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Streets A Concern
Susquehanna Boro Council met for their regular meeting on July 8; all members were present with the exception of Tom Kelly.
Several items of correspondence were read. The first, a letter of resignation from Mr. Kelly. Due to work related scheduling conflicts, the letter said, he was resigning in the best interest of the boro so that someone who could devote the time necessary could fill this position. He would continue as president of the Parks and Rec. Committee. A motion carried to accept his resignation, with great regret. Council will send Mr. Kelly a letter, thanking him for his nearly eight years of service.
A report was read from Andy Whitehead, outlining the West Main St. Committees recommendations to address parking problems in that area. "Snow Emergency" signs should be placed, warning that vehicles should be removed whenever snowfall is two inches or more. Fifth and Sixth Aves. should be used for alternate parking, as well as the Washington St. Park. Parking would be permitted at the park only during snow emergencies; violators would be towed away at their own expense. The best solution to the problem would be widening the street; data indicates that traffic is significantly higher than average usage of similar roads. The committee requests that council petition that widening of the road be considered for placement on PENNDOTs twelve-year plan. Council agreed to send letters to PENNDOT, as well as local state legislators, asking that widening the road be considered.
Later in the meeting, councilman Todd Glover noted that the boros snow ordinance will need to be amended, to reflect that a snow emergency will be declared when there are two or more inches of snow, rather than when an emergency is declared by the mayor.
A letter from the Susquehanna Depot Area Historical Society was read, thanking council for their support of the museum the society maintains.
Council president Ron Whitehead read a list of groups and individuals who have recently contributed their efforts to the boro: Mary Ann Ayres, Elaine Andusko and a group of volunteers who cleaned the Drinker Creek park; St. Johns Mens Club for restoration of Church Streets original brick paving; the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints youth group for litter pickup and painting; Main Street business owners who have spruced up their properties; former mayor Roberta Kelly, Dennis Troup, the Propert family children and Pam Hennessey for planting flowers; the Sesquicentennial Committee for planning the boros 150th anniversary events; and council members Todd Glover and Roy Williams for working on the tire recycling program held in the boro.
Although Mayor Hurley was not present, Mr. Whitehead read a report she submitted detailing a meeting that had been held to further discuss the Main Street Program. The boros options were discussed, and strategies available for the boro to qualify for the program. It would allow opportunities for funding of economic redevelopment and growth. Several plans were discussed. The first would be to hire a consultant, for a period of five years, at a cost of $18,000 per year. The second would be an abbreviated plan, where the boro would work in collaboration with the Susquehanna Community Development Association. Cost would be approximately $2,000, which would include membership in the PA Downtown Center. Membership would give the boro access to the centers expertise in drawing up a plan and applying for grant funding. The Downtown committee recommended that the second option would be most beneficial to the community.
President Whitehead said that it is his understanding that the program could bring $100,000 to the boro over the next five years for revitalization. The committee will try to keep the historic value of the area intact, although it may be determined that some things will have to be changed. A motion carried to proceed, with the necessary funds to be taken from the capital improvement fund.
During public comment, East St. resident Jerry Gow asked for councils help with a continuing water problem, which has been flooding his property. In an effort to alleviate the problem, he has had drainage pipe installed and crushed stone brought in, at his own expense. The problem, he said, appears to be that there is no place for water to go, as the crown of the road is substantially higher than the berm. There are banks on both sides of the road; a ditch on one side of the road is incomplete; water accumulates and seeps under the road. His lawn gets so waterlogged that his tractor sinks. There are also several large holes in the road. Mr. Gow said that he had spoken with streets commissioner Steve Glover, who had told him that there are no immediate plans for paving, as there is no money in the budget for it at this time. Todd Glover explained that the funds originally intended for paving had to go towards the sidewalk renovation project. Usually, he said, the boro tries to pave two streets a year. He added that East St. is not designed for the traffic it is getting, particularly heavy trucks, but the boros laws are so old that not much can be done about it. Mr. Williams added that this is one reason that council is in the process of enacting an ordinance to restrict vehicle weight, although that is only a portion of the problem. He agreed that drainage in that area is inadequate. Mr. Gow said that he would hate to see the boro spend money by paving it; there is no base under the road and there are springs all over the area. The ditch needs to be cleaned, because water cant get to the drain pipe. Mr. Glover noted that the pattern of drainage has changed, as the top of the mountain is no longer there, water is just coming down.
The discussion returned to commercial traffic. Mr. Gow said that his understanding is that there is to be no commercial traffic on residential streets, but he sees six-axle dump trucks making as many as twelve trips a day on this road. He suggested that the truck owner(s) be bonded, or that the State Police be asked to bring in weight scales.
Mr. Williams responded that this type of traffic has been an ongoing problem, but there are procedures that must be followed to address it. But, he said, "Im not going to give up. Well do it... we will look into this."
An audience member asked why the streets paving funds were spent on the sidewalk project; Mr. Glover responded that money set aside for road improvement had to be put into the sidewalk project for phase two as this phase required matching funds.
An audience member commended the codes, streets and police departments for their actions regarding a problem on Prospect St., and asked when the curbing project will begin. Mr. Kuiper answered that Steve Glover will be starting on Prospect St., from Fourth to Third Avenues. The streets department is presently working on patching and cleaning and installing catch basins, and patching potholes. The Vine St. project has been completed. Two TREHAB workers and three community service workers have been working with the streets department.
Under old business, a motion carried to adopt ordinance 397, dealing with vehicle weight restrictions; no vehicles over 10,000 pounds will be allowed on boro streets; no track vehicles will be allowed; and all vehicles must be registered.
A motion carried to advertise the franchise agreement with Adams Cable; a public meeting will be held at the next regular council meeting.
A motion carried to approve an employee policy manual; there had been some questions about a provision for drug testing; it was agreed to leave it in, so that if an employee has an accident, council would have the right to send him/her for blood testing.
A motion carried to approve a list of tax exoneration applications. There was some discussion regarding one, as the applicant is listed as a full-time student, but his/her yearly income is above the limit allowed for the elderly. Mr. Glover explained that, while there is a limit on elderly income, a resident is entitled to exoneration if they are a full-time student. But, he said, if the statement of income is incorrect, the applicant is liable for criminal charges as he/she signed an official document.
Under new business, council approved drafting a resolution to use the recently acquired Brown and Bronson properties on Franklin Ave. to create a joint park with PENNDOT at the corner of Main and Franklin. If the resolution is passed, PENNDOT will agree to accelerate demolition of the building at the corner.
Also approved was a resolution for an Oakland/Susquehanna joint municipal codes agreement. This will make the boros eligible for a matching grant that will pay half of CEO Shane Lewis salary. Mr. Lewis explained that the boros shares will be split, with Susquehanna paying 80% and Oakland 20%. Mr. Lewis time will also be shared at the same ratio. Mr. Whitehead said that a committee would be set up, comprised of two council members from each boro to oversee codes activities. A special meeting will be held to discuss it further. Mr. Glover asked if this plan would allow Mr. Lewis to spend more time in the boro; Mr. Lewis responded that right now, probably 60% of his time is spent in the boro; the plan would mean more time in Susquehanna. There were some questions about the training costs involved; several council members agreed that those costs should be split evenly, as both boros will be benefiting. And, the boros costs for Mr. Lewis services will remain the same, while the boro will be gaining additional hours.
