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Susquehanna Boro council met on May 11 with all members present.
Correspondence received included a letter from the Susquehanna Community Development Association; Hometown Days have been scheduled for July 23 and 24. The Association is aiming for a celebration similar to last years Sesquicentennial, with games, food, crafts, entertainment, and vendors. Permission was given by council for booths to be set up in the area between the boro building and the fire hall. The Association will set up a meeting with boro secretary Margaret Biegert to discuss further details, such as insurance coverage for the event.
During the secretarys report, Mrs. Biegert asked if community service workers could be used to edge and clean sidewalks where property owners have not taken care of them. A group of community service workers have already cleaned an area near the bridge, where household garbage had been dumped.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints will be holding their annual pageant on June 26. The churchs youth offer to volunteer for community projects in the area during the weekend of the pageant; last year, they helped with Sesquicentennial preparations. This year, Mrs. Biegert suggested that they could help elderly residents with yard work; interested residents should call the boro office to register.
A list of Main Street Committee subcommittees was provided to council, along with a list of tasks those subcommittees will be responsible for. A draft of a letter to be sent to local business owners was approved; it requests sponsorships for the Main St. project.
The Christ Episcopal Church is applying for a Keystone grant for restoration of the buildings brickwork; the project will complement both the Main St. Project and the work of the Susquehanna Depot Restoration Committee. A member of the church, Gary Wilder was present to answer any questions that might arise. He explained that the church was built in 1898 and is an integral part of the boro, as well as a focal point for the area. Although it is beautiful inside, some of the brickwork is in need of restoration and there are drainage problems to be addressed. The cost of these repairs is beyond the capability of the churchs members. Council approved a letter of support for the churchs application. Mr. Wilder thanked council for their support.
Barnes-Kasson Hospital will be celebrating its 100th birthday on July 11; council agreed to form a committee to enter a float into the parade planned for the event.
Council approved holding a fishing derby for children during the Hometown Days celebration. Parents will be asked to participate, along with their children. Prizes will be awarded; Mayor Hurley agreed to act as judge.
And, the yearly county tire recycling pickup will be held on June 19 in Great Bend, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.; pre-registration is required. Forms are available at the boro building or in the County Transcript.
Mayor Hurleys report included congratulations to Mrs. Biegert, for her appointment to the county Planning Commission.
American Legion Post 86 will be hosting their annual Memorial Day parade; lineup will begin at 10:30 on the Oakland side of the Veterans Memorial Bridge.
Mrs. Hurley attended the first meeting of the boros new garden club; the club is planning beautification projects for the Main St. area. Seniors from Susquehanna Community School will be invited to help, as part of their senior projects. The SCDA has donated $50 towards start-up costs. A motion carried for the boro to match the donation.
The police department has been interested in starting a bicycle patrol. Mayor Hurley reported that a bike has been donated by an officer; funds to purchase necessary equipment are being solicited from members of the business community. A motion carried to approve the bike patrol, with the stipulation that it will only be used when another, second officer is on duty. Officers Jon Record and Michelle Summers will be using the bike to patrol, to start. Areas to be targeted are Main St., Erie Ave., Grand St. and Jackson Ave.
Mayor Hurley commented that the bike patrol will help the department in their effort to clamp down on underage drinking and DUI incidents. She noted that there has been an increase in animal abuse incidents in the boro recently.
In other business, a motion carried to approve a resolution giving authority for the Tri-Boro Municipal Authority to act as a conduit for Barnes-Kasson Hospital to refinance a bond issue. In order to qualify as tax exempt, the funding must be issued through the authority. Councils approval is required by the PA Municipal Authoritys Act, and no liability would be incurred by the boro.
Topics discussed during public comment included additional thanks for councils support of the Episcopal Church grant application, as well as thanks for extending the sidewalk restoration project further up Main St., past the church.
There was continued discussion about the bicycle patrol, brought up by a resident who lives on the west end of Washington St.; she asked why the patrol could not be extended to include this area, as there have been a number of complaints about speeding vehicles, running stop signs, blaring car radios and open (loud) exhaust systems. Officer Record explained that, for now, the bike patrol will be centering downtown to address incidents of criminal mischief, vandalism and loitering while an officer in the patrol car will be available to answer calls in other areas of the boro.
An individual who had addressed council last month with some codes enforcement concerns asked about a published report that the property in question had cost the boro $1,000; how was this possible, the boro did not "put" money into rental properties. Mrs. Biegert explained that the sum mentioned involved codes enforcement costs; she agreed to furnish the figures during regular business hours. In response to a complaint that the CEO had not responded to phone calls regarding the same property, president Williams assured that Mr. Lewis would return the calls.
Continuing discussion on amending the boros curfew ordinance, it was agreed to use an across-the-board curfew of 10:00 p.m. for all individuals under the age of 18, for all seven days of the week.
