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Issue Home December 2, 2003 Site Home

COG Business, with Brevity
Commissioners Dissolve MIS
County Plan A Done Deal
Court House Report
Gibson Barracks Report
Starrucca Borough Council Minutes

2004 Taxes Flat In Harford

The major item on a sparse agenda for the Harford Township Supervisors on November 25 was the budget. The proposed budget, prepared by Secretary and Supervisor-to-be Sue Furney, was said to be the same in total as last year, although there were inevitably changes to individual items. Actually, the Township expense budget is just about $6,000 higher than last year, covered by increases in some revenue items. For example, the budget anticipates about $1,500 more in real estate taxes; another $1,000 more is expected from the District Justice. However, the budget does not require an increase in any tax rates.

Noting that the earned income tax is now more lucrative for the township than the real estate tax, an observer at the meeting asked if the Supervisors are considering a property tax cut, inferred by some at the time the earned income tax was established several years ago. There was no indication that the Supervisors are considering any such thing.

When others questioned individual items in the budget, Rick Pisasik, seeming a little testy, suggested that, since the proposed budget will be available for public review until December 23, there would be time to address such concerns at the next meeting of the Supervisors on December 9th. Some items mentioned include a Miscellaneous amount under "Administrative" that is the largest single item in that part of the budget. Mr. Pisasik pointed out that the item, $4,500, is less than 2% of the total budget, calling it "a small item." Ms. Furney said that the category included things like dues for membership in township organizations, and convention registrations.

There is also no money in the budget to replace the township's four-year-old backhoe, a proposal that was brought up late in the summer. Mr. Pisasik said that the Supervisors have not yet decided to make that purchase. It was unclear where the money might come from if they eventually decide to do the deal. Yet the budget does anticipate ending 2004 with $158,000 in cash, the same amount expected to be on hand by the end of the current year. This "reserve" is about 68 percent of the total Township expense budget.

The layout of the budget was questioned, since it does not show the current-year budget, or even current-year actual figures, alongside the numbers proposed for next year. For example, for the first time, some wages have been moved from the Township budget to the state budget. The Supervisors prepare the budget in three parts: the Township budget is covered by local taxes; the State budget is supported by state revenue; the sewer budget is completely separate, although the sewer system does share some resources through the Township office. Ms. Furney said that never in her long service to the township has anyone appeared at the office to examine the budget before it was finally passed.

Another item of perennial interest was $2,000 for the Odd Fellow's Hall, otherwise known as the Town Hall, in the village. Ms. Furney said the amount covered all expenses related to the building, including heat, sewage, electricity and maintenance. Questions about the building persist, and Mr. Pisasik is clearly not inclined to address them directly. In fact, when one observer asked for documentation of the township insurer's refusal to cover the building if it continued to be used by the public, Mr. Pisasik said he would object if the intent of such investigation is to "badger" him into a decision. There does seem to be some interest in getting the Supervisors off dead center on the issue, to encourage them to make a decision to do something - anything - about the matter. Mr. Pisasik has consistently said that he has no time to deal with it. He also pointed out this time that "not fixing it [the building], and not tearing it down is also an option."

In other business, the stainless steel cinder spreader now on exhibit by the road at the Township Building, will go out again for bids. The Supervisors are looking for a bid of at least $1,000 and will broaden their advertising to try to attract more attention.

Township employee George Sansky attended the meeting with a request to replace a couple of plows. He said the ones they have, with the more common skids, are not really suitable for dirt roads, since the cutting edges wear out too quickly. He found a pair of blades, one 10 feet, the other 11 feet, with wheels, that he claims will last longer for the township. With trade-in, he estimated the cost at about $7,500. The Supervisors authorized an expense of up to $8,000 for two plows, requiring at least 3 telephone bids before selecting a vendor. Ms. Furney reported that there was at least $19,000 remaining in the current-year budget for major equipment purchases.

