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The Susquehanna County Commissioners apparently will bite the bullet rather than campaign for reelection on the heels of a tax increase.
The proposed $15.3 million budget for 2003 does not call for a tax increase next year but some county projects will be shelved. Moreover, there is no money available to provide a cost of living increment for the 78 former county employees who are participating in the county's pension program.
Meeting as the Retirement Board, along with County Treasurer Cathy Benedict, the commissioners discussed the possibility of providing a 1.7 percent increment for pensioned county employees. However, when Chair Gary Marcho called for a motion, no one would make it and the meeting was adjourned without action. The last increase received by the retirees was three years ago.
Mrs. Benedict tossed the blame for the lack of action on the taxpayers. She said the board had previously tried to compensate the retirees by increasing the county's share of their health insurance program but yielded to public resentment against the idea. The county contributes $160 a month toward the health insurance premiums of all retirees.
"We are damned if we do and damned if we don't," Mrs. Benedict said. "We tried to increase the health benefits for the retirees and the taxpayers had a fit. If we don't give them a cost of living you gripe and bitch how come it is not there. But then when we try to make up for it by giving them a little for the health benefit you bitch and holler no."
Mrs. Benedict failed to point out that the health benefit discussion took place months ago, long before the 2003 county budget was in the process of being prepared. The commissioners could have included the 1.7 percent cost-of-living increment in next year's budget to compensate for the fact that they did not increase the county's portion of the health insurance premium. They chose not to, presumably because it would have increased taxes during an election year.
Included in the anticipated revenue that will finance the 2003 budget is a fund balance carryover of $1.3 million from the current year. The county expects to receive $4.3 million in current real estate taxes plus $1.3 million from other real estate tax sources; and, $195,000 in occupation taxes.
Some other sources of revenue include: Liquid Fuels, $186,870; Domestic Relations, $422,616; Children & Youth, $2.1 million; 911, $1.4 million; Susquehanna County Drug & Alcohol, $76,835; Capitol Improvement Fund, $321,467; Library Fund, $197,992; and, KOZ, $82,608.
Among the more noticeable expenditures are: Tax Assessment, $464,533; Tax Collectors, $214,952; Sheriff's Department, $390,354; County Jail, $1.6 million; County Buildings, $662,501; Public Defender, $128,433; District Attorney, $281,820; Coroner, $107,597; and, Probation, adult, $324,405, and juvenile, $288,538; 911, $1.4 million, Children & Youth, $2.1 million; and, Domestic Relations, $422,616.
Also, Clerk of Courts, $158,573; Prothonotary, $184,477; Planning & Zoning, $136,849; Recorder of Deeds, $265,142; Register of Wills, $19,719; Information Services, $133,666; Historical Records, $32,678; Election Bureau, $78,750; Voter Registration, $91,887; and, Auditors, $99,188.
Also, County Treasurer, $168,785; Tax Claim Bureau, $148,238; Economic Development, $159,654; Recycling, $160,772 (anticipated revenue, $139,800); Ag Easement, $77,900; Military Affairs, $90,212; Emergency Management, $74,872; Grants & Gifts, $291,022; Insurance, $272,000; and, District Justices, Montrose, $57,516; New Milford, $67,763; and, Harford, $81,426.
Among the projects that will not get done next year is the repair of the sidewalk and steps in front of the county courthouse.
Motions approved by the commissioners include:
-Reappointments of Joe Andre and John Kameen to the Susquehanna County Economic Development Board for three-year-terms effective January 1, 2003.
-Reappointment of Jim Bralla to the Susquehanna County Economic Development Board for a two-year term effective January 1, 2003.
-Approval of a resolution authorizing the filing of an application for funds in the amount of $61,568 for the prevention and elimination of blight. The Trehab Center is the lead agency for the program.
-Adoption of a resolution for a grant application for Friends of Salt Spring Park for the purpose of administering a Pennsylvania Conservation Corps Program.
Hallstead Boro council met for their last meeting of the year on December 16 with all members present, as well as Secretary Cindy Gillespie and Mayor Willard Canfield.
A motion carried to purchase an ad in Susquehanna Boros Sesquicentennial memorabilia book.
A motion carried to approve the 2003 budget; there will be no increase in taxes.
A motion carried to pay (retired) maintenance supervisor Dick Bigelow for 20 hours of comp time, for work he had done the previous weekend. The boro has been using a private contractor for plowing services in the interim, until a permanent candidate can be found to assume Mr. Bigelows position. It was agreed to pay the contractor $10 per hour. A committee comprised of three council members will screen applicants for the maintenance position; applications will be accepted until December 31. Based on the committees recommendation, it is expected that the position will be filled by the next meeting, January 20.
Some questions were raised as to whether the plowing contractor is covered by the boros liability insurance, as he has been using the boros equipment. Mrs. Gillespie will contact the boros insurance carrier for information.