Mr. Lewis reported that three condemnations are in progress, with possibly one or two more imminent. Demolitions have been slated for July 21; the bids came in at less than had been anticipated. The money saved may possibly apply to two more. The owner of a property on Erie Ave. was ordered by the court to have the structure demolished within thirty days of the court hearing. Mr. Glover noted that council has received a letter from the owner, stating that he was willing to surrender the property to the boro.
Officer in charge Tom Golka gave the police report. The individuals believed responsible for a recent tire slashing spree have been arrested and are awaiting a court hearing. There would, he said, be restitution to the owners of the vehicles whose tires were slashed. He thanked Trooper Whitney (State Police) for "breaking the case."
The department is following some good leads on a rash of break-ins on East Hill, with eight or nine arrests expected.
Mr. Glover has been compiling information on a new(er) police car. One that is currently available is a 2001 Crown Victoria with 53,000 miles, fully equipped for police usage, cost approximately $6,000. The jeep currently being used, he said is getting tired. Mr. Whitehead reported that the boro has received $4,820 from the sale of the old boro building, there is $1,500 in the capital reserve fund, and the boros Sable can be put out to bid, all of which could be applied towards a vehicle. Mr. Williams suggested keeping the Jeep as a backup.
Discussing the boros upcoming Sesquicentennial celebration, Mr. Glover reported that a new "Welcome to Susquehanna" sign has been put up. The festivities were slated to kickoff on Saturday, July 12 with week-long celebrations planned. He commended the committee for doing a wonderful job planning a variety of events, ending with a parade on Saturday at 6:30. He said that he would like to see every boro department keep their area spotless during the celebration, and all departments participate. He would also like to see the boros equipment put out during the parade, so that people can see what the boro has.
Mr. Glover is organizing the boros fifth annual scrap pickup, scheduled for August 9. Flyers will be distributed to residents with information. Large appliances must be registered; all refrigerators and air conditioners must have the freon removed beforehand by a qualified technician; no propane tanks will be accepted as they are too much trouble to purge. A motion carried to approve advertising the pickup.
The meeting adjourned to an executive session. When it reconvened, a motion carried to hire police officer Eric Brush, and a motion carried to approve purchase of a new police car, price not to exceed $6,000.
The next meeting will be Tuesday, August 12, 7 p.m. in the boro building.
A few items got the lions share of the Montrose Borough Councils attention at its regular monthly meeting on July 7.
One of these focused on a situation in which the borough could not have expected to find itself. It concerns land the borough owns and which also happens to be the same land that four property owners thought they owned. This fact came to light in an odd way.
It seems that a Mr. Hawley informed the borough that he owned a piece of land that the borough was saying it owned. The land is nearby to the dump.
The borough called the Butler surveying firm to do some research on Hawleys claim. Their findings indicated that it appeared the borough did indeed own the land Hawley was saying was his, and then some.
A survey was done to follow up on the research, and its results show that the borough also owns land that property owners Rosman, Hart, and Goodman in addition to Hawley thought was theirs. The property owners were informed of the results of the survey. Apparently, old surveys that some property owners had done were based on bad maps and bad sitings, such as using a wrong road as a site line/point.
One of the owners, an understandably upset Mrs. Rosman, attended the meeting, as did borough solicitor Jason Legg.
Council member Jack Yaeger pretty well summed up the feeling of the borough when he told Rosman, "I hope you understand we were as surprised about this as you were. We werent out to grab land, believe me. The survey we had done was on another portion of our property, and these other irregularities showed up.
What to do about the situation, however, will require some thought. Legg advised that the four owners should be treated equally. He added that, if any of the property owners had lived on the land for 21 years, they would be able to claim adverse possession a kind of squatters rights if the land was not set aside for public use.
Mrs. Rosman is just three years shy of the 21 years, having paid taxes on the piece of property in question and which protects the privacy of her home, for 18 years. One other owner was thought to possibly qualify under the 21-year rule, but the question of public use of the land could cloud the issue.
As for Hawley, council president Craig Reimel said that hes trying to buy the property back. He has agreed with the boroughs survey results, and Legg said he understood he would be making an offer to the borough. The Harts have informed Legg that their attorney, Paul Kelly, will be calling the borough. And Wilson is interested in the proceedings as well.
The borough has several options on how to resolve the situation. One is to do nothing, in which case and if the dump were deemed not for public use, it would lose the land to adverse possession. Council seemed not to want to go that route. Nor does it want to set a precedent and give the property to the people who thought they owned it.
But, at this point, there was no clear direction to take and the matter was tabled for the time being until further discussions take place with the property owners and/or their lawyers and Legg. As Reimel put it, "In fairness to everyone involved, its premature to make a decision now. Sometimes our decision-making process has been thought of as plodding. Thats because we want to treat people fairly, and sometimes thats not the same as treating them equally.
Also attending the meeting was a representative from Time-Warner cable, who presented a revised proposal to council for re-upping its agreement with the borough. It includes a request to extend the agreement with the borough for cable services for 10 years. Much of the document reflects federal law, as well as modifications tailored for Montrose.
Council will review the proposal for discussion at its August meeting. If it accepts it, council voted to increase the franchise fee cable users pay from 3 percent (where its been for 20-odd years) to 5 percent. The difference between the two percents, based on a standard-plus-features average monthly bill of $40, would be about 80 cents. The fee is not assessed on broadband high-speed Internet (Time-Warners Road Runner). Its listed separately on users cable bills and is passed through to the borough monthly, as a percent of listed gross revenues Time-Warner received.
Yaeger asked the representative if it were possible to have another option that included basic coverage but not as much coverage as is currently offered. The representative replied that this is difficult, simply because media giants own a lot of cable stations (like ABC with its Discover and other cable channels; NBC with CNBC, MSNBC) and all must be offered. By illustration, he cited a community in California that decided not to offer some of ABCs cable offerings; the result was that ABC network coverage was pulled from the community. He did not think Yeagers request would be possible in the near future, although he added that Time-Warner is trying to negotiate with the other media giants in the face of increasing competition from satellite dishes.
Building codes enforcement officer Shane Lewis written report was reviewed, and his activities for the months included two verbal warnings, 2 complaints addressed, one violation and six building permits issued and one building inspection.
Lewis will also be asked to look into the large tent and a sale underneath it that has become a fixture on Grow Avenue for quite some time now. It looks and sounds like a business, although the owner of the tent and the stuff below it says its a yard sale. Council member Elmer Taylor thought it was a business, and so did solicitor Legg, saying, "Common sense interpretation says it isnt a yard sale." Council will decide what action to take once Lewis reports back to it.
In other business, Council reviewed a request for a Mary Hart subdivision on Mitchell Avenue into two parcels with a house on each of them. The lots do not meet zonings size requirements, having been sized before there was an ordinance, and there are some issues about a basement exit being too close to a boundary line. The redivision is being requested to settle the property.
Reimel requested that borough secretary Annette Rogers inform the petitioners to request a variance to the ordinance and send in a plan to the zoning board. Yaeger added that, if the plan is approved, it should be made clear to whomever buys the properties that, if either house is removed, the lots are not big enough to rebuild on them.
