was hoped could be completed at the end of the month. It was in the process of being built.
Tom Lamont was made the Berkheimer confidential contact by resolution.
The executive session ended at 8:45 p.m. The new statewide borough code (not the new zoning ordinance), Mr. Lamont said, had been in effect for about a month. Someone had asked about this. Mr. Lamont asked if the borough wanted a copy for each council member, and one for the office. Mr. Chamberlain said that when he became a council member, members were handed the book, but when someone went off council it was handed back in. Mr. Granahan said that one of the things they’d spoken of doing was updating their own borough code. Mr. Chamberlain suggested constructing a list of what each council member had, so that when they left they could turn it back in unless they chose to purchase a copy. Council members were instructed to bring a list of what they had to the next meeting. Mr. Lamont then changed his recommendation to nine copies, to procure one for the borough’s attorney, and again to provide one for the mayor. The borough code was the rule setter, this was in response to a question by the mayor. If it wasn’t covered in the borough code the state code was available. If they conflicted the more stringent applied.
Mr. Granahan then spoke of a legal resolution. There was a property in the borough on the corner of Mill and High Street, a gym. It was owned at that time by Alice Davis. It had been the subject of some discussions by the zoning hearing board, and was still the subject of pending litigation. There was a wish to put an end to the litigation. Ms. Davis had made a generous offer of 10,000 square feet of space in the building to use as a community center for the community, and as a means of employing Act 13 funding in a manner that would directly impact the residents who felt the effects of the gas industry. The property would be rented at a cost of $5,000 a month. Council was inviting groups to attend the December 17th meeting to submit written suggestions for use of the space, or they could contact members of council. He said that he was thankful to Ms. Davis for meeting them the way she did. It took a bit of discussion to get something nice for the community. The plan was to leave some exercise space available. He made the motion, which was passed. The matter was still in the planning stages. The swimming pool was a big question. It was opined that this was a very good deal. The existing apartment would remain, but the main building would be used for community purposes.
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Stanford Reelected SCSD Prez
With Jason Chamberlain presiding as President Pro-tem for Susquehanna Community School Board, Steven Stanford was unanimously reelected for another term as President at the Board’s annual reorganization meeting. The reorganization meeting preceded the board’s regularly-scheduled December 5 meeting. After Secretary Evelyn Cottrell administered the oath, nomination and reelection of Vice-President Clay Weaver proceeded. Upon Vice-President Weaver’s oath-taking, the board adjourned their reorganization meeting at 7:07 p.m. and opened their regular monthly meeting with President Stanford presiding.
Present for the reorganization and regular meeting, in addition to those previously mentioned, were Treasurer Martha Stanford, Lori Canfield, Amanda Cook, Carol Jackson, and Holly Kubus. When the board moved to new business it unanimously approved two items annually addressed: meeting dates for the next calendar year, and approval of the “Taxpayer Relief Act” resolution.
For 2013, the school board’s schedule for meetings followed the same format as this and previous years. Readers may view those dates at the district’s website or in the legal ad placed elsewhere in this paper. Briefly, the board will hold 10 regular monthly meetings in 2013. No meetings will be held in July and November, and consequently in the subsequent months of August and December meetings will be held on the first Wednesday. In the months of January through June, September, and October the monthly meeting will be held on the third Wednesday. All meeting times are at 7 p.m. and held in the Administration Office located in the Elementary School. The same time and location apply to “Information and Deliberation” sessions of the School Board, with those sessions taking place on the Tuesday preceding Wednesday regular meeting dates.
By passage of the “Taxpayer Relief Act” resolution the board finalized their decision to not raise any tax for the support of the school district for the 2013-2014 fiscal year by more than its index as calculated by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. That index percentage is 2.5%. In passing this resolution “the Board certifies that increasing any tax at a rate less than or equal to the index will be sufficient to balance its final budget of the 2013-2014 fiscal year.” The Board has maintained a consistent stance of raising taxes at less than the permitted index since passage of Act 1 (Taxpayer Relief Act) in 2006.
Also under new business the Board unanimously approved a new school policy: Computer and Internet Acceptable Use - 815. This pilot program permits SCHS seniors to use a school email address. The back-end of the address is scschools.org. Seniors may use the address for applying to college, contacting professionals in the field, and emailing of homework assignments to teachers. Teachers would also have the capability of emailing reminders to students. The email accounts, made available through google, would be closed upon the student’s graduation. The administration will monitor and supervise this program, and if successful, consider its extension to lower grades in the future.
At the principals’ end of the meeting table, High School Principal Mark Gerchman and Elementary Principal Bob Keyes shared highlights of activities under their authority. Mr. Gerchman explained the schedule for Keystone Exams - Algebra I, Biology, and Language Arts - and how those results would be tabulated and incorporated into calculating the high school’s Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status. He also noted that that the school is participating in a program called “Schools for Sandy.” Mr. Gerchman shared a list of items being collected for distribution to victims of Super Storm Sandy in Staten Island. Collection deadline is Monday, December 17. Anyone wishing additional information should contact Suzanne Bennici at firstname.lastname@example.org or 278-3731.
Principal Keyes noted that the elementary school students had already collected 1241 non-perishable food items for the annual “Feed-a-Friend Program” that the school participates in. The school’s Christmas Concert will be held on Thursday, December 20, and Christmas parties will be held on December 21. Parent-Teacher Conference rate came in at 83% this fall, Mr. Keyes noted. And while that figure is still good, it’s not as high as in the past.
As per annual tradition the Board made a $100 donation to the Susquehanna Depot Fire Department. Superintendent Bronson Stone gave them high praise and remarked at length about their fire safety programs, as well as their assistance to the district in fire & evacuation drills. While the district is not in a position to make a larger donation, all district residents may wish to make as generous a donation as they are able.
Among the “no cost” agenda items approved were these:
- Cub Scout Pack 81 use of the elementary gym and stage on Jan 26.
- Girl Scouts (Daisies) use of high school cafeteria every other Wednesday.
- Pamela Weiss - permission to take students on EF Tour to London - June 2013.
- David Hallisay & John Haines - Speed Ball Tournament for Senior Project - Mar 8.
- Jeff Hall - Indoor Track Program - Winter 2012 & 2013.
- Amber Dubanowitz’s senior project - “Mr. Sabers Pageant” - HS Auditorium, Apr 20.
- George Paterno use of HS Auditorium to hold meeting - December 15, 2012.
- Tim Braun use of gym or wrestling room for indoor soccer.
- Karen Downton use of elementary cafeteria or her classroom to hold Brownie meetings on Mondays 3:25 - 5:15 p.m.
In personnel actions, the Board gave unanimous approval for new hirees, substitutes, and volunteers within the school district. New coaches hired were Danielle Keenan and Megan Schmitt for Junior High Softball Coach, and Jacob Johnson for Varsity Baseball Coach.
Substitute teachers approved for the 2012/2013 school year were Geraldine Tidd; Danielle Cady; Earl Cottrell, Jr.; Brent Keyes; and Carl Batzel. Stephanie Ficarro was approved as a substitute aide, and Barbara Bedford as a van driver.
In the way of volunteers Paul Rooney and Aaron Calendar were given approval to assist with the supervision of the after-school weight lifting program. Also approved to supervise with the after-school weight lifting was school employee Kyle Cook.
