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Decisions on full and diverse agenda items were efficiently made at the April 19 meeting of the Great Bend Township Board of Supervisors. All supervisors were present, as were a handful of residents.
Leading off was Liz Janoski, director of the countys department of economic development. She was there to request a resolution by the board to make the 17-odd acres of the foundry property that lie in the township a Keystone Opportunity Zone (KOZ), exempting any business that chose to locate itself there from taxes until 2013. Janoski thought that, because the property which continues to be cleaned up is close to the Interstate exit as well as right off Route 11, it would serve as a good magnet for interested businesses. She also thought that some funds would become available to continue to rehabilitate the property.
The supervisors expressed concern about a business coming in and then vacating the property once its term as a KOZ property expired. Janoski shared their concerns, but added that, should a business come in and choose to vacate, it would leave a cleaner site, a newer building, and a better-looking property and perhaps not leave.
Last year, the Blue Ridge school district approved the KOZ resolution for the property. However, in order to become a KOZ property, the county and municipalities in which the property lies must agree to it as well. At a recent meeting, Hallstead Borough chose not to pass the resolution, and thats what the township supervisors decided as well. Should a KOZ possibility on the property become available later on, they would reconsider, but its not something they want to do at this time.
Decisions were also made on the roads, with conditions at Graham Hollow Road getting the bulk of the discussion. Last year, the township received bids to repair the road. However, over the winter, severe weather caused dramatic slides that came close to making the road impassable. Emergency and big repair work was required that cost more than the cost of the lowest, earlier bid. The severe winter slides also changed the nature of the work that needs to be done on what the township refers to as the lower slide and the upper slide on the road.
Both the Army Corps of Engineers as well as the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) have looked at the lower slide. Roadmaster and supervisor George Haskins reported that a permit from the DEP is needed before repairs can begin, and that the DEP wants KBA Engineering to get involved and help develop a repair plan before it issues the permit. Township secretary Sheila Guinan reported that she has twice called and left messages with KBA, and theyve yet to return her call.
And while Guinan waits, the township still needs to do something about repairing the upper slide. It decided to put out to bid the remainder of work to be done on the upper slide. Bids will be requested on the lower slide once the township gets the appropriate information back from the engineer.
In the meantime, there were some questions about the description of the work which was provided on a grant request, funds of which would be dedicated to repairing Graham Hollow Road. The supervisors expressed concern as to whether a change in the work to be done would affect receiving the grant. The DEP spokesperson basically said, not to worry he would work with the township so it would not lose the grant, and even thought he might be able to get extra funds, considering the extreme change in the condition of the road.
Discussion on going out to bid for a borrow-as-you-go loan for capital improvements was postponed until the boards next meeting. The loan is like a line of credit for the township to access as needed, up to a certain limit. Its kind of like a bridge loan, as well, until tax receipts start rolling in.
In other road and road equipment-related matters, Haskins reported that repairs to Penny Hill Road are tentatively scheduled to begin on May 1. Some major repairs are also needed on the John Deere grader, and approval was given for them to be made. Haskins also passed along the road crews request that the board consider switching their work hours to ten-hour workdays, four days a week, for the summer, although no discussion ensued on this item.
In work accomplished since the group last met, Haskins reported that equipment has been serviced, cracks on the plows have been welded and new rubber has been put on the plow edges. The crews want the equipment to be ready to go when winter weather comes in again which, in this neck of the woods, could be any time next month. Culvert pipes have started to be laid and others replaced.
Haskins also reported on a recent meeting with Bridging Committee members and PENNDOT and at which the subject of a traffic light arose. Bridge enhancement money cannot be used to fund a traffic signal, and a PENNDOT representative suggested that the communities bound by the new bridge sponsor bake sales and such to pay for a traffic light to ease the heavy congestion surrounding the business plazas. With a traffic light costing $85,000, thats a lot of baking.
However, Haskins also said that another PENNDOT representative with whom he spoke at the groundbreaking for the new welcome center told him she thought that the road width on Route 11 was wide enough to accommodate deceleration lanes for a PENNDOT-provided light. Haskins will continue to report on any progress and find out what the township would be required to do pay for maintenance or energy if indeed it could get a light without having to have a gazillion bake sales to pay for it.
The supervisors also decided to join the Council of Governments and its Codes Enforcement Committee. With choices and follow-through coming up soon as to respond to new state universal construction codes, supervisor Walt Galloway has done due diligence on the most effective and efficient way to proceed. After meeting with COG Codes representatives and reviewing their practices and procedures, he recommended that the township become a member. He noted that "COG is very well organized. They know what theyre doing and are all set up to enforce the new USS, with an appeals board and administrative processes."