Want to comment on the budget? Try it out on December 9, at 7:30 p.m. at the Township building.

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Commissioners Dissolve MIS

In a bold move last week, the Susquehanna County Board of Commissioners eliminated the Management Information Services Department (MISD) and placed the responsibility of keeping the county’s computer system running smoothly in the hands of an independent computer firm.

By a unanimous vote, the commissioners awarded a one-year contract worth $130,000 to Rush Computer Services of Lawton, Rush Township. Board Chair Gary Marcho said the company will (1) provide maintenance service for all of the county computers; (2) be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week; and (3), provide any software that might be needed to update the county computer system.

Marcho said the commissioners decided on a one-year contract to give the incoming administration a chance to monitor the work performed by a private company. He said if the new Board of Commissioners is not satisfied with Rush Computer Services, the short-term contract will afford the board the opportunity to make a change.

"After a year," said Marcho, "the new commissioners can decide what they want to do." He said the $130,000 contract equals the amount the county would have spent on salaries and benefits for two full-time employees and one part-timer to work in the MISD.

Ironically, Rush Computer Services is owned and operated by David Yulke, who was hired last July by the commissioners as a computer consultant on an as-needed-basis at $75 an hour. And in September, they hired Yulke’s son, Bryan as a computer technician at $10.45 an hour. Both positions were wiped out by the decision to award a maintenance agreement contract to Yulke’s computer firm.

The county will provide Rush Computer Systems with office and lab space and paid utilities, as well as "an appropriate budget" for equipment and supplies as documented by Rush.

Commissioner-elect Jeffrey Loomis expressed disappointment that Yulke did not attend the meeting.

"Why isn’t he here to explain things?" Loomis asked. Marcho said Yulke’s presence at the meeting was not requested.

Loomis also suggested that the three incoming commissioners be invited to participate in any more interviews that could lead to hiring additional county employees.

"Roberta (Kelly) and I and Mary Ann (Warren) have talked about employees," Loomis said. "We would like some input (on any hiring)."

Abolishing the MISD could eliminate some headaches for the incoming commissioners. In June, the commissioners suspended the two full-time employees in the department after their computers were confiscated because of allegations that they were involved in viewing pornographic material on their computers. Subsequently the pair was terminated and a State Police investigation into the matter apparently was abandoned.

Since the problem surfaced, the commissioners have been running into problems trying to hire qualified employees to keep the MISD afloat.

In another matter, the commissioners agreed to enter the county into a highway maintenance expense reimbursement agreement with the Corporation of the Presiding Bishop of the Church of Latter Day Saints. The agreement paves the way for the county to accept the entrance road into the Oakland Industrial Park developed by the Susquehanna, Oakland, Lanesboro Industrial Association (SOLIDA).

As a part of the acceptance, the Church of Latter Day Saints has agreed to maintain the road forever. The church is planning to locate a memorial on a parcel of land it owns in the park in honor of Joseph Smith Jr., the first prophet and president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose roots can be traced to Susquehanna County.

The agreement is contingent upon final approvals by the commissioners, the church, Susquehanna County Solicitor and the Court of Common Pleas.

The commissioners approved the following motions:

Adopting an agreement with InterAct Public Safety Systems of North Carolina who will render software and professional services in connection with Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) and Wireless Phase I and Phase II compliant Geographic Information System (GIS) Public Safety Information System. The cost of the program is $150,000 but Dawn Watson, director of Emergency Management, said a sizable chunk of money needed to pay for it will be obtained through grants.

For the purchase of acquiring a van for the county coroner from Tom Kerr Chevrolet of Montrose at a cost of $21,128 plus trade-in of old van.

Ratifying the hiring of Eric Brush of Montrose as a deputy sheriff at a starting salary of $9.89 an hour, effective Nov. 24.

