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It was reported at the May 3 meeting of the Thompson Boro council that final close-out figures are still, as of the date of this meeting, not available for the boros sewage project. A final cost is needed to determine how much money will be available for street paving. Council president Dennis Price reported that the project engineers are trying to expedite the paperwork, but until all bills and cost reports have been compiled the exact figure is not known. In the meantime, council is concerned that paving costs are rising almost daily, which will impact the scope of the paving that can be done.
Mr. Price reported that locks have been purchased for the pump station and the plant, which council had approved last month; both sites have been secured.
One additional item will be needed for the plant; a ramp will need to be installed at the rear of the building for removal of processed material.
In reviewing a "punch list" of items still to be addressed, it was noted that "t" connections in driveways were to be encased in cement to prevent breakage, but had not been. There is a possibility, Mr. Price said, that the contractor may forego installing the cement as well as the per-unit price that was to be paid for the casings. The same could be said of the washable material that was to be applied to the interior walls of the plant. And, four "t" connections are unaccounted for; some were put in the wrong place. The project engineers are trying to get all of these concerns straightened out, as well as others.
Council noted that, if a homeowner has a complaint attributable to construction, a form is available; a written complaint will be investigated. Video tapes were made prior to construction, which will help determine which complaints are valid.
Council gave approval for Larry Travis, plant operator, to purchase some needed supplies, all of which are relatively inexpensive; any major purchases would first need to be approved by council. In the meantime, Mr. Travis is working up a running budget, including the costs of tests that need to be conducted on a regular basis, in keeping with DEP regulations. Council will contact the Tri-Boro Municipal Authority, Mr. Travis other employer, to discuss if they would allow Mr. Travis to conduct tests at the Tri-Boro facility. Costs (to Thompson) would be lower than an independent lab, and results would be more quickly available. Mr. Price stressed that if Tri-Boro approves, Thompson would be responsible for Mr. Travis wages during the time required for testing and for all materials used. If Tri-Boro is agreeable to the idea, it would only involve use of their equipment. Mr. Price will inquire about attending the next Tri-Boro meeting to discuss a cooperative agreement.
Mr. Travis had some other recommendations for the plant, such as a sump pump and alarm system (to alert in the case of a malfunctioning sump pump), and a computer to store records and reports relevant to the system. The computer would more than pay for itself, he said, by eliminating the expense of hiring an engineer to complete the reports.
As of the meeting date, 25 homes are connected to the new system. But, to get the plant fully operational a load of sludge will need to be brought in from another plant. The sludge itself is free, but the boro will be responsible for the cost of transporting it.
No final word has been received regarding unused grant funds that were allocated to the boro (eligible homeowners received assistance with the hookup costs). Council, with the help of the county Housing and Redevelopment Authority and Rep. Sandra Major, is working to keep the unused portion of the allocation for other property owners within the boro, rather than return it to the state. Mr. Price stressed that those homeowners who did not qualify for funding for hookups must comply with the June 30 deadline, rather than delaying hooking up in anticipation of receiving grant funding; if any progress is made in obtaining permission to apply the grant funds towards additional hookups, council will notify residents as quickly as possible.
The boro solicitor has drawn up a release form for property owners who wish to use their on-lot tanks for storm water; copies of the release will be available from Shane Lewis, the on-site inspector.
Correspondence reviewed included an update on plans for a (new) sewage system for the Yoskowitz property, and a copy of the agreement with the PA American Water Co. for monthly billing to homes connected to the new sewage system, a copy of which must be submitted to the PUC. At the request of PAWC, the boros ordinance pertaining to homeowners monthly sewage charges will be amended, to include the fee that PAWC will charge for billing.
A motion carried to pay Pioneer, the project contractor, their next installment, in the amount of $14,156.81.
In other business, a motion carried to approve payment of $475 to the Eastern Susquehanna County Partnership, the remainder of the boros commitment towards startup funding.
Letters will be sent to the owners of four properties with delinquent sewage maintenance fees; if payment is not received by May 15, legal action will be taken.
A motion carried to opt in to the states Uniform Construction Code, and to hire Shane Lewis as the boros building inspector. Council will meet with Mr. Lewis to set a fee schedule for inspections and for Mr. Lewis to look over the boros existing ordinances.
Several donations have been received for the boros town fair, in the amount of $720.
At last months meeting council had discussed changing the boros official depository (bank); comparisons from the bank currently used and Honesdale National Bank, which holds the line of credit loan for the sewage project, were compared. It was agreed not to change at the present time as there were no significant differences in services/charges.
A motion carried to approve amendments to the boros nuisance ordinance; the changes are in keeping with the state property maintenance code, which council expects to adopt in the near future. The present changes were made due to "vague" wording in the ordinance, and as a "stopgap" measure to address problems that had arisen recently.
One building permit was approved, for an entrance addition to the Carmody property.
Council member Allen Lloyd asked council to consider holding some kind of community cleanup day, to encourage residents to dispose of unwanted items. Several long-term council members said that efforts of this type in the past had not been successful. In one instance, refuse had been left all over the ballfield. After some discussion, Mr. Lloyd agreed to contact Freddys Refuse to see if some kind of one-time, bulk pickup could be arranged (homeowners would be responsible for the fee if they choose to participate).
In response to a letter from the county, council will proceed with the necessary steps to adopt the new, countywide readdressing ordinance. The county will begin work on the actual plan at the end of May, and expects it to take about eight months to complete. It was noted that the county could supersede any municipality that chooses not to enact the ordinance.
In response to complaints about dust and debris on the boros streets, Mr. Price said that not too much was being put into streets improvements at the present time, as paving is expected to be done once the sewer system construction is finished. But, after discussion, he agreed to contact the Susquehanna Boro to see if it would be possible to make arrangements to use Susquehannas street sweeper. And, Jeff Sheldon will contact the county to see if inmate work crews could be used to sweep, and to mow grass and clean sidewalks some time in the future.