He explained that COG was prepared to administer and enforce basically two building codes UCC and non-UCC, with the township choosing if it wanted the first or both. The non-UCC part would apply to structures that do not come under the state UCC code, but which nevertheless have value as taxable properties to municipalities. These are such structures as pole barns and other agricultural buildings, storage sheds, gazebos and detached garages of less than 500 square feet. It would also include such things as mobile home parks, vendor/peddler permits, and others.
Galloway explained that the township would set its fees for any permitting, COG would administer its UCC and non-UCC ordinances, and coordinate with the township the payment of monies. Cost to join is $100 a year; Galloway noted that COG members may be on call to contribute up to $1200 a year should a condition ever arise that needed such funds. He also said that in the more than dozen years that COG has been around, it has never had to call on this provision.
Thus, Galloway recommended that the township join COG, and accept for advertisement both sample ordinances it provided for both UCC and non-UCC structures.
With a state deadline fast approaching, both Haskins and board chair Bob Squier saw value in having an organization that already had an appeals board, state- and COG-solicitor-approved sample ordinances, state-certified inspectors, and processes in place in what will be a wholly new experience for all municipalities in the state. They also noted that they have heard squat from KB Engineering, whom they earlier notified about being the townships UCC enforcer. They voted to join COG, named Galloway as the townships representative (Squier as alternate) to the group, and will follow through on the paperwork required to join COG and adopt the UCC and non-UCC ordinances.
In doing his Codes research, Galloway also read up on COGs Sewage Enforcement Committee for a one-stop enforcement of building and sewage permitting. He also acknowledged that this particular discussion was for another day.
Speaking of sewage, Squier reported that the township is just waiting for the weather to dry up a bit for its sewage enforcement officer to go and inspect a property along Route 7. A house was supposed to have been built on the property, but four years later, theres little more than a trailer, and its not supposed to be there.
Squier reported that a representative from the Welcome Center was expected at the meeting, but didnt show. Two years ago, a building permit was issued for the center, but it has since expired. Squier was also hoping to speak further with the rep about the hope for some Agility Program funds, but that, too, will wait for another day. Haskins added that the township is expecting to receive some Agility points in working with PENNDOT vis-à-vis the Welcome Center.
The supervisors received correspondence that the Treibles and Dahlanders have formally appealed the new market value of their properties, with hearing dates set by the county Board of Assessment. They also received a letter from DGK Insurance, informing them that the townships insurance policy has a war liability exclusion.
Cleaning up got a lot of discussion at the meeting. Squier announced that May 29 is tire day in the township, when residents can drop off old and used tires in front of the township building. A newspaper ad will give details. The tires will be recycled through the county Recycling Center at a cost of $1 a standard-sized tire; larger tires will be accepted for an additional charge. Squier will also contact the bank that now owns the Dixon property, telling it that there are close to 60 or so tires on that property, which he expects to see in front of the township building on Tire Day.
Haskins reported that he met up with the new DEP representative for the area while the rep was driving through the area on the lookout for illegal burning or dumping noting that its a violation of state law to burn anything but household garbage. "I think he will be our friend, and help us when we need it," said Haskins. Squire recalled that he dealt with some DEP people on the junkyard, "and they are pretty darn easy to get along with; they want to get stuff done."
In addition to arranging a convenient place for residents to bring their used tires, the supervisors are also taking advantage of an offer by Garys U-Pull-It for a container and metal roll-off into it. The container is for those wishing to get rid of metal objects stoves, refrigerators and will be located behind the township building. It is absolutely not for household garbage. The board will advertise its availability.
In other clean up and trying to clean up matters, the owner of a property deep in trailers parked or lived in along New York Avenue was at the meeting. Joan Long reported that she did some clean up earlier in the day on her piece of land, but the lack of a pick-up truck prevented her from doing more. She said she shortly expected to do "a whole lot more." Squier told her that, prior to every township meeting, he takes pictures of her property to document what has become a history of noncompliance with requests to clean up her property. Haskins noted the township was planning on asking the DEP representative to inspect her property and another property sometime soon. And when Long stated that the tires on her property were not put there by her, Squier replied that she was still responsible for getting rid of them, and to bring them to the township building on May 29. He noted that the condition of her property has been on the Unfinished Business part of the townships meeting agenda for quite some time, and the supervisors were anxious to see that change.
The supervisors will also be reviewing the townships peddlers permit policy. This was prompted by Squiers report of what could turn out to be a perpetual yard sale on Nova Road, off Dubois Street. He is also regularly following up on a fallen-down garage on Dubois Street, although he reports that its difficult to get in touch with the propertys owner.