Among the items highlighted by Superintendent Stone over the course of the meeting was submission of the district’s final Strategic Plan on November 26, as well his role in the development of a newly state-mandated “Comprehensive All-Hazards Plan” to replace the current Crisis Response Plan later in the spring. Coming in for praise from the superintendent was the management of Price Gregory for their close coordination with the district on road closures/repairs while buses were making their runs, thereby minimizing student transportation delays. Also praised was Athletic Director Roxanne Lloyd for her brilliant skill and tact in coordinating usage of the schools two gyms by the numerous school teams at three levels of competition, as well as the community groups which use the facilities. Superintendent Stone also commended Lackawanna College for their curricula development to train students for jobs widely available in the gas industry. The Board approved the Lackawanna College Dual Enrollment Agreement with SCSD for the 2012-2013 school year during this meeting.
The one sobering issue that continues to cloud school board planning is retirement costs. The current system is unsustainable. SCSD is planning for a 33.5% increase in retirement expenses in next year’s budget. Because of the exponential rise in retirement costs it is unlikely the state’s retirement fund and local school board budgets can withstand such rate increases beyond three years unless reforms are made. The vast majority of the district’s fund balance was committed to covering retiree costs at this evening’s meeting. Superintendent Stone strongly encouraged contact with legislators to resolve this issue. Online readers wishing to learn more about the state of Pennsylvania’s financial health may wish to access the website: www.truthinaccounting.org. The Institute for Truth in Accounting, a non-profit, nonpartisan organization that does not advocate public policy beyond that of truthful budgeting and accounting provides data on all 50 states’ financial health. The Pennsylvania section sheds a lot of light on the extent of the retirement under-funding problem for both state employees and teachers. The shocking truth, according to the Institute, is that “94% of retirement obligations are not clearly disclosed on Pennsylvania’s balance sheet because of the way the state does it’s accounting.”
At 7:40 p.m. the Board approved its final motion and adjourned for the year. The ever chivalrous Gary Kiernan served up a gastronomic concoction - brownies - much to the delight of all, but especially to an exuberant school director who unabashedly extolled their virtues as a pleasure unequaled.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night! SCSD directors gather again for their next monthly meeting on Wednesday, January 16, 2013.
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A. Lyman Palmer to A. Lyman Palmer, Eleanore Palmer, Kevin Palmer, Jacquelyne Brace, Dennis Palmer & Robin Mooris, in Springville Twp., for $1.00.
Edward H., Nancy J., John G. & Sherrill M. Cressman to Edward H. Cressman, in Rush Twp., for $1.00.
Larry L. & Nancy F. Decker to Nancy F. Decker, in New Milford Twp., for $1.00.
Sandra M. Burns, Jill Renee Hancock (aka) Jill Hancock, Randy W. Hancock & Robert D. Hancock (aka) Robert Hancock, in Silver Lake Twp., for $1.00.
Sandra M. Burns, Jill Renee Hancock, Randy W. Hancock & Robert D. Hancock (aka) Robert Hancock, in Silver Lake Twp., for $1.00.
Kirk Matoushek to Kirk Matoushek, in Thompson Borough, for $1.00.
James & Carol Reber to Fritzes Forest LP, in Liberty Twp., for $306,000.00.
Janet G. Bush to Katelyn Briggs, in Bridgewater Twp., for $110,000.00.
Stacey & Bonnie Teed to Stacey & Bonnie Teed, in Silver Lake Twp., for $1.00.
Ira T. Reynolds (estate) to Virginia W. Coleman & Ryan Aures, in Susquehanna, for $36,000.00.
Edith Anne Dodge Family Limited Partnership to David Congdon & Christie Carnavale, in Auburn Twp., for $30,000.00.
Joseph R. Lott III & Amy L. Lott to Grant E. & Karen L. Adams, in Auburn Twp., for $109,000.00.
Robert C. Kilmer (estate) to John & June Bussolini, in Clifford Twp., for $62,000.00.
Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (by atty) to Michael Rosa, in Harford Twp., for $29,300.00.
Gerald H. Tusveld to Douglas P. & Vivyenne Pascoe, in Hop Bottom Borough, for $1.00.
Ronald H. Freeman to Ronald H. Freeman, in Choconut Twp., for $1.00.
Richard E. Randall to Richard E. Randall, in New Milford Twp., for $0.00.
Charles E. & Sandra B. Williams to Williams Living Trust, in Rush Twp., for $1.00.
Barbara A. Campbell to Trevor Pass, Patricia S. Bohs Pass (aka) Patricia S. Bohs-Pass, in Clifford Twp., for $299,000.00.
Scott R. Simmons, Sarah Powers (nbm) Sarah Thompson to Scott R. Simmons, in Lenox Twp., for $1.00.
Duane S. & Laurie L. Nolan to Jason C. & Melanie Jo Travis, in Ararat Twp., for $1,600.00.
Anthony Damore Jr. & Lorraine Damore to Anthony Damore Jr. (trust), in Liberty Twp., for $1.00.
Anthony Damore Jr. & Lorraine Damore to Anthony Damore Jr. (trust), in Liberty Twp., for $1.00.
Gerald A. & Patricia S. Pollack to Pennsylvania Commonwealth of Dept of Transportation, in Bridgewater Twp., for $1.00.
Frederick C. & Dorisann Storey to Frederick C. & Dorisann Storey, in Auburn Twp., for $1.00.
Frederick C. & Dorisann Storey to Frederick C. & Dorisann Storey, in Auburn Twp., for $1.00.
Frederick C. Storey to Storey Family Trust, in Auburn Twp., for $5.00.
Frederick C. Storey to Storey Family Trust, in Auburn Twp., for $5.00.
Susan E. Misa to Scout Petroleum LLC, in Lathrop Twp., for $10.00.
Frank Bach IV to Scout Petroleum LLC, in Auburn Twp., for $10.00.
Eva & Michael Marusiak to Chrisanne Solecky, in Brooklyn Twp., for $1.00.
Willard Dyson, Susan Bennett-Dyson (aka) Susan Bennett Dyson to Thomas & Whitney Search, in Sprinville Twp., for $4,000.00.
Kristen Kull (by sheriff aka) Kristen D. Kull (by sheriff) & James Jull (by sheriff aka) James S. Kull (by sheriff) to United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs, in Uniondale Borough, for $2,157.76.
Stephen Lyons, Marlene Lyons & Paul Andrew Lyons (aka) Paul Lyons to Stephen & Marlene Lyons, in Bridgewater Twp., for $1.00.
Anthony Damore Jr. & Lorraine Damore to Anthony Damore Jr. (trust), in Liberty Twp., for $1.00.
Patrick J. & Joseph Brady to Patrick J., Joseph P. & Ann Marie Brady, in Silver Lake Twp., for $1.00.
Francis J. Jr., Lisa A., George E. & Valerie A. Oshman to Francis J. Jr., Lisa A. & George E. Oshman, in Harford Twp., for $1.00.
Macprop Partners to JMG Minerals LLC, in Lenox Twp., for $27,006.59.
Betty Lou Lopatofsky to William H. & Claudia J. Lopatofsky, in Clifford Twp., for $66,000.00.
Joseph G. Mandos (estate) to Mary V. Mandos, in Middletown Twp., for $1.00.
Lauri Giannella Serfilippi & Claire Joyce Giannella (estate) to Laurie M. Serfilippi, in Harford Twp., for $1.00.
Shelia V. & David K. Goff to MM-Marcellus III LP, in Harford Twp., for $1.00.
Melbourne R. & Sharon E. Rackett to Norman J. Breese & Laurie Schimmel, in Great Bend Twp., for $89,000.00.