New council member Nicholas Sheptak agreed to contact PENNDOT for information on what could be done about a subject he brought up; two (state) directional signs at the edge of the boro had "Starrucca" spelled two different ways, both of them wrong.
A letter will be sent to the Thompson Township supervisors, in thanks for their reassessment and subsequent lowering of charges for plowing and cindering the boros streets.
And, effective May 3, Diane Sheldon has resigned as the boros emergency management coordinator. Anyone interested in the position should contact her for information.
One final item was addressed; a resident asked council about rumors that have been circulating that any home outside the scope of service of the new sewage system is subject to inspection, and that any system installed prior to 1987 will be condemned. Mr. Price responded that DEP requires that all systems be inspected, even those not hooked into the new system. If they are functioning properly, the property owner has nothing to worry about. As for the rumors that systems would be condemned simply because of what year they were installed, they are just that, rumors.
The next meeting will be on Monday, June 7, 7:30 in the fire hall.
Spiffing up New Milford and improving the quality of life of its residents was the topic of various discussions throughout the regular monthly meeting of the Borough Council held last Thursday evening. These ranged from Mayor Joe Taylors suggestion that council members entertain a burning ordinance, especially in the summertime when smoke enters neighbors houses, and especially when the burning is of tires and plastic and paint cans, to what to do about property-owners and neighbors whose property looks less like a yard and more like a junk pile.
As to the suggestion of a burning ordinance, council (absent members Chris Allen and Chris Phillips who were unable to attend) did not pursue discussion at the meeting. It did, however, engage in a lot of discussion about residents who fail to maintain their property. The discussion was prompted by a resident who told council that something needs to be done other than have a neighbor complain on a neighbor.
Theres not, and theres a reason. As Taylor put it, "Unfortunately, council cant go out like a vigilante, nor can borough employees go one someone elses property and clean it up. The problem is," he said, "people are allowed to live like pigs if they want to." "Nobody [on Council or representing it] is going to go looking around for something," echoed council member Jim Carr, "unless its brought to its attention." Thus, a compliant does need to be filed.
Council members were certainly sympathetic, and council member Rick Ainey noted that the borough has successfully prosecuted and enforced its nuisance ordinance which covers unsightly messes, and will continue to do so. Perhaps, it was suggested, a notice could be sent out with the next water bill, reminding residents that the borough does indeed have an active nuisance ordinance with which residents must be compliant, and that the ordinance will be enforced where there is non-compliance. And thats what will be done.
Midtown Park will also be looking a lot better if new curbing and sidewalks can be put in to set it off and discourage tractor-trailers from parking in front of it. Two bids were opened for this project, which would include a curbing planter box, and they were for $19,784 and for $22,525. This was significantly more than Council had budgeted, but they are keen on the project. Perhaps borough employees could do some of the work and preparation? Perhaps there are other ways that some savings can be found? Perhaps if three sides of the park were curbed, and not four sides? Council will ask member Chris Allen to invite the bidders in to find out if there are some ways to bring the cost down. If there are, then the project will be re-bid.
In the meantime, borough secretary Amy Grant will be working on matching grants for sidewalks, hoping to get the funds to put them in on Main Street and Church Street.
Grant also reported that the Rotary Club has said they will have the new flagpole and flag up by Memorial Day. Council talked about inviting Serviceman Kruger to the ceremony, and recognizing him and others who are in the Armed Forces, as well as the Rotary Club, at the Memorial Day program. Some time ago, Kruger presented the borough with a flag that had been in Iraq. Council member Jane Zick would like to purchase a case for the flag so that it can be displayed in the borough building, which the group thought a real nice idea.
New American flag banners will also be lining Main Street and greeting visitors, including a few that will be personalized for the Borough of New Milford. Theres a new sign on the borough building, too, identifying it as such and the consensus of council members is that "it looks great," with kudos to Grant for making it happen.
Grant also reported that surveyors have been out during the week for the sewer project, expected to start any time now. She passed along to those in charge of the constructing that, for the sake of those who do business in the borough, they not schedule Main Street in the middle of the summer, but towards the end of the schedule. Construction is expected to be completed by January.
Which means that the borough can start on its paving project. Carr, who put together the original suggested paving plan, said the plan would have to be revisited once the sewer lines comes in, and he will. Ainey suggested that Council bid the project this October or November, to get started next April or May.
The group also discussed the adoption of a parking ordinance, working with the Boroughs planning commission. Teri Gulick is councils representative to the commission, and that group is looking for some guidance on what council would like to see done.
Ainey pointed out that there is no requirement for any new business to include parking for its customers and would like to see that change. "Weve had complaints about parking for years and years," he noted. It would like to solve the tractor-trailer problem, too, perhaps through alternate side of the street parking regulations. It would like the commission to present it with proposals, which Council will then discuss. If it acts on them, it will ask borough solicitor Jason Legg to write the ordinance and then the borough will enforce it. Who will do the enforcing is a discussion for a later time, when a parking ordinance looks closer to becoming a reality.
Codes Enforcement Officer Jim Sellitto was on hand for his monthly report, which included bring council up to date on where various town businesses stand vis-à-vis Labor and Industry approvals. He also reported that hes had several conversations with a DEP representative on the Peck Hill Street, which was the subject of a lot of discussion about various and alleged violations at last months meeting. The DEP fellow told Sellitto that indeed, Mr. Richardson is in violation with all the burning he is doing on the property, and will be sent a violation notice. Attempts by DEP to get together with Richardson have been fruitless, since it seems he keeps failing to show up for scheduled meetings, but the Department, says Sellitto, is adamant about its enforcement in this situation.