The last piece of business was an announcement of the resignation, effective May 15, of township treasurer and part-time secretary Beverly Sheldon. It was accepted with regret and with thanks and accolades about the quality of her work from all three supervisors.
The next regular meeting of the Great Bend Township board of supervisors is scheduled for 7 p.m. on May 3 at the Township Building.
With business manager Ray Testa "filling in" as secretary, due to the absence of secretary/board member Evelyn Cottrell, the Susquehanna Community School Board met on April 21 with all other members present.
The board approved the minutes of the March 17 meeting, filing of the treasurers report, the general fund bills, the food service report, and filing of the activity fund and athletic fund reports.
Personnel reports included an update on next years budget from Superintendent Bronson Stone; although there would be a slight increase in allocations from the state for basic education and special ed programs, he anticipates that those increases would be offset by significant increases in costs for such items as heating fuel and health insurance.
Registration was scheduled for April 23 and 24, for the districts new, four-year old kindergarten program, funded through a governors Block Accountability Grant. Later in the meeting, the board gave Mr. Stone the authority to submit a Block Accountability grant application in early May for the program. He explained that there are eleven objectives (uses) for which the grant can be applied; the four-year old program had been the districts choice. The district would receive direct feedback from the state on the program which would, in turn enable the district to provide more services.
Elementary principal Bob Keyes noted that, so far, there are 56 children registered for the four-year old program. At registration, simple vision, hearing and speech testing would be conducted. He reported that, from April 28-30, NEIU 19 will be conducting an evaluation of the elementary programs and curriculum. The results would help faculty not only focus on strengths, but identify areas of need and set goals to address them.
As part of his report to the board, high school principal Mike Lisowski introduced eight Social Studies students from Mr. Goodrichs class, who were attending the meeting as part of a class project; their task was to take notes and to ask questions. The prom, held the weekend prior to the meeting, had gone well; a banquet to induct students into the National Honor Society is scheduled for the evening of April 28; and, the faculty is already starting to plan for the next school year.
Dean of Students Mark Gerchman has been working with the guidance department, preparing schedules for next year and summer schedules. Mr. Gerchman is working on a literacy grant, in conjunction with the Susquehanna Branch Library. And, he reported that Mr. Lisowski is preparing a grant application for technology funding.
Special ed coordinator Joni Miller updated the board on a community based, vocational education program where students receive on-the-job training at local businesses. This year, there are eleven students in grades eleven and twelve participating.
Learning support teacher Sue Haynes gave more details of the program, listing the businesses involved which include an auto repair shop, a beauty salon, retail stores, a head start program, a stone quarry, a trucking company, and several departments at Barnes-Kasson Hospital. In some instances, tenth grade students have been placed in the program if the circumstances warrant it. Participation in the program qualifies towards graduation credits, through students Individual Education Plans.
Maintenance supervisor Donnie Norris reported that repairs will be made to the track, the basketball court will be sealed, and patching done. He is also getting estimates for expanding parking in several areas.
Teacher Mike Catalano reported that the Susquehanna Community Education Association will be sponsoring their annual car show on May 16; proceeds benefit the Senior Scholarship Fund.
During public comment, Mr. Goodrichs students addressed the board with some very engaging questions:
Why arent students allowed to dye their hair different colors? Mr. Lisowski responded that this question was best addressed through the "chain of command," and agreed to meet with the student the following day to discuss it further.
An extra period that will be added next year, starting with eighth grade students; why is this being done? Mr. Lisowski said this is the result of state regulations.
Would the four-year old kindergarten involve a full school day? It will be three hours per day, in two sessions, morning and afternoon.
Are there plans to offer "healthier" foods at the school? Mr. Stone replied that the staff has been examining this issue. Board president Terry Carpenter added that next year will see a lot of changes.
New textbooks will be used next year for some classes; would it be possible to access the texts on-line, eliminating the need to take the books home? Mr. Gerchman said that, in some cases, on-line versions are available so that students can access the material on-line. Although not all textbook material is available on the internet, he predicted that the coming years will see increased on-line availability.
There has been some discussion about uniforms; will that happen? The student added that the district already has a dress code; why waste money (on uniforms) that could be better used on other things? And, if uniforms are a possibility, why not allow different choices, so that students could "individualize" them? Mr. Stone said that, although many districts now require uniforms, there are no plans for this district to do so at this point in time.