As for the boroughs 43 Cherry Street property, which it purchased for $1 and incurred total costs of $3,000 and was recently appraised at $45,000, Legg will see if it could be listed with a real estate agent rather than put out to bid. Its thought that the borough would realize more money through a listing. Should that be possible Rogers will contact real estate agents in Montrose about their commission structures, applying that information to any decision about which firm to list the property with.
What constitutes a junk car or a car being restored also got some discussion. Legg noted that the borough needed a definition as to what constituted a junk car, and referred to ordinances of other municipalities, one of which defines it as an uninsured, unregistered vehicle. His understanding, however, was that district justices wouldnt enforce a definition like this, and council member Elmer Taylor agreed. Mayor Tom Lamont noted that the only way the borough can move a junk car is if he declares it a safety hazard something thats happened in the past.
The discussion will be moot in a few months, however, when the new international building codes become effective. They contain strict definitions of what constitutes a junk car and would make, said Legg, any Montrose ordinance redundant.
After reading over Ken DiPhillips streets department report on activity much of it spent in the parks council commended him with the great job hes done. One problem Reimel said DiPhillips is encountering concerns the hay that he laid on top of the fill recently brought into the park: Children are throwing it from one child to another. However, noted Reimel with a smile, "When the hay gets wet, it wont be as much fun as it is now."
Also in business about the park, Council voted to hire Megan LaRue and Jen Clark at $7 an hour, and Lori Weller at $8, to administer the summer program; and Dan Regan as tennis program director for a flat fee of $750.
Yaeger passed along a recent conversation with DiPhillips, requesting that council authorize ordering cinders now for the winter to come. Ordering early saves the borough money, and also gives the cinders more time to dry out for more efficient and easier use when needed later on. Council approved the purchase of 300 yards of cinders.
The jury is still out on the results of the stop signs on the corner of Mill and High Streets. Some think theyre the best things to happen; Reimel has received a fair amount of input, "not necessarily all of it negative."
Council will determine at its next meeting whether to make permanent the trial period for the signs. If it does, Reimel suggested that "STOP" be painted on the road approaching the signs, and that some saplings and a black pipe be removed from the corners, improving the line of sight.
The police car and amount of money being put into it to keep it running also came up. Lamont reported that he spoke with several dealers in the states piggyback program, and the cost to replace the current vehicle is about $26,000 to $28,000. Right now, the current car is in the shop yet again and police are using their own vehicles. Lamont explained that, with three police officers using the police car, the vehicle is on the road basically 24/7, getting very hard use. Its pretty much gotten to the point where more money is being spent to get it running than is worth the time or cost.
Lamont will get quotes in writing as well as trade-in on the current car. In the meantime, council will consider what funds may be available to purchase a new car.
And, in the last announcements of the evening, Yaeger reported that the borough recently was awarded the $7,000 tree grant it applied for. Council will also reissue a check it wrote to the Firemans Relief Company last year and which the Company misplaced. The amount of the check is $7,501.99. Before it is issued, council would like the Company to put its request in writing and agree to pay the $25 stop-payment fee on the first check.
The next regular meeting of the Montrose Borough Council is scheduled for August 4 at 7 p.m. in the Borough Building on Cherry Street.
INDECENT ASSAULT/ENDANGERING WELFARE OF CHILDREN
Harrell Walter Montonya, 61, Vero Beach, FL, was arrested and taken into custody in Vero Beach, FL on July 8 based on a warrant issued in District Court 34-3-01 (Montrose) charging the accused with Indecent Assault, Endangering the Welfare of Children, Indecent Exposure and related offenses. The victims were three juveniles in Susquehanna County, and the incident dates were listed as August 2002 - April 2003.
John X. Waibel, 24, Carbondale was arrested for DUI on June 10 at 11:25 p.m. at State Route 2033 and State Route 2027, Clifford Township, after he drove his vehicle off the roadway and became stuck in a culvert. According to the police report, charges were filed in District Court 34-3-03.
Dawn Cokely, 55, Jessup Township, had a Ryobi tool kit taken from her residence on State Route 706, east of Fairdale, on June 20. The kit has a yellow and grey case. Anyone with information can contact the Gibson State Police at 570-465-3154.
Between 3:00 p.m. on July 2 and 2:30 p.m. the next day, someone pried off the door to a wood shed belonging to Scott Ransom, State Route 407, about 1Ž4 mile south of State Route 374, Lenox Township. Taken was a Hoyt compound bow. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Gibson State Police at 570-465-3154.
On July 1, a male driving a small blue car pumped $15.06 of gas into his vehicle, then drove away without paying for the gas at the Pump & Pantry, State Route 171, Great Bend Township. Anyone with information is asked to call the PA State Police at Gibson at 570-465-3154.
William Jeffrey Collins, 29, Susquehanna Borough, and Amy Nicole Tinklepaugh, 26, Susquehanna Borough. Brant J. Natzle, Jr., 24, Binghamton, NY, and Milissa J. Walter, 20, Endicott, NY.
Charles Walter Ellis Jr., 69, Braintrim Township, and Priscilla Callaway, 66, Choconut Township.
Donald J. Kowalewski, 29, Great Bend Township, and Nicole Marie Chauncey, 24, Great Bend Township.
Bertha C. Olszewski to Dennis Nota in Franklin Township for $150,000.
Gary Raymond Dailey and Debra Vandermark-Dailey to Richard A. Papa and Christine N. Papa in Gibson Township for $167,500. Theresa M. Yadlosky to Thomas J. Yadlosky in Clifford Township for $30,000.
Martin McHale and Michelle McHale to Albert S. Rinius, Jr. and Lynne Rinius in Herrick Township for $111,900.
Glenn A. Dodson and Annette F. Dodson to Dean A. Johnson and Valerie Johnson in Oakland Township for $26,000.
Larry A. Steuerwald to Janis E. Captain in Lenox Township for $234,900.
Charles T. Daniels and Victoria A. Kozo, Co-Executors of estate of Eleanor S. Daniel to William L. Dittmar and Frederick Kulikowski in Harford Township for $160,000.
Walter Evanishyn, Jr. and Katrina J. Evanishyn, Co-Executors of the estate of Walter Evanishyn aka Walter Evanishyn, Sr. to Ronald L. Strohl and Rosemary Strohl in Harford Township for $130,000.
Wells Fargo Bank Minnesota, NA to Ricky A. Burger and Lisa A. Burger in Dimock Township for $40,000.
Teresa M. Corse, Administratrix of the Estate of Paul S. Corse, Jr. to Terese M. Corse in Lanesboro Borough for $1.
Eileen Sawicki to William C. Beagle in Silver Lake Township for $72,000.
Mildred Louise Swan nbm Mildred Louise Bayless by Paul Swan, as her attorney in fact, to Phyllis Taylor and David E. Taylor in Clifford Township for $50,000.
Lance M. Benedict, Sheriff, to WM Specialty Mortgage, LLC in Oakland Borough for $4,771.67.
John W. Temples to William Caboot and Terri Caboot in Auburn Township for $45,000.
Carlton Mogridge, Jr. and Rosarita Mogridge to James Williams and Ruth Williams in Springville Township for $100,000.
Richard White to Wendy White aka Wendy D. White in Lenox Township for $1.
Lauretta A. Button, Administratrix of the Estate of Bruce Button, Lauretta A. Button and Seth M. Button to Lauretta A. Button in Auburn Township for $35,000.