The meeting adjourned to an executive session, during which a resident interested in filling the vacancy on council was interviewed. When the meeting reconvened, two nominations were made to fill the council seat; the final vote was in favor of Shane Lewis.
The next meeting will be on Wednesday, May 19, 7:00 p.m. in the boro building.
The Susquehanna County Commissioners are pursuing a plan to install time clocks in all county buildings.
No timetable has been announced but Commissioner Jeff Loomis did rifle off a memo to department heads announcing the impending move. The subject was not discussed at last weeks meeting of the Board of Commissioners but Mr. Loomis said it will be on the agenda of the next meeting of department heads scheduled for May 19.
Loomis said the commissioners eye the move as a means to increase security and efficiency. He said the system will use magnetically encoded individual employee badges that will be swiped through the time recorders (clocks) when employees arrive and leave during a work day.
"The badges will be numbered and programmed," said Mr. Loomis, "so that each employees time will be assigned to the proper department and exported automatically to the chief clerks office. It will keep track of regular and overtime hours worked."
Mr. Loomis said the department heads will still be responsible to ensure that no time abuses occur from employees who punch in early or leave late or that employees do not punch in and out for each other.
The current plan calls for time recorders to be installed in the courthouse and courthouse annex (Warner building), the office complex on Public Avenue, and the county jail.
In matters at the commissioners meeting, Derek Smith, coordinator of the county West Nile Virus Program announced dates for the annual waste tire collection.
Mr. Smith said tires will be accepted at the following places on dates and times mentioned: Great Bend Twp. building, May 29, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Rush ball field, June 5, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Harford Twp. building, June 12, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and, Susquehanna County Recycling Center, June 19, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for tires 16 inch and smaller, and 9 a.m. to noon for large tires.
The fee remains at one dollar a tire for 16-inch tires or smaller, and 10 cents a pound for larger tires. The large tires will only be accepted at the recycling center.
County residents who plan to participate in the program must register prior to the tire collection dates. Registration can be done in person at the recycling center or on a form that must be received before May 21.
John Witiak of Clifford has been awarded a contract for the program at a set up cost of $400 per collection site and a bid price of $163.80 per ton. Mr. Witiak was the only bidder.
The commissioners passed a motion donating an aged paper cutting machine to the Susquehanna Depot Historical Society. The commissioners said the huge machine, which has been stored in the courthouse for generations, may already be historical.
Resolutions passed by the commissioners accomplished the following purposes:
-Designated Barnes Kasson Hospital/Susquehanna County Transit Authority as coordinator of maintaining equipment and providing transportation service for the general public, the elderly, and the disabled.
-Proclaimed the week of May 16 as Emergency Medical Services Week and encouraged its observation with appropriate programs, ceremonies and activities.
-Proclaimed the month of May as Older Pennsylvanians Month.
Taxes To Rise
At its regular monthly meeting last Friday evening, the Montrose Area School District board of directors unanimously adopted a $21,744,000 preliminary budget for the 2004-2005 school year. This amount is about 5 percent greater than last year. As a result school taxes will be rising by 1.5 mils, which translates to a tax increase of 3.896 percent.
Superintendent Mike Ognosky explained that, about 1 mil of the increase can be attributed to the rise in health care costs for District employees. Employees contribute to the cost of the Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan, whose cost has risen by 68 percent over the last five years.
Board president Ken Gould noted that basically all costs have gone up by a certain percentage over the last year, including salaries, fuel, Access 2 rates, and others. He noted that the board also recently approved four sports staff positions, more technology and numerous other new things. Transportation costs alone total close to $2 million, and the special education budget is significant. However, he explained, if the cost of the additions plus the increase in the recurring costs were added together, the sum would be significantly greater than the 1.5 mil increase.
Superintendent Mike Ognosky explained that, with 300 employees, the District is the second-largest employer in the county, and salaries and benefits represent a good chunk of the budget. District salaries are competitive with and comparable to those paid by other county school districts, he added. "Even a small increase in salary or benefits is going to be a significant number for us to deal with," he said. It is also an employer, reminded director Chris Caterson, that is run entirely on tax dollars federal, state, and local.
On April 22 at one of the five budget meetings held over the last couple of months, the board approved full-day kindergarten for the district and two additional teachers to teach it. Ognosky noted that the cost of these teachers was absorbed into the budget. The initial set up of the kindergarten will be funded by a significant and one-time state grant. Board secretary Lewis Plauny also noted that the Districts overall state subsidy also increased by 2.5 percent.
The vote on the budget was unanimous, and the reason for this is because of the budget process itself. It starts in October and winds up with as many meetings of the board that it takes prior to the budgets approval. Gould explained that board members approach the budget from the bottom up, meaning it reviews around 200 line items. It doesnt do a top-down review, meaning it gets a total figure from administrators and either approves it or asks administrators to try to change it.