If a student wants to take an advanced history class, it is required that the student also take an advanced English class; why couldnt one be taken without the other? Mr. Gerchman replied that courses are assigned on an individual basis; scheduling questions should be discussed with the students guidance counselor. Mr. Stone added that students should not avoid "advanced" classes out of fear of bad grades; there are many benefits to be had by taking these classes, and taking them would allow a student to challenge him/herself.
Would it be possible to implement a "career day" for lower grades, to give students an idea of what vocation they would like to pursue? Mr. Gerchman answered that a career course will be offered in eighth and tenth grades next year; possibly a career day could be included within the course. Mr. Lisowski added that the faculty has made arrangements when asked, with parents who want to take students with them to work for a day.
In other business, the board granted the business office permission to tabulate and award bids and to order supplies for the 2004-05 school year, subject to board approval in May; approved May 4 as Teacher Recognition Day, and sponsoring a breakfast on that day; and approved the new three-year district technology plan. Mr. Stone explained that this is required every three years. A plan is implemented to integrate technology into the classroom, to enhance both teaching and learning through technology. The plan will be developed by a committee comprised of members of the community, the school board, students and parents, and then must be approved by the state.
The board gave Mr. Stone the authority to submit an EETT (Enhancing Education Through Technology) grant application for the 2004-05 school year. If the application is approved, the district will receive $30,000 to effectively integrate technology into the classroom through software programs and additional hardware. After the first year, the plan will be evaluated by the state; if it is found to be effective, the district will receive an additional $30,000 for a second year of the program.
The board approved a donation of $250 to the Susquehanna County Historical Society and Free Library Association; the 2004-05 school calendar; homebound instruction requests for two students, one in grade 9 and another in grade 12; the resignation of Diane Botts, aide in the elementary office; and transferring Cathy Lee from the high school library aide position to the elementary office aide position vacated by the resignation of Diane Botts.
The board approved a (activity) uniform purchasing and replacement guideline policy; Mr. Stone explained that the policy was drafted through communication with former and present coaches and administration, to get a better "handle" on coaches uniform requests and guide the districts purchasing policy.
The following additions to the substitute list were approved: Myles Limbert, bus driver; Judie Parks, JoAnn McIntyre, Justine Ord and Ronald Rowe, non-instructional; Alphonse Cutitto, emergency certification.
Five bus contract changes were approved, as were a list of fund-raisers, activities, conference and workshop attendance, and field trips. In response to a question, Mr. Lisowski reported that a Grim Reaper Day, held prior to the prom, had been surprisingly successful; students had been moved by the presentation, some to the point of tears. It had been well coordinated, he said, and commended Carmen Maby and Roseann Escandel for their efforts.
The next meeting will be on Wednesday, May 19, 7:30 p.m. in the administration offices.
Approves County Petition
In what was described by Commissioner Roberta Kelly as a "win-win situation," Susquehanna County received court approval last week to "lay out, open, establish, and purchase" the access road to the Susquehanna-Oakland-Lanesboro Industrial Authority (SOLIDA) Park in Oakland Township.
"I am very pleased," said Mrs. Kelly, who is chair of the Board of Commissioners. "It is a win-win situation for the county because the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will take care of it (the road)."
Last December, the county entered into an agreement with the church that satisfies the countys duty to originally lay out and open a public highway in the park and to build and continuously maintain the highway.
Mrs. Kelly said the church has some plans for the land it owns in the park, including a shrine honoring Joseph Smith, a former area resident who founded the church. She said the church project will bring thousands of people into the county annually and that wherever the church goes it does good things.
"I say welcome to Susquehanna County," Mrs. Kelly said. "I even made the suggestion that SOLIDA maybe can work out a deal that will give the church more land. It cannot hurt."
In granting the countys petition to take control of the access road, President Judge Kenneth W. Seamans determined that the purpose for the request is to serve the interests of the county and the public. Judge Seamans further ruled that the county may acquire such additional property as may be necessary for the county to lay out, open, establish, purchase, use, and continuously maintain the road as a public highway.
In its petition to the court, the county said the highway is intended to serve the owners of land in the industrial park and to benefit the area by increasing tourism and creating new jobs. The petition further noted that additional property may be appropriated by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission for the purpose of connecting the access road with the church-owned land through a public rail/highway crossing approved by the PUC. The estimated cost of the additional land is not expected to exceed $5,000 and will be paid by the church.
The SOLIDA Industrial Park has been available for tenants for a number of years but there have been no takers to date. Development of the church land at the rear of the park property is being viewed as an opportunity for SOLIDA to entice some industrial or commercial construction in the park.
With rail transportation readily available at the park, the countys new Rail Authority is also licking its chops in anticipation of luring new development into the park.