William & Patricia Kelley to William H. & AnnMarie Kelley, in Auburn Twp., for $230,000.00.
Margaret Javelin (estate aka) Margaret Jane Javelin (estate aka) Margaret J. Javelin (estate) to Stephen & Geraldine Palazzolo, in Middletown Twp., for $1.00.
Alfred J. Sullivan & Joann M. Matarese to Joann M. & Michael J. Matarese, in Forest City, for $1.00.
Robert C. Heed II & Amber K. Cambell (nbm) Amber K. Heed to Robert C. II & Amber Heed, in Springville Twp., for $1.00.
Patricia E. Pollack to Patricia E. Pollack (trust) in Bridgewater Twp. & Franklin Twp., for $1.00.
Patricia E. Pollack to Patricia E. Pollack (trust) in Bridgewater Twp. & Franklin Twp., for $1.00.
Raymond & Marjory Brown to Michael & Christina Mackenzie, in Thompson Twp., for $460,000.00.
Ronald Stone to Michael & Christina Mackenzie, in Thompson Twp., for $314,000.00.
Mark F. Bender to Christine M. Kosick & John Kosick Jr., in Jackson Twp., for $1.00.
Erich Portz & Jennifer Portz (fka) Jennifer Sutton to Erich Portz, in Clifford Twp., for $1.00.
The Susquehanna County DOMESTIC RELATIONS Section has outstanding BENCH WARRANT’S for the following individuals as of 10:05 a.m. on December 7, 2012: Elbert G. Allen, Jeremy E. Anderson, Sr, Christopher R. Brenner, Daniel M. Brown, Jason J. Carroll, William J. Casey, Thomas D. Earley, Jonathan Fathi, David J. Fischer, Jennifer D. Hazlett, Keith R. Hurd, John J. Jenisky, Jr, Richard E. Kalinowski, James Karhnak, Kay L. Knolles, Lee Labor, Todd J. Layton, Charlie J. Legere, Derrick J. Lezinsky, Ricahrd A. Murphy III, Anastacia V. Poff, Anthony Reed, Joseph M. Rhodes, Perry Rohan, Bruce A. Schurr, Desiree L. Shifler, David J. Shiner, Jerome W. Slick, Eric J. Snell, Stephen Sorensen, Jennifer L. Thatcher, Justin S. Thompson, Earl H. Thompson, Jr, Steven G. Warner, Jamie L. Williams, Sr., Kelly Lynn Yarbrough, Please contact the Domestic Relations Section at 570-278-4600 ext. 170 with any information on the location of these individuals.
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Blue Ridge Reorganizes, Moves On
As required, the Blue Ridge School Board (re)organized itself on Monday, December 3rd. It didn’t take long, putting Laurie Brown-Bonner back in the chair for another year, with Harold Empett her vice. Meetings will roughly follow the schedule adopted several months ago: the 4th Monday as a workshop to preview the agenda for the 1st Monday of the following month. And then it was on to the December business agenda.
Before getting too far in, the Board called on Mike Dougherty of Murphy Dougherty Accountants of Scranton who provided a briefing on his audit of the District’s books for the fiscal year that ended June 30.
There were “no findings” in Mr. Doughtery’s report, customarily a good thing in an audit. Overall, the District accumulated a fund balance of some $3 million against about $1 million in liabilities. School districts in Pennsylvania are encouraged to keep a year-end fund “uncommitted” balance at or below 8% of total budget. Blue Ridge has committed large portions of available balances to 2 major purposes: its self-insured health benefits plan for its employees, and the looming overhang of an underfunded state pension program.
At the end of the last fiscal year Blue Ridge had a balance of about $577,000 left over in its health insurance program (they spent about $2 million of the health insurance budget). Asked by Superintendent Robert McTiernan if more should be allocated, Mr. Dougherty was reluctant to hazard a projection, saying only that multiple large claims could wipe out the fund and make the District’s “stop-loss” policy “very, very expensive.” He said that Blue Ridge had a “pretty good history” with its insurance program compared to other self-insured school districts he has evaluated.
Mr. Dougherty was at a loss to explain the phenomenal performance of the Blue Ridge food service department, which returned $50,000 to the general fund, keeping about $140,000 of its revenue for its own needs. In the world of public finance this couldn’t be called a “profit,” but is certainly a tribute to the efforts of Linda Cole-Koloski and her staff.
There wasn’t much of an audience for the meeting; Middle/High School Principal Matthew Nebzydoski couldn’t even present his high-achieving seniors (listed as Taylor Decker and Ian Robinson), nor was the student body represented (by either Allison Coller or Sawyer Dearborn).
There was, however, some confusion over a set of 3 agenda items – one on its own addendum page – related to the continuing saga of the Blue Ridge theater program. After last week’s workshop it was expected that Mr. Hutchins and Ms. Zakarauskas would share the responsibility of directing the Middle and High School plays, and a pair of items on the original agenda would have done just that, by first rescinding the appointment of Mr. Hutchins to both, then adding both of them back in as “Co-Directors.” The additional item was to approve the resignation of Mr. Hutchins, leaving Ms. Zakarauskas with half of a new job already completed (the Middle School production of “Wonderland” was presented a few weeks ago), and nobody to direct the High School’s Spring musical. Mr. McTiernan said the position would be posted internally to begin with.
During budget deliberations last year, the Blue Ridge Board decided to cut one of the 2 positions in the theater department, opting instead to spread one director between both shows. Several students and parents came out to appeal the decision, so the Board ultimately decided to try splitting the salary allocated in half. And one of the directors apparently rejected that approach.
Mr. McTiernan did add one last-minute item to the bill list. Ms. Hoffman will get a new washer and dryer for the athletic department. Mr. McTiernan noted that the expense was budgeted, and that the machines selected were available at lower cost (about $2,400) on a year-end sale that would be over before the next meeting. The machines – which are to be purchased with extended warranties – will be used to wash athletic uniforms to help control the spread of infectious diseases.
The rest of the meeting’s 25-point agenda was passed in a single motion, most of the measures being fairly routine personnel actions. Among other things, the Board
accepted disciplinary agreements for 3 students;
donated $100 to New Milford Borough for the purchase of a baseball scoreboard
will take 30 days to review a new policy called “Student Assistance Program” required by new state regulations to create a “systematic process … to mobilize school resources to remove barriers to learning” including access to community services;
approved a maintenance contract with the Otis Elevator Company for the District’s 3 elevators for $530 per month;
purchased a 5-year Neopost “digital mailing system” contract with Postage Pros Plus for $356 and about $300 per year maintenance;
approved an agreement with Trehab for drug & alcohol prevention classes for $1,700;
approved an agreement with NHS Northeastern Pennsylvania for services under a Student Assistance Program as needed (no prices included);
approved a contract with Southern Tier Stages, Inc. to provide bus transportation to Gettysburg in Feburary at a cost of $2,095.
Included in the agenda package was a 23-page document from the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) purporting to be an “Air Quality Program Plan Approval No. 58-302-009,” that will expire on April 28, 2013, barely 4 months away. This remarkable example of bureaucratic gobbldy-gook presumably must be replicated at that time. All to allow Blue Ridge to continue to heat its buildings with wood chips. Sheesh!
Mr. McTiernan reported that the new federal “Child Protection Act of 2012” requires providers of services to children to be trained to recognize signs of child abuse. He said that the Instructional Unit is expected to be inundated by its constituent districts for services under the act, so Blue Ridge is undertaking to provide the training itself, for staff, faculty, bus drivers, anyone interacting with the district’s students. “We’re training our own people,” he said.