"We want to go line-item by line-item," said Gould. "We want to be informed about where the money is going, on what its being spent. We are all very informed as to where the tax dollars are going should someone ask." Added director George Gow, "Montrose is the only school district I know of that does it this way. Its not that we dont trust our administrators. We just want to be as best informed as we can be when we pass our budget."
Caterson put it this way: "We vote unanimously for the budget because we all built the budget. And I think thats the difference between us and other districts."
In other district matters, the board moved speedily through its agenda. It approved the payment of several 22 Fund payments. This included final payments on the artwork that now grace the high schools gym and cafeteria ("the coolest in Pennsylvania," said Caterson), and a $26,000 payment to Highland Associates for the engineering study performed on the Choconut school for a building project that has since been put on hold indefinitely. Caterson asked if the information it provided would still be relevant in the future. It would, replied Plauny, because it reported on the status of the infrastructure of the school, which will not change and be a base to work from until such time as the situation warrants or the ability arises to address the construction project at Choconut.
The Board moved to award bids for health, custodial, and general supplies, and refuse removal, which totaled close to $90,000 last year. It approved late-run transportation contracts for the upcoming school year, at a cost not to exceed $52,000, to Cynthia Conaty, Ronald and LouAnn Kiefer, and Gerald and Beverly Legg.
In curriculum matters, it okayed the Special Education Plan for the 2004-2007 school years, and approved the purchase of textbooks for classes in Family and Consumer Science, Technical Education and Computer Science/Business Education. Ognosky reported that the combined cost of books for these courses was a bit less than $30,000. The Family and Consumer Science class is new and state-required for ninth-graders.
It accepted the resignation of Drama Club adviser Eric Lockwood retroactive to April 26, and will apportion the remainder of Lockwoods unpaid stipend (about $600) among the staff members who pitched in to finish up the season for the Club. Based upon enrollment in summer school, it approved up to ten teachers to teach it at the high school at the hourly rate of $22. Five were approved for up to a maximum of 20 hours each at the Lathrop Street school, eight at Choconut for up to a maximum of 24 hours each, and six to provide guidance counseling. Four teachers were also approved for special education home instruction for the extended school year 2004.
It also approved the submission of an application for two classroom modular units at Choconut and four at Lathrop Street, to make them ready for full-day kindergarten come the fall.
Wrapping up this school year, it formally set graduation for Friday, June 11 at 6 p.m. in the high school stadium the auditorium if it rains. It revised the last days of school as follows: June 2, 3, 4, 7 and 8 are regular, full school days. June 8 is last day of classes of afternoon kindergarten students. June 9 and 10 are early dismissals (11:30) for Act 80 students, and morning kindergarten students will attend classes on these days. June 10 is the last day of school for students and teachers.
The next regular meeting of the board of directors is scheduled for June 18, 6:30 p.m. in the high school cafeteria.
Sometime the beginning of February and the end of April, two students in the Mt. View School District in Kingsley stole computer equipment and portable CD players from the school. Juvenile petitions have been filed against both.
On May 4, Leon C. Allen of Springville reported that a known juvenile(s) stole three checks from his checkbook, cashing one of them for $1,300.
Sometime between May 8 and 9, someone threw a rock through the windshield of a Volvo truck tractor owned by Robert OReilly, Friendsville. The truck was parked along St. Josephs Road in Forest Lake Township.
The summer residence in Brooklyn Township owned by Gilbert Peruzzi of Langhorne, PA, was broken into sometime between the beginning of March and May 5, taking a toaster oven and a VCR. Anyone with information is requested to call the State Police at 465-3154.
Sometime after 11:30 p.m. on May 6, an unknown person(s) stole a vehicle belonging to Jonathan R. Gardner, New Milford, where it was parked outside the Main Street Grill in the town. The vehicle was recovered in Binghamton a few hours later by Broome County Sheriff Deputies and Police.
Both Teresa Kostelansky and her husband, George, Oakland Township, were charged with simple assault and harassment following a domestic dispute at their home on April 25. Each struck the other, causing minor injury.
On the morning of May 9, Nicole R. Scott, 23, Montrose, was stopped at a stop sign on Susquehanna Street where it intersects Route 11 in Hallstead. She thought the approaching vehicle on Route 11, driven by Kevin P. Brink, 33, of Great Bend, was going to turn right onto the street. Scott started to drive her 1998 Mitsubishi Eclipse into the intersection to go north on Route 11 when Brinks 2003 Ford Escape struck the left side of her car. Brink, who was driving with a suspended license, was cited for this violation as well as several others, including driving an unregistered vehicle, misuse of registration plate, and failure to have insurance coverage. Both drivers were wearing seat belts and were uninjured.