CRIMINAL TRESPASS AND DISORDERLY CONDUCT
Around 7 a.m. on April 20, Susan Ann Oney drove onto the posted property owned by Michael and John Onska in Liberty Township and started taking pictures of their residence, resulting in the charges of criminal trespass. Within 10 minutes after the state troopers left the Onska property, Oney came out of her home and screamed threatening and obscene language at John Onska, son of Michael, resulting in the additional charge of disorderly conduct.
The 1988 Chevy sedan owned and driven by William Prentice, New Milford, sustained moderate damage at the intersection of Route 11 and Maple Street when Prentice pulled out in front of a 2002 Dodge Stratus driven by Constance Copeland, Kirkwood. Copeland sustained a minor injury, and her vehicle minor damage.
The Franklin Township maintenance building was broken into sometime between April 11 and 12 and some tools were taken. Anyone with information is requested to call the Barracks at 465-3154.
On April 17, Lisa Maria Yachymiak and Jack Lee Bishop, both 32 and both from Montrose, entered the residence belonging to Michelle Ann Hitchcock on Creek Road in Brooklyn Township where they removed/stole a $400 CB radio. Both were charged with burglary and theft.
A garage/body shop at Dundaff Corners in Clifford Township belonging to John S. Mullen, Olyphant, was broken into on April 13. Cash and prescription medication were stolen.
Cynthia Noble, 34, drove her 1997 Plymouth Voyager through a flooded portion of SR 3019 in Dimock Township on April 13 where it rolled over. Wearing her seat belt, she received a back injury and her Voyager was moderately damaged in the incident.
The residence belonging to Elizabeth Ann Reid on Hunsinger Road in Liberty Township was broken into on April 9. Stolen were several DVDs and Play Station II games.
On April 8, the mailbox belonging to Michael OHara in Harford Township was damaged.
Joshua Bennett of Montrose received moderate injuries when the Plymouth Voyager he was driving struck a tree along Scher Road in Jessup Township on April 9.
The Internal Revenue Service has taken legal action against the following Susquehanna County residents who owe income tax money to the US Treasury Department:
Loren L. Welch of Springville, $6,315; Valerie And Charles Quisenberry Jr. of Susquehanna, $5,158; and, Amy L. Cantone of Montrose, $6,301.
Liens in favor of the United States Treasury Department on all property and rights to property belonging to these taxpayers have been filed in the Prothonotarys Office at the county courthouse.
Ordie E. Price, Aline J.Price, Stephen G. Selige, Carol R. Selige, Ted Neubert, Lucinda Neubert to Stephen G. Selige, Carol R. Selige, Marianne S. Williams, Wayne L. Williams, Sara L. Heil, Dennis Heil, Nancie L. Siegel, and Richard Siegel, in Lenox and Clifford townships for $43,316.
Richard A. Rood, Cynthia A. Rood (nbm) and Cynthia A. Conroy to Richard A. Rood, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.
Tammy Bender (nbm) and Tammy Ellis to Tammy Ellis, in Dimock Township for one dollar.
Borough of Hallstead to Hallstead, Great Bend Join Sewer Authority, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.
Somerville Land Development Inc. to Hallstead, Great Bend Joint Sewer Authority, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.
Kenneth T. Tingley and Sandra J. Tingley to Hallstead, Great Bend Join Sewer Authority in Great Bend Township for one dollar.
April L. Walker and John D. Walker to John D. Walker, in Montrose for one dollar.
Glenda M. Marvin to Robert J. Marvin, in Oakland Borough for $64,000.
Carolyn Rooney (nbm), Carolyn Cottrell and Earl Ernest Cottrell to Paul E. Rooney Jr., in Thompson Borough for one dollar.
Joseph B. Watrous Jr. (Lifetime Trust Number One) and Peter S. Watrous (Lifetime Trust Number One) to Peter S. Watrous and Pamela J. Watrous, in Franklin Township for one dollar.
Peter S. Watrous (Lifetime Trust Number One) to Joseph B. Watrous Jr. (Lifetime Trust Number One) in Franklin Township for one dollar.
Albert B. Timinski and Maureen P. Timinski to James J. Munnis, in Silver Lake Township for $54,000.
Gary P. Durst and Nadine Durst to Margaret Fischer, in Forest City for $61,000.
Alan J. Hinkley, Nancy A. Hinkley, Robert W. Hinkley, Kirk S. Hinkley Jr., Barbara A. Hinkley, and Kay Hinkley to Hinkley Real Estate Inc., in Great Bend Township for one dollar.
