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The first order of business at the January 21 meeting of the Susquehanna Community School District board was to approve the minutes of the December 3 meeting. Also approved was filing of the treasurers report, the general fund bills, the food service report, and filing of the activity and athletic fund reports.
Superintendent Bronson Stone reported that the administration is aggressively seeking information to develop a four-year old kindergarten program, as an early intervention tool to aid the district in meeting the requirements set forth in the No Child Left Behind initiatives. And, the state has approved a budget that has been very favorable to small school districts; the district will be eligible for a "poverty" supplement that will be utilized for more programs and resources to help students succeed. The district will also be eligible for grant funds to be used for improved technology. Faculty member Kathy Matis has been pursing this funding.
High school principal Mike Lisowski expressed his appreciation to the board (January is School Director Recognition Month) for providing nice working conditions, for faculty and students alike. And, he reported that the high school had conducted an "Intruder Drill" during which the entire building was required to observe complete silence. During the six-minute drill, all building occupants, a total exceeding 550, were completely silent. Dean of Students Mark Gerchman added that, during the drill, the next period bell had been purposely rung but, because the drill was in effect, no one moved. It was, he said, quite impressive.
Elementary principal Robert Keyes reported that, in conjunction with Martin Luther King day, the elementary students had participated in a Justice Challenge, where students are encouraged to practice the ideas promoted by Rev. King, the third year that this activity has taken place. Students attested to acts of kindness that they committed, with the end results to be compiled for a final report, which should be available by next months meeting. A total of 46 students have been identified as qualifying for the Standards for Success program, with 26 of those taking part in the program. The elementary students had also participated in the Intruder Drill, with excellent results. And, Mr. Keyes reported that, as part of School Director Appreciation Month, students had written letters to board members, many of which were posted on the administration office bulletin board. The students in kindergarten through grade two had written their letters as part of the Kid Writing program, while older students had written letters as part of the Language Arts program.
Mr. Gerchman reported that thirty high school students are currently enrolled in the Standards for Success program, a total which has exceeded expectations. And, the district will be taking part in a pilot program, Passkey, which is an on-line, interactive program. More information will be shared with the board at next months meeting, as he had only just received confirmation of the districts participation in the program.
Faculty member Joni Miller reported that a transition team has been actively assisting qualified students with disabilities to seek post-graduate assistance through many programs, such as the Career Link program, through TREHAB, or the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (Step by Step), to help with post-school training.
In accordance with School Director Recognition Month, January, 2004, a resolution in recognition of directors service to their districts was adopted by unanimous vote.
During public comment, teacher Diane Dunn, on behalf of the teachers association, thanked the board for the time they dedicate to their responsibilities. "It doesnt go unappreciated," she said.
Board member Mary Wescott wished to publicly thank high school secretary, Mrs. McIntyre, who had recently retired. Mrs. McIntyre, she said, from a parents point of view, had always been kind and very helpful. Mr. Stone added the boards appreciation to home economics teacher Mrs. Escandel, who had also recently retired.
Mrs. Matis thanked the board for their support of the gifted program; a number of students involved in the program will be participating in a joint program, along with Blue Ridge and Montrose. The guest speaker for this presentation will be a professor from Binghamton University, who will speak on artificial intelligence. And, three district teachers will be attending a conference in Harrisburg in February, on the latest technology available as well as a grant writing workshop.
The board approved filing of the 2002-03 audit report as submitted by district auditor Parente Randolph. A representative from Parente Randolph, Bill McDonald, gave a brief synopsis of the report, which is a yearly requirement. The general fund accounts show an increased balance over previous years reports, well within state standards. The food service account, which had been showing a deficit the last few years, saw its debt eliminated by funding from the general fund account. This, he said, would give the account a fresh start and allow new ideas to be implemented to improve its outlook. The districts debt service will be paid off within eight years; planned refinancing of a bond issue would save considerably on interest. And, next years report will be substantially different from previous years due to state accounting principles (GASB 34) that will be going into effect. Reports will include a fixed asset inventory, among other changes, as well as a statement of expected significant occurrences due to changes in student enrollment or tax base.
The board approved a revised Act 48 Professional Education Plan, which Mr. Stone explained will include key elements to provide teachers with training to utilize technology as a teaching tool. The plan will be reevaluated, in February or March.
The board approved a Student Registration Policy, a state requirement, to specifically define what documentation is necessary to enroll a new student in the district as well as for students who have been suspended or enrolled in another district.
The board approved reissuance of the Series 1998A bond issue; through refinancing this bond at a lower interest rate, the district will not only save approximately $200,000 in interest payments, but will receive about $73,000 payment upon completion. It had been expected that the district would see a reimbursement of about $50,000, but recent changes in the interest rates account for the difference. The remaining balance of the bond can be refinanced in 2009, according to state regulations, if the interest rates at that time are more favorable.
The board approved allowing the Susquehanna County Tax Claim Bureau to sell a parcel in Susquehannas second ward at any price negotiated by the bureau in order for the property to be put back on the tax rolls, and to sell an additional property in Susquehanna Boro from the Susquehanna County Repository at any price negotiated by the bureau in order for the property to be put back on the tax rolls.
The following additions to the substitute list were approved: Patricia Tierney, Business Education; Kristen Culnane, Elementary; Matthew Donnelly, Social Studies; Dedra Wolfe, Elementary; Ray Osburn, Guidance; Lisa Saam, RN; Sarah French, Clerical.
The board approved a transportation contract change for bus #26; the change, Mr. Stone said, was due to a special situation that had arisen involving transportation.
The board approved resignations from Rebecca Napolitano, secondary library aide; Thomas Adornato, junior high golf; Dan Demora, yearbook advisor; Denise Reddon, girls varsity softball coach.
Also approved was hiring of the following: Sarah French, secondary in-school suspension (balance of the school year only); Tonya Scales, secondary library aide (part-time/full-time position); Rachael Gilleran, elementary teacher, Students for Standards Success Program; Stanley Rezykowski, elementary teacher, Students for Standards Success Program; John Ord, technical support; Bob Keyes, boys junior high basketball coach, remainder of the 2003-04 school year; Scott Nier (wrestling), an unpaid, volunteer position; and Phil Stein, junior high assistant girls basketball (unpaid).
The board approved a homebound instruction request for a ninth grade student.
A list of requests for field trips, conferences, activities, and fund-raisers was approved.
Finally, a change to the school year calendar was approved; February 16 will be a snow makeup day. Mr. Stone explained that there had been an unusual number of snow days used so far, with several unforeseen circumstances. A day in September had been used at the request of county Emergency Management, when a hurricane warning had been issued. And, a day had been used in November due to a power outage. The administration is going to try to keep graduation day on schedule, which may result in additional makeup days being used.
The next meeting will be on Wednesday, February 18, 7:30 p.m. in the administration offices.
The Susquehanna County Housing and Redevelopment Authority held both their regular monthly meeting and their annual dinner meeting on January 17, at the Starrucca House in Susquehanna.
The board approved the minutes of the December 9, 2003 meeting, as well as bill lists.
The Redevelopment Authority reported that there are a number of housing rehabilitation projects in progress; demolition of six structures in Susquehanna have been completed; demolition of a vacant structure in Hop Bottom has been completed; a storm sewer project on Willow Avenue in Susquehanna has been completed; there have been 32 graduates from the micro-business program, with 22 low income jobs created; and a sewer project in Forest City is awaiting supplementary funding.