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County Plan A Done Deal

With the completion and approval of the Susquehanna County Comprehensive Development Plan update, planning director Robert Templeton generously praised the county commissioners, office and county department personnel, local agencies, such as TREHAB, the Housing Authority, and Cooperative Extension, plus the press and the general public for their contributions. Consultant Carson Helfrich also garnered praise, and will be on the team that will update the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance and the Comprehensive Plan brochures. The two latest undertakings will be funded by another grant in the amount of $9000.

Templeton reported that about 35 people attended the community forum on zoning that had been previously advertised and was held on November 12. Those who attended seemed to be predominantly in favor of zoning and were mainly interested in the technical aspects of zoning. The next community forum, on January 14 will deal with tourism. Again, the public is encouraged to participate. Templeton reported, that while in the past the Rural Development Committee has focused most of its energy on farming and natural resource protection, this committee under the direction of Mike Villanella, has begun to look at more ways to concentrate on the development aspect; not just the rural aspect. They are exploring how tourism fits into this focus. Members of the Planning Commission voted to concur with staff recommendations on all land use proposals.

In other business, Templeton took this opportunity to thank County Commissioners Calvin Dean and Lee Smith who were, and usually are, in attendance at monthly meetings, for their support and efforts on behalf of the Planning Commission. Nancy Harvatine and Larry Wilson also thanked the Commissioners for re-appointing them to the Planning Commission.

The next meeting will be held on December 16 and all are welcome.

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Court House Report



Tax Claim Bureau to Anthony Berrone in Montrose Borough for $4699.98 (transfer tax paid on fair market value of $10,386.96) on November 18.

Edward W. Reddon and Raymond C. Davis, Co-Executors of the Nina D. Van Riper estate to Edward W. Reddon in Jackson Township for $1 on October 17.

Robert J. Keene and Sandra K. Keene to George E. Sansky, Jr. and Diane Sansky in Harford Township for $1 on November 19.

James Nagy & Kathleen Nagy to John T. Behan & David W. Reuter in Brooklyn Township for $19,900 on September 25.

Anthony Napolitano aka Anthony L. Napolitano to Robert A. Partridge in Susquehanna Borough for $45,000 on November 6.

Carol I. Huber and Doyle W. Ivey, Jr. to Doyle W. Ivey, Jr. and Joanne F. Ivey in Lenox Township for $1 on November 13.

Andrew Nunez and Jacqueline T. Bullock nbm Jacqueline T. Nunez to Andrew Nunez and Jacqueline T. Nunez in Dimock Township for $1 on November 15.

Stephen E. Shafer, III and Heather L. Shafer to Stephen E. Shafer, III in Auburn Township for $1 on July 25.

Franklin G. Belcher Jr. and Tammy D. Belcher to Tammy D. Belcher in Clifford Township for $1 on June 16.

Sandra M. Conklin to Charels (sic) J. Pipp and Bernadette M. Pipp in New Milford Township for $340,000 on November 20.

Gerald Crossman and Kathleen Crossman to David Lewis and Melanie Lewis in Gibson Township for $42,000 on November 4.

Chester Kilmer, Jr. to Robert Dinnng and Karen M. Dinning in Ararat Township for $10,000 on November 19.

Theresa Faramelli and Jacquelyn P. Tyson to Chester F. Wasileski in Clifford Township for $61,000 on November 4.

Felix Hardware, Inc. to Endless Mountains Energy Partners, LLC in Bridgewater Township for $30,000 on November 20.

James G. Hawk and Sherolyn B. Hawk to Heinz Schilling in Bridgewater Township for $63,000 on November 17.

Lorraine Wallace to David Depew in New Milford Township for bluestone mining operation on October 25.

Frank T. Watson and Kimberly R. Watson to The Trehab Center, Inc. in Susquehanna Borough for $44,000 on October 28.

Ceil D. Hughes to Ceil D. Hughes and Carroll H. Bedford in Dimock Township for $1 on November 18.