Estate of Kirk S. Hinkley Sr., Alan J. Hinkley, Nancy Hinkley, Kirk S. Hinkley Jr., Barbara Hinkley, Robert W. Hinkley, Kay Hinkley, Alan J. Hinkley (ta) Nancy Hinkley (ta), Kirk S. Hinkley Jr. (ta), Barbara Hinkley (ta), Robert W. Hinkley (ta), Kay Hinkley (ta), Hallstead Plaza three parcels in Hallstead Borough to Hallstead Plaza Properties Inc. for one dollar each.
Helen M. Franceski to Helen M. Lopez, Virginia Hall, John Franceski, David C. Franceski Jr., and Carla Wood, in Forest City for one dollar.
Helen M. Franceski to Helen M. Lopez, Virginia Hall, John Franceski, David C. Franceski Jr. and Carla Wood, in Forest City for one dollar.
Phyllis Montanye (by US Marshal), United States Department of Justice, United States Marshal Service to J. Randal Houser, in Montrose for $38,100.
William Krall, Joseph Petek (aka Estate), Joseph A. Petek (Estate) to Gary P. Durst and Nadine Durst, in Forest City for $50,000.
Raymond E. Hackel and Esther M. Hackel to Raymond L. Osterhout and Wanda S. Osterhout, in Great Bend Township for $149,000.
Gregory P. Dischinat to James K. Carty, in Liberty Township, for one dollar.
James H. Egan and Mary Catherine Egan to David T. Watson and Patricia L. Watson, in Liberty Township for $110,000.
Ralph K. Landes, Mary S. Landes, Jeffrey T. Landes, Eileen Landes, Lawrence M. Chylak, and Tami L. Chylak to Ann Gordon, in Jackson Township for $53,500.
Berneda M. Blaisure and Paul Banko to Paul Banko, in Rush Township, for one dollar.
Brown Living Trust (by trustee) to Robert J. Swingle and Jill W. Swingle, in Bridgewater Township for $8,000.
Joseph Purtell, Jean Purtell, Robert P. Purtell (aka), Robert J. Purtell, Ethel Purtell, Donald Purtell (aka), Donald L. Purtell, and Norene Purtell to Jeffrey Kropiewnicki and John Leon Kropiewnicki, in Apolacon Township for $32,000.
Scott J. Romatowski and Melony Romatowski to Melony Romatowski, in Auburn Township for one dollar.
Joann M. Kowalski to Julee E. Shores and Michael L. Shores, in Liberty Township for $74,900.
Clair A. Keefer (est) to Jonathan S. Guzy and B. Elizabeth Guzy, in Hallstead Borough for $83,000.
Glen Mattos and Lori Mattos to Glen Mattos and Lori Mattos, in Lanesboro Borough for one dollar.
Chad D. Wallace and Christina M. Wallace to Chad D. Wallace and Christina M. Wallace, in Jackson Township for one dollar.
Gwendolyn Kay McCarthy to Michael McCarthy, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Francis Flynn, Patricia Flynn, Brett Flynn, and Christel Flynn to Francis Flynn (tdba), Patricia Flynn (tdba), Brett Flynn (tdba) Christel Flynn (tdba), Flynns Stone Castle, in Rush Township, for one dollar.
Russell G. Dilley and Patricia A. Dilley to Walter L. Goodwin and Corry Goodwin, in Clifford Township for $55,000.
Joseph Surdykowsli to Samuel Robins and Linda Robins, in Herrick Township, for $5,000.
Calvin L. Hackeman to Harry J. Abplanalp and Christine S. Abplanalp, in Herrick Township for $72,000.
Edmund F. Grzywinski and John Grzywinski to Melissa Traver, in Choconut Township for one dollar.
Marshall Tompkins (by sheriff) and Marh Ellen Tompkins (by sheriff) to Bank of New York (co-trustee), in New Milford Township for $3,723.
Maureen Warren to Nelson J. Warren and Maureen Warren, in Harford Township for one dollar.
The special meeting on finance, March 22, was called to order at the Starrucca Community Hall at 7:00 p.m. by Council President Pete Downton. Beside Mr. Downton, council members present were Andy Bennett, Mary Ann DeBalko, Paul Everett, Lou Gurske, Helen Haynes and Robert Weldy. Mayor Frank Mrozcka was absent.
Among those in the audience were Darl Haynes, Art Kopp, Tony Polonis, Kirk Rhone and Gale Williams.
The first issue discussed was the charges for cindering borough roads. Mr. Everett observed that the borough seemed to be paying additional money to have the borough roads plowed and later cindered by hand when the boroughs contract with Dave Hobart specified that a cinder spreader was to be attached to the plow truck so both plowing and cindering could be accomplished at the same time.