A meeting scheduled to discuss the Communities of Opportunity/Transportation Enhancements in Susquehanna (sidewalks) had to be rescheduled to January 22. Representatives from PENNDOT as well as Padula and Sons (contractor) were expected to attend. Among topics to be discussed was an application for additional funding to expand the project along West Main Street. A motion carried to authorize a cooperative agreement with Susquehanna Boro, for the authority to administer the project.
Applications are available for grant funding for handicap rehabilitations for homes where a family member is permanently disabled; priority will be given to those homes where members of the household are children under 18. The child/children do not have to be handicapped, but must be a resident.
The Redevelopment Authority will be entering into a cooperative agreement with Silver Lake Township for management of an infrastructure development program in the amount of $1.2 million dollars. A road where several businesses are located is in need of reconstruction.
The Authority was awarded competitive CDBG funds in the amount of $191,000 on behalf of Thompson Borough to assist low income home owners connect to the new sanitary sewer system. Interviews with residents will be conducted the first week of February.
The Housing Authority reported that Section 8, certificate and voucher programs are doing well. Eligible recipients now have the opportunity to enter into a housing choice voucher home ownership program where rental subsidies can be converted to mortgage payments. The first family to qualify will be closing on their new home at the end of February. In conjunction with TREHAB, the Authority will be setting up a work session for all families in the Section 8 program, to provide financial counseling. Among other criteria, eligible applicants must have a clean financial record.
The Turnpike Terrace Apartments are currently 100% leased, with a small waiting list.
The William Penn Apartments have five vacancies, with no waiting list. Automation of the existing front doors to make them more manageable by handicapped has been completed. The elevator is slated to be modernized at the end of March. And, the Authority is in negotiation with Forest City Boro for an addendum to its land lease to acquire an adjacent parcel, where a swimming pool had been filled in to extend the parking lot.
Prospect Park Apartments currently have one vacancy, a four bedroom unit. Applicants are being processed. And, the Authority is in the process of applying for funding from HUD, to offset some of the cost of a recently constructed tenants storage shed.
The Emerson Apartments are 100% leased. The security phone in the lobby has been out of order; a circuit board needs to be replaced. Repairs will be completed when the necessary parts arrive.
Harford Village Apartments currently have two vacancies, with no waiting list.
In other business, due to a scheduling conflict with several key members, the regular February meeting has been rescheduled to the 17th; it will take place at the original location, Emerson Apartments. Board chairman Joe Matis reported that the Authority is attempting to recover the cost of a roof replacement at Emerson, a situation that has been ongoing for several years. "We will continue to work on it," he said.
Mr. Matis reported that Padula and Sons has given notice that they are going to bring a suit against the Authority, although no reason was given.
Commissioner Jeff Loomis reported that Bridgewater Township has been working on a sewer study, for the Three Lakes area. The project is expected to cost about $3.6 million. Through the efforts of Congressman Sherwood, grants have been obtained for the study. Hopefully, grant funding can be obtained to fund the sewer project. Is there a possibility, he asked, of the Authority applying for CDBG funding for the project, as there are low income families in the area? It is expected to cost homeowners from $2,000 to $5,000 to hook up to the system. The Authority has already discussed this with the township supervisors. Mr. Matis promised, "Well do whatever we can."
The regular meeting adjourned, and the annual meeting was called to order. Its only business was the election of officers for the coming year. The current slate of officers were reelected, as follows: chairman, Joe Matis; vice chairman, Paul Lukus; secretary, Fred Kotz; treasurer, Bob Bartron; board member, Jerry Cronk.
After the annual dinner, Mr. Matis welcomed and introduced the three newly elected commissioners, Roberta Kelly, Maryann Warren and Jeff Loomis, as well as past commissioners Cal Dean and Gary Marcho. It had been a pleasure working with the prior commissioners, he said; a lot had been accomplished during their terms. A strong alliance had been forged, as the commissioners had shown involvement in the Authoritys projects and had attended its meetings often.
Moving on, Mr. Matis reported that the Authority is in good order. "The bills have been paid," he joked. "Were still solvent." During the past year, there have been a variety of projects, including building demolitions to improve county housing. The authority itself had begun in the early 1970s, to reach out to anyone who has a housing need, which would continue. "The county itself," he said, "is at the threshold of a new beginning. Neighboring counties have been seeing a population increase. With that in mind, we in Susquehanna County should plan to stay ahead of the expected influx of people; an increased population would be a positive thing for our county. We should always extend a welcoming, but firm, hand."
Mr. Matis was pleased to present awards to three Authority employees. "Our organization has been blessed with a positive, diligent group of employees," he said, "they always carry the ball." Recognized for ten years of service were Kris Lunger, who works in accounting and also conducts client interviews, and Bob Colwell, maintenance, for the Emerson and Harford Apartments. Also recognized, but not present, was Paul Vergari, maintenance, William Penn Apartments. Mr. Matis thanked them all for their years of dedicated service.
Karen Allen, Executive Director, also commended them for their hard work, and introduced the Redevelopment Authoritys newest employee, Margaret Chesnick, who conducts interviews with clients and contractors, works with families in financial counseling, and works with TREHAB, in home ownership counseling.
Mrs. Allen gave an overview of the many projects the Authority has been involved with and its current assets and programs. One of the Authoritys functions has been to oversee CDBG grants for such applications as housing rehabilitation, storm drains, demolitions and infrastructure improvements such as the Susquehanna Streetscape project.
Mrs. Allen noted that Mr. Matis has been a board member since 1980, Mr. Lukus since 1984, Mr. Bartron since 1980, Mr. Kotz since 1973, and Mr. Cronk since 1997.
Mr. Matis closed by saying that the Authority has an open door policy, and is willing to work with any of the commissioners, new or "old," to discuss particular projects or concerns.
Jailed For Manslaughter
A 47-year-old Susquehanna County man who shot and killed a man last June was sentenced to serve 18 months to 48 months in a state correctional facility after he pleaded guilty to a charge of involuntary manslaughter.
Susquehanna County President Judge Kenneth W. Seamans also fined Eugene R. Zawisky of Union Dale $1,000, ordered him to make restitution and not to possess firearms.
On June 6, 2003, Zawisky told State Police that he shot Morris Babcock of Simpson three times climaxing a dispute inside Zawiskys mobile home. Anthony Conarton, Susquehanna County Coroner, pronounced the shooting victim dead at the scene.
Zawisky told State Police that the shooting was in self defense.
"I had no choice," he said. "He charged me. I fired a warning shot into the ground and then another one because he kept coming. He knocked my window out and hes the kind of guy that will kill you."
According to an affidavit of probable cause, Katherine Lynn Shatinsky witnessed the shooting. She told Troopers Connie Devens and Ben Clark that the two men began arguing over money. She said the victim was in the doorway and the defendant was in the kitchen.
Shatinsky said she observed the defendant holding a gun and that he fired a shot in the air. She said Zawisky told Babcock to leave but Babcock said he would not leave unless his wife (Shatinsky) went with him. She said Zawisky again told Babcock to leave and then started shooting the victim.
State Police said they observed several wounds in the victims body. They said a .22 caliber pistol, believed to have been the weapon fired by Zawisky, was found on the kitchen table.
Other sentences meted out by Judge Seamans last week included:
James Walter Lewis, 23, of Hallstead, 48 hours to 11 months in the county jail with credit for time served and a $300 fine for drunk driving in Great Bend Twp. on Aug. 18, 2002.