James J. Zaydon, Jr., Personal Representative of the Estate of Mahlon D. Tyler aka Mahlon Donald Tyler to Andrew D. Derrick and Shirley A. Derrick in Great Bend Township for $25,000.
Paul L. Schraeder and Barbara D. Schraeder to William E. Kaub, Jr. and Paula M. Kaub in Harford Township for $19,900.
Lillian Branning, "Living Trust", Patricia A. Wolf, Kenneth W. Fisher, Jr., Michael J. Fisher, Vincent R. Branning, Jr., David S. Branning to Kenneth W. Fisher, Jr. in Susquehanna Depot Borough for $1.
Marvin A. Glover and Brenda S. Glover to Marvin A. Glover in Oakland Borough for $1.
Richard A. Yale and Ruth G. Yale to Eugene F. Schmidt and Karen M. Schmidt in Auburn Township for $245,000.
Ralph Grecco and Marie Grecco to Angela M. Grecco in Clifford Township for $1.
Daniel M. Call and Diane Call to Thomas Pekarski and Debra Pekarski in Forest City Borough for $130,000.
Neil N. Price to Jeffrey A. Hall and Carolyn J. Hall in Jackson Township for $110,000.
George H. Stover, Jr. and Judy Y. Stover to George H. Stover, Jr. and Judy Y. Stover in Great Bend Township for $1.
Helen A. Lemon and John S. Lemon to David E. King in Little Meadows Borough for $5,000.
Joan O. Arnold to Philip Edwards and Susan Edwards in Lenox Township for $69,900.
Bottom To Add Lights
Janice Webster, Borough President, called the Hop Bottom monthly meeting to order with Ron Barankovich, Joanne Wisniewski, Eric Lynn, and Charlie Kilgore in attendance on July 1.
Paul Henry, Mayor, presented the following items reported for last month by Chief of Police, Ron Kosklo: 14 traffic citations, one phone harassment, one noise complaint and one dog complaint.
Under the business of park items, Webster reported that mulch was spread by Bob Kenney, a member of his family, Lance Benedict and Mark Webster. In the future the borough will check to see who can do required community service on some projects in town.
Culvert repairs were again an agenda item. Since the culvert will be inspected soon, a letter will be sent to the railroad line, which has not responded to recent calls. Webster will call the campground to help with cleaning out a stoneway. Work needs to be done in particular around the tower, although there was talk about the main storm drains.
Webster spoke with Bobbi Jo Turner, Housing and Re-Development recently. Webster finally has the deed for the former Stout Property, where there was a clean-up scheduled. The garage on that site was cleaned out and yielded a few items that can be sold at the Hop Bottom Sales Day. Whenever possible, debris will be taken care of with control burning. Dumpster bill for property paid by Stout will be handled by the Borough.
Regarding some potholes, Henry will call Harris in Tunkhannock for an estimate of how much it will cost to repair them. Recent surface water problems will be handled by Gary Sanauskas. A run-off problem at High and Greenwood Street was determined to possibly be under the jurisdiction of PENNDOT.
Bonnie Lippart reported that there are folders for all Borough emergency coordinators. Vials of Life will also be available for all sector leaders.
There was discussion about the Boroughs contribution for ball dirt to the local little league field. A letter will be written to the appropriate people.
July 19 at 10:15 a.m. or September 16 at 4:15 p.m. have been targeted for dates to run the Bike Safety Course, under the direction of Bonnie Bradley. It will be held on the blacktop near the fire hall.
A few properties in the Borough are being monitored for grass clean-up. A few street lights need to be fixed. Pole numbers will be recorded and the proper party contacted for repair.
Yard Sale for the Borough is scheduled for July 19. There will be lights around the pond area in the coming Christmas Holiday season. It will add a special touch to our area as people pass through and will be a source of special pride to the folks in the Borough.
The Hop Bottom Borough Council meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the Borough building on Forest Street. The public is encouraged to attend.
Oakland Boro council met on July 10 for their regular monthly meeting with all members present as well as secretary/treasurer Cindy Cordner, mayor Art Towner and a number of residents.
President Ron Beavan reported that an audit of the water company accounts has been completed, with a good report.
The boros solicitor has reviewed a proposed contract to erect a cell tower at the water tower site, with approval. The boro will receive 63% of the revenues generated by its use. Another proposal offers 50%; it was agreed to look into whether this company would be interested in a different location.
At prior meetings, council had discussed purchasing a flag for the council meeting room. Resident Charles Callahan has offered to donate a flag. Councilman Dubanowitz will check prices for a pole and stand.
Mr. Beavan reported that the boros insurance carrier has paid on a claim for replacement of a water system pump, in the amount of $4,000.
Mrs. Cordner introduced Flo Brush, who has been working at the boro office through the Experienced Workers program.
The boros CEO and police officer Bob VanFleet will conduct an inspection of a State St. property that has been the subject of a codes violation hearing. Although the resident has moved to a nearby location, he/she will still be held responsible for the violations. Mr. Beavan said that as the property had been bought through a land contract, the owner will also be involved in the proceedings.
Mrs. Cordner has met with a representative of the states Attorney Generals office for an audit of the liquid fuels accounts for 2001 and 2002; the auditor was very pleased with the results.
The committee put together to survey the boros streets to determine which are in immediate need of paving is still in the process of compiling information. Once it is determined which streets should be paved, prices will be obtained. At present, there is $20,000 in the highway fund. Tar and chip was discussed, as it is less expensive than paving; it was agreed to contact PENNDOT for additional information.
The police car is in need of tires; at the recommendation of the mechanic they will not be purchased as the car has extensive rust. The boro has entered into a government surplus program, to obtain emergency management equipment. It was agreed to check this program to see if a replacement car could be obtained that way, and to check with other sources.
The tenant who rents space in the boro buildings basement has agreed to stay on, at the same rate of rent.
Public comment brought a lot of opinions that a burning ban should be enacted, as there have been a lot of problems with residents burning material that results in noxious fumes and odors. The question was brought up by a resident who asked whether council would reconsider enacting a ban. There was considerable discussion, with the prevailing opinion being that too many residents have been burning household trash, not just leaves and brush. Council had begun the proceedings to enact a ban at a prior meeting, but the vote was insufficient to do so. Mr. Beavan commented that burn barrels are very inefficient, as they do not allow sufficient air flow and can smolder for hours. The new (defeated) ordinance would have banned burn barrels and would only have allowed burning of leaves and brush. After discussion, it was agreed to find out what the proper procedure is to reintroduce the ordinance.
The subject of codes brought about an extensive discussion. Currently, the boros budget allows for a CEO for 2.4 hours per week, yearly budget of $1,500. Mr. Beavan pointed out that residents should contact the boro office with complaints, rather than contacting the CEO directly, as the boro is charged for his time.
Several possible violations were discussed; Mr. Beavan said that one will be going to court in September. Another has had three court dates set, with the property owner only showing up for one of those hearings.
Another topic discussed was whether or not the boro has a curfew ordinance; it does. Mr. VanFleet said that it has not been enforced because there had been a "big flap" about it, with claims made that such an ordinance infringes on peoples rights.
Other items brought up for discussion included complaints about harassment, junk, loud noises, foul language and child abuse. Mr. VanFleet said that sincere complaints would be investigated, and recommended that concerns about child abuse should be reported to the county Children and Youth department.