Council member Martin Brown reported that he had contacted Debbie Dissinger for information regarding the bridge beautification project. It had been rumored that Hallstead would not be benefiting from the project; the rumor, he said, is "totally false." The project encompasses both sides of the new Route 11 bridge; areas in Great Bend Township, Great Bend Boro and Hallstead Boro are included. Hallstead is anticipating getting new sidewalks on both sides of Main St. The committee is working with PENNDOT on a plan for the area in front of the plaza on the Great Bend side of the bridge. Each community does have input into what the project will entail. For example, Great Bend Boro opted to have curbing instead of sidewalks. And, the planned welcome center will be included in the project, as will the memorial site in Hallstead at the riverbank. The bottom line, he said, is that Hallstead is involved in the project, which is "going ahead. It is completely untrue that the grant (funding) has been lost." One concern, he added is miscommunication. It was not always clear when committee meetings were scheduled; the committee will keep council apprised of meeting dates. It was agreed that two council members, Mr. Brown and James Gillespie will represent the boro at the committee meetings; in the event that either is unable to attend, another council member will be contacted to attend. A motion carried to adopt a resolution to authorize Great Bend Township to administer the grant.
The last item discussed was the Hallstead Foundry property; council member David Callender asked why the building is still standing. Council president Joe Franks responded that any information he had received from Jim Mulligan, one of the property owners, had been relayed to council. "All I can tell you is what Mulligan told me," he said. "I believe the guy." He suggested that any council members with questions should contact Rep. Major, as she has been involved with the situation. One hold-up, he said, has been the removal of asbestos from the building. Council member John Giangrieco added that he has been in contact with DEP, and that one reason for the delay is that the representative who had been handling the asbestos removal has since left and has been replaced by another individual. Mr. Franks reiterated that Rep. Major should be contacted with questions, as "She has a sharper knife; she can cut through that red tape a little quicker than Mulligan."
Codes Enforcement Committee
The December meeting of the Council of Governments Building Codes Committee began with a welcome by president Ted Plevinsky to new member, Springville Township. This brings Committee membership up to ten, with more expected when new International Building Codes finally become effective. Municipalities around the state have been waiting for well over a year for that date.
Committee members also met on December 4 for the sole purpose of discussing how to best accommodate the new rules. One of the things that came out of that meeting was the decision to hire a full-time codes enforcement officer, in addition to current part-time officer Shane Lewis. The Committee is advertising for the position and applying for a grant to sustain it.
Most members expect to attend a workshop on Codes sponsored by the Northern Tier Planning Commission and scheduled for January 15 at the Montrose Bible Conference. For ease of registration, Codes secretary Karen Trynoski will work with members to do a blanket registration on their behalf.
In his report on activity since last month, CEO Shane Lewis noted that he issued a permit for a shed in Ararat Township; a new house and shed in Dimock; a demolition permit in Hop Bottom borough; and two violations and a permit for a pole barn in Liberty Township.
After approving its budget for 2003, the Committee meeting adjourned in near-record time.
Council of Governments
With president Harold Shay unable to make the start of the meeting (perhaps because of the brevity of the Codes one which it follows), vice president Elliot Ross chaired the meeting.
Randy Decker, PENNDOT representative, was on hand to pass along information to members. This included a reminder to municipalities that, when they buy something from the state and piggyback (that is, get together to purchase certain items, such as anti-skid), there needs to be a resolution on doing so. Decker told members that he would FAX or send the forms that are required to be filled out to do this, for members who need these forms.
Many municipalities are currently discussing their options vis-à-vis county readdressing, and so did Decker. He told members "one [street] name and one [street] number is all we accept from Harrisburg. You dont want to change the names [of the streets]; you want to change the numbers." This led to some confusion, since many municipalities (townships more than boroughs) are considering and some have already adopted changing the names of certain roads/streets that course through their and other municipalities and which could have several names in their meanders. This is also something that is being encouraged by the readdressing guidelines. On this issue, Decker said that PENNDOT can meet with municipalities and work with them, basically doing what they prefer to do. He also told members to check the date on their maps and, if they needed more current ones, to give him a call.
On the readdressing and guidelines and mixed messages, Thompson Townships Mike Greene thought it would a good idea to ask Dawn Watson, head of the readdressing task force, to attend its February meeting to provide guidance and answer questions. Other members thought that was a good idea, too, and Trynoski will make the invitation on behalf of the group.
Ararat Township resident and former Thompson Township secretary-treasurer Jerry Smyder was at this meeting to tell members about some ideas he has that could save their municipalities money and also put them in control of their future. Hes willing to volunteer his time and experience to work with them to deliver both.
Smyder spoke about land-use planning, and after careful research, found out that many municipalities have no plan. "They just dont have the kind of money to do what they need to do. Applying for a grant alone can be cumbersome and this discourages some smaller communities from applying for one," he said, adding, "For sure, northeastern Pennsylvania is going to grow."
Smyder noted that Thompson and Ararat Townships are considering joining forces to put a land-use plan together to apply for funding, and understand their common interests and protect them. "As areas grow and people move in and youre not prepared now, then youre going to be overcome by events." Smyder noted that Ararat Township is already facing it, with the recent purchase by developers of Dunn Lake. "We cant act quickly enough. We dont want that to happen again," he said.
When growth comes without preparation for it, Smyder asked where the infrastructure would come from to support such a scenario. He believes preparation now, looking at what is currently undeveloped and deciding where it fits into the future, is important. Smyder is willing to work, gratis, with other municipalities who may be interested in talking about land-use. "I have the time, and I would like to spend the time," he said.