John J. Deakin, 26, of Susquehanna, 48 hours to 12 months in the county jail and a $300 fine for drunk driving in Susquehanna on Aug. 31, 2002.
Timothy Vernon Evans, 29, of Factoryville, one month to 12 months in the county jail, suspended, 12 months probation, and a $300 fine for possession of drug paraphernalia in Springville Twp. last Oct. 30. He was also fined $300 and had his hunting license suspended for three years on one count of unlawful killing or taking of big game, fined an additional $500 on a second count of unlawful killing or taking of big game, and a $25 fine for hunting without securing a license.
David Keith Garrison, 20, of Factoryville, one month to 12 months in the county jail, suspended, 12 months probation and $300 fine for possession of drug paraphernalia in Springville Twp. last Oct. 30. He was also fined $500 and his hunting license was suspended for three years for two counts of unlawful killing or taking of big game, and fined an additional $500 for 10 counts of unlawful killing or taking of big game, $200 for two counts of unlawful killing or taking of big game, and a $25 fine for one count of hunting without securing a license.
Edward Zajackowski, 24, of Factoryville, one month to 12 months in the county jail and $300 fine for possession of drug paraphernalia in Springville Twp. last Oct. 30; $500 fine and three years suspension of his hunting license for two counts of unlawful killing or taking of big game; $500 fine for 10 counts of unlawful killing or taking of big game; $200 fine for two counts of unlawful killing or taking of big game; and, a $25 fine for one count of hunting without securing a license.
Dean Austin Gunderson, 23, of Montrose, 45 days to 15 months in the county jail with credit for time served, $300 fine, 25 hours of community service, related costs, for indecent assault in Oakland Twp. last Nov. 1.
Charles Henry Kooker, 52, of Warminster, PA 45 days to six months in the county jail, $5,000 fine, and loss of hunting privileges for 15 years, restitution to victim, for shooting or causing injury to human beings on Dec. 7, 2001 in Rush Twp.
Margaret Irene Vanwert, 30, of Hop Bottom, three months to 15 months in the work release program, $500 fine, and 50 hours of community service, for corruption of minors in Lenox Twp. on Dec. 14, 2002.
Susan Jean Kelsey, 32, of South Montrose, 7 months to 23 1/2 months in the county jail with credit for time served, three years probation, 50 hours of community service for theft by unlawful taking in Great Bend Twp. last Aug. 3.
Brian Keith Kelsey, 36, of Conklin, NY, 18 months to 10 years in a state correctional facility with credit for time served, $1,000 fine, and restitution, for burglary in Great Bend Twp. last Aug. 2.
Roger A. Benson Jr., 20 of Susquehanna, four months to 23 months in the county jail, work release program, $500 fine, 50 hours of community service for statutory sexual assault in Susquehanna last April 1.
Daniel Edward Haur, 33, of Hallstead, four months to 23 1/2 months in the county jail with credit for time served, five years probation, $1,000 fine, for insurance fraud in Lanesboro on Sept. 21, 2001.
David Silva, 34, of Binghamton, NY, three months to 23 1/2 months in county jail with credit for time served, $500 fine, for retail theft in Great Bend Twp. last Sept. 3.
David Eugene Mason, 19, of South Montrose, nine months to 23 months in county jail to run consecutive with any current sentence, $500 fine, 25 hours of community service, restitution, for criminal trespass in Bridgewater Twp. last April 29.
Stephen Babcock, 21, of Montrose, two months to 23 1/2 months in the county jail with credit for time served, $300 fine, 25 hours of community service, for escape in Forest City last Oct. 26. He must also write a letter of apology to the Forest City Police Department.
At a 1-2-3-and-out special meeting, the Clifford Twp. Board of Supervisors adopted a 2004 budget on January 20 that keeps the townships real estate tax rate at 1.25 mills for yet another year.
Board Chair John Regan noted that the township went into the new year with a $100,000 surplus that helped to hold the line on taxes but he also said that "all the fat is gone." However, the new budget indicates that, barring any unforeseen financial emergencies in 2004, the township expects to have a budget surplus in excess of $90,000 at the end of the year.
The new budget totals $318,000 compared with $372,000 in 2003 and includes $60,000 in liquid fuels money. The budget is $54,000 less than 2003 and reflects a reduction in appropriations for road maintenance from $180,000 in 2003 to $90,000 this year. Of this amount, $60,000 will be applied from the liquid fuels account and $30,000 from the general fund.
Township homeowners will pay $1.25 in township real estate taxes for each $1,000 of assessed value. A house assessed at $25,000 would pay just $31.25 in municipal real estate taxes.
In another noteworthy matter, earlier reports that Regan, who is board chair and roadmaster, will also be in charge of the police department have been changed. Regan said that Supervisor Randy LaCroix will serve as police commissioner.
MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT
Jordan Garren, Susquehanna, hit a mail box on State Route 92, Lenox Township, on Jan. 12 at 4:00 p.m. No injuries occurred.
HIT & RUN ACCIDENT
A 2002 Kenworth tractor trailer was parked at the Penncan Travel Plaza parking lot, Harford Township, on Jan. 6 between 3:00 and 3:30 p.m., when another unknown vehicle, possibly another tractor trailer, struck the side of the tractor, then left the scene. Call 570-465-3154 with any information.
An incident occurred as Steven H. Brown, 33, Johnson City, NY, was moving some possessions out of the residence of Jennifer Scheidler, 26, New Milford, and an argument ensured over proper ownership. The argument escalated when Brown subjected Scheidler to physical abuse by shoving her, causing injury to her lip. Brown was cited with assault-harassment at District Justice Peter Janicelli's office, according to the police report of this Jan. 10 incident at 6:44 p.m.
Between 4:30 and 4:45 p.m. on Jan. 7, someone removed a Burton Clash snowboard belonging to Shawn P. Venesky, 19, Susquehanna, from outside the ski lodge in the area of the ski racks at Elk Mountain Ski Resort, Herrick Township. Call 570-465-3154 with any information.
Jennifer Manzo, Great Bend, struck Scarlett Humphrey, Great Bend, as Humphrey was making a left hand turn into the Great Bend post office parking lot, off State Route 11, Great Bend Borough, on Jan. 9. No injuries were reported.
Gary Feduchak, 40, Kingsley, driving a 1996 Plymouth Neon, lost control while negotiating a curve in State Route 92, Lenox Township, on Jan. 9 at 6:00 p.m. His vehicle traveled across the north lane and struck a southbound 1998 Ford Explorer driven by Donald Williams, 42, Factoryville. Feduchak was cited for failing to drive his vehicle at a safe speed.
HIT & RUN ACCIDENT
An unknown driver backed his green Ford Ranger into a parked 1996 Dodge Intrepid owned by Gordon Geertgens, Montrose, at the ABC Supermarket parking lot, Bridgewater Township, on Jan. 8 at 9:20 a.m. The driver of the Ranger drove away from the scene. Call 570-465-3154 to report any information on this accident.
On Jan. 3 at 9:04 p.m., Joyce Belcher, Tennessee Gas Rd., Clifford Township, reported that her mailbox was blown up. A red Jeep Cherokee was observed in the area just prior to the damage. Any information should be reported to the PSP at 570-465-3154.