Sellitto also reported that there are four unregistered vehicles on the property, and only one of them has a plate on it. This many vehicles qualifies as a junkyard, and council will send him a junkyard permit and follow up on it, including any penalty for running a junkyard without a permit.
The borough also put up for sale a truck and a John Deere tractor and opened bids for both. There were two bids on the truck, for $2,000 and $2,075. The lone bid on the tractor was for $450. Carr reported that Chris Allen was given an estimated value of $3,500 on the truck, and $1,000 on the tractor. Council decided to accept the truck bids and send them to the equipment committee which Carr heads, and to send the tractor bid to the committee for its accepting or rejecting.
Regarding the Rail Authority, Rick Ainey reported that he got a letter on the day of the meeting, requesting his resignation from it. Ainey has been unable to attend a meeting for a while, principally because the meetings are held at 10 a.m. on a Friday morning. He requested in writing some time ago that the Authority think of changing the time. Apparently, it wont. Ainey expressed his concern that the time is inconvenient for a good sector of people in the county to have to be at work at that hour, and that these people will lack representation on the Authority. He hoped that the Commissioners, who he thought would appoint his replacement, would consider a New Milford resident to take his place, because when it comes to the rails, the borough has much to offer.
Before adjourning, Grant reminded members that John Hudak of BUI, the consulting firm that will be doing UCC inspections for the borough, would be making a presentation at the borough building at 6 p.m. on May 12.
It approved the Little Leagues request to move a couple of picnic tables from under the pavilion for days when games are played, with the tables returned when the games are over.
The next regular meeting of the New Milford Borough Council is scheduled for 7 p.m. on June 3 in the Borough Building on Main Street.
C. School Tax Increase Likely
Forest City Regional School Districts $9.2 million budget will cost taxpayers in participating communities an average of five dollars more per month if the tentative spending plan approved last week is finalized in June without change.
On the surface it appears that Pleasant Mount and Clinton II are getting a larger tax increase than the municipalities in Susquehanna and Lackawanna Counties. However, Karen Forsette, district business manager, said a difference in the assessment ratios of the three counties pretty much balances things out. For example, Susquehanna Countys tax rate is based on an assessment of 50 percent of true value, while in Wayne County it is 35 percent.
The new tax rate, again assuming there are no changes in the budget when the school board considers it for final adoption on June 7, show Pleasant Mount and Clinton II (Browndale area) going from 191.6 to 202.2 mills, while Forest City, Union Dale and Herrick Township only increase from 27.8 to 28.9 mills. Vandling in Lackawanna County will see its school tax rate climb from 63.3 to 68.2 mills.
A contributing factor to the tax increase is a one-time payment of $70,000 needed to liquidate a loan that paid for renovations in the school cafeteria. Mrs. Forsette said the amount will take 3 1/2 mills from the average increase of eight mills.
Of the total amount needed to support the budget for the 2004-2005 school year, Mrs. Forsette said 49 percent of the required funds are generated by local revenues, 48 percent by state funds, and three percent in federal funds. She also said that unfunded but mandated expenses eat up a sizable amount of money annually. As examples, she pointed to such costs as salaries and benefits, utilities, insurances, text books, and supplies.
"Ninety-one percent of our instructional costs goes to salaries and benefits," Mrs. Forsette said.
The vote on the new budget and tax increase was 8-1. Director Al Dyno cast the lone negative vote while keeping a campaign promise that he would not support any tax increase. Mr. Dyno continued to press for a reduction in the tax increase and, while she promised to try, Mrs. Forsette said it would be tough.
Despite the sizable tax increase, Forest City Regionals spending remains below the state average in a number of categories. The districts 47.78 percentage of local revenue requirements is well below the state average of 53.08 percent. And the operating cost per student of $8,865 is below the state average of $9,547.
In another matter, the board rejected a request from the Susquehanna County Library Association for a donation of two dollars per student. A revised motion that would have given the county $1.50 and Wayne County 50 cents, went down by a 3-6 vote.
Other motions approved by the board include-
-Designating Community Bank and Trust as the depository for the 2004-2005 school year.
-Permitting the business manager to transfer up to $500,000 from the general fund to a Capital Reserve Account.
-Hiring the following substitute teachers: Kathy McHenry, business technology; Angela Giglia and Kelly Svecz, elementary; and, Thaddeus Moyer, health and physical education.
-Accepting the resignation of Joseph Malicky as Junior Varsity baseball coach.
Joseph F. Mesiti, Carbondale, and passenger Kristy Latwinsky, Nicholson, received minor injuries on May 5 when the 1994 Dodge Shadow that Mesiti was driving struck a rock cut and rolled over onto its roof on the exit ramp of Interstate 81 at Lenox. Both were wearing seat belts and the vehicle was moderately damaged.
On the evening of May 4 in Rush Township a 4-month old infant girl was discovered by her mother to be not breathing. EMS responded to the scene and transported the baby to the Endless Mountains Health System in Montrose where the baby was pronounced dead. An autopsy is pending.
HIT AND RUN
A person driving in the wrong lane and traveling under the railroad viaduct in Brooklyn Township on the morning of May 1 struck the mirror of a 1996 Dodge Dakota driven by Richard Thomas of Kingsley. Anyone with information, please call the State Police at 465-3154.
Someone entered the home of Kelly Lynn Birchard, Nicholson, on the morning of May 1 and took money from a safe deposit box, as well as a camcorder, loose change and a silver ring with a small diamond-all of which were in a bedroom of the house. Anyone with information, please call the State Police at 465-3154.
THEFT BY UNLAWFUL TAKING
Franklin Township was the victim when someone took several open and box-end wrenches and hammers from a township tractor parked at the intersection of Mitchell Road and Route 29 sometime between April 28 and 30. The person(s) also removed the fuel cap and hydraulic fluid cap from the tractor. Anyone with information, please call the State Police at 465-3154.