Under new business, a water problem on Prospect St. was discussed, as well as several options to deal with it. A tree on River Road has been uprooted and has fallen over, resulting in a portion of the road being torn up. A blocked ditch has been causing water to back up. Buying a hitch for the boro truck to be used for hauling equipment, such as the roller and lawn mowers was suggested. The streets committee will check into all of these.
The boros newest employee will need to be sent for training in water treatment. Several classes are available for the training, which is mandatory.
Mr. Beavan reported that DEP has strongly recommended that the water systems two well heads be raised; even though they are sealed, a water advisory would be necessary if there were to be flood conditions. Although an exact cost is not known, Mr. Beavan said that it would be very expensive, but "under $15,000." This cost could be included in the amount of refinancing the water companys loan, or it could be taken from a reserve fund, which would have to be repaid.
An audience member asked if there had been any more discussion about selling the water company. Mr. Beavan said that the system had been appraised at $859,000, but there had been no further communication from the PA American Water Co. about selling. And, flushing the boros fire hydrants has been completed.
Council discussed entering into a joint codes agreement with Susquehanna Boro; grant funding, if approved, would pay half of the CEOs salary, which would be equitably split between the two boros at an 80/20 split, with Oakland being responsible for 20%, approximately $3,400. If the grant is approved, Oakland would benefit by being able to increase the CEOs weekly hours, from about two to eight. Mr. Beavan said that the main concern is trying to clean up the boro, but this proposal would mean a tax increase unless the additional funds could be drawn from elsewhere in the budget. If the grant application is approved for one year, this would not mean that it would be guaranteed for subsequent years, but there would be a lot of benefits to be seen from even one year. A committee comprised of two council members from each boro would be formed to oversee the CEOs activities. It was agreed to set up a meeting with representatives from Susquehanna to discuss the matter further.
Mr. VanFleet reported good news; arrests have been made for break-ins at the Oakland Inn and restitution has been made for the damages. The person(s) responsible for tire slashing incidents are being arrested, and the police department is close to an arrest for vandalism where cars had been broken into and items stolen.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, August 14, 7 p.m. in the boro building.
M. Twp. Repairing Roads
The New Milford Township monthly meeting took place at the Municipal building on Wednesday, July 10; "Buzz" Gulick and Jim Hunter, supervisors were present.
Secretary/Treasurer Carol Ames included in her financial reports $54,000. in a money market account, and $13,700. in the State checking account.
George Houghton discussed at length the sewer that is an on-going development between the Borough and portions of New Milford Township.
PSATS sent correspondence to the supervisors in favor of action from Sen. Madigan and Representative Majors supporting an increase in gas taxes. The increase will benefit municipalities and townships with 25% going directly to local government. Gulick noted, and held up for inspection, a very large manual that was received from the Susquehanna Planning Commission. The paperwork covers new comprehensive development planning information. Gulick had not yet had an opportunity to review it. DEP sent correspondence regarding well monitoring details recorded on April 16 this year covering the landfill. Gulick noted it appears that the water level falls into a safe area.
The County Emergency Management Agency sent correspondence recognizing Jim Hunter as the Emergency Management Coordinator for New Milford Township.
The Bond discussion tabled from last month regarding the new National Guard Readiness Site, appears to be a mote point as the supervisors were informed 1.5 million dollars has been earmarked for projects such as this one.
The supervisors approved a resolution transferring a liquor license from Forest City to the new Summit Restaurant facility that is under construction in the township.
Gulick deferred to Roadmaster Jack Conroy on progress of New Milford Township roads. Conroy commented the roads "are coming along." The township will seek a bid on anti-skid materials and the roadmaster noted that the truck needs to go through inspection. He added he picked up two new tires for the tractor. There was some discussion about how to trade with PENNDOT under the AGILITY program for some intensive work that needs to be done on a local road. The supervisors agreed that they would provide mowing in several areas for compensation over a negotiable period of time. It was noted that after the last meeting PENNDOT took care of the entrance road to the Flying J.
It appeared that all the paperwork was completed on the subdivision for Cindy Allen and Bob Lee.
Another brief discussion about the sewers going in up and down Route #11 yielded that the actual work has not yet been put out for bids. However, signatures are being gathered from residents in the Sumerville area, who may want to hook into it.
The supervisors are planning on attending a local affair focusing on dirt and gravel roads, where Sen. Madigan will be present on the Forkhill Road site in Franklin Township.
The New Milford Township Supervisors meet on the second Wednesday of each month at the municipal building on Route #11, 7:30 p.m.
Jim Taylor, Don Zablotsky, and Fred Benson, Lenox Township Supervisors, met on Monday, July 7 at the municipal building on Route #92. The full agenda included the financial report given by Sharon DePew, the township secretary/treasurer. She reported among other items that there is $410.53 in the State checking account, $20,442.41 in the equipment fund and $27,518.56 in turnback account No. 3.
Correspondence was received providing information on Lackawanna State Park and the Boy Scouts cooperating in a Trail-A-Thon to take place on August 17. Other letters received concerned R. H. Hart installing some new pipes and the DEP wrote about stormwater discharge from some construction activity.
Among permits granted were one to Garrett Hannigan to open a stone quarry and Central Testing for work at Glenwood Stone. The supervisors are in receipt of the draft of the new Susquehanna Planning Commission manual for development planning. Subdivisions covered Leo Feduchak, "add-ons" were included for the Loomis Lake Association for Condon and a building permit was granted for an addition for the Johnsons.
Don Zablotsky met with representatives from Hartford, Nicholson, Clifford, and Hop Bottom Fire companies to try to determine where their boundary lines are. After much discussion about new 911 procedures affecting ambulance services, it was determined that the supervisors would meet with Dawn Watson in Montrose.
An ordinance regarding disposition and safety measures to be taken with burned out buildings was prompted by complaints about some buildings that appear to be hazardous.
Approval was given for "one-half minus" stone to be purchased from Montrose and R2A stone will be purchased from State Aggregate.
The excavation that is being done for a new cinder building on the municipal grounds met with a lot of large stone removal problems that were unexpected. There is still no word on the grant request for help with the new cinder building. The construction of a number of new building types were examined by Zablotsky. Bids will not be sought until the ground work has been completed. However, bids will be sought for 1,000 yards of coarse black cinders.
The supervisors have requested receipts for the costs of all materials that came from the recent clean-up, which were taken to the landfill. This came on the heels of questions about burning materials in Lenox from other clean-up activities outside of the township.
The public is invited the Lenox Township meetings that take place on the first Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m. in the municipal building.
Working On Ditches
It was not a very long meeting on July 9, however, supervisors Dennis Phelps, Chair, and Elwood Phelps and Nick Sabauchak had some serious concerns about ditch work that needs to be addressed at Lakeside.
Before the discussion went to that subject, secretary/treasurer Ann Marie Shevchuk reported, after approval of last month's minutes, there is $9,224.75 in receipts for the month of June.
Don Taylor was granted a Surface Mining Permit, and the Susquehanna County Planning Commission approved the Walt Jaggert subdivision.
Richard Frankowski was ratified as the Emergency Management Coordinator, although he has held that position for a while. He is very interested in this work and along with the supervisors and others will be working on the designated Emergency Management Plan which is being coordinated as a State-wide response to 9/11. A tally of local resources will be gathered for the plan covering the township.