The mostly vacant Valley Market in Harmony Township, owned by Robert E. Monrose of Somerville, NJ, was broken into sometime between April 11 and May 3. Stolen were an old guitar and an AM/FM receiver.
On the early afternoon of May 2, Tai Davis of Windsor, NY, pushed Donna Jean Sackett of Susquehanna to the ground during an argument at the Oakland Trailer Park in Oakland Township.
Sometime between noon on May 7 and the following day, someone broke into the Brooklyn/Hop Bottom Athletic Association building along SR 2015 in Brooklyn Township. Several items with an approximate value of $183 were stolen. Anyone with information is requested to call the State Police at 465-3154.
THEFT OF MOTOR VEHICLE
A silver 1990 Dodge pick-up belonging to Brock Scott of New Milford was stolen from the parking area in front of the Main Street Grill in New Milford sometime around midnight on May 6. It was found the following day, abandoned on Hawk Road in Franklin Township. Anyone with information is requested to call the State Police at 465-3154.
Between May 1 and 4, someone stole an AM/FM compact disc player from a Dodge Neon parked in the lot of Continental Auto Sales on Tirzah Road in Herrick Township. Anyone with information is requested to call the State Police at 465-3154.
HIT AND RUN COLLISION
Someone drove his or her vehicle off Route 11 in Great Bend Township late in the morning of May 7 and struck a stone wall and mail box/post belonging to John Phillips.
The windows and rear-view mirrors of a 1998 Western Star dump truck owned by Gary Darros, New Milford, and parked along SR 3019 in Dimock Township, were damaged in this incident that occurred sometime between May 6 and 7.
On May 6, Tyler Singleton, 17, Montrose was driving north along Route 29 near the Bridgewater/Liberty Township line. In his 1995 Honda were passengers Michael Calby and Anthony Barrett, also Montrose. For some reason, Singleton lost control of the car and drove into a pasture. No injuries were reported.
PENNDOT TRUCK CRASH
On May 5, Mark Sherman of Susquehanna was spreading calcium on SR 1010, a dirt road in Oakland Township. The soft shoulder of the road gave way and the truck rolled down an embankment. Sherman was slightly injured during the accident but received no medical treatment at the scene.
Aaron J. Zona, 23, of Montrose was wearing a helmet while riding a 1993 Honda CBR 600F on Route 29 in Bridgewater Township on May 6. He lost control of the Honda when he apparently drove over some loose gravel. Zona received minor injuries; the Honda, moderate damage.
Between April 19 and 21, someone entered the residence of Tammy Gibson in Franklin Township and took items that belonged to her daughter. Anyone with information is requested to call the State Police at 465-3154.
On April 14, Brittany Decker, Great Bend, backed the 1993 Buick Century she was driving out of a driveway onto Main Street in Great Bend. Her vehicle hit the side of a 1997 Silverado truck driven by Jeffray Rucks, New Milford. Neither were injured in this accident, but both vehicles received major damage.
James I Christian (aka) James J. Christian, Laurie Christian (aka) Laure W. Christian, in Montrose for one dollar.
Robert L. and Helen Vail to Gregory C. Personette and Karen A. Personette, in Lenox Township for $139,000.
William Daniel Davis to William Daniel Davis and Lori Davis, in Auburn Township for $0.00.
William Doney and Brenda G. Doney to Linda K. Lee, in Lenox Township for $109,000.
Daniel L. and Michelle Lake to Daniel L. and Michelle Lake, in Susquehanna for one dollar.
Joseph M. Taylor Sr. to Joseph M. Taylor III, in New Milford Township for one dollar.
June J. Wootton (aka) June Wootton, and Earl A. Wootton to Alan P. Gillick, in Harford Township for $53,000.
Carol E. Peckins, Fred Peckins, Berry J. Brunges, Glenn C. Brunges, James R. Griffis and Barbara Griffis to Timothy M. Wymbs and Barbara A. Wymbs, in Montrose for $110,000.
Joseph J. and Jean Purtell to Daniel J. Purtell and Cheryl L. Purtell, in Apolacon Township for one dollar.
John H. Sholtiss and Darleen Sholtiss to Edward and Donna August, in Susquehanna for $19,000.
Fay C. Palmer to Household Finance Consumer Discount Co., in Springville Townsnip for $500.
Robert N. Gibson to Barry Saam and Patricia Saam, in Union Dale for $100,000.
Betty Mackachinis to Joseph Mackachinis, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Esther D. Romeika, Jerome A. Romeika, and Mary L. Conigliaro (aka) Mary L. Robinson to Melissa Muth, in Lenox Township for $95,000.
Harry Rudick (Estate) to Mary Rudick Sands and Joann Rudick, in Gibson Township for one dollar.