TWO-VEHICLE CRASH, MINOR INJURIES
Gary Henry, 50, Brackney, was taken to Wilson Hospital with minor injuries when his 2002 Ford Escape was rear-ended by a Chevy Cavalier driven by Ashley Smith, 19, Camptown, PA, on the morning of May 1. Both vehicles were moderately damaged and towed from the scene, and both drivers were wearing seat belts.
Casey Rose, 17, Montrose, was traveling at a high rate of speed on Post Pond Road in Bridgewater Township when he lost control of his vehicle and hit several trees. He will be charged in this May 1 incident.
TWO-VEHICLE CRASH, MINOR INJURIES
On the afternoon of May 1, Joshua Taylor, 22, Montrose, was stopped on Route 706 in Bridgewater Township and waiting to make a left-hand turn when his vehicle was rear-ended by one driven by Becky Tompkins, 21, Susquehanna. Both Taylor and Tompkins were wearing seat belts, and no serious injury was reported, although they were assisted by the Montrose EMS.
Both Ronald Dean, 32, Laceyville, and William Cabot, 53, Gouldsboro, face charges stemming from an argument on the late afternoon of May 1 at a trailer on Carter Road in Auburn Township and in which threats were claimed to have been made.
Richard Zielewicz, 45, and his wife Karen, 47, both of Silver Lake Township, face charges resulting from a May 1 domestic dispute where both claimed the other person slapped them.
Sometime between April 1 and 14, someone removed several items from the Forest Lake Township utility vehicle, including two Husquvarna chain saws. Anyone with information, please call the State Police at 465-3154.
On April 10, someone threw a rock through the glass door of Sealing and Paving in the Hallstead Plaza on Route 11 in Great Bend Township, and smashed it. Anyone with information, please call the State Police at 465-3154.
A 13-year old juvenile wearing a helmet and driving an ATV along Whitney Road in Thompson Township failed to negotiate a curve, went into the tree line and struck a rock. The teenager injured his leg in this May 1 incident. State Police remind the public that ATVs are NOT to be driven on the roadways.
Raymond Yeung of Johnson City, driving a 1998 Corolla, failed to yield the right of way after stopping at the intersection of Routes 11 and 492 in New Milford. He collided with a 2002 Chevy driven by Mark Jones of New Milford. No injuries were reported in this May 1 incident, Yeung was issued a citation for the violation, and Vogels Towing assisted at the scene.
HARASSMENT BY COMMUNICATIONS
Three times between April 24 and 25, Colleen Carroll of West Auburn Township and a juvenile female received telephone calls from a man saying he was a representative from Hustler magazine.
Ted Mills, Uniondale, reported that sometime between April 16 and 17, someone spray-painted two of his vehicles.
HARASSMENT, TERRORISTIC THREATS
A domestic incident occurred on April 22 between victim Suzanne Lynn Gromandin and suspect Victor Glenn Gromandin at the Royal Trailer Park in Clifford Township.
Richard Steward, Friendsville, along with some family members, chased down some would-be burglars from their property on April 9. Three males were seen on the property and ran off into the woods.
Jeffrey Robbins, 46, Uniondale, was wearing a seat belt and was not injured when he lost control of his vehicle along Swetland Road in Clifford Township on the evening of April 29. His vehicle went off into an open field and flipped onto its roof. He was assisted at the scene by Clifford Township EMS.
A white male in his early 20s and driving a red Chevrolet Monte Carlo pumped $15 of gas at the Shell Gas Station in Lenox and fled north on Route 92 on April 28.
Gary Allen Stanley, RR5, Montrose, and Kathleen Marie Thomas, RR5, Montrose, on April 3.
Ryan L. Smith and Sarah L. Tennant, both of Vestal, NY, on April 17.
Chad Robert Foster and Denielle Lynn, both of Binghamton, NY, on March 30.
Graham A. and Dorothy J. Anthony to David Symons, in New Milford Township for $55,000.
Donald A. and Deborah L. ODell to Donald A. and Deborah L. ODell, in Harford Township for one dollar.
Douglas G. Kilmer to Paul Kilmer and Sharon Kilmer, in Clifford Township for one dollar.
Rita Fisher, Eugene Fisher and Michele Fisher to Susan L. Thek and Brennan N. Thek Sr., in Forest City for $81,900.
NBC Properties to South New Milford Baptist Church, in New Milford Township for $6,000.
Susquehanna County Tax Claim Bureau, Bernard L. Hurlburt Sr. (by Tax Claim), and Melissa L. Hurlburt (by Tax Claim) to John Sholtiss, in Oakland Township for $6,000.
Susquehanna County Tax Claim Bureau, Shane P. Glennon (by Tax Claim) to Michele McHale in Montrose for $26,741.
Susquehanna County Tax Claim Bureau, William Paulin (by Tax Claim), Carrie A. Paulin (by Tax Claim) to Michael K. Fitzsimmons, in Forest City, for $1,575.
Rose A. Bliss, Rosalie A.Kish (nbm), Rosalie A. Crawford and Donald Crawford, in New Milford Township for $139,000.
Francis and Sheila Csuha to John J. and Donna L. Brozoskie, in Harford Township for $17,500.
Christopher T. and Cathleen A.Tracy to James C. Wilson, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.
Jack M. and Therese J. Rood to Jack M. Rood, in Hallstead Borough for one dollar.
Ronda S. Durling to Dale R. Durling, in Hop Bottom Borough for one dollar.
Robert and Joann Kramer to Jacob L. Smith and Francis M. Smith, in Middletown Township for $5,000.
Archbald Rod & Gun Club to Leonard and Charlotte Roshak, in New Milford Township for $6,000.
Helen Kaschak to Margaret Deminovich, in Clifford Township for one dollar.