ONE CAR CRASH--NO INJURY
On Jan. 12 at 4:30 a.m. Deanna Bryant, RR 1, Lawton, in a 2000 Dodge Dakota, lost control of her vehicle on snow covered roads and hit a telephone pole on State Route 267, Forest Lake Township.
While Tiffany H. Mann, Holland, PA, was patronizing the Elk Mountain Ski Resort, State Route 347, Herrick Township, someone stole luggage from her vehicle in the parking lot. Missing were four bags, two being navy with yellow markings, one black with an extending handle and the other a black duffel type with orange flaps on top. Anyone who observed any unusual behavior in the parking lot is asked to contact PSP at 570-465-3156.
MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT
While traveling upon a snow/ice covered State Route 2067, Gibson Township, Kathleen Urda, 53, Susquehanna, lost control of her vehicle and struck two trees along the road. She was not injured in this Jan. 6 incident at 7:00 p.m.
Denise Klim, Susquehanna, was traveling along State Route 11, near 706, New Milford Township, and drove across an icy spot, causing her 1995 Oldsmobile Achieva to slide off the roadway, damaging a utility pole on Jan. 8 at 7:10 a.m.
An apartment building owned by Charles Jaget, RR 1, Susquehanna, had a window smashed by a rock. The building is on State Route 11, Hop Bottom Borough. The incident occurred on Dec. 29 at 10:00 a.m.
On January 18 someone brook into the Fortnom residence on State Route 2015, Dimock Township, and stole collectors items.
DUI/ACT 64/FLEEING AND ELUDING
On Jan. 20, the Broome County Sheriffs attempted to stop a blue and tan Dodge Caravan driven by George Scott Stone, 35, Montrose, in New York State for traffic violations. He would not stop, but attempted to flee and elude them by driving into Susquehanna Co. PA State Police encountered Stone driving south bound just north of New Milford Borough. They activated emergency lights and sirens but the suspect would not stop. He was finally stopped just south of the Borough. He was believed to be under the influence of alcohol and/or controlled substance. Suspected marijuana and drug paraphernalia were found inside the vehicle. An investigation continues and charges will be filed.
Jason Penny, RR 1, Hop Bottom, was traveling north on Columbus Ave., Susquehanna Borough, and Steven Biegert, Susquehanna, was traveling south. Penny apparently lost control of his 1991 Plymouth on snow covered roadway, causing him to collide with Biegerts 1992 Dodge. There was no mention of injuries in the report.
Clarence Pitcho, Lawton, was driving west on State Route 374, Lenox Township, and failed to negotiate a curve in the roadway on Jan. 10 at 2:00 a.m.
Shona C. Peters, 20, Syracuse, NY, and Ralph Gordon, 58, Phoenixville, were each traveling north on Interstate 81, Lenox Township, on Jan. 14 at 9:15 p.m. Peters lost control of his vehicle and struck Gordon. No injuries occurred.
Imoni I. Ali, 39, Syracuse, NY, and Garrick E. Loveria, 57, Kirkwood, NY, were traveling on State Route 81, Lenox Township. Ali failed to negotiate a right curve, causing him to lose control of his 2003 Dodge Neon, resulting in a crash with Loveria's 1996 BMW that was parked along the west berm, having been disabled from a previous crash. No injuries occurred.
Thomas Langan, Clarks Summit, lost control of his 2003 Ford Explorer on State Route 374, Clifford Township, on Jan. 15 at 5:00 p.m. and struck a tree. Langan was not injured.
HIT & RUN
On Jan. 15, Martha Brunelle (55, New Milford)'s 1993 red and silver Chevy Suburban was apparently struck by a truck with a plow on it, resulting in minor damage. The truck did not stop. The incident occurred on Richardson Rd., Harford Township, at about 12:30. Anyone with information, please contact the PA State Police.
HIT & RUN
Frank Freno, 39, Uniondale, lost control of his pickup truck while traveling on the crest of a hill on Chet's Rd., Herrick Township, on Jan. 16 at 4:30 p.m. The vehicle struck a mailbox and a guide rail before coming to rest in a private drive where the vehicle was left. Freno failed to notify police or the property owner, and is facing charges.
Ryan Cokely, 19, New Milford, was driving south on State Route 29, Franklin Township, while Daniel Kvaltine, 27, Binghamton, and Gregory Honeychuck, 18, S. Montrose, were traveling north. Kvaltine and Honeychuck's vehicles were side-swiped by Cokely's. Cokely was the only one with injuries which were minor as a result of this Jan. 16 accident.
Someone, presumed to be a male, six feet or more tall, with a large frame and build, dressed in all black and brandishing a handgun, entered the Lenox Branch of Pennstar Bank on Jan. 16 at 5:58 p.m., and left with an undetermined amount of cash. None of the several employees present at the time was injured. An investigation continues.
On Jan. 15 at 6:35 a.m., Gerrick Loveria, 54, Kirkwood, NY, and Guy M. Rioux, 49, Grand Falls, NB, were traveling on Interstate 81, Lenox Township, when Loveria lost control of his vehicle and rear-ended Rioux's. No injuries occurred.
Someone pumped about $33.55 in diesel fuel into a white pick-up truck on Jan. 15 at 5:50 p.m. at the Great Bend Sunoco and failed to pay for it.
On Jan. 15 at 9:00 p.m., someone assaulted Roy Vandervort, RR 1, Little Meadows Borough, and took his wallet with approximately $300 in it. Contact the PSP with any information.
Nichole Patrisso, Damascus, slid over an embankment on State Route 374 at State Route 407, Lenox Township, and rolled over on Jan. 14 at 4:45 p.m. No serious injury occurred.
On Jan. 13 between 8:20 and 9:50 a.m., a residence in Herrick Center was unlawfully entered through the front door, by removing glass from the door to gain entry. The person went through the entire house and removed several items, then fled by motor vehicle. Anyone traveling on State Route 171, Herrick Center, between the above times is asked to report any suspicious vehicle activity to the PSP.
MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT
David Shupp, Tunkhannock, slid off of State Route 367, Rush Township, on Jan. 13 at 2:00 p.m. and struck a tree. He was not injured.
MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT
Harvey Kurtz, Uniondale, slid through a curve in Clifford Township, and struck a utility pole on Jan. 14 at 4:00 p.m. He was not injured.
George Brown, Apolacon (sic), NY, reported that on Jan. 4 at 10:24 a.m., he was stopped at the Little Meadows Market to purchase some items and his vehicle was stolen from the parking lot. The thief was later caught in Binghamton, NY, after attempting to rob a Subway store. An investigation continues.
HARASSMENT BY COMMUNICATION
Joseph McConnell, Hallstead, reported that on Jan. 8 at 11:00 a.m. he received a harassing phone message on his voice mail at work on State Route 11, Hallstead. The incident is still under investigation.
TERRORISTIC THREATS/ETHNIC INTIMIDATION
On Jan. 8 at 9:36 a.m., Traceye Harsford, Susquehanna, was approached by an angry motorist on State Route 171, Schneiders Parking lot, Susquehanna Borough, and she and her husband were called a number of vulgar names. The incident is under investigation.
MOTOR VEHICLE COLLISION
Lynn K. Cafaro, Thompson, was northbound on State Route 171, while Lenton Freeman, RR 2, Susquehanna was southbound. Cafaro crossed the yellow line and struck Freeman, then exited the roadway and struck some trees. Cafaro has minor injuries and Freeman was uninjured in this Jan. 12 accident.