Mary Katherine Bunnell Ross, Michael Ross, Jane Bunnell Reynolds, and James Reynolds to Carl Sheridan and Michelle Sheridan, in Rush Township, for $52,000.
Violet Mucic to Violet Mucic, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
James Lindsey and Helen Lindsey to Marion Lindsey and Martin Lindsey, in Oakland Borough and Franklin Township for one dollar.
Bruce Lindsey to Marion Lindsey and Martin Lindsey, in Oakland Borough and Franklin Township for $300.
William Lindsey to Marion Lindsey and Martin Lindsey, in Oakland Borough and Franklin Township for $300.
Thomas L. Roe and Kathy A. Roe to Thomas L. Roe and Kathy A. Roe, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.
James R. OHagan and Denise M. OHagan to Charles E. Vanerson Sr. and Dorothy L. Vanerson, in Bridgewater Township for $72,000.
Robert Hobart to Raymond G. Sheridan Jr., in the Borough of Lanesboro for $30,000.
Ruth Rumage (by atty) to Margaret I. Gates, in Hallstead Borough for $37,000.
Raymond G. Buenzle and Joan E. Buenzle to Darlene Maslar, in Ararat Township for $23,000.
Doris Young to Leslie James Palmer and Beverly Brook Palmer, in Lenox Township, for $129,000.
United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to Eric C. Powers and Amy L. Powers, in Bridgewater Township, for $30,823.
Gary A. Wilson to Thaddeus J. Capwell, in Silver Lake Township for $40,000.
Vineta Alderson (aka) Venita Alderson to Verne Alderson and Maxine Alderson in Choconut and Forest Lake townships for one dollar.
Helen R. Everett (Estate) to David L. Canfield and Susan M. Canfield, in Lenox Township for $5000.
Willliam G. Pickering Jr. to William G. Pickering Jr. and Glenda M. Marvin, in New Milford Borough for one dollar.
Max F. Welch and Pearl E. Welch to Chad G. Guzy and Judy A. Guzy, in Great Bend Borough for $46,110.
Merle and Darlene Eldred to Joseph R. Callahan, in New Milford Township for $92,700.
Donald Burns (by tax claim) and Susquehanna County Tax Claim Bureaut, to Alice Tiffany in Susquehanna for $100.
ManzekLand Company Inc. to Gregory R. Schramm and Calixta Hernandez, in Rush Township for $119,000.
Ahmet and Elizabeth Hubi to Thomas N. Roccanova, in Jackson Township for $75,000.
Merle W. Colwell and Gertrude J. Colwell to Jay W. Colwell, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.
Rebecca Aliano (nbm) Rebecca M. Lewis and Brian J. Lewis, to Fox Enterprises Inc. in Susquehanna for $45,000.
Richard and Linda Naylor to Steven H. Kupscznk and Martha Ann Kupscznk, in Springville Township for one dollar.
Florence Hugaboom to Lewis C. Price and Kathryn Price, in Ararat Township for $6,500.
Thomas M. Fitzsimmons to Michael Fitzsimmons, in Forest City for one dollar.
Raymond W. Sanders and Pamela L. Mason to Frederick W. Sanders, in Thompson Township for one dollar.
Helen R. Everett (Estate) to John Como, Tofilo A.Genzalez, Salvatore Ognibene, Salvatore Ciaravino, Antonio Colmone and Joseph Miceli, in Lenox Township for $130,000.
David P. Weidow to Deborah H. Weidow, in Rush Township, for one dollar.
David P. Weidow to Deborah H. Weidow, in Hop Bottom Borough for one dollar.
Alice Marilyn Czachor to Alice Marilyn Czachor and John J. Czachor, in Thompson Township for one dollar.
Alice Czachor (aka) Alice Marilyn Czachor to Alice Marilyn Czachor, Michael G. Czachor, Thomas G. Czachor, Mary K. Snow, Paul J. Czachor, Mark G. Czachor, Diane M. Mallahy, Kathryn M. Bellucci, Carol A. Ross, John J. Czachor and Julia A. Epstein, in Thompson Township for one dollar.
Robert J. Reynolds Jr. and Kimberlee M. Reynolds to Robert J. Reynolds Jr. and Kimberlee M. Reynolds, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.
Bank One (by attorney) to Trehab Center Inc., in Susquehanna for $40,000.
Santa Schork to David Buchanan and Doris Buchanan, in Thompson Township for $73,000.
Susquehanna County Tax Claim Bureau, Donald Burns (by tax claim) to Alilce Tiffany for $75.
Arnold E. Beavers of Windsor, NY, vs. Roxanne M. Beavers of Great Bend.
Herman Schaefer of Kingsley, vs. Heather E. Schaefer of Pownal, Vt.