As for saving money, Greene gave an economies-of-scale example when he reported a savings of 30 per cent that Thompson Township got when it pooled together with Ararat Township in purchasing calcium chloride. Smyder offered his time and experience to work with interested COG members to research the best arrangement for them and shop around to get the best price for needed materials and equipment. Its something that Smyder is very familiar with, having been a purchasing manager for 30 years, and advocates as well. At a minimum, he said, he would research what municipalities buy from whom and at what price, and pass that information along to members. "The only reason Im here is for the same reason youre here making a contribution to your community," Smyder said.
While some members noted that they tried group purchasing, unsuccessfully, in the past, they also acknowledged they didnt have the benefit of working with someone with in-depth purchasing experience like Smyder. Nevertheless, the group agreed to proceed cautiously and find out more about cooperative arrangements before doing anything. They did, however, like finding out what other municipalities pay for their equipment and materials, and Smyder will begin to try collecting the data from municipalities and provide the group with the best suppliers. Hell also find out what can be saved when materials and supplies are ordered in quantity.
There was only one more item after Smyders presentation and the meetings adjournment, and that was the raffle among members for COGs used copier. Little Meadows Borough took it home.
Sewage Enforcement Committee
President Donald Stone oversaw a startlingly short meeting, the summary of which can be summarized in the following paragraph:
With winter really settling in, SEOs reported that there was very little work over the last month. The DEP also ruled that Mr. Vadovsky, a non-COG codes enforcement officer, was in violation at the C&C property, and that a repair permit was needed from the sewer tank to the pipe. Vadovsky will be fined, with the fine increased if he doesnt pay it within 30 days of the date the fine was imposed.
The next regular meeting of the Council of Governments is scheduled for January 21 at 7 p.m. in COG offices in the New Milford Borough Building.
Donald Daniel Snedeker, Jr., 22, Gibson Township, and Nicole Marie Zimowski, 18, Gibson Township.
Scott W. Haley, 33, Jackson Township, and Karen Mae Cantone, 40, Jackson Township.
James A. Wostbrock and Teresa Wostbrook to Luis G. Lima, Jr. in Montrose Borough for $74,000.
Robert Summers and Thena G. Summers to Julie K. Gaines in Montrose Borough for $48,500.
Louisa J. Fritz and William L. Chell to Louisa J. Fritz and William L. Chell in Rush Township for $1 ogvc.
Claudia A. Mendyka and Richard M. Mendyka to Anthony M. Capitano and Alberta Ann Capitano in Middletown Township for $44,650.
Karen L. Sinnett aka Karen Sinnett, Harold K. Justesen and Nancy C. Justesen to Karen L. Sinnett in Great Bend Township for $1.
Harold K. Justesen and Nancy C. Justesen to Harold K. Justesen and Nancy C. Justesen in Great Bend Township for $1.
Peoples National Bank to Francis J. Pinkowski and Melba L. Cutler in Auburn Township for $65,000.
Robert Wagner to Phillip Hodges and Donna Hodges in Forest City Borough for $22,500.
PENNDOT to Clark A. Cable Jr. in Uniondale for highway occupancy permit.
Lance M. Benedict, Sheriff, to Coleen Ann Graham in Lenox Township for $18,153.50.
Pennsylvania American Water Company to John Brannock in Liberty Township for $239,800.
Pennsylvania American Water Company to John Brannock in Liberty Township for $63,500.
Pennsylvania American Water Company to John Brannock in Liberty Township for $12,600.
Pennsylvania American Water Company to John Brannock in Liberty Township for $29,100.
Pennsylvania American Water Company to John Brannock in Liberty Township for $85,000.
Michael H. Buchek and Christylin Buchek to Gary L. Kunkle and Robin L. Kunkle in Hallstead Borough for $68,900.
Malcolm S. Andre and Kathy O. Andre to Malcolm S. Andre and Kathy O. Andre in Montrose Borough for $1.
Malcolm S. Andre and Kathy O. Andre to Mark L. Andre and Debra L. Andre in Bridgewater Township for $1.
John Stopka and Stephanie Stopka to Massimiliano Amato and Marisa Amato in Bridgewater Townships for $39,500.
Ingomar Limited Partnership, by its agent, Alaska Eastern Partners to Edward D. Hassan and Judith Hassan in Rush Township for $67,900.
Joseph Rudolewicz and Agnes J. Rudolewicz to Edward D. Hassan and Judith Hassan in Rush Township for $15,000.
Robert J. Kime and Judith Leamon, Co-Executors of the estate of Pauline Kime aka Pauline L. Kime aka Pauline J. Kime to Donald E. Tyler and Mary Ann Tyler in Great Bend Township for $150,000.
Key Bank N.A. to Ingomar Limited Partnership in Rush Township for quit-claim deed.
Michael Meixner to Francis J. Glodek and Astrid W. Glodek in Ararat Township for $88,000.
The Estate of Marian A. Grant, by Douglas Decker, Executor, to James L. Grant, as to life estate, with remainder to Douglas Decker in Dimock and Bridgewater Townships for $1.
Nicole M. Grausgruber to Kevin E. Grausgruber in Oakland Township for $1.
Kevin Eugene Grausgruber to Richard Grausgruber and Jennifer Grausgruber in Oakland Township for $1.
Highway occupancy permits from Penndot to the following: Douglas & Diane L. Kilmer in Clifford Township, Thomas J./Lawrence T. O'Reilly in Lenox Township (9 permits).