And finally, the principals unveiled a new banner (produced by Rosekrans Signs of Great Bend) that will be mounted on the outside of the building proclaiming Blue Ridge the recipient of U.S. New & World Report’s Bronze recognition for 2 of the past 3 years (2010 and 2012).
The next public meeting of the Blue Ridge School Board is scheduled for Monday, January 7, 2013, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Mr. Empett announced that his Facilities & Grounds Committee will meet at 6:00 p.m. on the same evening. All meetings are held in the cafeteria in the Elementary School.
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Elk Lake School Pipeline Discussed
There were an unusual number of visitors present at the SCCTC and Elk Lake school board meetings. The SCCTC meeting was first, and Mr. Place opened the reorganization, stating as he did that he had requested not to be nominated again. Mrs. Teel was nominated, and appointed unanimously (with the exception of her own abstention). She then opened nominations for vice president. Mr. Bender nominated Mr. Curley, a nomination which was also unanimously carried (with the exception of his own abstention).
A visitor asked about the Williams representatives present to discuss the pipeline. It was stated that they would speak during the visitors’ section of the Elk Lake meeting.
Dr. Davis was at a state meeting, so the director’s report was postponed until the January meeting.
A motion was made and seconded that the assignment of check signers be changed to Mrs. Teel and Mr. Curley, due to the switch in leadership.
The Elk Lake meeting was then held. Mr. Place again opened the meeting, and then turned it over to Dr. Bush for reorganization purposes. The motion was made to copy the appointment of officers. Again the motion was passed unanimously, save for the abstentions of the two involved.
A letter had been received from the tax claim bureau regarding a piece of property which had gone up for judicial sale earlier, and the district was to receive over $6,000 in back taxes from it, as it had been sold.
A visitor requested that a piece of correspondence that was mentioned be read aloud. Dr. Bush consented, and did so. The author of the letter alleged that the school district had been unwilling to meet with representatives of Williams about the safety concerns. He also spoke of the law firm retained, alleging a conflict of interest as a school board member also had that lawyer. He requested that they take immediate action to resolve their issues and allow the construction of the pipeline to proceed. Dr. Bush said that he would let the attorney address it. Mr. Abrahamson then spoke; he had been hired by the board to represent the board. He said that there were some inaccuracies in that letter. There was an easement agreement signed some time ago with the understanding that there would be one ten inch line. However, as discussions continued (he stated that there had been a number of meetings and the allegation that the board refused to meet was inaccurate), the board found out that Williams could put multiple lines in the easement, and that the lines could be as large as 24 inches. This was as the easement agreement was written, not as the board had allegedly been promised by the landmen. This caused concerns, including safety concerns. He continued to argue against the statement that there had been no correspondence; he had seen correspondence after one meeting listing eight specific concerns to be negotiated, and Williams had promised to get back to them. On November 5th, according to his relation, the board had received an e-mail stating that the company was beginning construction soon, and there were only responses to two of the concerns. That was when the board had decided to engage legal council, because their concerns were not being met and the easement had been signed by the superintendent under a different understanding that Williams had. Mr. Abrahamson related that he had received two separate letters from Williams asking him what the legal basis was for his being engaged, and he had written back that the easement was not legally binding. It was his stance that the easement was not binding as, it being a matter of real estate, it would only be legally binding if it was voted upon by a board majority at a public meeting. It was not. He said that the board was interested in meeting with Williams, but they would need to have their concerns addressed and he would be present. The board, he continued, was willing to have Williams put in one ten inch line. The matter was to be addressed further during the second visitors section of the meeting. Mrs. Teel stated that she was the board member spoken of in the letter as a potential conflict of interest, and that she would be abstaining from all votes on the topic.
Mr. Mallery spoke of the kickoff of the winter athletic season, scheduled to begin the day after the meeting. Also, the band and chorus concert had been a great success.
Dr. Cuomo noted that evening’s senior high band and chorus concert. He also reported on dual enrollment. About a year ago all dual enrollment state grant funding had been lost, which had led to some concern about the number of students who could participate in that program. He stated that 75 students in the eleventh and twelfth grades were enrolled in the program. ELESPA and the Community Foundation had provided thousands of dollars in scholarship funds to offset the costs.
The high school students had begun the Keystone exams; the biology courses were done online. Dr. Cuomo stated that this had gone very well, as had the exams in general.
Mr. Pirone spoke of the 5th and 6th grade band concert, which was to occur the next week. Also, the parent luncheon for second graders was scheduled for the next day, with a record number of parents, over 140, expected.
The agreement with NHS for the SAP program was noted, which program was expanded to the elementary students. NHS was the district’s provider of services.
The Sterling Act, part of ACT 1, was voted upon, which referred to a tax credit for persons working in Philadelphia. Mrs. Hollister reviewed this. There was only 1 person to whom it applied.
A resolution was adopted regarding the Act 1 Taxpayer Relief Act, stating that the district had made a decision it would not raise taxes above the established index. The district’s index was 2.4%. Dr. Bush explained that this resolution was standard every year. To date the board had not gone above the index.
Dr. Bush reviewed the SCCTC project bills and change orders. One change order was to the district’s credit, in the amount of $4,644, due to their not remodeling the old administrative offices, and painting the electric shop themselves and not putting in certain ceiling titles. However, there had also been some additional charges, leaving the district with a credit of $2,218. The roofing company had inadvertently replaced a part of the roof which was not part of the project. Originally they had listed the cost of the repair high, at $30,000, however they had since come back and quoted a lower price, $6,961 in total. The district’s architect had stated that this figure was conservative, and a decent price for the work done. Dr. Bush asked the board how they wanted to progress. They could either approve a change order to be credited, or a change order where that credit would be used to partially reimburse the roofing company, and the board would pay the rest. Mr. Curley confirmed that the roofing company was a subcontractor for the construction company. He suggested that the figure would largely represent materials, without much labor. He opined that the work did have value, as it put that section of roof replacement off on the schedule. Mr. Emmerich agreed that the price was likely largely the company’s cost. Mr. Curley asked if by paying them for work not requested, they were disturbing their process of putting everything out to bid. Dr. Bush stated that they would not. Mr. Curley said that as a person he wanted to pay it, but as a matter or practicality they had not requested it. He asked how large a section of roof it was, and it was responded that it wasn’t large. Mr. Curely then made the motion in favor of the credit and not reimbursing the roofing company. Mrs. Teel asked, after further discussion of cost, if they were still within their original cost, and it was responded that nothing had yet taken them over.
Three athletic candidates were put forth, Kevin Tewksbury (boy’s elementary basketball) Darren Frasier (jv wrestling) and Derek Noldy (jr. high wrestling). All three were approved.
The assignment of check signers was again approved.
The second visitor’s section was then opened. A woman spoke up, stating that she hadn’t been at a meeting in June when it came up that Dr. Bush had signed a lease. She asked how it came about that he signed it when he shouldn’t have. Dr. Bush replied that he had signed it, but it wasn’t a valid document because the board needed to motion on it and approve it. She asked how he became aware that he shouldn’t have signed the paper. Mr. Abrahamson replied that it wasn’t that he shouldn’t have signed it, but that it wasn’t legally binding until after there was the majority vote. It could have been approved after being signed. He also pointed out that it was not a lease, it was an easement, which he called an important legal distinction. He said that it was a special situation as it was a public school, that it wasn’t with a single individual.