Over the objections of the township solicitor, the supervisors elected to pay for repair of the car owned by Connie Sivensky for severe damages it sustained because of the condition of a local road that had become extremely hazardous. This was not an easy decision for the supervisors to make and required a long discussion among them.
In the midst of the road discussions, another local resident thanked the supervisors for the work that had been done to rectify conditions on his road. Roads are being addressed on schedule, Elwood Phelps noted.
Unfortunately, another resident, Linda Mordant has been having a great deal of problems with the ditch near her home on Lake Road. Despite the supervisors reviewing the situation in the recent months, the condition was considered enough of a health hazard that Ms. Mordant contacted the DEP. A field agent from that state department will be coming to test deep standing water in the ditch to make sure that there is no problem with West Nile Virus.
There were a number of solutions offered for the correction of that ditch problem and neighbors who attended the meeting in support of Ms. Mordant, Mr. and Mrs. John Hagan, were more than willing to help her address some of the solutions with some of her immediate neighbors. Ms. Mordant was emphatic about having good relations with her neighbors, but appreciated the support she was getting. The supervisors are quite concerned about the hazardous condition and hope to remediate the situation so that it will not continue in the future after a plan of action is decided upon.
Lathrop Township Supervisors meet in the Grange Hall at Lakeside, 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month. The public is invited.
Post Office Renovations?
All three Harford Township Supervisors were in attendance at their "regular" monthly meeting on July 8, a session that covered a wide variety of topics, arguably the most interesting of which didn't come up until the very end. Heath Brewer, the current owner of the old Chamberlain property in the village and therefore of the post office as well, requested some time to make a pitch to the town fathers that they weren't anxious to swallow. That Mr. Brewer's plans were aired in a public meeting piqued some interest, however, considering that the status of the tiny historic Harford P.O. has been a concern for several years among local residents.
But first, the Supervisors covered a full agenda, beginning with minutes from two prior meetings. Jim Ketterer declined to approve either set of minutes, without comment, although he had not been present at either meeting.
Some time ago, while working on the roads, a crew displaced a survey pin. The property owners asked the Township to help have the pin replaced, so a surveyor was hired. The property owners then asked him to do a complete survey, and when he was done, he gave them a bill, which they then forwarded to the Township for payment. Since the Township had only asked for the placement of a single pin, they asked for a revised invoice showing only that part for which they agreed to pay. In the new bill, the part of the survey that resulted in the replacement of the one pin covered most of the cost of the full survey, $1,258. The Supervisors agreed that that amount seemed a little high for what was originally requested, but they decided to pay it anyway.
George Sansky, a Township employee, has asked for some additional radios so that all of the vehicles could be properly equipped. The Township now has seven radios, one of which is still in a school bus where it was mounted several years ago. Supervisor Terry Van Gorden has insisted that the radio doesn't belong in a school bus; the current bus operator is willing to have the radio removed and returned to the Township. The Township will purchase one new (or refurbished) radio.
One Call is a service provided under contract throughout the state of Pennsylvania that gives people who are planning to dig in the ground a place to go to find out what might be there already, like communications lines, water pipes -- and sewer lines. The Harford Sewer System is not currently registered with One Call. The company has offered to send a representative to explain the service, and their information requirements. The Township will try to arrange to have the representative appear at the next regular meeting (the second Tuesday in August).
The Township was asked to send a letter to local state representatives in support of a fuels funding increase. A measure in the state legislature would provide additional state funding to municipalities for road maintenance. Part of the pending legislation would increase the state tax on gasoline to help pay for the increased state subsidy. The Township will send a letter to Representative Sandra Major.
The Harford Fair Board has asked local organizations to participate in the patriotic theme for this year's Harford Fair by donating a flag. It wasn't clear whether the Fair is asking for money donations so they could by the flags, or whether contributors would purchase flags themselves for donation. In either case, the Supervisors weren't enthusiastic about the idea. Rick Pisasik wondered what benefit the taxpayers would derive from the Township's donation of a flag to the Fair. The issue was tabled pending receipt of more information.
The Township has purchased a second computer, for just over $1,000, for use in the shop. According to Mr. Pisasik, the computer was needed to keep track of equipment maintenance records, requested by the Township's insurance carrier. The Supervisors could not immediately determine if the expenditure had ever been approved at a public meeting.
The purchaser of the Adams airport property appeared before the Supervisors with his application for a building permit. He wants to put up a second hangar. Last month the Supervisors formally joined the county Council of Governments' Codes Committee, and this is the first building permit to be considered in Harford under that arrangement. The petitioner was directed to COG for his permit, and was told that if he had any difficulties with the process because of the transition, he should contact Harford for assistance.
Finally, Mr. Brewer came before the Supervisors requesting that the Township send a letter to the U.S. Postal Service requesting that the village post office be provided with off-street parking and be made accessible to the handicapped. Mr. Pisasik expressed some mild suspicion of the motivation for the request, especially since accessibility is a federal requirement of which the Postal Service is surely aware. Mr. Pisasik, while sympathetic to keeping the historic post office in the village, has tried to keep the Township itself out of the matter. As it happens, Mr. Van Gorden didn't feel comfortable taking a stand at the moment either, because he serves on the Fire Company Board of Directors, which has offered to lease its old building in the village for a new post office.
Mr. Ketterer supported the idea of sending a letter, with the understanding that the Postal Service could decide to simply close the post office if they felt pressure to renovate or replace the low-volume Harford facility. Mr. Brewer gave him some sketches of what he might plan to do with the current post office. Mr. Brewer said that he expected to remove the burned-out part of the building on the property to make way for up to nine off-street parking spaces. And the sketches showed a ramp and other modifications for accessibility. Mr. Brewer estimated that under his current lease arrangements with the Postal Service, he might get his investment back in about 36 years.
There was no second to Mr. Ketterer's motion to provide the requested letter.
The Harford Township Supervisors meet on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month, beginning at 7:30 p.m., in the Township building on Route 547.
House Causes A Stir
A dilapidated duplex in the 600 block of Delaware Street prompted neighboring residents to ask the Forest City Borough Council for help in eliminating the eyesore. After a lengthy discussion, it was decided to turn the matter over to the boroughs code enforcement officer for action.
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Sukenick, who live across the street from the rundown structure, told the council that it has become more than an eyesore. They intimated that it is becoming a haven for rodents, stray cats and skunks. But at the core of their argument was unsightly condition of the building.
"It is a disgrace to the neighborhood and a disgrace to the town," Sukenick said. "We have been living with it for almost 10 years and it is time something was done."
"People say, how can you stand that?" Mrs. Sukenick added. "We have tried and tried but nothing gets done."
"For 10 years they have been having a problem and I have been complaining about it," Mayor Frank Brager said.
"To whom have you been complaining?" Councilman Paul J. Amadio asked. "I have been on this council for six years and you never brought it up here." The mayor insisted he has brought up the subject in the past but other council members also shook their head in disagreement.
Robert Selinsky of Forest City owns the duplex. Besides the rundown condition it has become both a safety and health hazard. Some floor boards on the porch are missing. A bathroom sink protrudes from one side of the house, apparently the final remnant of what was once a bath room.
"I am in total support of these people," said Tom Kane, who described himself as the new kid in the block. "I was told a year ago by a town official that that building was coming down. It is one of the greatest eyesores I have ever seen in my life.