Richard Tenhoeve and Helen Tenhoeve to David D. Florance and Lynette S. Florance in Great Bend Borough for $110,000.
Frederick C. Hellmuth and Hildred Hellmuth and Gregory Hellmuth and Karen Hellmuth to Eric Hellmuth in Forest Lake Township for $35,000.
Wayne R. Adams and Anne Adams to Thomas Huf, Mark E. George and Joyce G. George in Harford Township for $1.
Frederic E. Vatter and Marlene Vatter to Stephen A. Wikoski in Springville Township for $28,500.
Joanne R. Luecke and Edward H. Luecke, Jr. to Kenneth P. Rowe and Margaret M. Rowe in Thompson Township for $45,000.
Martha O. Girton to Beverlee Star Katz in Brooklyn Township for $1.
Clark A. Cable, Jr. and Winifred D. Cable to Barry F. Havens and Sue A. Havens in Uniondale Borough for $190,000.
Carrie L. Arcovitch, nbm, Carrie L. Snyder and Gerald J. Snyder, Jr. to Carrie L. Snyder and Gerald J. Snyder, Jr. in Herrick Township for $1.
Kenneth W. Fisher, Jr. and Gwendolyn Fisher, nka Gwendolyn Tisdale to Kenneth W. Fisher, Jr. in Oakland Township for $1.
Harold R. Marlin and Carol L. Marlin to Chris E. Brown, Shawn Brown and Michael P. Barron in Jessup Township for $29,700.
Ruth Nye, by her Attorney in Fact, Marian Nye, and Marian Nye to Seth Silow and Laurie Silow in Liberty Township for $42,000.
Seth Turock to Jonathan Seth Turock in Lenox Township for $1.
Leonard Oliviero aka Len Oliviero to Debra L. Travis-Gruber and Bernhard M. Gruber in Gibson Township for $152,000.
Karen Van De Griek and Thomas Van De Griek to Kathy Quinn in Susquehanna Depot Borough for $53,000.
Lance M. Benedict, Sheriff, to Pledged Property II, LLC to Lenox Township for $3,694.83.
James H. Politi, Jr. and William P. Lucia, Jr. and Josephine A. Lucia in Great Bend Township for $165,000.
Marie L. Donahue to James H. Politi, Jr. in Hallstead Borough for $60,000.
Pauline L. Carpender to William S. Robinson and Patricia C. Robinson in Clifford Township for $1.
Shirley Johnson, formerly Shirley Bunnell to John V. Bunnell in Dimock Township for $1 ovc.
David J. Palmiter and Rosemary Palmiter to Wendell D. Morgan in Harford Township for $56,000.
Clarence A. Smith and Waltraut Smith to David Verdetto and Jodi L. Verdetto in Thompson Township for $140,000.
Christine M. Pelto and Christopher J. Pelto to Barbara A. Myers in Apolacon Township for $27,000.
Lance M. Benedict, Sheriff, to Wachovia Bank, National Association fka First Union National Bank in Montrose Borough for $1,876.40.
Helen Lewis to Helen Lewis, Edward S. Darling, Michael Darling, and Elizabeth Spickerman in Rush Township for $1.
Timothy M. Burgh and Connie M. Burgh to J. Parker Properties, LLC in Bridgewater Township for $1 ogvc.
Ladies Auxiliary of Springville Fire Company to Springville Volunteer Fire Company in Springville Township for $1.
Ronald W. Slamas to Delwyn G. Speth, Jr. and Shirley Meter-Speth in Harford Township for $41,000.
Janet E. Mensch to Rafe H. Zeyher and Lance H. Zeyher in Auburn Township for $1.
Mary L. Yakely to Jason E. Lynady and Erin M. Debish in Forest City Borough for $65,000.
ONE VEHICLE CRASH
Laurence Pierson, 64, RD 4, Montrose, was pronounced dead by the Susquehanna County Coroner, at the scene of an accident on State Route 4002, Laurel Lake Rd., approximately 4/10 mile east of State Route 29, Liberty Township, on December 17 at 1:05 p.m. after his 1995 Chevy van left the roadway and traveled approximately 200 feet into a wooded area, impacting with a small tree. A preliminary investigation revealed that the operator may have died due to a prior medical condition and not as a result of the crash. The cause of death will be determined after an autopsy.
MOTOR VEHICLE COLLISION
Charles Warrington, New Milford, was driving a 1988 Dodge Caravan on November 10 at 1:15 a.m. on State Route 11, New Milford Township. He then turned onto Old Route 11, exited the roadway, struck a guide rail, then struck a concrete bridge barrier. Warrington sustained moderate injuries and was treated at Endless Mountain Health System and passenger Joe Heron, Hallstead, was treated at Wilson Hospital, Binghamton, NY for moderate injuries.
On December 14 between 5:20 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. at the Flying J's parking lot, New Milford Township, an Indiana Western Express (Columbus, IN) 2001 Freightliner had its passenger's side floor window smashed. Anyone with information is asked to contact the PA State Police at Gibson.
Flynn's Castle, State Route 706, Rush Township, had someone pump 11.6 gallons of gas into a red Chevy Cavalier, then leave without paying. The incident occurred on December 16 at 3:40 p.m. Anyone with information is asked to contact the PA State Police at Gibson.