Someone removed a 2004 Yamaha Kodiak Quad from a residence at East Mountain Rd, S. Gibson, at an unknown date. The owner is Alfred Hall, Annapolis, MD.
Will F. Harvatine, 27, Herrick Township, and Julie Marie Stalter, 23, Lenox Township.
Earl Ernest Cottrell, 51, Thompson Borough and Carolyn Jean Rooney, 55, Thompson Township.
Martin L. Wagner, 44, DeRuyter, NY, and Kathy L. Hitt, 45, Guilford, NY.
Kenneth John Folkvard, 50, New Milford Township, and Theresa L. Kohler, 44, Susquehanna.
Carl F. Wengert by Power of Attorney and Ruth E. Wengert to Donna M. Fekette in New Milford Township for $85,500 on Dec. 11.
Grace Salerno to W. Eric Sprout and Charles P. Gayson in Jessup Township for $80,000 on Jan. 13.
Keith Stalker and Susan Stalker to JPF Enterprises in Forest City Borough for $15,000 on Jan. 14.
Roberta M. Perry and C. Martin Johnson to Gerald Kerner and Geraldine P. Kerner in Liberty Township for $52,000 on Dec. 24.
Agway Energy Products (SBM) Agway Petroleum Corporation to Suburban New Milford Smith Street Property in New Milford Borough for $10 on Dec. 22.
Roberta M. Perry, Martin Johnson, Terry Jo Johnson and Paul Perry to C. Martin Johnson and Terry Johnson in Liberty Township for $1 on Dec. 24.
Roy and Elizabeth Vandenburgh to Lauren A. Wise in Forest Lake Township for $500 ogvc on Sept. 15.
George Quon AKA George C. E. Quon to Edward R. Quon in Auburn Township for $22,000 on Dec. 1.
Joyce M. Kaufman, Executor of the Estate of Abraham J. Kaufman and Joyce M. Kaufman, individually, to Erin Robinson in Clifford Township for $500 on Dec. 2.
Milton M. Rhodes and Evelyn Romayne to Mazren Holdings, LLC in Thompson Borough for $60,200 on Dec. 30.
Byron Lesjack aka Byron D. Lesjack and Carol J. Lesjack to Byron D. Lesjack and Carol J. Lesjack in Liberty Township for $1 on Oct. 9.
William F. Pilgermayer Jr. and Tamara A. Pilgermayer to William Gerstley and Laura Gerstley in Harmony Township for $132,000 on Jan. 15.
William L. Dittmar to Gregory P. Dischinat in Liberty Township for $825,000 in Liberty Township on Jan. 15.
John C. Thierer to Catherine Hammell and James Anna in Thompson Township for $1 ogvc on Jan. 15.
It was close to a full house at the January meeting of the 17-member strong Codes Enforcement Committee, presided over by Ted Plevinsky. The primary reason was a presentation by, and an opportunity to ask questions of, representatives from Building Inspection Underwriters (BUI) of Scranton, who will be enforcing the new state Uniform Construction Code (UCC) on behalf of COG member municipalities who decide to opt in meaning they can choose and control who performs inspections on buildings in their municipalities and notify the state that they have.
A lot of information was shared by John Hudak, state manager of BUI; Edmund Goodfield, manager of BUIs Scranton office; and William Shigo, a codes enforcement officer with the firm and the dedicated COG Codes person. Initially, Shigo expects to spend a couple of hours, a couple of days a week (regular days and times to be announced) in COGs New Milford office; the rest of the time, hell be out doing inspections in member municipalities. (Codes is also planning two information seminars on the new codes one for contractors and one for members of the public. The contractor seminar is tentatively scheduled for March 3, 6 p.m. in Dreyer Hall at the Montrose Bible Conference; the public seminar, same place, on March 31 at 6 p.m..)
Codes members received a handout outlining various fees for inspections performed on both residential and commercial properties. Five inspections will be required on all dwelling units: building, plumbing, mechanical, electrical and energy. Fees vary, depending on whether the construction is new or an alteration or a repair to an existing one, in which case the appropriate inspection will be performed. Fees are payable by the homeowner/permit holder/contractor.
What the various fees add up to depends, of course, on square footage as well as other variables. The consultants provided an example of total estimated inspection cost of $745 for a new 2,000 square foot home $150 more if a plan review is required. This estimate would not apply to manufactured housing. Hudak stated that the only thing the inspectors get involved with in these types of homes is the foundation it sits on, ensuring theres a smoke detector, inspecting a furnace, things like that, and fees for those inspections would apply, being different than the estimate for a new, hand-built home.
Hudak walked members through the process of opting in or out, telling the group that Labor and Industry will be mailing a package to municipalities for them to fill out and notify the state of their decision. The 90-day "opting" period will run from April 9 to July 7. A municipality then has 30 days after that to notify the state of its decision. If a municipality hasnt notified the state of its decision within that time-frame, then its automatically defaulted, and the state takes over and does commercial only. The municipality fends for itself in enforcing UCC residential codes. If a municipality opts out, it must wait a year to opt in, if it changes its mind. Alternatively, once in, a municipality can also change its mind and opt out, but not before notifying the state that it is prepared to do its residential inspections. (More about the reasoning behind opting in or out, and using a one-stop-shop, certified inspection group appears later in this article.)
Plevinsky noted that he hoped, and the group planned, to opt in as a COG group on behalf of member municipalities, and thats okay by the state, too. Once the state reviews the package, it will then notify senders that its chosen codes enforcement group has been approved. In this case, COG would then be off and running.
Hudak outlined for Codes members how the system would work. Applicants for a building permit (say, contractors or home builders) would stop by COG offices, where they would be given an information packet explaining what is required to apply for a permit, making sure that other areas (such as sewage) have been addressed. If they meet the requirements, they can fill out an application for a permit (also available on-line), which starts the process. Codes will notify BUI when an application has been accepted and request a plan review. Hudak noted that, for a new house, BUI will ask for drawings, but clarified that they do not have to be stamped by an engineer if the application is for residential construction; commercial construction does require an engineers stamp on the drawings. BUI will want a full set of plans for a residential building that includes electrical, plumbing and mechanical so they can efficiently meet with, say, the electrical contractor. Hudak noted that if the plan is for something like an uncomplicated addition, the process could be done quickly. New houses take more time. "The more we see in the beginning," he said, "the less problems we have out in the field."
Hudak explained that, once BUI has reviewed the plans and if theres no problem with them, it will get back to Codes who will then contact the permit holder, issue the permit, include an information sheet letting them know when and what inspections will be required, and then turn it over to BUI to do the inspections, who will do so once the permit holder has called them to start setting up a schedule.
The results of the inspections will be very visible and will alert people that BUI was on the property a red sticker in an obvious place if an inspection (such as electrical) failed; a green one if it has passed. Additionally, this and other information will be logged onto BUI computers and then regularly transferred to the computers in the Codes office. This way, members can see the current status of all inspections, as well as permits issued and other key information. Once BUI finishes its inspection, it will send a certificate to Codes, alerting it to issue the final occupancy permit to the building permit holder, a copy of which is also sent to the member municipality and to the state.
Codes will also send a copy of a building permit to the County assessment office and thought it probably would continue to forward it on behalf of its members.
Its a new system for Codes members, but one that Hudak noted works quickly and effectively with the considerable number of municipalities with which it works. From this experience, he added that any conflicts or questions usually get straightened out within 48 hours.