A visitor said that everyone was uneasy that the lawyer was also Mrs. Teel’s lawyer. She asked if the pipeline would be coming to her property. Mrs. Teel responded that no, her family had a personal issue and they had hired Mr. Abrahamson, then the school hired him.
The visitor then asked if the size of the pipeline wasn’t in the paperwork. It was responded that this was true. She said that the most important point was safety for the kids, however the train had left the station when the board signed the gas lease for anything. She said that if at this point they slowed down the pipeline, there were a lot of people who had a right to be upset. She felt that safety was taken away as a consideration when the school signed that lease.
Dr. Bush stated that from the position they were approaching, she was saying that the board was slowing down the process. The board, however, was okay with a ten inch pipeline. Williams however was saying that they wanted to reserve the right to put in multiple lines or a line up to 24 inches.
Mr. Curley spoke up, saying that the board was willing to have that pipeline go to the well but was uncomfortable with the above and beyond. He said that she was right that the horse was out of the barn, and that the board should have worried more at the time of negotiations for the well, but that did not mean that they had to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to the concerns that day. He said that he had messed up, and that his vote would be different than it was then , but he was trying to get it right currently.
Another visitor asked if they had gone through the same procedures when another pipeline came across the back property to the well. She asked if Mr. Abrahamson could talk to that, and he said he was not familiar with it. In response to a question however, it was responded that the existing pipe was a ten inch.
Mike Dickinson from Williams said that he could answer that question, and that he appreciated the time to speak. The representatives had wanted to come and be available to answer any questions around the scope of the project, pipeline safety, and plans (to the best of their ability). They had not come to negotiate or debate the legalities. He passed around some maps of the pipelines, which he felt would help answer some of the questions. By way of introduction, he said that a lot of the folks in the room might not be familiar with Williams. He described them as a pipeline infrastructure company which built, owned, and operated natural gas pipelines. Their customers drilled the wells and asked them to get the gas from the well to the market for sale. As Cabot was making their drilling plans and identified leases, they brought these plans to Williams and that company would look for ways to connect those wells to the pipeline. As far as the project in question, he referred to the map, illustrating where the well might be. They were proposing to tie another 10 inch pipeline into that well. It was a 10 inch pipeline which was proposed, he pointed out- the outstanding issues appeared to be the ability to expand in the future.
A visitor asked what would be the harm with putting in a 24 inch line. She asked if they were saying that 10 inch lines could be filled to capacity and they might want more in the future. He responded that from a design standpoint a 10 inch or 24 inch line was designed to the same codes and safety standards. The visitor asked if it was more dangerous. He responded that it was not under a higher pressure, or under more stress or strain. It would however have more gas in it. They didn’t look at it as more or less safe or dangerous. At that time, he stated, they didn’t anticipate ever needing to do it. However, they did not want to paint themselves in a corner, and wanted to reserve the right to expand. For what they knew right now they did not have additional pipelines planned for the district. They were just operating on the assumption that they had an agreement that they did not want to renegotiate and they wanted the flexibility.
Mr. Tewksbury suggested that they got back to the table in a hurry. He said that they didn’t want to deprive anyone of getting royalties, but at the same time they were responsible for the safety of the property and children. Right now to him it looked like they needed to get back to the table and see where they were.
Mrs. Teel expressed that, as far as having an attorney involved went, in the beginning a lot of people hadn’t done this, and she felt it was only prudent that everyone have an attorney involved dealing with gas and pipeline companies. This was forever, and for children. They weren’t trying to hold anyone up they were trying to do what was truly best for everyone.
Another visitor asked about the existing pipeline, which looked closer to the school. Mr. Curley said this went back to his previous statement. They knew more. Things that had been done before that they would like to go back and redo. For the future they wanted to go forward carefully. They did not want to look back and regret what was being done at that time.
A Williams representative stated that the other line was a single line agreement, but there were no restrictions on the size of the pipe. Someone asked if that easement had been just signed by Dr. Bush or had gone before the board. It was responded that for the next meeting they could go back and look at those documents and see what approval was given.
A visitor asked if they had sat down and met with Williams prior to hiring a lawyer. Mr. Curley said that the reason they were here, was that what they thought they had dealt for was not what they had. The visitor didn’t understand why they didn’t say let’s go ahead without costing taxpayer’s lawyer fees, sign for a 10 inch line and negotiate later. Mrs. Teel pointed out the size of the easement which they put in for.
The visitor then asked if the board had talked with Williams prior to costing the taxpayers money. The lawyer responded that they had.
A visitor asked about whether the lease was signed for a certain number of years. The lawyer replied that this wasn’t a lease it was an easement, which was for perpetuity. The easement as presented would give Williams the right to come in and put whatever they want in the easement, without coming back to the board for further permission. The board was willing to put in one 10 inch line, if the company wanted more they were to come back and see them before it was done.
That visitor agreed with Mr. Curley that they had all learned, they had opened up a door and were now being trampled on. There had been good and bad things, she said, and she felt that the companies were taking advantage of them. She felt that the community needed to bind together and say what they wouldn’t stand for. She felt Elk Lake should talk to other districts, as this wasn’t just an Elk Lake problem. She felt that they should work together. She was letting them know she was willing to work with the companies but she did not want to kick their children out.
A visitor then asked what the problem would be with Williams eventually putting in another line. Mr. Curley responded that, personally, he didn’t want to sell an asset that belonged to the school to someone at today’s price, when they wanted to hold it for thirty years and then use it. If they needed a ten inch line they would negotiate. But he did not want to sell their asset today, if they wanted it down the line. He was not going to sell today for their hopes and dreams of tomorrow. He said he wasn’t speaking for the board just himself.
A woman asking how many taxpayers here had signed these easements, and were being held up. A board member said that he had signed a pipeline agreement and there were restrictions put in telling them not to disturb certain hedgerows, etc. and they had come in and destroyed things and that they had the right to do so. Things did happen and that was what the board was trying to avoid; they were trying to do the right thing for the citizens of the school district. He felt that the fact that they were being cautions was not an error at all, if they were going to or they should do so on the side of caution. He said that the ball was in Williams court now to come back and talk with them. (It was not Williams he had worked with when he had problems.)
Mrs. Teel asked Mr. Dickinson who they would sit down and set up the meeting with. He said that he appreciated the school board’s candor, and they wanted to sit back down. There had been some miscommunication with their standard process. They had known there were some unresolved issues, and they understood the need to have attorneys provide council. They would appreciate having discussions again.
Mr. Abrahamson said that they could talk again, but they wanted a face to face negotiation, with him present. Mrs. Teel said that they had a contact with PUC, had spoke on a conference call, and had a great conversation regarding what would be safe. They learned about impact area, and if the pipeline was to blow what would be affected. They had considered if the children would be at risk, and would they have to change safety protocol. She said that pipeline explosions did happen, though she hated to bring it up. They might be one in a million, but if they were one in a million with their kids that was too much.
One visitor thanked the board for being so meticulous with their decision. Another wanted the board to be aware that there was a proposed compressor station, which was to be located on state route 3010 within a mile of the school. Elk Lake school was within a mile and a half of three compressor stations.
Another visitor asked where the line in question would be, and how far it was from the school. It was responded that it was right on the boundary, 400 plus yards from the school building. The pad was further away than that. The line would be as far from the school as it could be, it was clarified.
Another visitor said that she wanted to support the board members. They were taken off guard, the oil companies had been focused on this for years. There was no way anyone could run catch up for what the companies already knew. She did not think a single one of the board members should feel guilty for doing what they thought was right. She said that hiring a lawyer was probably more fiscally responsible than not.