MOTOR VEHICLE COLLISION
On November 19 at 12:10 a.m., Kellie M. Hibbard, Montrose, lost control of her 2000 Dodge Dakota on State Route 706 at Brunges Pallet, Bridgewater Township, while rounding a curve, due to wet/ice conditions. The vehicle then left the roadway and struck Brunges Pallet, Inc. causing damage to the building. No injuries occurred.
Marianne D. Geyer, 48, Union Dale, and Paul L. Seaman, 53, Miramichi, CAN, collided near the exit of Interstate 81, Lenox Township, during a snow storm. Geyer was taken to Marion Community Hospital, Carbondale. Seaman was not injured in this December 11 accident which occurred at 4:15 p.m.
On December 11 at 1:50 p.m., D. Lawson, Westfield, NJ, was traveling north on Interstate 81, Great Bend, when his 1990 Ford Mustang left the roadway, hit the embankment and rolled over. Lawson was not hurt.
TWO VEHICLE CRASH
Leroy Moore, Jr., 60, Rocky Mount, NC was driving a tractor-trailer on Interstate 81, Great Bend Township on December 12, and struck the rear of another tractor-trailer, driven by Ronnie Lee Heckathorn, 28, Corry, PA, which was stopped for traffic due to a previous accident. Both drivers were transported for treatment to an unnamed facility for minor injuries.
ONE VEHICLE CRASHNO INJURY
Walter Bell, 25, Wilkes-Barre, was driving a Dodge mini-van on Interstate 81, Harford Township, and lost control on the slippery road, striking a guide rail. The incident occurred on December 11 at 6:15 p.m.
On December 12 at 7:30 p.m., Shawn P. Venesky, Susquehanna, lost control of the 1998 Toyota pick-up he was driving (owner Philipe Baldwin, Susquehanna) on slush covered State Route 92, Oakland Township, and impacted with a bridge and guide rail. No injuries occurred.
Joseph J. Kapcsandi, Jr., 52, Starrucca, lost control of his 2001 Mercury Mountaineer on December 11 at 4:05 p.m. on State Route 92, Lenox Township, while negotiating a curve. The vehicle then crossed into the next lane and struck a 1996 Chevy pick-up driven by David Potts, 32, Carbondale. Kapcsandi was not injured, but two of his passengers received minor injuries, and Potts also received minor injuries. According to the police report, the roadway was extremely slippery due to an ongoing sleet/ice storm.
On December 12 at 10:05 p.m., Kasey Lynch, 17, New Milford, failed to yield while traveling from the southbound on-ramp onto Interstate 81 at the Exit 68 interchange, Great Bend, and collided with a tractor trailer driven by Jeffrey Mawson, Sr., 37, W. Monroe, NY. No injuries resulted in this accident.
Elizabeth Colwell, 18, New Milford, was not injured in a December 11 accident on State Route 11, Great Bend Township, when she lost control of her 1993 Ford Taurus on ice covered roadway. The vehicle spun out of control, traveled across both lanes and struck a guide rail with its rear end.
At the regular Brooklyn Township municipal meeting on December 19, Dan Anthony, Graham Anthony and Jack Thomas expressed their sincere sorrow at the passing of one of Brooklyn Townships most dedicated employees, George Bishop. Bishop died unexpectedly at the beginning of the month. They noted that he will be very sorely missed and stated that they felt he is irreplaceable. They extended their condolences to family that suffered this loss.
Township Secretary Linda Spinola read last month's minutes and noted that there is $43,890.24 in the General Fund and the Total All Funds was reported as $59,365.79.
The supervisors approved the budget for 2003 and noted that there will be no millage increase.
The reorganization meeting for the township will take place on Monday, January 6, 2003 at 7 p.m. and the following evening at the same time the auditors will meet at the home of Marie Turner.
It was noted that the township received a grant in the amount of $15,832 from the Department of Conservation to cover the costs of the Alfred Hill Project.
Correspondence received included communication from the Susquehanna County Com Center regarding the changing of house and street addresses throughout the Township.
Drug and alcohol testing for the township employees will be done by Comprehensive Consulting based in Binghamton.
The meeting was adjourned when bills received were paid.
Clifford Township may take advantage of a low-interest state loan and construct a new garage for all township equipment.
The Board of Supervisors is looking favorably at the prospects of putting up a pole barn on a chunk of township owned land behind the municipal building. The idea for new construction came after the supervisors learned that it would cost about $10,000 to punch a hole through the back of the municipal building to allow a portion of the building to be used as a township garage.
Board Chairman John Regan said the township would be better off with a larger building that would house all township equipment including the police vehicles. He said the township is considering a 50' x 90' building with two 16-foot doors.
"If we can do something for about $25,000," Mr. Regan said, "and get a building to warehouse all of our equipment, it would be worth it."
Tom Schill, community development program manager for Northern Tier Regional Planning and Development, told the supervisors the township might be eligible to borrow one-half the cost of a building at two percent interest.
In another matter, Mr. Regan said neighboring Fell Township is moving forward with its plan to sewer portions of the Crystal Lake area that are in that township. Mr. Regan said Fell will tie in to Greenfield Township's sewer plant off Route 247.