Clyde and Rena L.Hutchins (by sherrif), Rena L. Bunk (by sheriff) to William Craig and Christine Marie Good, in Dimock Township for $53,000.
Michael T. and Karen Ann Zub (by sherrif) to Federal Home Mortgage Corp. in Bridgewater Township for $3,486.
David J. and Elizabeth Foster to Louis T. Tokos, in Choconut Township, for $135,000.
Jeffrey J. Walter, Robyn P. Sodon (nbn), Robyn P. Walter to Jeffrey J. and Robyn P. Walter, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Norman E. and Dorothy Turner to Norman E. and Dorothy Turner, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Frieda Echeverria (nka) Frieda Metcalfe to Frieda Metcalfe, in Jackson Township for one dollar.
Robert W. Wywoda, Peter Wywoda, and Georgeann Wywoda to Priscilla Andrewski, in Herrick Township, for $10,000.
Stephen Boruch to Joseph I. Prehooka, Jason L.Prehooka, and Joseph A. Bartonex, in Thompson Township for $10,000.
Robert M. and Mabel R. Morse to Scott J. and Laura L. Christina, in Clifford Township for $100,000.
Howard W. Pascoe Jr. and Sharon R. Pascoe to Floyd Parrish, in Bridgewater Township for $88,450.
Warren L. and Dolores T. Stone to James J. Krieg, John J. Krieg and Susan E. Krieg, in Ararat Township for $170,000.
Brian C. Latrhop (aka) Brian C. Lathrop and Susan Lathrop to Matthew and Angela Nebzydoski, in Bridgewater Township for $24,000.
John W. and Constance Tellep to Rural Investments, in Ararat Township for $7,500.
Joseph P. and Patricia T. Gyuraki to Leighter Corp., in Herrick Township, for $185,000.
Chast Manhattan Mortgage Corp. to United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, in Susquehanna for one dollar.
Gerald F. Sackett to George W. and Barbara M. Weideman, in Harford Township for $220,000.
Stanton and Sally A. Carvin to Larry L. and Mary J. Carvin, in Great Bend Township for $10,500.
Barney B. and Melissa L. Wilkins to Sandra Gardner, Cory Gardner and Timothy Gardner, in Harford, Gibson and Lenox townships for $335,000.
Ruth T. States, Richard G. States, and Dorothy C. States to Richard G. States and Dorothy C. States, in Springville Township for one dollar.
Ann Owen (aka) Ann Carlisle Owen to Larry P. Schaefer, in Franklin Township for $73,000.
Keith E. and Pamela S. Brant to Keith E. and Pamela S. Brant, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.
Janet E. Grace, Robert G. Grace to Kristina M. Olah, in Bridgewater Township for $3,000.
Andrew J. Agler to Mark A. Hendrickson and Amanda Hilton, in Oakland Borough for $51,000.
Cheryl Lynn Mawlimey to Linda L. Barkman and George W. Barkman, in Franklin Township for $60,000.
Jon L. and Cherrie Claek to Fox Enterprises Inc., in Jackson Township for $89,000.
Stephen J. and Judith J . McHale to Jason W. and Amanda S. Rozell, in Bridgewater Township for $108,000.
Vosburg Family Properties to Murnal C. and Elizabeth M. Abate, in Ruch Township for $119,000.
Robert J. Selinsky to Joseph P. Franceski III, in Forest City, for $25,000.
Edwin D. Grow (Estate) to Beverly J. Grow, in Springville Township for one dollar.
Beverly J. Grow to Shelly A. Krishak, in Springville Township for one dollar.
Aleck and Mary Novack to Arthur J. and Maryann S. Trecoske, in Silver Lake Township, for one dollar.
Susquehanna County Tax Claim Bureau, Stella Restaino (by Tax Claim) to Thomas J. Lopatofsky and Donna M. Fekette, in Clifford Township for $7,072.
Susquehanna County Tax Claim Bureau, David W. Butts (by Tax Claim) to Thomas J. Lopatofsky and Donna M. Fekette, in Thompson Township for $2,179.
Susquehanna County Tax Claim Bureau, George R. Warner Jr. (by Tax Claim) to Thomas J. Lopatofsky and Donna M. Fekette, in New Milford Township for $20,500. Susquehanna County Tax Claim Bureau, Estate of Mary Pratt (by Tax Claim) to Susquehanna County Land Sales Inc., in Lenox Township, for $783.
William J. Gilbo of Montrose vs. Diane Gilbo of Montrose, on April 26.
Frank Allen Micklo of Hop Bottom vs. Linda Kay Drake of Peckville, on April 26.
Helen Viteritto of Montrose vs. Larry Viteritto of New Milford, on April 27.
James Frisbie of Carbondale vs. Carole Frisbie of Hop Bottom, on April 8.
Joann Howard of Hallstead vs. Perry Howard of Hallstead, on April 12.
Frank Sanfilippo of New Milford vs. Theresa Sanfilippo of Binghamton, NY, April 12.
Dale R. Durling of Hop Bottom vs. Ronda S. Durling of New Milford, April 14.
Melony Romatowski of Meshoppen vs Scott J. Romatowski of Phillipsburg, ME, April 15.
Donald H. Capron Sr. of Hop Bottom vs. Bobbie Radcliff Capron of The Villages, FL, April 18.
The Starrucca Borough Council conducted its regularly scheduled meeting April 4, at the Starrucca Community Hall. Council president Pete Downton presided over the meeting, which began at 7:00 p.m.
Other council members present were Andy Bennett, Mary Ann DeBalko, Paul Everett, Lou Gurske, Helen Haynes and Robert Weldy. Mayor Frank Mroczka was absent.
Residents present included Darl Haynes, Charlie Levchak, Fred Rhone and Kirk Rhone
As the meeting began, attention turned once again to roads and road maintenance in the borough. Mr. Haynes remarked that he could find no record that Dave Hobart had been hired to do winter maintenance for 2004-2005 and that he shouldnt be billing the borough.