"Something has to be done. This has gone on far too long. You are the Borough Council. You are supposed to support the people."
"This council puts more time on that man (Selinsky) than you would believe," Councilwoman Ruth Fitzsimmons said.
"Why is it taking 10 years for crying out loud?" Councilman Alan Gordon asked. He did not get an answer.
Sukenick also complained about teens gathering in the Sacred Heart Church parking lot between Delaware and Hudson streets.
"I have asked Mayor Brager," said Sukenick, "and I have asked Assistant Chief Joe Nolan for help. I have yet to see a cop up there.
"On Saturday we had some stuff stolen from our yard. I would like to see more action and more patrols in that parking lot."
Mr. Kane said the area around the Center Street Gazebo is becoming a miniature trash dump. He said he regularly picks up trash that has been discarded and that the Gazebo is a mess.
"Since I have been here, and I never had it happen before in my life, I have had tacks thrown under the wheels of my car and rotten eggs thrown at my car. This is not a condemnation of police efforts at all. It is just a matter of fact."
In response to a question from Amadio, Mayor Brager said he has beefed up police patrols in the area. However, Amadio attempted to dispute the mayors remark..
"They just told you " Amadio began.
"Oh, Paul! Dont give me that sh*t," the mayor said.
"It is your job as mayor to enforce the ordinances in this town," said Amadio. "That is what you are elected to do and if you did it these problems would not be developing. And watch your language."
In another matter, an application for a handicap parking permit from William Feddock of 723 Delaware Street was rejected after Councilwoman Ruth Fitzsimmons failed to get a second on her motion to approve it.
The issue also triggered some lively discussion when it was brought up that Feddock has a driveway next to his house and his daughter and her friend park in it.
Council members could not understand the logic in Feddocks desire to have a handicap spot across the street from his house when he could park in his driveway and be only a few steps from his house. Borough Solicitor Robert Fields agreed that it would be difficult to justify the issuance of a handicap parking permit to someone who has a driveway alongside his home.
Mayor Brager, who is Feddocks son-in-law, said that the occupants of the driveway maintain it and clear the snow from it in the winter. He said Feddock had two knee replacements and open heart surgery.
"I know he is my father in law, yes... and there are two other people that use the driveway and they shovel the snow and everything else .he has been parking on the street because it is easier to get out. But because I am the mayor dont feel you have to people who have parking spots in front of their places think that they own them, but I am sorry you dont own it but it is there and I am sorry that this is the way it is in the town.
"I am lucky, I have a driveway and so does Paul (Amadio). Paul is able to park in his lot so he figures to hell with everyone else."
In other business, council-
-accepted a recommendation from local businessman Paul Ferraro and voted unanimously to institute Saturday meter parking. In a letter to council, Ferraro said it is needed because too many cars park in one spot all day on Saturday hindering the efforts of people who come to town to shop or conduct other business. The Saturday meter parking will go into effect after a couple of weeks of warning tickets are issued.
-agreed to close Main Street on July 31 and Aug. 1 and 2 for the Old Home Days celebration.
-unanimously approved a motion by Amadio authorizing the borough solicitor to update the towns curfew laws. Amadio said too many teenagers and pre-teenagers have been observed on borough streets at midnight and later.
-agreed to purchase a new 2003 Dodge police cruiser through the states piggyback system at a cost between $18,000 and $19,000 and to secure an extended warranty for the vehicle.
-unanimously approved a motion to sell a parcel of borough-owned land on Railroad Street to Northeastern Towing and Auto Sales at a price of $2400.
The Susquehanna County Commissioners shored up their sagging Management Information Services Department (MISD) by hiring an independent consultant to maintain the countys computer system.
By a unanimous vote, the commissioners agreed to pay David Yulke of Lawton, Rush Township, $75 an hour for his services. Yulke, who operates Rush Computer Services, will work for the county on an as-needed basis.
Meanwhile, sources close to the investigation into allegations of irregular Internet activities in the MISD said the probe is winding down. At press time no arrests were made, but at least one arrest appears imminent.
Last month, the commissioners suspended Everitt Setzer, MISD supervisor, and Erik Knifer, the only other full time employee in the department. Subsequently, Setzer was terminated but Knifer continues on suspension with pay.
When asked why Knifer remains on the payroll when he is not working, Commissioner Gary Marcho said it was a decision in keeping with the provisions of the union contract. However, sources informed the Transcript that, while he is a union member, Knifer has not contacted the union concerning his suspension.
Harold Albrecht of Oakland Borough was hired as a full-time 911 dispatcher. At its meeting, the Salary Board agreed to pay Albrecht a starting hourly rate of $7.48 plus benefits. The move complies with the union contract.
One year appointments to the Northern Tier Regional Planning and Development Commission include:
Full Commission: Commissioners Cal Dean, Gary Marcho and Lee Smith; William Ord, Joyce Rudzianski, Justin Taylor, Robert Templeton and Rick Soden; Executive Committee: Marcho and Smith; alternate, Dean; Northern Tier Foundation: Smith and Marcho; and, Personnel Committee: Smith.
Also Community Development Advisory Committee: Denis Phelps and Robert Templeton; Economic Development: Joyce Rudzianski and Justin Taylor; Export Advisory Committee: and, Mike Goskowski and Nick Salamone.
Local Loan Review Committee: Thomas Chesnick, Rick Soden, Mary Ann Waddington; Northern Tier Development Team: James Bralla, Gerald Ely, Marty Kane, Marleen Stone, Robert Templeton; Rural Area Transportation Advisory Committee: Dean, Rep. Sandra Major, William Ord, Robert Templeton; and, Workforce Investment Board: Loren Stone and Dawn Swetland.
Residents Have Questions
The Thompson Boro council met for their monthly meeting on July 7 with all members present.
During reading of the bills/receipts, treasurer Marge Whitney reported that after all donations have been tallied and bills paid for the boros town fair, the Community Fund now shows a balance of $401.55. There was some discussion as to why council had been involved in this endeavor; council president Dennis Price noted that, when the project was first discussed council had agreed to support it. A suggestion from the audience was that a separate association be formed next year, to keep it separate from council. Later in the meeting, Mr. Price expressed the hope that in the future more business owners and residents would get involved so that the fair could be expanded.
Continuing discussion on the Act 537 sewage project, the boros construction loan has been approved; an ordinance required to allow the boros indebtedness for the construction project, in the amount of $622,700 was approved. The boro, Mr. Price said, has a guarantee from RUS to pay back this amount.
A reimbursement in the amount of just over $10,400 has been received from ACE (the Army Corps of Engineers); this will be applied to the principal of the loan.
Another reimbursement, approximately $28,000 is expected from ACE at the end of the month. Mr. Price suggested that this be used towards Junes construction bill ($123,000), as well as the balance of the interim loan, $45,200. The difference will be paid in August after the loan is processed.
As there are insufficient funds in the sewer account to pay several due bills that are not eligible to be paid out of the sewer project interim loan, plus $150 owed to the general fund, there was some discussion as to how to address this. It was agreed to pay those bills out of the general fund. $500 for the new(er) police car had been taken out of general fund, to be reimbursed from a CD the boro holds. As one withdrawal is allowed without penalty before the CD matures (in August, 2004), council will reevaluate how much should be withdrawn for both items from the CD funds at next months meeting.