Mrs. DeBalko said it was her understanding that the Road Committee was going to meet with Mr. Hobart to discuss this issue and asked whether any meeting had taken place. Mr. Gurske, who chairs the Road Committee, said the committee had not met with Mr. Hobart. Mr. Everett then asked how much money would come off Mr. Hobart's bill if there were a reduction, but no one had an answer.
Council president Downton then detailed the financial difficulties faced by the borough. The checkbook for the "Liquid Fuels" account cannot be found, he said. This is a bank account that holds money paid to the borough from the State Liquid Fuels Tax Fund and which can be used only for the maintenance of borough roads. Bills seem to have been paid, Mr. Downton continued, but the checks seem not to have reached their destinations and haven't been cashed.
Mr. Weldy remarked that the borough had many overdue bills among those that were to be paid and that the council had gotten no explanation why this was so.
Mr. Everett remarked that it was his understanding the special meeting had been scheduled to pay Mr. Hobart and that he thought Dean Rhone, former borough treasurer, should be asked to come before the council to explain what had happened regarding the overdue bills, the incomplete bookkeeping and so on.
Mrs. DeBalko remarked that the check stubs in the boroughs possession present an incomplete and confusing record. And Mr. Everett observed that electronic payments had also been made.
Resident Gale Williams said that when she had been on the council every check drawn had a corresponding voucher and asked why the sitting council could not examine the vouchers. Mr. Downton responded that the vouchers were not clear. Mrs. Williams then urged the council to make sure there was a voucher for every check sent out. That way, if a checkbook were to get lost, the council would have a full set of backup records.
The discussion now turned to the lost checkbook. Mrs. DeBalko suggested closing the account. Mr. Weldy introduced a motion to close the current Liquid Fuels account and transfer any funds to a new account. Resident Darl Haynes suggested it might take several weeks for the state to approve the new account, which would delay the deposit of the Liquid Fuels money, which was expected in early April.
Other options were discussed, such as asking for a cashier's check on the account. Finally, Mrs. DeBalko and Mr. Weldy suggested that the only reasonable thing to do was to go to "higher authority" the bank, borough solicitor Warren Schloesser or Gus Gallo of PENNDOT for guidance on how to proceed. At this point, Mr. Weldy withdrew his motion.
Mr. Gurske suggested the borough get complete histories of its several bank accounts. Mr. Downton observed that to facilitate the ongoing annual audit of borough finances, and at the auditors' request, he had already asked the bank for copies of every check issued by the borough since November, 2003.
The council president then asked Mrs. DeBalko to find out how the borough should go about transferring Liquid Fuels funds and to determine how much time it might take to close the existing checking account and open a new one. He then asked for a motion on how to deal with the situation.
Mrs. DeBalko made a motion, seconded by Mr. Everett, that the council contact Gus Gallo to find out how the borough can transfer money from the Liquid Fuels savings account to the Liquid Fuels checking account and how to close the current Liquid Fuels checking account and open a new one. The vote on the motion was unanimous.
Darl Haynes asked whether in paying Frank Zaczek for his work on Kellogg Road the council had to take some of the money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant for that work and the rest from the Liquid Fuels account. (The FEMA grant requires the borough to provide matching funds.) Mr. Downton replied he didn't think it was necessary to do so at this time as long as the matching funds were provided by job's end, adding that while the FEMA grant covered work on two roads, Kellogg and Jacob's Ladder, it was under a single contract with Mr. Zaczek.
Bills to Be Paid
The borough treasurer had provided the council with a list of 10 bills to be paid, several of them already overdue. Mr. Gurske made a motion that the five overdue bills be paid immediately. The motion was seconded by Mr. Everett, and all voted aye, with Mr. Weldy abstaining.
Attention now turned to Mr. Zaczek's bill. Mr. Downton suggested that before any payment was made the FEMA money be put into a separate account. Andy Bennett made a motion, seconded by Mrs. DeBalko, that a separate FEMA account be set up. The vote was unanimous. Mr. Gurske now moved that the Zaczek bill be paid and that he be asked to forgive the $61.13 late charge. Mr. Bennett seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
Mr. Everett now moved that the four remaining bills presented to the council for the first time at this meeting, all of them current, be tabled until the April meeting. The motion was seconded by Mr. Gurske and carried unanimously. This left the Hobart bill to be paid, a bill Mr. Hobart had presented to the council in person at the March Meeting.
Mr. Everett pointed out that it would be difficult to pay the bill without a "working" Liquid Fuels checking account. Mr. Bennett noted that since Mr. Hobart had presented his bill at the March meeting council had until the April meeting to pay his bill. This would allow time for the 2004 Liquid Fuels payment to arrive at the bank.