Plevinsky asked if any kind of appeals were part of the process, should there be a discrepancy between a homeowner or contractor and the inspector. Hudak responded that an appeals board should be set up, so that it could address any issues, noting that there are some things in the UCC that arent black and white and which may need addressing. He added that BUI has worked with more than 400 municipalities over a long time span, and he could count on one hand the number of times a BUI person was requested to attend an appeals board meeting. Plevinsky later commented that he wanted to have a 6-member board, ready to include in the groups opt-in paperwork.
Codes members had a lot of questions for Hudak. Garages and pole barns? Anything 500 square feet or less that is detached does not require inspection. What if theres an electrical hook-up? Electrical, yes, would have to be inspected, but not the structure. Hudak told about Amish receiving waivers for electricity when they build, on the mandatory condition that, should they ever sell the house, they must first install electricity and have it inspected.
Plumbing? Replace your faucet with no problem, but replace hard plumbing, and youll need a permit and an inspection. Similarly, feel free to pop in new windows, but if you change the structure when you do, a permit and inspection will be required.
Storm or wind damage to a structure? If structural replacement is required, apply first for a permit before beginning reconstruction; its the law. But what if the structure is half up? Hudak, in recalling that BUI (one of whose clients is the city of Scranton) has gone in and had sheet rock taken down to inspect wiring installed before a permit and an inspection, firmly stated that "once you set the standard, it applies to everyone."
One member asked about the fee schedule for commercial properties, such as large buildings used in quarrying operations; he wanted to know if the cost for a 100,000 square foot building would really be $500 the way he read it to be. Hudak replied that there are differences between a 100,000 square foot office building and a similarly wide-open quarry building. He said that BUI looks at situations such as this (an open parking garage was cited as an example) on a case-by-base basis, assessing the structure at the time of plan review and the estimated fee.
What about new construction that has been started and the house isnt finished? Any permits issues before implementing UCC do not fall under the new codes.
What if someone wants to build his or her own home and it takes years to do it? A permit under UCC will be valid for no more than five years from its issue date, and BUI requires that a job (roughing of the plumbing, electricity, and so forth) be complete before they come out to inspect it in other words, no visits after a few feet of plumbing is laid.
What about a municipality that already has a plumbing or an electrical inspector? Basically, its all inspections or none, if a municipality opts in with Codes. As member Mike Greene put it, "Thats why we went with a third-party so they could handle all of it," adding that municipalities could opt out, but nevertheless would still have to do all the inspections.
Hudak noted that using an agency of choice BUI or others means inspections were done on a timely basis (upon notification, they do theirs within 24-48 hours), and eliminated price gouging. It means guaranteeing steady and accountable fees, timely inspections, and working with all parties to the transactions.
Opting out, he said, means that the state will do inspections on commercial properties, and Hudak learned from an L and I representative that its their wish that everyone opt in, because the state only has so many people out there and would need to do more subcontracting, which takes time. Opting out means that a municipality would have to look up a list of state-certified inspectors in any of the five required inspections, hope one is near the municipality, contact them, hope they will act efficiently, have them coordinate with other inspectors (if any), risk inconsistency of UCC application from homeowner to homeowner if more than one is used, and have the homeowner pay them in what could well become the equivalent of a sellers market in terms of inspections and those who do them. A private inspector can also turn down a homeowners request for an inspection.
The bottom line, said Hudak, is that BUI will work with Codes and those who come to it for a permit. "If a plan is viable, okay; if not, well tell you where and well explain why; the plan review will be perfectly itemized by us with reference to appropriate UCC reference. Its a big thing," he said, "trying to get this implemented. Were going into peoples homes where they dont like us. But we are user-friendly. We will be on time, and we treat people fairly and with respect."
After the BUI group left, Plevinsky asked for comments, and as a whole, members seemed to be pleased with the presentation, the information, and for many the fact that municipalities which opt in can be immediately up and running vis-à-vis UCC enforcement. Greene noted that Codes would be working closely with BUI in implementing enforcement, asked members to get back to secretary Karen Trynoski with any ideas that would ease the transition, and said he would get copies of UCC rules, exceptions, and other information to members.
And agreeing that every detail could not be covered in one night, with further meetings forthcoming, the group adjourned.
SEWAGE ENFORCEMENT COMMITTEE MEETING
With much of the evening dedicated to the Codes presentation, the actual Sewage Enforcement Committee meeting, presided over by Rick Pisasik, was short. Actually, the group took up a good chunk of time in executive session discussing personnel issues. When members returned from the session, they covered their agenda post-haste. This included appointing an audit committee and approving pay increases to sewage enforcement officers Duane Wood and Jim Tracey, secretary Karen Trynoski and office assistant Kelley Van Gaasbeck. Then the group adjourned.
COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS
Elliot Ross similarly kept the meeting he presided over short and sweet. The group discussed membership in the county Chamber of Commerce and whether there were any benefits to it. Secretary Cheryl Wellman will research, and report back to members next month.
Ross, who is also the Street and Road Sign Committee, updated members on his activity, and received thanks from Bridgewater Townships Charlie Mead for the sign discouraging theft of cinders. Some communications kinks between COG and the website designers were ironed out, and postponed because of time constraints was discussion of how to bring Clean and Green concerns to county commissioners or, in fact, form a COG committee about such. The item is expected to be addressed at its next meeting which is also when all three COG groups will elect new officers.
The next meeting of the Council of Governments is scheduled for February 17 at 7 p.m. in COG offices in the New Milford Borough Building on Main Street.
Brooklyn Township roadmasters lost the use of two township trucks in one day during the Jan. 15 snowstorm, reported Supervisor Dan Anthony during the January meeting, which was held that same evening. Anthony said that one truck threw an engine rod, while the other's rear axle gave out. Both trucks are in the process of being repaired.
The meeting was attended by Supervisors Dan and Graham Anthony, and treasurer Linda Spinola. New Supervisor Morgan Turner was absent.
The seven-year Agricultural Security Plan was approved by supervisors, and is now awaiting review by the Susquehanna County Planning Commission.
The Supervisors passed a resolution to obtain a four year loan of $50,000 from the People's Bank for the purchase of two township vehicles: a used, four-wheel drive dump truck, which is being purchased from another township, and a used, John Deere grader, for $23,000.
Dan Anthony reported that the annual PENNDOT Liquid Fuels audit was completed, and everything was found to be in order.
The Demmer subdivision was approved by the supervisors during the meeting.
In new business, supervisors announced that the county informed the township that a two-year tax assessor job is now open, but when the supervisors asked if anyone was interested in doing the job for the township, no one expressed an interest.
Treasurer Linda Spinola, who serves as the township's emergency management coordinator, became an official EMC that morning, and the county gave her a plaque designating her official status. She was congratulated by the supervisors.
According to Dan Anthony, who was voted in as secretary at the Township's reorganizational meeting earlier this month, the only changes made at the reorganizational meeting were the nomination and approval of Morgan Turner as supervisor. Turner, who replaced Jackie Thomas, has served as supervisor in the township before.
Praises Elk Lake
Mike Dougherty of Murphy, Dougherty & Company, the CPA firm that audits the Elk Lake School district, declared that "Elk Lake School District is in great financial shape."