Kevin Bryden of Susquehanna vs. Grace R. Bryden of Susquehanna.
Barry J. Conrad of New Milford vs. Raydene K. Conrad of Hallstead.
Ellen Esposito of Thompson vs. Vincent Esposito, no address.
Joseph R. Callahan of Hatfield vs. Teresa Callahan of Binghamton, NY.
In last weeks County Transcript we inadvertently erred in reporting on the following, corrected divorce filing:
Joann Perry of Hallstead vs. Howard Perry of Hallstead, on April 12.
The Lanesboro Borough Council met April 6, with the following members present: Ray Barnes, Dan Boughton, Paul Corse, Regina Dilello, Chris Maby, Bob Mireider, Bob Page.
Also present: Mayor Slater, Secretary Aileen Shay.
Visitors: Gerry Benson, Sandy Benson, Police Officers Canini and Bob VanFleet, John Foote, Gail Hanrahan, Tom Decker, Tom Bolles, Kenya Bentler, Amanda Depew, Dan Gall, Ashley Lovenduski, Natalie Piercy, Jeannine Keefer, Bill Roberts, Kenneth Scro, Kenny Scro, Shane Lewis Sr., Mrs. Maby.
Motion to accept minutes as written carried.
Tom Decker is an engineer and geologist for Central Testing and Engineering firm near Binghamton. He was hired by B&S Quarries Incorporated to help them apply for a large blue stone quarry permit. He also passed out some business cards. He came to the meeting to see if the council had any concerns about B&S Quarries applying for a large permit. This will eliminate all the small permits they have for the quarry. DEP would like B&S Quarries to get a large permit so all the activities that are done in the quarry are handled under one permit instead of five. He also showed the council the application. Maby asked if it would be good to have a public meeting to explain to the people around the quarry what was going on. Mr. Decker stated that would be a good idea. Maby also stated that he would like to see what improvements are going to be done. Mr. Decker stated that they have looked into exiting onto route 171 but it is too steep to go down that way. Tom Bolles (B&S Quarries) stated that they are working with government to get a grant to fix Jefferson Street. He also stated they have everything in the quarry to fix the road. He stated it would be better than it was before. CEO Shane Lewis asked if DEP was involved in this process. Lewis would also like a step by step plan of what is going on and when. Mr. Decker stated that he is planning to have everything for the permit done by June to send in.
Other visitors were students from Susquehanna Community School studying local and state governments. They were from the 8th grade class. They came to the meeting to see how a local government works.
Stanley Rockwell asked about Jefferson Street being fixed. He stated that the quarry people should spend their own money instead of waiting for the grant to go through. He feels it is a stall tactic for the quarry, and that the borough has been patiently waiting for two years for the road to be fixed. He also stated that it is still a mess on the corner of Jefferson Street.
John Foote feels the police following the garbage truck on Saturday mornings is a good idea. Maby asked if there was a question about this. Maby also stated that the police are well within their budget for the year. Dilello stated that she has had many phone calls questioning the police following the garbage truck. Mayor Slater stated that people slow down when they see the police car. The guys on the back of the garbage truck have had many close calls with people speeding by the garbage truck. Maby noted there is a noticeable difference in speed between Saturday and Sunday mornings, and that is probably more than coincidence with the police out.
Jeannine Keefer and Phil Roberts came with questions on their garbage and sewer bills. They stated that they had called to straighten things out so the water company would bill them but it didnt happen. They wanted to know how much they owed. After discussion, council came to an agreement with them on what is owed.
Maby stated that there was an executive session meeting last Thursday night to discuss problems that have occurred with the billing. Without getting into the details due to it being a personnel matter, there is a probationary period for the secretary of 90 days to work to make things better.
Letter from Peoples National Bank in wanting to know if anyone from the council would like to go to a grant writing seminar. Secretary will send this back. Everyone on council would like to attend this.
Letter from a concerned resident and taxpayer. The letter explained that there are dogs running loose in the borough and crapping in the lawn. This person would like the council to do something about this. Maby asked Officers Bob and Joe what could be done. Officer VanFleet stated that if you know the owner of the dog they can receive a citation. Also, if the dog can be caught, it will be held and the dog warden called. Maby asked if calling the non-emergency police number (853-2911) was acceptable, as the warden is sometimes hard to reach. VanFleet replied this was acceptable. Corse noted the dog warden has been in the area in the last couple of weeks.
Letter from Susquehanna County Recycling and Waste management. with guidelines for yard waste and composing piles and application. Maby stated that Bill Zeck from recycling called him and there is grant money available for the purchase of property or equipment to run the facility. The state looks very highly of group municipalities to build a compost facility. Council didnt think this was a good idea. The facility would have to be fenced in and there is a 5-acre minimum and there has to be someone there when it is open.