Joseph L. Suhadolnik and Mary Hann Suhadolnik to Emma Jane Griffiths in Thompson Township for $125,000 on October 6.

Anthony C. Lomma and Lora M. Lomma and Jonathan D. Lomma to B. Elliot Ross and Kimberly D. Ross in Herrick Township for $20,000 on November 18.

George A. Lipko to David G. Lipko in Forest City Borough for $1 on November 14.

Lynn C. Butler to Robert M. Whitney and Linda T. Whitney in Harford Township for $175,000 on November 19.

Floyd J. Fisk and Shirley Fisk to Dermot A. O'Hare and Brooke O'Hare in Oakland Township for $165,000.

Statement of Claim by reason of adverse possession by Richard Friedman and Michael Friedman in Clifford Township on November 6.

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Gibson Barracks Report


On November 23, an ATV rider noticed a blue 2001 Chevy Blazer abandoned on the old railroad bed off Church St., Uniondale Borough. A check revealed that the vehicle had been reported stolen.


Christina Mayer, Forest City, slid off of State Route 247, Clifford Township, on November 19, and struck an embankment. She received minor injuries.


Jason Titus, Hop Bottom, in a 1997 Pontiac Sunfire, and Kimberly George, Brooklyn, in a 1998 Plymouth Neon, were both traveling north on State Route 29, Springville Township, on November 23 at 3:15 p.m. Gregory began to make a left turn into a driveway and Titus struck her from behind. Gregory was taken to Tyler Memorial by ambulance with moderate injuries. Titus and passenger Requel Sherman, Springville, had minor injuries, but it was not reported if they needed treatment or not.


Bernard Bove, 55, no address given, struck a deer in the southbound lane of Interstate 81, New Milford Township, on November 11 at 6:58 p.m.


Cindy Nelson, 39, Tunkhannock, was traveling south on State Route 29, Springville Township, and attempted to pass another vehicle on November 21 at about 5:15 p.m. Nelson failed to yield to another vehicle that was already in the process of passing and in trying to get her vehicle back into her lane, lost control and crashed into a barbed wire fence. She received minor injuries.


Kelly Baker, 26, Carbondale, was pronounced dead by the Susquehanna County Coroner at the scene of an accident on Interstate 81, New Milford Township, on November 21 at 11:40 p.m. She had been traveling north on the highway and, for unknown reasons, lost control of her vehicle and traveled off the east berm. Baker's 1991 Jaguar XJ6 overturned several times, ejecting Baker from the vehicle into the roadway where she was struck by another vehicle. An investigation is continuing and any witnesses are asked to contact the PA State Police at Gibson at 570-465-3154.


Someone broke into a seasonal cabin belonging to Robert Copp, Dimock, and stole a television set and a VCR. The cabin was located on Campground Rd., Dimock Township, and the incident took place between September 8 and November 19. Anyone with information is asked to contact the PSP Gibson at 570-465-3154.


Someone broke into the David Peterson residence on Vandermark Rd., approximately 1.5 miles north of State Route 2024, Dimock Township, on November 20 at 8:30 p.m. and took several collectors books with coins, plus jugs filled with coins. Anyone with information is asked to contact PSP Gibson.


A hunter discovered a black 1995 Harley Davison motorcycle Sportster which was abandoned in a wooded area at Foxton Lake, Jackson Township, on November 9 at 10:59 a.m. A check revealed that the vehicle had been stolen. It was subsequently returned to its owner.


David A. Rivera, New York, was driving a 1997 Honda Civic on Interstate 81, Lenox Township, on November 19 at 3:15 a.m., when he lost control, veering off the east berm, striking a guide rail. The Honda began to spin counter-clockwise and traveled across both lanes of the highway southbound, then struck a guide rail. Rivera was taken to Scranton by ambulance.


Paul Barlow, 28, Montrose, was arrested by PSP Gibson for several gasoline drive offs at the Pump and Pantry, State Route 706, Bridgewater Township, during the months of September and October.