Mr. Tewksbury asked Williams if the gas being produced in Pennsylvania was going to be used domestically or being exported. Mr. Dickinson said that what little he knew was that currently there wasn’t the ability to do a lot of exporting, though he had heard rumors that there were a few facilities going in on the east coast. Any export that they might be seeing he thought might be exporting to Canada or Mexido. A lot of the gas being produced in Pennsylvania would likely be used locally, generally it was used close to supply.
A visitor asked who was up for reelection. It was responded that Mrs. Ives, Mr. Emmerich, Mr. Tewksbury, and Mrs. McGee were up for reelection.
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MASD Reorganizes, Misses Member
The December 3rd Montrose School Board meeting kicked off with the audit report by Paul Murphy of Murphy and Dougherty. Mr. Murphy reviewed before the board a packet, stating that it was a clean opinion. The report had 56 pages of requirements. The district had anticipated spending 22.9 million dollars, and estimated that the fund balance would decrease by $40,408 total. It had not even used that. The revenues had come in a little higher than the anticipated amount. The fund balance had decreased only about $5,000 total, without having to raise real estate taxes. Mr. Murphy called this impressive. He said that other districts did have healthier fund balances, but he felt that 7.7 was a very healthy rate. He discussed with the board why these discrepancies had occurred, as well as other details. He spoke of food services, the goal of the food service fund was to break even. He said that if a decrease continued to occur, either an increase in lunch prices or subsidy from the general fund might be required. He also noted the effects of the pension crisis. That had increased a little over $300,000 just over the last year and was expected to continue to rise. Overall, he felt the audit was great news. He said that a lot of people were in a lot worse shape, that it was rather healthy and the district ought to be proud that it didn’t have to raise taxes.
Mr. Owens wanted to acknowledge how great a loss to the district was the passing of Dr. Golden as the Special Education Director. He spoke of how much Dr. Golden had cared about the children, and how his decisions were made for them. He stated that he would be missed.
Mr. Talarico said that he also wanted to echo what Dr. Owens had said, speaking again of what an asset Dr. Golden had been. He spoke well of the play, and thanked the graphic arts department for the banners in the gym. The Keystone exams had begun, and he said that they had gone well. The students had taken it seriously. The kids had come to him and wanted to do something for the victims of Sandy. A program, Schools for Sandy, had been created. Most of the Susquehanna County schools and a few Lackawanna County schools had joined, partnering with a fire department in Staten Island. It was hoped that a truck could be obtained to deliver the items right before the holidays. He said that it had been a good year, and that it was a great group of seniors.
Mr. Caterson had read that some districts were administering the Keystone exams online. Mr. Talarico responded that it was hoped this could be gotten up and running for spring.
Mr. McComb echoed the sentiments regarding Doctor Golden, as he truly loved the kids. Santa’s Secret Shop was to begin the following week. The school was also to have its first ever, almost whole school Christmas concert. This was scheduled for December 13th.
Ms. Lusk again echoed how Dr. Golden would be missed, speaking highly of him. She thanked the business office staff for their assistance with the audit.
Mr. Ognosky stated that he had the opportunity to do the tribute at Dr. Golden’s memorial service. He had spoken with the family to give them a glimpse of Dr. Golden’s life at work. He said that he would be terribly missed, expressing his sadness at the loss.
The motion was to be voted upon during the regular meeting (it was announced during the work session) that they would not go above the index, which was 2.1 mills. This would allow the district to raise taxes by just under a mill.
Meeting dates and orders were discussed again. It was decided that Monday nights worked well, and that the district would still rotate locations. The time was to remain at seven o’clock.
A visitor spoke up stating that her daughter, an Elk Lake student, had attended the Marywood Winds Celebration, and had spoken very well of the Montrose students. She said that the students were very nice, and that the school had first chair in every instrument they sent.
Mr. Caterson then spoke about the play. There were various positive comments about this.
The regular business meeting began just before eight pm. Ms. Truman asked for a temporary president for the purposes of reorganization; Mr. Gow was nominated and approved. Mr. Gow in turn opened the floor for nomination of board president. Mrs. Mordovancy nominated Mr. Caterson for another term. The motion carried unanimously. Mr. Caterson thanked the board, saying that he was honored to continue for another year. He then opened the floor for nominations for vice-president. Mrs. Homan nominated Mr. Wilcox. This motion also passed unanimously.
The motion was made to resolve that the Montrose School District would not raise taxes above the PDE approved index. This meant, Mr. Caterson said, that if the district was going to raise taxes it would be by about 1 mill, representing about $200,000. The resolution moved the time line back to late February or March. This meant, Mr. Ognosky stated, that the numbers could be a lot more accurate. Mr. Gow also spoke of how this would be easier for educators, and Mr. Caterson noted how in the past the district had almost had two budgets, guessing early and trying to nail things down later.
A motion was made to provide bus contractors with a 5% additional stipend above the current contract for the 2012-2013 fiscal year, to be paid in two installments. The board felt it was a good idea as the contractors were taking a beating, though Mr. Caterson said that they understood this didn’t entirely make up for the beating. This represented almost $60,000; the plan was to take the money out of the budgetary reserve.
A visitor thanked the board on behalf of the bus contractors. He said that it was very much needed. Mr. Ognosky wished to thank the contractors not only for how they did their job, but also how they came and spoke with the board. He felt this helped the relationship they had. Mr. Caterson seconded this, saying that they continued to work as a team with the same goal, that it was not an adversarial relationship.
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Great Bend Borough Budget Adopted
At their December meeting on the 6th, members of the Great Bend Borough Council gave formal adoption to a budget for 2013 almost as an afterthought. Reaching the table at the very end of the meeting, Council accepted the budget it decided on last month, anticipating a total expenditure of some $174,700, of which $20,700 will be for the year-old police department.
The budget is helped out by the so-called “impact fee” distributed to municipalities by the state Public Utility Commission (PUC) under Act 13 of 2012 to help them cope with the effects of the burgeoning natural gas exploration activity in the state. Even though there is so far no drilling on Great Bend’s side of the Susquehanna River, the Borough was awarded $30,488.94, double what the Borough was allocated last month due to a recalculation by the PUC. Don’t forget the 94 cents.
Act 13 isn’t very specific about what municipalities can or can’t do with the money. So Council decided to put all of it, along with the $9,000 already allocated in the budget, against the nearly $100,000 they borrowed to pave and drain Church Street. That will bring the outstanding principal on the loan down to a more manageable $40,000 or so.
The impact fee windfall notwithstanding, and not counting on state largesse in years to come, Council decided last month to ask its taxpayers to pony up a little more each year in order to avoid larger rate increases later, as costs continue to rise along with the demand for services. So the property tax rate in Great Bend Borough will rise by half a mill to 14.38, along with another quarter mill to bring the contribution for the fire company to a full mill.
Council isn’t expecting the Borough to get rich off the natural gas industry. So they haggled a bit over the cost of replacing 8-10 picnic tables in its three parks. A nearby golf course offered some used tables at $50 apiece. The Borough’s maintenance employee could also be more fully occupied during the winter by building them at a cost of $80-90 each; Council wants to see how much the cost of that option might be cut by salvaging parts of the old tables.
Then Borough solicitor Frank O’Connor suggested that Council members approach each of the 20 or more businesses in the little town with the notion of sponsoring a table. For $100 the Borough would build a picnic table and add a tag identifying the business (or individual) that made it possible. Each of the seven Council members will approach 2 or 3 businesses.