As schools face challenges ahead, and realizing it doesn't get any easier, he said that the board and administration have "tightened their belts to keep income and expenses so close together." His firm "has never seen it so close at holding the line on expenses." Last fiscal year ending June 30, 2003, that difference was only $33,000 in a total budget exceeding $12 million.
Further, the district's total assets have risen, and there is no debt. It has money in a capital fund balance and a "very healthy" health insurance fund (the school is basically self insured with a catastrophic policy to cover excessive medical expenses), with a combined total reserve of over $3.4 million.
The health insurance fund of over $2 million is in stark contrast to just a few years ago when it dipped to around half a million, as the district used reserve funds to balance its budgets.
Three payments of monies from the state resulting from the budget impasse for almost six months were absorbed by the district with funds available. Those state funds were released on December 30, after the recent passing of the state budget. By having reserve funds, Elk Lake was able to manage until the state's portion was received. "A lot of districts had to go borrow" to meet their obligations.
Likewise, with the Career & Technology Center. They are on "solid ground." Dougherty said it is partially because the Center has changed its expectations (to a more realistic one), of the number of students that will attend. Formerly, they received tentative figures from sending schools, and based their budgets on those numbers. However, only a percentage actually showed up for the programs. After backing off on that figure, and projecting fewer students, tuition numbers were more dependable.
This allowed the Center's reserve fund balance to increase by $211,000. And Dougherty said, "Just like the district needs fund balances, so does the Career & Technology Center, as we don't know what may happen."
Things do happen. In the last couple of weeks both elementary wells "went out" forcing the district to go to bottled water while the mechanical problems were solved. They are still on bottled water while the chlorine levels are being checked.
The kitchen has had their new ovens installed, with one still needing some adjustment, and the new boiler is running. Maintenance staff was commended for doing an "outstanding job" during the very cold weather. The second and third shift personnel constantly monitored the school to ensure that there were no frozen pipes.
An energy firm approached the school last year and retrofitted one classroom with modern lighting. They then proposed upgrades for the whole school and guaranteed enough energy savings to pay for the cost of the upgrades, plus leave a surplus in the coffers at the end of 10 years. The board looked at the proposal and decided that bidding was necessary. Three weeks were given for other firms to come and evaluate what could be done, and present a bid. The original company was the only one to offer a formal bid.
Superintendent Bush asked the board if they wanted to consider either a base proposal or an alternate proposal which added the pool pack. The pool equipment is over 10 years old, outdated, and "could go at any time."
The pool addition would not quite pay for itself with energy savings if the district financed the proposals, but it would if the district paid for it out of reserve funds. Board members asked questions about why there was only one bid, why only a one year warrantee on equipment, what would maintenance cost, etc. Those question will need to be answered satisfactorily before approval is given for over a half million dollars for the enhanced package.
Several board members had comments on Firehouse Hill, and recommended that "we don't put a bus up there unless we absolutely have to." Apparently, the road has been worked on by PENNDOT, but the guide rails are now in the paved area, with members reporting that a school bus could not pass another vehicle on the narrowed road. Also regarding school buses, a new bill requires that buses and vans have numbers on their roofs as a result of one incident where a driver hijacked a bus. That will need to be phased in.
February 16 will be used as a make-up day due to the number of snow-days, and others will be made up at the end of the school year. Bush was commended for closing the school during one of the particularly cold days, and it was suggested that students driving to school be allowed to go home if a storm begins... even before buses arrive. Administration suggested that students who are anxious about driving in snow leave their cars at the school and take the buses during a storm.
The next board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 17.
Following are Lanesboro Council meeting minutes from December 2, 2003.
Present: Dan Boughton, Regina Dilello, Chris Maby, Bob Mireider, Bob Page and Paul Corse. Absent: Roland Salamon. Also Present: Mayor Slater, Secretary Aileen Shay. Visitors: Stan Rockwell, Ray Barnes, Jerry and Sandy Benson, and Jesse Hilton.
Maby called meeting to order.
Motion to accept minutes carried.
Received letter from Eric Bush stating that he has another job so he has to resign from the Lanesboro Police Department. Council to send him a letter thanking him for his employment in the borough and accepted his letter of resignation as of December 2.
PA State Association of Boroughs asking how many council members wanted the borough news sent to them. All council members and mayor should receive a copy.
Letter from Greg Selke stating that he has not seen the council minutes in the paper. Secretary stated that she has fallen behind with the holidays but she will put them in the paper from now on. Maby stated that they should be sent out the night of the meeting to the Transcript. The letter also stated that he is opposed to the increase in taxes. He feels that the borough books should be audited by a Certified Public Accountant. Maby stated that he has a letter written to send to Mr. Selke. Corse stated that if the books were audited by a CPA then the taxes would have to go up another mill to pay for this.
Mayor Slater gave the police report. He stated that there were 33 vehicle citations and two non-crimes codes.
Mayor Slater stated that the recyclable containers are out behind the community center and are ready for use.
Regina stated she has it booked for the 13th and 14th. Also Stanley Rockwell and Deb Dilello have been working on the kitchen in the community center and it is almost done.
Boughton stated that he would set up a Christmas tree in the community center and decorate it. After the holidays he will take it down.
Maby asked council if the Cub Scouts could use either the community center or the borough building for their meetings. Council didnt see a problem with this.
Mayor Slater and Regina have been talking about having a bonfire with Santa showing up. Maby will check with fire company to see if Santa can ride in on a fire truck. This would also be an open house for the community center so people can see what it looks like in there.
Motion carried to accept the treasurers report.
Motion carried to close the garbage account and the certificate savings account and take $250 out of the bond redemption fund and put that all in the general account to have enough money to pay the bills.
Maby showed council a spreadsheet with a list of accounts from the PAWC. Maby stated that maybe Gail Hanrahan would be able to read it. Secretary Shay is to invite her to the next meeting; also invite Traci Follmer from the PAWC to the next meeting and council would like her to bring a list of people in the borough that are being charged and how many units they are being billed for. If Traci cannot make it to that meeting, council will set up a special meeting with her.
Corse asked how council could change an ordinance for the sewer, to collect the past due amount instead of putting a lien on the house. Corse will talk to Myron DeWitt about this.
Maby stated that council cannot fix Jefferson Street by themselves. Council then discussed how bonding works; none of the council members are sure how it works. Mayor Slater will talk to someone in Dunmore to see what he can find out about bonding roads.
Boughton stated that he has reported all the streetlights that are out or not working properly.
Maby will compose a letter for all residents in the borough that talks about the cost that the council is accruing from COG.
Budget Meeting Minutes, from December 8
Present: Regina Dilello, Robert Mireider, Robert Page, Dan Boughton, Roland Salamon, Chris Maby. Absent: Paul Corse. Also Present: Mayor Slater, Secretary Aileen Shay. Visitors: Colleen and George Wilkes, Yvonne Zeck, Ray Barnes, Tammy Sutton, Jesse Hilton, Sandy and Gerry Benson.
Salamon called meeting to order.
Salamon thanked everyone for showing an interest in the budget for Lanesboro. He then opened the floor for visitors to talk. Yvonne Zeck wanted to know why council is going to raise the garbage and sewer fees. Maby stated that it is because people are not paying their bills. Zeck asked why she should have to pay for someone elses utilities? Maby went on to state that council is looking into who is not paying and also what can be done to collect past due accounts. Zeck went on to say she thought council got into the water company to collect the utilities, so if residents didnt pay council would shut their water off. Maby explained that they are working with the lawyer to change the ordinance on how they can collect the past due amounts. He went on to say that the way the ordinance for the sewer is now, they can only have a lien put on the house. But with the garbage they can be taken to the district justice. Zeck asked if council could somehow scare the people into paying their bills. Maby explained that they have tried this in the past and it has not worked.