"Fell is way ahead of us," Mr. Regan said. "They are in line for about 65 or 70 percent of their cost (state money) and are proceeding to the next step in their planning."
Mr. Regan's comments came on the heels of an inquiry into Clifford's progress in sewering its portion of the Crystal Lake area. He said the township's plan has not yet been approved by the state.
The 2003 township budget shows no tax increase, keeping the township's rate of 1.25 mills among the lowest in Susquehanna County.
The new spending plan totals $372,000 and includes $252,000 in general expenses and $120,000 in liquid fuels money that will be applied to road maintenance.
Noticeable expenses in the budget include: road maintenance, $180,000; public safety, $85,000; general expenses, $70,000; and, capital improvements, $40,000.
The township will enter the new year with a cash surplus of $54,000 and will apply $40,000 of it toward the 2003 budget.
Lanesboro Council met December 3, with the following members present: Dan Boughton, Regina Dilello, Chris Maby, Bob Mireider, Paul Corse, Bob Page, and Roland Salamon. Also present was Mayor Slater. Absent was Aileen Shay, due to children being sick. Visitors were Paul Skasko, Pauline Bouren, Ray Barnes, George Cernusca, Sandra Davis and Paul Selke.
President Salamon called the meeting to order and minutes were passed after corrections.
Visitor Sabrina Graves wants to put a 14 X 70 mobile home on her lot with house.
Visitor Paul Selke was at the meeting to petition the sale of Luciana Park. There were two petitions brought before council not to sell the park.
Motion passed to advertise to raise money to purchase playground equipment to be put behind the community center, before selling of the park. Approximate price for the equipment was $11,000.00. See Councils Letter to the Editor on this issue.
Water company ordinance will be advertised and council will hold a special meeting to vote on this ordinance.
Council would like Dawn Watson from 911 to come to the next meeting to discuss the new numbering and ordinance that they would like council to put into place.
Police Report: Mayor Slater stated that there has not been too much activity. Council asked the mayor to stop stopping cars on Jail Hill and put more police on Saturday and Sunday. They also asked mayor to beef up traffic control on Main Street.
Mayors Report: Mayor Slater stated that the new body for the truck should be in around the 9th of December.
Motion passed to adopt proposed budget for the year 2003.
Council then went on to opening the bids for the roof on the community center. Council received two bids, one from ABCO Construction for $3,700 and the other was from Kevin Shibley Construction for $6,900. Motion passed to accept the bid from ABCO Construction; the work would not start until April.
It was mentioned that the furnace in the community center would be ready by December 15 and council needs to purchase fuel oil for it. Council will shop around for the best price.
Council decided to send a letter to the state police to the effect that when Lanesboro Police call, it is a last resort because we at some point need backup and to say they (State Police) are not coming at all is not realistic. The State Police were asked to respond.
Council would like their lawyer to write a letter to PAWC about sidewalks.
New Business: Motion to advertise and change the parking restrictions to 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. passed.
Treasurers Report: Motion passed to pay bills with the exception that the entire report needs to be clarified for next month.
Council requests Sandy Benson to attend the next meeting to clarify taxes.
Lathrop Township Supervisors Dennis Phelps, Elwood Phelps, and Nick Sabauchak were all in attendance at the Wednesday evening, December 18, meeting, which took place at the Union Grange.
Dennis Phelps remarked that he had attended a workshop on the new proposed building permits rates, and building codes policy that is still being established by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Apparently, there are still a number of issues that are under consideration that may not be resolved until summer of 2003.
A minor subdivision on a 5.41 acre property was reviewed by the supervisors. There was no SEO report for the past month.
Regarding the budget which was approved by all the supervisors, it will reflect the reduction of the real estate millage which will become effective for 2003. The new millage will come down from the current 1.42 to .92. This can be broken down to .42 for fire protection and .50 for real estate. The amount estimated to be in the General Fund was anticipated at $274,254. The money coming from liquid fuels was estimated to be $84,850.00.
The annual reorganization meeting will take place as determined by law to be January 6, 2003 at the Union Grange.
A great deal of the night was spent dealing with multi-faceted problems concerning the township roads. There are a number of good men on the job for the upkeep of the roads, who are willing to handle the roads reported Dennis Phelps, including Jim Karhnak, who is now back on the employment roster for the township. It was apparent from the few in attendance that the roads were problematical. The supervisors took everything discussed under consideration, but reported that they were stymied, as were most of the other townships in the county because of the recent weather which brought freezing temperatures and snow and ice. All road maintenance is at a standstill now until the Spring.
The problem with addressing the situation from a road that the supervisors advised they will be turning over to residents who live on it, is on-going. Now, there is a concern about the size of the sluice pipe which appears to be inadequate at this time to handle water from heavy deluges. Regarding this matter, Nick Sabauchak will be speaking with Randy Decker from PENNDOT to see if there can be any resolution to the water problem that is now a concern.
On-going on the Lathrop Township agenda is the investigation of a piece of land for a municipal garage site.
The next meeting date will be determined at the reorganization meeting.
The Mountain View Board of Education held its final public meeting of 2002 on Monday, December 16 in the elementary board room. It began promptly at 8:00 and ended at 9:45 p.m.; Mr. John Halupke was the only board member absent.