Mr. O’Connor (one of the said local businesses, by the way), also suggested that Council consider adopting an ordinance to require “alternate-side-of-the-street” parking during snowstorms, to allow more efficient plowing. There is already such a regulation for Main Street, U.S. Route 11 which is maintained by PennDOT. John Street is also regulated this way, to allow easier access by fire department equipment. He recommended that the new ordinance cover the entire Borough. Council tabled the idea for further consideration.
In the meantime, a local business will be asked to fix the dump box of the Borough’s lone truck. There are some holes in the box, but nothing that can’t be easily fixed, so Council will try to get that done for about $800 before the box has to be filled with salt for the winter.
Council also decided to repeat its annual contribution of $100 to the county library system.
Officer in Charge Jon Record offered his report for the month of November, claiming 68 total hours for his 5 part-time officers. Some of that was for training on “Bath Salts and Synthetic Marijuana” provided by the county District Attorney. (15 hours were allocated among 3 officers for Halloween and 12 for “superstorm Sandy” in October.) He reported 3 “incidents” other than routine traffic in November. His officers issued 9 citations and 15 traffic warnings.
And finally, as is his wont, Mayor Jim Riecke used his slot on the agenda to thank the fire company for helping to put up the holiday lights along Main Street. Mike Crook said that everyone had a grand time during the project.
The next public meeting of the Great Bend Borough Council is expected to be on Thursday, January 3, 2012 beginning at 7:00 p.m. at the Borough Building at Elizabeth and Franklin Streets. Happy Holidays!
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Help Needed In Lanesboro
The fall-out from Steve Glover’s resignation as driver for the borough’s garbage truck continues. At the November 14 meeting of Lanesboro Borough Council Mr. Glover announced his resignation, and borough council members thought they would be able to fill his position through internal promotion. Fortuitously council members passed a resolution at that time to authorize advertising to fill the position if “Plan A” didn’t work. At their Tuesday, December 4th meeting, council members agreed it was time to move ahead with advertising since their more optimistic expectation had not come to fruition. Readers may expect to see that job opening advertised soon.
Also needing help at the December 4th meeting was council itself. At the approach of the 7 p.m. start time, there was some concern a quorum would not be present to conduct business. But with the arrival of Regina Dilello to join Council Vice-President Dan Boughton, and council members David Glidden and Jason Fissel, the meeting opened only a minute late. Also present was Mayor Chris Maby. Absent were President Todd Glover, council members Dale Rockwell and Colleen Y. Wilkes, and Secretary/Treasurer Gail Hanrahan. On account of Mrs. Hanrahan’s absence, Mayor Maby assumed responsibility for recording the meeting’s minutes.
Council approved the minutes of their November 14 meeting, though the approving motion was later amended to include a minor amendment of those meeting minutes. Council had no correspondence or resolutions to address. Bill review, in the absence of Treasurer Hanrahan, was not conducted.
Of the five Lanesboro residents present in the audience none requested time on the agenda. However, during public comment Bob Mireider had his say. Mr. Mireider explained that he had loaned a hand-truck to the borough government and Red Cross during the Great Flood of 2006. He now wanted it back. Council members could not explain or account for the whereabouts of the hand-cart six and a half years after the fact. After some discussion council voted 3-1 to replace the hand-cart at borough expense to make Mr. Mireider whole. Voting “aye” on the motion were Vice-President Boughton and council members Glidden and Fissel; voting “nay” was council woman Dilello.
Mayor Maby read the police report, as submitted by Chief Smith. For the month of November in Lanesboro, police put in 121 hours. They made 33 traffic stops, resulting in the issuance of 20 citations and 13 warnings. Speeding violations accounted for 29 of those traffic stops, while two were for careless driving and two were for inspection violations. Of six incidents for causes other than for routine traffic violations, there was one of each of the following: domestic complaint, loose dog complaint, criminal mischief in the form of a smashed car window, a suspicious vehicle report, a two-car motor vehicle accident, and an assist to Susquehanna Depot Police Department.
For the 12 contract hours billed to Thompson for November, police made 12 traffic stops, resulting in 10 citations and two warnings. The reason for all 12 stops was speeding in the borough. Police also answered to two complaints, one for smoke, and one for criminal mischief.
Mayor Maby also reported to council that he had followed up on seeking an insurance quote to cover volunteers acting on behalf of the borough. Council discussed the quote of $250 per year to cover up to six volunteers at one time. Detailed explanations of how the insurance works, what benefits it provides, and how claims would be handled were made. After a quick check of the borough’s 2013 budget to see if there were sufficient funds available - There were! - Council voted unanimously to approve the purchase of the insurance rider.
In the matter of the IPMC (International Property Maintenance Code), discussion was tabled until next month. The general consensus was that more council members should be present before wading into the deep waters of the IPMC. In the view of some council members, there are irresponsible property owners who are shirking their duty to maintain their property/homes properly. Some residents, however, have concerns that all homeowners’ property rights, including those of homeowners who ARE responsible, will be greatly diminished by enlargement of the municipality’s interest in and coercive power over property maintenance.
Routine matters from the Streets Committee, Sewer/Refuse Committee, and Community Center were discussed. Councilman Glidden reported that street blacktopping and patching were finished, and Mayor Maby reported that Community Center plans were not yet finished, but he’s working on seeing it through. In a semi-humorous moment Vice-President Boughton related that the headlights fell out of the garbage truck while it was being driven to Hacker’s Packers. The truck is now as Cleveland’s Garage for repairs on the headlights, as well as for other ailments.
At 7:41 p.m. Council voted unanimously to adjourn. No mention was made of the date for the next meeting, but as January 1 falls on Tuesday, one would expect next meeting will be held on January 8, 2013. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to all!
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Gibson Barracks Report
Theft from a motor vehicle: PSP Gibson is investigating the theft of a black backpack and a 15”or 17” Acer laptop from the vehicle belonging to a Clifford man. The vehicle was parked in his driveway at the time.
Theft: In the commission of this crime one or more unknown person(s) arrived at a location in the Jones DR Jones Trailer Park in Clifford and removed a welder and ATV from a shanty. The ATV is described as a silver 2012 Can-Am Outlander 800 XT with a winch on the front and a red snap-on welder model MIG 135. anyone with information is asked to please contact PSP Gibson.
Underage Consumption: On December 6th at 7:45 am a juvenile male student, 14 years old, consumed an alcoholic beverage on a school bus. The Mt. View student was cited for underage consumption.
Burglary Attempt: Between December 5th and 6th a break in was reported at the garage of a Little Meadows man.
Theft by Unlawful Taking: Between April and December of this year approximately 212 gallons of heating oil were stolen form Hines Oil Mart in New Milford township.
Criminal Mischief: On December 5th at 3:30 am Ryan Allen of Nicholson is accused of damaging the mailbox of a Nicholson woman by hitting it, trying to detach the mailbox from the post. Chargers were filed at District Court 34-4-03.
Commercial Vehicle Crash: On December 4th at 8:15 pm a truck was in line to get fuel. A second truck thought the first truck was trying to get ahead of him. Both trucks were jockeying to get to the pump first. The second hit the driver's side of the first, and kept going forward, damaging the side of the tractor. Neither driver is listed.
Criminal Mischief: On December 5th at 1:30 am a vehicle was driven through a Lenox township property, damaging the same. Anyone with information is requested to please call the police.
Burglary: On July 3rd one or more unknown person(s) shouldered the door of a Great Bend Borough residence to gain entrance to the apartment, and then left the scene. Anyone with information is asked to please contact the police.