Mr. Price read correspondence regarding the request to have the Curtis Sunoco property included in the sewage plan. DEP refuses to order the boro to revise the plan to include the property, as the plan is inadequate to fit the propertys needs; the boro currently has a holding tank ordinance that should apply to this situation. The boro objected to including this property in the plan due to the expense that would be involved. Also included in the correspondence was information regarding the property owners right to appeal this decision to the Environmental Hearing Board, as well as the process to file an appeal.
Mr. Price reported that a change will be made to the plan, eliminating a stream crossing, which will reduce the construction cost. The projects engineers are processing the paperwork to include this change. Council member Andy Gardner reported that, at the request of the property owner, one more EDU within the scope of service will be added to the plan.
Council member Jeff Sheldon has donated stakes, which will be distributed to property owners to indicate where lines from the main to structures should be placed. Although a construction schedule was not yet available, Mr. Price said that the main lines are going in first, then Ts to properties.
If any residents should have complaints regarding damage from construction, forms are available from Doug Rice, who will be acting as intermediary between the boro and the contractor.
Monthly meetings have been scheduled with the contractor. Mr. Gardner reported that, at the last meeting, the completed work and a projected schedule were discussed. Mr. Price said that the boro will get a set of "as built" prints, showing exactly where all the lines are located.
Continuing discussion of rejoining COG, Mr. Gardner strongly recommend that council do so, to avail themselves of the services of a CEO, especially with state mandated building codes imminent. COG, he said, is where similar municipalities come together, share their needs, problems, and solutions. "Its worth it," he said; membership is $100 per year. And, although the boros need for a SEO has always been scant, COG has obtained a grant to cover court costs in violations cases; the boro would be responsible for those costs if the situation arose and it is not a member. Mr. Price had some questions about how codes enforcement works. Mr. Gardner agreed to get more information so that rejoining could be discussed further at next months meeting.
In response to a request made by a resident at a prior meeting, Mr. Gardner surveyed the boros street lights. His conclusion is that there is one that could be moved to the location in question, on Water St.; although there is a light on this particular pole, it is privately owned. And, there is another area on Erie where a light is set back far from the road; this could be moved to a pole across the street. Mr. Gardner has contacted Penelec with the pole numbers to request that the lights be redistributed.
Further action on a problem with a building permit was tabled until the boros solicitor has reviewed pertinent paperwork.
At prior meetings, the subject of shared police services had been discussed, particularly the procedure for billing Ararat Township for those services. After some discussion, it was agreed that Mr. Price will arrange a meeting with the Ararat Township supervisors to further discuss the matter.
Mr. Price relayed that several boro officials had received complaints, apparently about illegal burning. Mr. Price said that every boro resident should know about burning regulations as information was made available to every home some time ago. The boros ordinance, he said, specifically states that only authorized containers could be used, and only such things as leaves, sticks or branches could be burned; bonfires are not allowed. Any exceptions must be cleared with the county Comm. Center 24 hours in advance so that local police and fire personnel are aware of the situation. And, all fires must be extinguished by dusk. Mayor Delaney reported that he had checked the property in question when he had received complaints, but couldnt see any fire. Mr. Price said that if a resident has a complaint, he/she should call Officer Rivenburgh; he would check it out and notify the individual about what their responsibilities are. Mr. Rivenburgh added that complaint forms are available for residents to fill out and sign, but that he would not investigate complaints where a form was not signed.
Mr. Price and Mr. Gardner had attended a regional planning meeting with neighboring municipalities to discuss the possibility of drawing up a regional comprehensive plan. Mr. Gardner said that such a plan would regulate zoning of any kind and would cover such development as cell phone towers or waste sites. "If youre part of a larger, regional planning group," he said, "you can restrict certain activities to certain areas." And, the boro would have a say in what happens to the surrounding area.
There will be some costs to the boro, Mr. Gardner said, it wont be a free ride. But, other municipalities that combined to draft a plan worked out equitable fees between the smaller and larger municipalities. He cited one instance where a smaller municipalitys cost was $120, while a larger ones share was $1700.
As a whole, Mr. Price said, the combined area would qualify for low income based grants as the figures used to determine eligibility would encompass a larger percentage of the population.
Another meeting is planned for July 31 in Union Dale; several council members expressed interest in attending. Interested municipalities are asked to make a commitment in August, as the paperwork for a grant application has to be submitted by September.
During public comment, a resident asked how it is determined how many EDUs a property has; for instance, if there were a home and a business at the same location, why are some designated as one EDU, while others are designated as two. Mr. Price said that the determination is made by the engineers, depending on the propertys use; if there is a home and a business, that could be two. But, it depends on the type of business, whether there is public traffic. If the business is adding to the (sewage) system, it would be an additional EDU but if it were a home office or someone who works out of their garage, the building would be designated as one EDU.
Another question was in regard to an accumulation of tires outside of the boro, in Thompson Township, creating a hazard. The resident was particularly concerned with water accumulating in the tires, creating a nesting area for mosquitoes that could be carrying the West Nile Virus. Mr. Gardner suggested that the complaint should be made at a meeting of the township supervisors. The resident asked if council could make an unofficial request; Mr. Price said that he would ask that they look into it.
In response to a complaint made by a resident regarding potholes on a section of Water St., Mr. Price pointed out that council had decided that (permanent) road repairs would not be done until after the sewage project is completed, as the roads will be torn up during construction. He did agree to contact the contractor to ask if some stone could be used in this area, to alleviate the problem temporarily until the construction is completed.
A question was asked regarding the sewer construction; why arent flagmen being used? Mr. Price said that flagmen are only used on the main streets; traffic on secondary roads do not require it.
The subject of snow plowing bids was discussed; when is the boro planning to put it out to bid? Mr. Price responded that council has determined that it should be done in August, to allow for the possibility that it has to be re-bid due to a lack of response.
Mayor Delaney reported that there had been a complaint about two (junk) vehicles on a lot in the boro; one has been removed, he said, but there have been reports that kids are playing on the other, locking each other in the trunk, and jumping off a shed onto the car and then onto the ground. Could council send a letter, letting the resident know that it is a potential hazard? Council agreed.
Mr. Delaney asked for councils approval to run a water line across Jefferson, under the road. He currently has a garden hose running from a well to his greenhouse, but has to replace them often. He prefers to use well water for his plants, as it does not contain chlorine. He said that he would hire a contractor to run the line and would see that the road is left in good condition. Mr. Gardners concerns with the idea are that the hose runs along a drainage ditch; once the sewer project is complete, the ditches will be needed for stormwater from homes. And, the boro does not have a right of way, and does not own the sluice pipe, it is private property. Mr. Price said that his only concern is that the water line would be crossing property lines. He would also like to see a written agreement with the boro that Mr. Delaney would maintain the pipe and the road, and an agreement with the owner of the property that the line would need to cross. The matter was tabled for further investigation.
The final topic discussed was a partially burned garage; would a building permit be needed to rebuild? If the dimensions and location are the same, a permit would not be needed. But, if the dimensions or location of the new garage are different, a permit would not be needed.
And, Mr. Rivenburgh reported that in the past month, he had four calls in Thompson and six in Ararat.
The next meeting will be on Monday, August 4, 7:30 p.m. in the fire hall on Water St.
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