James W. Zick was formally voted in as President and assumed the chair during the meeting. The vote was 7 to 1 for Mr. Zick with Mr. Salansky casting the only dissenting vote.
There were no visitors during the first scheduled hearing; meeting moved quickly to financial reports. All 8 members voted to accept the December financial reports and to approve the list of bills.
Mr. Griffiths made a motion to accept and pay bills in the amount of $17,156.24 for construction services. Mr. Phillips seconded the motion and Mr. Price cast the only dissenting vote.
The next vote was held to approve payment in the amount of $49,568.58 for construction management services and Mr. Price and Mr. Salansky both cast "no" votes on this issue; no explanations provided.
Mr. Griffiths went on to make a motion that $10,000.00 be moved from the general fund to the athletic fund; it passed with all 8 votes but with no further discussion.
The amount of $6300.00 was approved for the reconstruction of the Board Policy Manual by the PSBA and the integrated pest management plan was also approved.
Mr. Chambers (Superintendent) began his report by inviting two members of the districts new auditing firm to explain this reports findings. The new firm is from Binghamton and represents 5 other school districts, all in New York State.
The auditors began by explaining this report covers July 1, 2001 through June 30, 2002 and that such a report is mandatory on an annual basis. The Board then usually votes on the report at its next meeting and proceeds to respond to the state concerning the report.
The auditors stated the district is in good financial health especially in regards to the general fund. They also praised the fact that 1.4 million dollars was moved to support an elementary school project.
There followed a long list of areas noted to be of concern including fixed assets and historical values, inventory control, internal control weaknesses, lack of purchasing procedures and budgeting procedures including lack of software use. They went on to further note that many of these issues were well on their way to be remediated and that the current feeling is that the report was being used as a wake up call within both the administration and the business office. The auditor noted a new position was being added in the business office and that would help.
Mr. Chambers went on to open the floor to Ms. Vagni (Assistant Principal-HS) who wanted to formally recognize 3 students for outstanding achievements and invited each to discuss their leadership within these areas. The students were Todd Calabro for Eagle Scout, Mike Belcher for soccer and Sarah Rusek for substance awareness training. Mr. Belcher went on to praise Ms. Vagni for her part in increasing student participation and school spirit.
Mr. Chambers continued by stating MV has received a competitive grant (Enhancing Education Through Technology) for approximately $68,000.00 and a $25,000.00 Perkins grant. Mr. Chambers praised the high school principal for his part in attaining these grants; the principal explained the Perkins money will be used to enhance the business education department and the EETT money will be used to make data derived changes in the curriculum, especially math, and to help teachers understand the use of technology in this process.
Mr. Chambers called for a climate survey to be done with staff and students and reiterated that he felt that the school needed to listen but did not mention parents. A short discussion occurred on how to do the survey but nothing was finalized. Mr. Chambers closed by emphasizing the concept of a "leadership team" and mentioned 2 conferences he felt he and the Board should attend together. The Board voiced a willingness to attend the conference set for February 27, 2003 in Wilkes-Barre on "Working as a Team."
Kelly Hartman and Susan Barlow were added to the cafeteria substitute list and medical leave was approved for Debbie Hameza. Constance Shulte and Mary Ann Demanovich were approved for supplemental salary positions but specific positions not noted.
The meeting was closed with Marion Miskell, reporter for the Montrose Independent, questioning the use of a new auditing firm. The Board stated it was not necessarily unhappy with the old firm just that a new firm fit in with the new direction the Board hopes it is taking.
The next meeting is set for January 13, 2003 at 8:00 in the elementary board room.
A Forest City man was sentenced to a term of five-to-ten years in a state correctional facility last week on a sex charge.
Susquehanna County President Judge Kenneth W. Seamans also ordered 27-year-old Michael Richard Anderson to pay a $1,000 fine, plus the cost of prosecution. He must also make restitution to the victim.
Authorities charged Mr. Anderson with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse. They alleged that the offense took place in Forest city on March 16, 2002.
Mr. Anderson was one of 15 individuals sentenced by Judge Seamans on a variety of charges.
Others sentenced included:
Michael Scott Cavalone, 21, of Montrose, 12 to 24 months in a state correctional facility for criminal trespass. The offense occurred in Montrose last June. Mr. Cavalone was also fined $1,000 and was ordered to make restitution to his victim.
Thomas Theobald, 22, of Montrose was sentenced to a term of 2 months to 15 months in the county jail on charges of retail theft. Mr. Theobald was also fined $250 and was ordered to make restitution.
On another count, Mr. Theobald was remanded to the county jail for a term of two months to 15 months and was fined $250 for a retail theft at the IGA market in Clifford Twp. The term will run concurrent with the first jail sentence.
Benjamin John Nelson, 21, of Little Meadows was sentenced to a period of five months to 23 1/2 months in the county jail for corruption of minors. He was also fined $750. The offense took place On Aug. 21 in Middletown Township.
Brian White, 31, of Montrose was sentenced to serve two months to 12 months in the Susquehanna County Jail for disorderly conduct. He was also fined $350 and must make restitution. The offense took place in Lenox Twp. last April.
Charlotte A. Leneaugh, 48, of Thompson was sentenced to serve from 48 hours to 12 months in the county jail for driving under the influence. She was also fined $300. She was arrested July 4 in Gibson Township.