Mr. Downton answered that Mr. Hobart had done the work and had properly asked to be paid. Mr. Weldy added that no matter what might or might not be in Borough Council Minutes the borough had hired Mr. Hobart in good faith by its actions and offered a motion to acknowledge that an error had been made. The motion carried unanimously.
The treasurer's reported was now presented, including 10 bills totaling $1,295.43, to be paid from the General Fund and two bills from Dave Hobart, totaling $1,277.50, to be paid the account holding money paid to the borough from the state Liquid Fuels Tax Fund. The treasurer also detailed March 2004 deposits to the General Fund, which totaled $2,984.63 and included a March 12 deposit of $2,242.28.
Mr. Downton said he had gotten a letter from the former borough treasurer, Dean Rhone, stating that Rhone had made the deposit and that it included a check from the county tax claim bureau, a check from the Starrucca Boro tax collector and a check from his personal account to cover a real estate transfer tax payment that he had mistakenly put into the tax collector's account.
Mr. Everett said he would like further clarification of the deposit because amounts mentioned in Mr. Rhone's letter did not match amounts shown in documents obtained from Pennstar Bank concerning the March 12 deposit. Mr. Downton remarked that the borough could ask the county recorder, Ginger Golden, what the amount of the transfer tax might have been.
Mr. Bennett asked whether the borough should spend the money deposited March 12 before determining its origin and requested the borough treasurer ask Ginger Golden what had been paid to the borough during 2003 for real estate transfers.
Mr. Gurske then made a motion to pay all outstanding bills immediately except those offered by Mr. Hobart, which had to be delayed until April 9th, when the state would transfer the 2004 Liquid Fuels money to the borough's account. The motion, which was seconded by Mr. Weldy, carried on a vote of five to two, with Mrs. DeBalko and Mr. Everett voting no.
Mr. Haynes and Kirk Rhone, two of the three auditors conducting the audit of the borough's finances for 2003, were in the audience, and Mr. Downton asked them how the audit was going. Mr. Rhone answered that the auditors were progressing and had a filing date extension to the end of the month.
He noted there was supposed to be an audit between borough treasurers, that none had been done during 2003, when the borough was served by three different treasurers, and that the borough now had yet another treasurer.
He said the auditors wanted to make sure they were up to the moment on the audits. He asked the borough to provide the auditors bank statements and canceled checks for March 2004, noting they already had such documentation for January and February. Mr. Downton asked the treasurer to provide the documents Kirk Rhone requested.
The treasurer reported that the Workman's Compensation Tax had not been paid for the last quarter of 2003. Mr. Bennett made a motion that the tax be paid; the motion was seconded by Mr. Everett and carried unanimously.
The council then examined and unanimously approved building permit applications for four borough property owners.
Two permits were approved for Deborah and Kenneth Molkenthin, one for construction of 2,260-square-foot house, one for construction of garage with workshop, loft and stall.
A permit for Robert and Delores Martin for the addition of a 34- by 8-foot porch to the house, replacement of front room windows and to replace the garage roof.
A permit for Thomas Galiardo to add a 672-square-foot addition above the existing garage attached to his house.
A permit for Paul and Lareda Everett for renovations to include roofing, electrical work, foundation repairs, wallboard installation, insulation and so forth. Mr. Everett abstained from voting on the permit.
Mr. Weldy suggested the council form a budget committee to provide for better planning of things like capital improvements and generally to be more precise in how the council will spend the borough's money. Mr. Everett remarked that it would be nice if the council knew in August, for example, whether the borough's finances were ahead of or behind where they should be at that moment.
Motion to a form a budget committee carried unanimously. The new committee is made up of council members Andy Bennett, Paul Everett and Robert Weldy and secretary/treasurer Peter Wynne.
Quarryman John Petroski of Pleasant Mount, who is planning to operate a quarry on the Soden property on King Hill Road, asked for a letter from the council declaring that the borough has no ordinance governing surface mining within the borough. The council directed the borough secretary to write Mr. Petroski a letter to that effect but also specifying that the borough expected him to follow all relevant state and federal guidelines in his quarry operations.
At the suggestion of the borough secretary/treasurer, a motion that petty cash in the amount of $50 a month be made available to the secretary/treasurer carried unanimously.
Malfunctioning Septic System
A motion that the borough secretary begin the process of notifying a property owner on Starrucca Creek Road that the borough must have some resolution to the problem of the malfunctioning septic system on that property, that the notice be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, and specifying that the council must have an answer within 30 days of receipt of the notice and that a copy of the notice be sent to borough solicitor Warren Schloesser carried unanimously.
Mr. Everett reported that he had heard from planner Carson Helfrich that the borough's comprehensive plan had been completed and that Mr. Helfrich had recommended that the borough begin the process of advertising and adopting the plan in May. Mr. Downton asked the borough secretary to find out how, when and where the plan should be advertised.
A motion to begin the process of adopting the comprehensive plan carried unanimously.
Council of Governments/Construction Code
Mr. Everett remarked that before the council adopted the state's Universal Construction Code (UCC), which must be done by early July, council would have to reverse a decision not to adopt the code that was made by the borough council sometime between 2000 and 2002.
Mr. Everett explained to the audience that if Starrucca decided to "opt out" of the UCC property owners wanting to build within the borough would still have to have permits, that these would have to be approved by "third-party providers" and the borough would have no control over the prices these providers charged for their services. Action on adopting the UCC was then tabled until May.
Mr. Everett reported that the Wayne County constable wanted to bring his crew to paint the community hall toward the end of the month and that the Starrucca Civic Association had agreed to pay for the necessary materials. A discussion of a color scheme followed, and Mr. Everett suggested that the Civic Association be allowed to make the decision on a color scheme; motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Gurske reported that he had an estimate of $324.14 for the materials needed to build a planned borough office alongside the stage. He noted that work should begin during the second week of May on ramps for use by the handicapped at the community hall.