Salamon explained why Lanesboro didnt get in when Tri-Boro was set up. Salamon stated that he had to leave at 7:30 so he stated that he was not in favor of the 4 mill increase, but he would vote yes for the increase to garbage and sewer.
Maby explained that in 2000-2001, council had a surplus of money come in and they have been living off this for the last few years. Council will start going after the people who are not paying. Zeck stated that she would pay the increase to the utilities, its the fact that she is paying someone elses utilities that bothers her. Zeck also stated that for people who are on a fixed income, it would be hard for them to pay the increase.
Maby explained that there has been no maintenance on the roads in many years. Maby explained that the one road that will cost the borough nothing to fix is Jefferson Street, because the quarry got a grant to fix the road. Majority of people say that it is too much at once to have the millage increased and the utilities increased.
Maby stated that the utilities can be changed at any time, but the millage has to be passed tonight because they do not have time to re-advertise the change. Page stated that he has heard a lot of people state that they should get rid of the police department. He stated that he was against this, but maybe we could cut back on how much they are out. Page also stated that once the utilities are raised, he doesnt see them ever being lowered. Maby stated that, this year the police put Lanesboro in the red by $10,000. Colleen Wilkes stated that she has a lot of respect for the police department, but it is ridiculous getting a ticket coming home from the carnival going 40 mph down Jail Hill, when people speeding through town dont get a ticket; its a shame. She stated she would be willing to pay the four-mill increase and leave the utilities alone.
Motion carried to approve the proposed tax budget with the millage increased to 10.71, with the increased revenue in the road fund put in an escrow account and reviewed quarterly against the utilities account. On roll call vote, Mireider, Maby, Boughton, and Page voting yes; Dilello and Salamon voting no.
Motion that the proposed increase to utilities not be increased carried unanimously.
Starrucca Borough Council met on January 5, 7:00 p.m. at the Starrucca Community Hall. The following members were present: Pete Downton, Lou Gurske, Helen Haynes, Maryanne Debalko, Andy Bennett and Paul Everett. The first order of business was to reorganize. A motion to elect Pete Downton as president carried by majority. A motion to elect Maryanne Debalko as Vice-President passed by majority.
Treasurers Report -. Dean Rhone presented the Treasurers report, a motion to pay the bills as presented carried unanimously.
Correspondence - Correspondence was read. Pete Downton was in receipt of a letter from the Wayne County Election Board in regards to the seventh council seat. After a lot of discussion a motion carried that the spot be held open until the February meeting. Any Boro resident wishing to fill this vacant Council seat is urged to attend the next council meeting. Also any boro resident wishing to fill the post of Emergency Management Coordinator or Constable is urged to attend the next meeting.
Persons to Be Heard- Darl Haynes, Art Kopp and Kirk Rhone were present to discuss their concerns on the condition of the boro roads. The three gentlemen also expressed interest in being part of the road committee for the upcoming year, this issue was tabled until later in the meeting.
Building Permits - No building permits were presented for consideration.
Subdivisions - No Subdivisions were presented for consideration.
Old Business - A letter has been sent to a property owner on Starrucca Creek Road in regards to a malfunctioning septic system at his residence, council is awaiting a response from the property owner. A letter has been received from Tri-County insurance in regards to the Secretary bond for the upcoming year; Dean Rhone will follow up on this matter.
New Business - Pete Downton reminded the council that they should encourage boro residents to bring their problems or concerns to a council meeting so their concerns can be addressed by the entire council. Also Mr. Downton reminded council if a council person has a concern that it should be addressed at a council meeting and not in public.
Hall - Mr. Rhone will follow up with the county in regards to having the hall painted by inmates from the county jail.
Comprehensive Plan - Carson Helfrich has sent copies of the plan to all necessary agencies.
Roads - No more brush was cut during the month. Mr. Rhone will speak to Dave Hobart in regards to filling the potholes. After much discussion a motion that a letter be sent to the three gentlemen who attended the meeting thanking them for their time and that council will hold a public workshop in late spring so that the public has a chance to discuss their concerns over the boro roads carried unanimously.
Committees - The following committees have been formed for the upcoming year: Ball field - Paul Everett, Andy Bennett, and Pete Downton; Road - Pete Downton, Lou Gurske, Helen Haynes and Frank Mroczka; Hall - Lou Gurske, vacant seat, and Maryanne Debalko; Ordinance - Paul Everett, Maryanne Debalko, and vacant seat; Office/Files - Maryanne Debalko, Dean Rhone, and Andy Bennett.
There being no further business meeting adjourned at 10:15.
The Mountain View School District Board announced the Board Committees for 2003-2004 at the regular public meeting, held on Monday, Jan 12 at the elementary school. Despite a snow squall earlier in the evening, the meeting was attended by the President, Bryce E. Beeman; First Vice President John Halupke; Second Vice President, Kevin M. Griffiths; Treasurer, Sondra E. Stine; and board members John L. Beeman, Susan C. Christensen, Ronald D. Phillips, James W. Zick; and Board Secretary Carolyn W. Price, who is a non-member. Absent was Ordie C. Price.
Administration members present were Arthur J. Chambers, Superintendent; L. Colin Furneaux, high school principal; Eliza Vagni, high school assistant principal; Mary Hvezda, Director of Special Services; and Margaret Foster, elementary school principal.
An executive session was held for personnel.
Bryce Beeman announced the board committees for 2004 as follows: Education Committee: Sondra Stine will serve as chair, with members Susan Christensen and John Beeman. Financial Services: Kevin Griffiths will serve as chair, with members James Zick and Susan Christensen. Human Resources, Policy, and Labor Relations Committee: Chairperson, John Halupke, with members Ronald Phillips and Kevin Griffiths. Building and Facilities Management: Chairperson, John Beeman, with members John Halupke and Ordie Price.
The minutes of the December 15 meeting were presented and approved, as was the treasurer report and cafeteria report. A motion was made by Griffiths, seconded by Phillips, to confirm payment of the December, 2003 General Fund Bill List, Cafeteria Fund Bill List, Capital Reserve Fund Bill List, and to ratify the payment of employee payroll, transportation contracts, fringe benefit payments, and fund transfers in the total amount of $2,080,212.35. Supervisors voted six yes, two no, one absent, so the vote was carried.
Griffiths made a motion, seconded by Phillips, to approve the January 2004 General Bill List, Cafeteria Bill List, and Capital Reserve Fund Bill List, in the total amount of $260,708.19. Zick asked for information on check #1229. Halupke said the request for equipment should have been brought to the board before the purchase was made.
Griffiths made a motion, seconded by Phillips, to approve a contract with Omni Financial Groups, Inc. of Rochester, NY to provide professional auditing, administrative, and IRS tax-compliant services for the district's 403b, 457b, or 401a tax-deferred investment programs at an initial fee of $500 and an ongoing maintenance fee of $1,000 yearly based on 40 active participants. the voting was carried.
The board approved a car/van contract for Frank Ridgeway of Kinsley at 78 cents per mile. Rhonda Smith of Harford was approved as a car/van substitute driver for the 2003-4 school year.
The board approved the salaries for the non-represented full time positions.
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