Crash: On November 27th at 6:50 am two units were traveling west on Sr 106 in Lenox township. Neither driver is named in the report. A Dodge Neon was slowing/stopped near the intersection with T451 on PA 106 in Lenox township due to traffic and icy road conditions. A Freightliner was approaching the Neon responding to a motor vehicle crash. The Freightliner slid and the right rear struck the left rear of the Neon, pushing it against the guide rail.
Crash: On November 27th at 6:50 am Jeremy Horrocks of Greenfield Tonwship was traveling west on Sr 106 in Lenox township when he lost control on icy roadways. The Dodge 2500 crossed the eastbound lane and struck an embankment, rolling onto its right side and coming to a rest. Horrocks was utilizing a seat belt; he was not injured.
Public Drunkenness: On December 2nd at 6 pm Frank Winters of Montrose was accused of causing a disturbance in the area of Stephanie's Snack Bar in Choconut Township. He was cited for public drunkenness.
Accidental Shooting: On November 29th at approximately 8:30 pm a Springville woman was accidentally shot with a handgun when another individual was trying to disassemble the firearm. The other individual is not named in the report. The victim was flown to the Robert Packard Hospital in Sayre, Pa.
DUI: On November 27th at 9:49 pm Thomas Deangelo of Binghamton, Ny was traveling south on State Route 11 in New Milford when his vehicle left the roadway for unknown reasons and struck the embankment. After striking the embankment the driver came to a rest on the right shoulder of the roadway. No injuries were reported; a seat belt was in use. The vehicle was towed form the scene by Vogel's towing. It sustained considerable damage. Deangelo was arrested for suspicion of DUI. Charges were field at District Court 34-3-02.
Harassment: PSP Gibson is investigation an incident in which Michael Shiner of Nicholson allegedly pushed a juvenile Hop Bottom girl twice and spit in her face, on the premesis of the New Milford Pump and Pantry. Shiner was charged with harassment.
Crash: On November 30th at 6:16 pm Kris Ruppe of Largo, Fl and Jason Auckland of Susquehanna, Pa were both driving south on I81 in New Milford township. Auckland was in the driving lane, coming up on a tractor trailer with its four way flashers on. He got into the passing lane. There was another vehicle alongside of the tractor trailer in the passing lane. When Aukland's vehicle got behind that vehicle, he had to apply his brakes. Ruppe was traveling in the passing lane when the other driver applied his brakes and could not react in time. He struck Aukland's vehicle in the rear with his front end. Both vehicles, a Chevrolet Avalanch and a Ford F3500, drove off the roadway. There were no injuries. No fire or EMS responded. Marv's towed the Avalanche from the scene. All involved were utilizing seat belts.
Harassment: PSP Gibson is investigating an incident in which a Hallstead man received a harassing post card.
Crash: On November 25th David Budrick of Susquehanna, Pa was traveling southbound on T570 in Gibson township when he failed to properly negotiate a left hand downhill curve in the roadway. The Ford E350 went off the right side of the roadway over an embankment. The undercarriage sturck a large boulder and the right side struck several small trees, coming to a rest.
Criminal Trespass: On November 21st at 1 pm PSP responded to a Gaylord Road location in Middletown township on report of an individual living in a victim's hunting cabin, claiming it was his. Upon arrival the trooper spoke to the victim. He stated that there was a man in his cabin and he didn't know who he was. He said that one of the neighbors told him the man was there, and when they went to the cabin he came out with a rifle over his shoulder and said that the cabin was his. The man initially identified himself as one name. Identification was located on his person identifying him as another name. He said that was his brother's name and that he switches minds with his brother to deal with stress. He then said that he was Saint Michael and that he was at the cabin to fulfill a prophecy and that Abraham Alexander, the god almighty, was his father. He said that this was his family's cabin and that he had to fulfill the prophecy. He continued to ramble about the prophecy, taking about demons and man eaters. He was transported to Tyler hospital in Tunkhannock and committed for a mental health evaluation.
Crash: On November 28th at 7:06 pm Danielle Roy of Susquehanna was traveling east on Sr 171 in Great Bend Township when she stated that a deer ran out in front of her, and caused her to turn the wheel swiftly. The vehicle crossed the oncoming lane, then impacted an embankment, stone wall and a tree, before coming to its final uncontrolled rest area, off the North side of the West bound lane. Great Bend Fire and EMS responded to the scene. French's towed unit 1 from the scene.
Theft: Michael Moxen of Great Bend was taken into custody on November 29th and charged with forgery, theft, and receiving stolen property. He is alleged to have stolen six checks form a Great Bend man, and cashed them, receiving a total of $850 dollars. He was arraigned before MDJ Cordner and a $10,000 unsecure bail was set.
Criminal Mischief: Casey Shea of South Gibson was cited for criminal mischief for striking the vehicle of a Thompson man with a baseball bad. The estimated damage was $500.
Domestic-Harassment: On November 22nd at 5:15 pm two troopers responded to a Silver Lake Township location for a report of a domestic. Upon arrival it was discovered that a female juvenile reported that her dad pushed her, causing her to hit her head off of the ground. It was later learned that the juvenile had kicked her dad in the thigh and was attempting to re enter the house after being told to go outside and calm down, when she fell backward onto the ground. The female was transported to Wilson Hospital. Children and Youth was notified. No injuries were observed on either party.
Hit and Run: On November 27th at 5 am Derek Blair was parked in the parking lot of the Flying J restaurant. A second vehicle, driving by an unknown person, pulled out from a parked position, and bumped into Blair's vehicle that was parked alongside. The offending vehicle continued on its way and left the scene of the crash. No one was injured.
Theft from a Motor Vehicle: On November 27th the PA registration bearing XHA7833 belonging to a South Abington Township man was stolen from a 2012 Carry on Trailer. Once the registration was obtained the perpetrator(s) fled the scene by unknown means and direction. Anyone with information is asked to contact the police.
Theft by Unlawful Taking: On November 27th at 2:30 am the Lenox township property of a Nicholson man was entered, and a weed whacker, cassette player, and a black mailbox with a cedar post (from the front lawn) taken. Anyone with information is asked to please contac the police.
Crash: On November 27th at 6:45 am Elicier Rodriguez of Palmerton, PA was traveling north on Sr0092. The vehicle failed to negotiate a left curve in the roadway, traveling off of the roadway and into a pond. The vehicle was completely submerged. Rodriguez was utilizing a seat belt; he was not injured.
Hindering Apprehension or Prosecution: Steven Whritenour was charged with one count of Hindering Apprehension or Prosecution in relationship to false information that he provided to police in regards to the trial of Jason Aronowitz. Aronowitz was scheduled to stand trial in Susquehanna County on Attempted Homicide charges, starting November 8th of 2012. Whritenour is currently incarcerated in the Susquehanna County Correctional Facility on unrelated charges.
Crash: This crash occurred as Jason Eromenok of Susquehanna was traveling east along Sr 171 in Great Bend Township at 1:30 am. He fell asleep behind the wheel and failed to properly negotiate a right curve in the road. He was leaving a curve and traveled across the westbound lane, then into a ditch. The vehicle came to a rest in the ditch. Eromenok fled the crash scene prior to PSP arrival. He later contacted PSP and was to receive numerous citations for the traffic violations committed which led to the crash.
Anyone having information regarding any of these incidents is asked to please contact PSP Gibson at (570) 465-3154.
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|Last modified: 12/09/2012