Council asked the borough secretary to write to the 18 businesses with billboards on the recreation field fence, asking them to contribute once again to the Recreation Field Fund.
Council president Downton reported that he had spoken to Dan Boughton of Lanesboro, who has mowed the recreation field and other borough properties for the last several years. Mr. Downton said Mr. Boughton wanted to raise his fee $100, to $950 this year to cover the steep increase in fuel prices. Commending the quality of Mr. Boughton's work, the council voted unanimously to accept his offer.
A motion to allow the Little League to use the recreation field once again in 2004 carried unanimously.
Mr. Everett requested that whatever road work was done this summer it conform wherever possible with the specifications detailed in a brochure from the Local Technical Assistance Program that Kirk Rhone had presented to the council at the borough's March 18 workshop meeting on roads.
Mr. Downton presented the plan for road maintenance this summer that had been prepared by the Road Committee, a plan similar to one that had been offered by Mr. Rhone and Darl Haynes at the workshop meeting. The council president added that he wanted to advertise for bids as soon as possible and to schedule a special meeting to open those bids.
A motion to authorize the borough secretary to advertise for roadwork bids carried unanimously. The council also decided that the special meeting to open roadwork bids should be scheduled for April 22 at 7:00 p.m.
Fred Rhone asked whether he could fill potholes on Fairmount Road, noting that the borough had some "modified" in piles in that neighborhood. No one on council had any objection; motion carried unanimously.
Pete Downton stepped down as a member on Road Committee and was replaced by Mrs. DeBalko, who will also chair the committee.
Action on plans to replace the locks on the Starrucca Community Hall was tabled until May.
At this time, approximately 10:20 p.m., the council went into executive session, which lasted until shortly after midnight. When the regular meeting resumed, there being no further business, meeting adjourned.
Forest City residents who have been accustomed to their house numbers for years and years may get new ones next year. The change is in keeping with a countywide plan to standardize street addresses and map roadways.
Kevin Pietriyk, county coordinator of the plan, advised the borough council of the impending change last week. He said the current numbers would be accepted for one year after the change to allow businesses and residents to use up pre-printed stationary, envelopes and checks.
Council will need to pass an ordinance approving the countys Road Naming and Addressing Policy. The policy sets standards for the naming of thoroughfares, posting thoroughfare signs and assigning addresses to addressable structures. Mr. Pietriyk said the borough would be included in the program even if council does not adopt the ordinance.
The purpose of the change is to provide emergency services (ambulances and fire fighting equipment) with reliable location information and will enable efficient responses. In a letter to council that preceded Mr. Pietriyks visit, the county commissioners said without reliable mapping and logical addressing, responses are often delayed and could cause loss of lives and property.
"This new addressing system," the commissioners said, "will allow Susquehanna County the capability to provide enhanced 911 services to wireless (cellular) callers. We will be working directly with wireless service providers to enable 911 dispatchers to narrow the location of a person reporting an emergency via cell phone."
In another matter, council agreed to create a voucher system for all municipal purchases. Department heads will be authorized to sign vouchers from one dollar to $300. Council approval will be required for purchases or services in excess of $300.
The motion to begin using vouchers came after Finance Chairman Paul J. Amadio said it is impossible to keep up with the borough spending unless a tracking system is created. Council President Jim Lowry noted that there has been talk of a voucher system but it was not followed up. This lead to a motion by Mr. Amadio to begin using the system. It passed unanimously.
Kelly Twilley thanked Mayor Frank Brager and borough employees, Andy Warholic and Sam Yankauskas for their help with the new arboretum recently completed on the school grounds. Ms. Twilley said that the trio was instrumental in assisting students in the planting of trees around the school grounds.
Ms. Twilley, who is a teacher in the Forest City Regional School District, secured the grant from the US Forestry Service to establish a community arboretum and nature trail on the school grounds. The project has been completed.
In budget matters, Sue Coleman, secretary/treasurer, reported that some items are over budget and some are approaching the close. She pointed out some unexpected costs such as $652 for time clocks, $1,199 for repairing the elevator, $1,100 to repair the sewer truck, and $1,685 to install a steel door and to seal off two other doors in the police department. She also said that the borough began the year with $6,272 instead of the anticipated $15,800.
The Great Bend Post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars not only supports the local ambulance service, they became the emergency response team itself at the Great Bend Borough Council meeting on May 6, with crucial assistance to the Great Bend/Hallstead Ambulance Service (HGBAS) at a time of urgent need. Four of their members have volunteered to form a Board of Directors for the Service, they have helped to recruit new members, and one of them even volunteered to take EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) training himself.
Eddie Arnold, current Commander of VFW Post 6223, Adjutant Tom Lacey, and two supporting members appeared before Council to voice their unconditional support for the Ambulance Service, offering whatever it takes, "because we need this ambulance in our town." According to Commander Arnold, the VFW was instrumental in creating the ambulance corps some 50 years ago, and has supported it vigorously ever since. He pledged that "there will always be a Great Bend/Hallstead ambulance corps," offering to buy land, erect buildings, or almost anything else to ensure that the community can continue to rely on this vital service.
For a meeting that usually attracts only one or two, the 15 or so people who attended the session was a crowd, and most of them were there to hear about, and many of them to participate in, the discussion about the ambulance service that was recently in danger of losing its license. John Brant, current leader of the dwindling group of courageous volunteers, had an upbeat message, commending everyone involved for their effort in recruiting and dealing with the paperwork necessary to keep the struggling team afloat and on the job for the people of Great Bend Borough, Great Bend Township, Hallstead Borough and Liberty Township. "We will be relicensed," said he.