Someone stole a snowplow from Gary Lewis, Hallstead, from behind the Hallstead Plaza, Great Bend Township. It was a Western Unimount, fiberglass, and red in color. Anyone with information, contact the PSP Gibson at 570-465-3154.


Between November 16 at 11:00 p.m. and 1:30 the next morning, someone entered the David R. Maxey, Maple Lane, Bridgewater Township, residence while he was sleeping. Taken was $400 in cash. Anyone with information contact the PSP at 570-465-3154.


M. Gallagher, Uniondale, in a 2002 Dodge, crossed into the other lane on State Route 2046, Gibson Township, striking oncoming J. Petrowski, Pleasant Mount, who was driving a 1990 International on November 4 at 1:10 p.m. No injuries were reported.


Holly Ann Backo, 18, Susquehanna, was traveling on Broad Ave., Susquehanna Borough, when she was apparently blinded by the sunlight on November 10 at 7:55 a.m. She hit a telephone pole, and was not injured.


Samantha Hollister, 16, Montrose, was traveling north on State Route 29, Franklin Township, and traveled into the southbound lane sideswiping Stanley Bennett, Montrose, on November 14 at 12:45 p.m.


Between November 16 at noon and 8:30 the next day, someone attempted to enter the residence of Mrs. Pickett Knauth, Baldwin Rd., Rush Township. Anyone with information, contact the PSP Gibson at 570-465-3154.


Between October 18-21, someone broke into a hunting cabin belonging to Onectiuit, Inc., Stephen Jones Rd., Middletown Township. Removed was a large set of deer antlers. An investigation continues.

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Starrucca Borough Council Minutes

Starrucca Borough Council met on November 3, at 7:00 p.m. at the Starrucca Community Hall. The following members were present: Pete Downton, Lou Gurske, Helen Haynes, Maryanne Debalko and Andy Bennett. Mayor Wendell Swartz was also present. Robert Weldy and Paul Everett were absent. Pete Downton presided.

Treasurer’s Report - Dean Rhone presented the Treasurer’s report. A motion to pay the bills as presented carried unanimously.

Correspondence - Correspondence was read. A motion to accept the garbage contract as presented by Freddy’s refuse for the upcoming year, carried unanimously. A letter was received from Karen Downton resigning from her position as auditor; a motion to accept her resignation carried unanimously.

Persons to Be Heard- Kristen Potter requested the use of for a cookie drop-off point for Girl Scouts on January 14, a motion to allow carried unanimously. Loreda Everett speaking on behalf of the History Committee requested the use of the hall in December for a community Christmas party, a motion to allow carried unanimously. Miss Everett will advise the secretary of the date when it has been set.

Building Permits - No building permits were presented for consideration.

Subdivisions - No Subdivisions were presented for consideration.

Old Business - The fan heater has been hooked up in the ladies’ restroom and is working well. A final decision has not yet been reached in what needs to be done to repair the fan in the hall. Lou Gurske will be bringing pricing to the next meeting so a decision can be made on what to do in regards to replacing the exhaust fan in the kitchen.

New Business - A motion to accept the preliminary budget carried unanimously.

Comprehensive plan- There were two workshops held during the month of October to work on the comprehensive plan. The council hopes to meet with Carson Helfrich this month to make some revisions to the plan and to see if he can proceed forward with getting a final plan written up.

Roads- An application has been received by FEMA to be filled out in order to receive money to repair borough roads that have been damaged by recent heavy rains. Mr. Downton hopes to meet with a representative from FEMA in the near future. Two bids were received for winter maintenance on boro roads. A bid was accepted by Dave Hobart to do this work. Jeff Sheldon has expressed interest in cutting brush on the Boro roads. A motion to hire Mr. Sheldon to cut the brush carried unanimously

There being no further business meeting adjourned at 8:50.

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