There was a bill for a Clinical Laboratory.
Susquehanna County office of the District Attorney. Susquehanna County Prison Board has decided to initiate litter crews through the use of inmates at the Susquehanna County Correctional Facility. If interested there is a sheet to fill out with what three streets council would like done? The borough is responsible for cleaning up the bags that are left along side the road. Maby to help secretary fill out.
Letter from Kathleen Crawford asking for council to issue a new check made out to Marjorie Barton Estate. Kathleen found this check that dates back to 1997 for her mother. Council discussed - Secretary to send letter to explain that it is from 7 years ago and cannot be reissued.
A carbon copy of letter from Myron DeWitt to Eva Lou Kapella regarding the deed for the park.
The next correspondence was for council to hand out fliers that explain the new changes that will occur when people go to vote this year.
Officer Van Fleet gave the report he stated that since the weather is getting warmer they have started the speed traps again. He stated they have issued 7 vehicle citations, 2 disorderly conduct, 2 harassment citations, 1 under age citation, and also the list of phone calls they get every month.
Officer VanFleet stated that last month at the meeting they had a call of an open fire and they went to check it out. Officer VanFleet had pictures of the fire. In the fire there were pails, plastic, and curtain rods plus other stuff. The ordinance stated that on the first offense they have to be warned, which the officers did.
Mayor Slater stated that everything is running good. The truck is good.
Regina stated there was one rental last month and she collected over $200 in bottles.
Secretary Shay stated council is getting some money from the delinquent accounts.
Maby stated that in the treasurers report Aileen started putting all the deposits together and the checks after the deposits. Maby stated that as soon as money starts coming in from taxes some of that money needs to be put into an escrow account to be held for road maintenance. Dilello asked what the liquor license was for. Shay explained that a portion of what the Viaduct Inn pays for their liquor license comes back to us. Corse stated that he doesnt understand the way the treasurers report reads, and would like to see different columns for the deposits and checks. Maby asked about the electric bills. Slater and Maby will check the meters to see what electric bill is being paid out of what account.
Motion to transfer money from General account to community center to cover the bills with the stipulation that it is paid back carried.
Maby showed council a report of all past due accounts, some dating back to 1996. Corse asked how long it was going to be before council does something about it. Maby responded that some people have set up appointments to pay so much a month but others have not. This report will be updated monthly. After discussion council agreed to take everyone over to Janicelli who owes money who has set up a payment plan.
Maby stated that Cathy French didnt receive a bill for two months earlier this year and that she cannot pay it now. Council discussed this and will write a letter to her that states she can pay an extra $10 a month until paid off.
EMC update. Assistant County Coordinator sent a letter to Maby that stated all the requirements for EMC coordinators. He is also sending Maby a copy of Emergency plan for school, also he is looking for the plan for the borough, and is sending a list of suggested list of things the state would like council to have on hand.
Solicitor deed to park is done. Issue on the copier is settled.
Rebuild of grinder pump. Boughton suggested that this be done because council has no extra ones. Tri Boro takes them to Scranton to rebuild them or fix them. Mayor Slater will coordinate.
Lighting in front of Post Office. Mayor took it off and took it to Susquehanna Home Center and they ordered a new bulb. (Light now working)
Insurance bids. Corse stated that Tri County was higher than Little and Nelson. Corse told Little and Nelson to go ahead and renew it.
Street Sweeping. Dan is going to the meeting in Susquehanna Depot this month.
Clean and Green Letter. Everyone thought it was okay so it can be sent.
Street light subcommittee formation. Maby thought it would be a good idea to have a committee made up so when the street lights go up council can decide on locations. Corse stated that since the state is making the electric company move the light poles if it cost the borough more to put longer arms on the poles then the state should pay for them. Maby will look into this. Committee consists of Maby, Boughton, Slater, and Corse.
Motor license money. Maby explained that all money is spent for the year just due to snow plowing. The budget was based on what was available from liquid fuels tax money and not what we could expect from the actual snow plowing.
Potholes. The tax increase was marked for road maintenance, and now is the time for the council to honor their word. Hot patch should be used for the bottom of Grand Street and cold patch for the rest.
Historical sign grant. Salamon started this grant last year. Maby stated that we sort of got the grant. The state will only give the grant to a non-profit organization. Also the sign will cost $1,800 and the non-profit organization would have to come up with $900. Council should pass on this for now except for Boughton and Maby, and visit again this coming fall when the grants are available again.
Broken sidewalks from the street light relocation. Slater stated we should inspect all sidewalks and keep a record of all damage done by driving on sidewalks. Maby suggested taking a picture inventory as well.
Corse stated that council has money now so it should pay on line of credit.
Mowing bids. Boughton will write up a bid and e-mail it to Chris/secretary so it can be forwarded to the newspaper.