Last month Mr. Brant told the Borough Council that the Ambulance Service was in talks with the Broome Volunteers about a possible merger that would extend the life of the local service. There has been some concern in the community that such a move might put local control of the ambulance corps in jeopardy. Mr. Brant now says that merger discussions have ended, but that the Broome group is still expected to bring equipment and people to the area when needed. They "will be coming down to support us, to help us out," he said. According to Mr. Brant, the Broome teams will operate on their own liability and under their own workmans' compensation arrangements, but will help to flesh out a full 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week Advanced Life Support (ALS) service for the Great Bend/Hallstead area.
Great Bend Borough provides the land for the ambulance service garage, and pays the workmens' compensation insurance for the local volunteers, who are not directly affiliated with the Great Bend Fire Department. Council members Mike Wasko and Jerry MacConnell made sure that everyone was aware of the agreement between the Ambulance Service and the Borough that requires that the service continue to be operated as a non-profit organization. There doesn't seem much likelihood that the Ambulance Service would ever become a for-profit corporation. With that cleared up, everyone seemed satisfied that, at least for now, the crisis regarding ambulance service in Great Bend has been resolved. Council decided to publish that sense in a letter to interested parties in the local area.
And that was only the beginning of a meeting that stretched to nearly three-and-a-half hours, and was highlighted with the introduction of the Borough's new Secretary, Sheila Guinan, who got off to a flying start with a hefty meeting package in a new format, and whose knowledge of local affairs was a part of much of the discussion. Immediately following her introduction, Council went into executive session. According to Council Chair Ray Holtzman, the session was to discuss a "personnel problem," which he said had been resolved. Both of the Borough's employees attended the meeting, and Ms. Guinan herself was present in the executive session.
Laura Conarton, representing the soon-to-be expanded Hallstead/Great Bend Sewer Authority, attended to get signatures on documents that will extend the life of the Sewer Authority to at least 2054. Financing for the extension of the sewer line down U.S. Route 11 to the New Milford Township line will extend that long. Construction on the new sewer system in New Milford Borough and out to the Blue Ridge School campus is expected to begin shortly. It will connect with the existing system in Hallstead and Great Bend and use the sewage plant in Great Bend Borough.
Council renewed and extended their debate on the merits of various configurations of lawn mowing equipment. Grass grows rapidly this time of year, and Borough employee Alan Grannis said he has become frustrated trying to get the Borough's old lawn tractor to work, noting that the newer big tractor is too ungainly to mow properly in Memorial Park and around the Borough building. Yet the Borough's bank accounts are nearly empty. The treasurer's report showed less than $3,000 remaining in the general fund. Council hashed over the merits of a lawn tractor versus a "push" mower, or maybe both, but could they afford both? And should they have a trailer to trundle the equipment about town and among the Borough's 3 popular parks? And are Toro tractors better than John Deere? And should they get a cheap one now just to get the work done? In the end they seemed to decide to take some money from an account set aside for housing rehabilitation under an old (and now defunct) state program to allow for up to $4,000 to purchase a mower of some kind, and a trailer. They hope to establish an internal savings program that will gradually pay the money back into the rehab account.
The rehab program itself has a problem right now. One of the program's borrowers has apparently declared bankruptcy. As holders of a second mortgage on the property in question, the Borough will follow the tax man and whoever holds the first mortgage. Mr. MacConnell asked that something be done to collect "our money," the remaining part of a loan of some $10,000.
There is as yet no final contract between the Borough and the Area Agency on the Aging, which runs the Blue Ridge Senior Center in the borough building through Barnes-Kasson Hospital. The Borough and the hospital have been negotiating a new agreement for several months; the Borough has been asking for either more rent, or some kind of arrangement of in-kind services to help alleviate the rising cost of operating the building for the senior citizen program.
Council also passed a measure that will allow the county's emergency management system to proceed with reassigning addresses. The idea is to rename some streets and roads for more consistency, and then subsequently assign physical addresses to each dwelling so that emergency responders - in this case the much-loved local Ambulance Service - can find a location more quickly.
When those dwellings are constructed or renovated, the owners or builders will need permits, and soon, inspections for compliance with standard codes, the so called Uniform Construction Code, or UCC. Since the Borough doesn't have the resources to hire its own inspectors, and doesn't want to subject property owners to potentially costly delays, Great Bend Borough will be joining the county Council of Governments (COG) to handle building permits. The UCC means major changes to the way construction is done in rural areas like Susquehanna County, and is mandated by new state law. COG has been ramping up for the changes; many more municipalities have been joining to take advantage of COG's organization and expertise. Great Bend Borough has been reluctant in the past to join COG for codes enforcement, but council has decided that to be able to meet the new requirements, they have no choice.
Streets commissioner Joe Collins reported that the Blue Ridge Honor Society will undertake to help spiff up the town's parks this summer. The high-performing students may be working alongside others from the courthouse, sentenced to community service. It may be an interesting mix.
Great Bend Borough's annual Fun Day this year will be on Saturday, June 5th, from noon to four, in Memorial Park. Fun Day Chair Bea Alesky is once more pleading for volunteers to help out for the popular early-summer day of entertainment, food and games for the whole family.
The Great Bend Borough Council meets on the first Thursday of each month usually for somewhat less than three and a half hours beginning at 7:00 p.m., in the Borough building on Elizabeth Street.
Following is a police report compilation from Thompson Borough for the year 2003: Burglary 11; Garbage 10; Traffic 43; Animals (dogs, horses, pigs) 30; MVA 9; Electric Lines Down (trees) 8; Alarms 5; Domestic 25; Harassment/Phone 12; Vandalism 11; Prowlers 6; Missing Persons 4; Theft 15; 911 Hang-ups 4; Burning 14; Misc. 15; Assist Other Police Depts. 3.
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