Frank Thomas Perera II, 19, of Montrose, was sentenced to a term of four months to 23 1/2 months in the county jail for receiving stolen property. He also received 11 months to two years minus a day plus five years probation on a burglary charge.
Jason Mile Masteller, 20, of Little Meadows was sentenced to serve four months to 23 1/2 months in the county jail for corruption of minors. The offense occurred in Forest Lake Township last April. Mr. Masteller was also fine $500.
Daniel Martinez, 26, of Montrose will spend three months to 15 months in the county jail for driving under the influence. Mr. Martinez, who was also fined $500, was arrested Oct. 17 in New Milford.
Todd Cole, 33, of Montrose was sentenced to a term of four months to 23 1/2 months in the county jail for criminal trespass in Forest Lake Twp. on September 3. He was also fined $500.
Wilbur Odell, 25, of Thompson, received a suspended sentenced of two months to 15 months in the county jail and was placed on probation for 15 months on an assault charge. Mr. Odell was also fined $300.
Anthea May Fulkerson, 33, of Kingsley, will serve 48 hours to 15 months in the county jail for drunk driving in Clifford Twp. on Feb. 2. She was also fined $55.
Kenny Leonard Hiller, 29, of Falls, three months to 23 1/3 months in the county jail for drunk driving in Lenox Twp. on Feb. 24. He was also fined $500.
Robert Michael Burchell, 22, of New Milford was placed on probation for 30 months and fined $150 for possession of a controlled substance. He was also placed on probation for one year for possession of drug paraphernalia. The offenses occurred in Montrose on Feb. 4.
Robert James Cook, 40, of Montrose was remanded to the county jail for a term of 3 months to 15 months on a forgery charge. He was also fined $300 and must make restitution.
Starrucca Borough Council met on December 2 at the Starrucca Community Center. The following members were present: Paul Downton, Andy Bennett, Paul Everett, Lou Gurske, Helen Haynes, Ruth Lunt and Mayor Wendell Swartz. Pete Downton was absent. Paul Downton, Council Vice-President presided.
Minutes of the previous meeting were approved as read with one addition regarding the Tax Adjustment on the Oblates of Mary property. Motion to approve the minutes carried unanimously.
Motion to accept the treasurers report and pay the bills carried unanimously.
Correspondence was read.
Persons To Be Heard: Kristin Potter asked permission to use the Hall for a Girl Scout sponsored Christmas Party on Dec. 22 and for a cookie drop off site in January. Motion to allow carried unanimously.
Old Business: Motion to pass the Budget Ordinance carried unanimously.
Comprehensive Plan: 65 of 145 surveys were returned on time and tallied. There were 7 late arrivals, which will be added and forwarded to Carson Helfrich for tabulation and interpretation. The committee is very pleased with the results thus far.
The heater in the Ladies room is still not repaired. Lou Gurske will follow up.
Council is reminded to be prepared to respond to the Community Development Block Grant application at the next council meeting. All proposed projects must be submitted with figures for the application process.
The permit reviews are tabled till the next council meeting in January.
New Business: Motion to approve the Fire Protection Contract with Thompson Hose Co. for the year 2003 at the same .002 mills carried unanimously.
Ballfield: the ditches have been dug and the fence will be installed weather permitting.
Roads: There is a problem on Jacobs Ladder Rd that needs to be addressed. Paul Downton will contact Jack Downton to fill in the rut with modified till the road can be worked in the spring.
It was agreed that Paul Downton and Wendell Swartz will be the contact people for winter plowing and cindering complaints. Residents having a problem with the road conditions may call any member of council but the only contact persons with the road crew will be either Wendell or Paul to cut back on multiple calls and confusion.
There being no further business, meeting adjourned at 8:00 p.m. Council will reconvene on January 6, 2003 at 7:00 p.m. at the Starrucca Community Hall; all residents are welcome to attend.
Susquehanna Boro council met for their final meeting of the year on December 18. With the exception of Pat Fredericks, all members were present, as well as Mayor Kelly and Secretary Margaret Biegert.
Council discussed information received regarding the planned festivities for the boros sesquicentennial celebration. There will be a fireworks display at the Prospect St. park.
Council discussed the condition of the monument area at the intersection of Willow Ave. and East Main St.; it was said to be in need of a cleanup. Mayor Kelly suggested that it be done as a community project. One problem is that an old cement base is still there, where a monument (since relocated) had been. The contractor for the boros sidewalk project, she said, had determined that the base is "in solid." A decision will need to be made as to what to do with it.
A motion carried to approve the 2003 budget, which entails an increase of one mil.
Mayor Kelly reported that negotiations are underway with a concern interested in erecting a cell phone tower on boro-owned property. After discussion, a motion carried to accept the contract contingent on inclusion of a five-year review, after which time either the boro or the contractor can cancel.
Council member John Bronchella asked about a house on Willow Ave., next to the water company property; it has been vacant for a number of years. Mrs. Biegert responded that the Codes Enforcement Officer has been looking into it; after information is received from the county, the CEO will make a decision on what procedures can be taken.
And, Mr. Bronchella said that he had received several inquiries as to whether Christmas lights would be put up at the Drinker Creek Park; he reported that streets commissioner Steve Glover had scheduled the work for later in that week.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday, January 14, 7:00 p.m. in the boro building.
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