Mrs. Williams suggested that money from the Recreation Field Fund could be used to pay Mr. Hobart because no grant money was involved. She added she thought that all road maintenance bills should be paid from the Liquid Fuels checking account. Mr. Downton replied he did not think this was necessarily so; as long as all the Liquid Fuels money was used for road maintenance the borough was free to pay for additional work from the General Fund.
In the end, the Hobart bill was tabled until either the bank issues had been resolved or the time arrived for the April meeting. There being no further business before council, meeting adjourned.
On March 4 , Martin Bickford of 306 Universal Terrace allegedly harassed Shirley Washburn of 416 Elm St. by verbal threats. Bickford was charged for Harassment with District Justice 34-3-02.
On March 14, Doug Bishop of 506 Washington St. reported a dog from 208 Washington St. to have attacked his dogs on leashes. Investigation led police to have Richard Frisbie quarantine his dog. Police have since notified Susquehanna County Dog Warden.
BAD CHECKS / THEFT BY DECEPTION
On March 16, Police filed charges on the following for writing bad checks to the H.O. Mart and/or Family Farms Market: Lorie Humphry, Charles VanWinkle, Rachael Odell, Pamela Houck, Brandie Robbs, John Deakin, David Bentler and Harold Wayman, Jr.
FLEEING AND ELUDING
On March 16, Police attempted to stop a gray 4-wheeler going East on Main St. with a young white male juvenile driver around 8:50 p.m. Driver fled having no helmet nor lights on. Anyone with information is asked to call Police at 853-3147.
IMPERSONATING A PUBLIC SERVANT / POLICE OFFICER
On March 18 between 7 to 9 p.m. at the Schneiders parking lot, a white male about 61" with dark hair and thin build, impersonated a police officer to an adult female while she was attempting to get to her vehicle. Suspect was wearing a red flannel jacket and was clean shaven. Police believe the suspect to have been driving a new, dark color, Ford Taurus. Police further believe the suspect to live in the area. Investigation has led to there being a witness. Police ask this witness or anyone else with information to call 853-3147.
On March 19, it was noticed that someone broke into a shed at the Reddon Park on Prospect St. Anyone with information is asked to call Police.
On March 19 David Neal of Jackson was cited for Disorderly Conduct with a Motor Vehicle at the H.O. Mart for causing a public alarm to patrons with his Jeep.
On March 19, at 11:30 p.m., Connie White of 511 Prospect St. reported an unleashed dog from 219 Washington St. to have charged her while walking. Police have since issued the owner of dog, Robin Murray a warning.
DUI / DRUG PARAPHERNALIA
On March 20, a routine traffic stop led Police to arrest Jesse Yachymiak of Lanesboro for DUI and drug paraphernalia in vehicle along with several other traffic offenses.
On March 23, Police arrested Michael Gervasio of Georgia for gaining access into a coin machine several times at the Laundry area in Schneiders Plaza. Gervasio has since paid restitution to Schneiders for money taken.
On March 23 at 8:35 p.m., Robert Haley of Susquehanna failed to negotiate a turn into the H.O. Mart while traveling West on Main St. striking a utility pole head on. No injuries sustained although vehicle was towed from scene.
On March 28, Police impounded a 4-wheeler being driven by Stephen Foote of Prospect St. for several traffic and ATV violations.
-On March 26, Police cited 4 juveniles for an underage drinking party on Washington St. from a tip.
-On March 27, Police cited 2 juveniles for an under age drinking party on Elm St.
-On March 31, Officers Michael Allen VanKuren and Christopher Michael Burgert of the Bradford County Sheriffs died in the line of duty. The Susquehanna Borough Police went to show full support and salute these officers for paying the ultimate sacrifice for what they did.
BICYCLE PATROL PLEASE SHOW SUPPORT
With summer around the corner, the Susquehanna Police Officers are attempting to start a bicycle patrol. After attending an Underage Drinking Training Program, statistics show this is the #1 prevention to underage drinking. The officers further believe it will provide more security for downtown businesses, prevent loitering and lower criminal mischief incidents. This will be another step in partnership with the community. Their goal is $528.00 for the equipment and decals needed to put on a bike already donated by an officer. Donations can be made to: Borough of Susquehanna Police, Attention: Bike Patrol, 280 Erie Blvd., Susquehanna, PA 18847
The Police are actively working with Crime Watch in 2004. Theyve been an asset to the Police Department on many occasions with their eyes and ears. Please be a part of the organization by coming to meetings held at the Borough building on the fourth Thursday of every month at 7 p.m.
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