Secretary gave her hours as follows: Monday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday 12:30 2:30 p.m. with minor exceptions for personal business.
Much of the discussion at last Friday nights work session of the Montrose Area School District centered around which projects would be up for discussion in the next school year or which would be paid, if approved, through the Districts 22 Fund.
Superintendent Mike Ognosky explained that the fund is a capital fund set aside and used by the District on projects that upgrade the school or its curriculum. These are usually one-shot, one-time items that are not normally a part of the regular budget process, but are rather considered "22 Fund items" paid from 22 Fund assets. "The results of the 22 Fund in our district are incredible," he said. Board secretary Lewis Plauny noted that districts which dont have a 22 Fund cannot stabilize their budgets; rather, they swing up or down as projects, some unexpected, arise.
The approximately $600,000 in seed money for the 22 Fund came about three years ago as a result of refinancing the Districts debt. Since then and at the end of each school year, a certain percent of any balance in the Districts financial statement is transferred into the 22 Fund.
One 22 Fund item that was discussed was the purchase of a smaller, all-wheel-drive vehicle to more economically transport, say, members of the golf or tennis teams (and their equipment) than tying up a school bus. Director George Gow reported of his first-hand inspections of a Chevy Suburban versus a van, both with all-wheel-drive. He was impressed by the van, which cost about $7,000 less than the Suburban, gets the same fuel mileage, and is roomier and more versatile.
Other items or projects put on the 22 Fund list are numerous: replacing the hurdles, buying wrestling mats, a tractor, work on the gym and the garage/storage area at the Choconut school and on the drainage at the softball field, and certain costs associated with full-day kindergarten.
The 22 Fund will fund a new computer repair and graphics class. Technology director Craig Owen reported that 15 students, for one section, have already signed up for the computer repair class, which will prepare them for taking the exams required to become CompTIA A+ certified in the skill. Enough freshmen have signed up for the graphics class to justify offering four sections. Expected cost is around $300,000 for both classes and includes a lot of one-time set up costs, such as equipment and facilities.
One item that received considerable discussion was the proposed garage at the high school. It would be big, accommodate all major grounds keeping equipment and other vehicles, as well as some office space. The project has not gone out to bid. Ognosky, with research and statistics provided by grounds and safety director Rick Clapper, noted that the best-estimate range of the garage is $80,000 to $150,000, with the high end a hoped-for worst-case scenario. Ognosky reported that he took Clappers numbers and basically doubled them. The district would pay the prevailing labor wage for the work like pouring the concrete, excavation, and so forth, and the prevailing wage could be an unknown.
Board members were reluctant to commit to a project that could wind up costing in excess of $150,000, and one which director Chris Caterson reminded other members was estimated at about $400,000 by Highland Associates.
One option the district has is to bid each piece of the project individually. The problem with this is that it would have to be bid sequentially, meaning the concrete work could not be bid until the excavation work was completed, the construction work until after the concrete work completed, and so forth.
Board president Ken Gould asked directors if they were comfortable with the $80,000 to $150,000 window of expense. They were. And the administrators who will go ahead with getting the numbers together for the project will report back to the board should their research show that this 22 Fund project would exceed the limit.
Ognosky gave board members an update on the Student Forum. This is a kind of wish list presented by students for consideration by the board, organized into four categories: Curriculum, student rights, buildings and grounds, and school aesthetics. Items on these lists: the creation of a student lounge and student store, a memorial garden, upgraded physical ed locker rooms and bathrooms, student parking, and spiffing up the high schools main lobby. Ognosky will review the report with other district administrators and get back to the board.
Caterson brought up the recent Senior High Choral concert he attended at the school and where "78 kids were singing their hearts out" in the auditorium against a really ugly stage background. "Is there some way," he asked, "to make the stage more professional looking and also to improve the acoustics?" Ognosky will look into that as well.
The work session ended on a good note. Earlier that day, technology director Owen was notified that the district was one of only 20 selected in the state to receive a $10,000 grant plus 35 hand-held computers for its technology programs. The hand-held computers are expected to be used by journalism students, who would be teamed with representatives of the local press in reporting and filing stories using the technology.
The next work session of the Montrose Area School District board of directors will immediately follow its regular meeting, scheduled for 6:30 p.m., June 18 at the high school.
Jeff Alio, a representative of RCAP, addressed the Oakland Boro Council at their May 13 meeting. Mr. Alio explained that RCAP stands for Resources for Communities and People; it is a nonprofit consulting firm. RCAP had helped the boro with an appraisal of its water system some time ago. RCAPs recommendation would be to either increase water rates, or to increase the number of customers as there are new government regulations looming in the near future that will increase costs to the utility. With that in mind, and in keeping with councils prior discussions about the future of the boro building, Mr. Alio suggested that perhaps it could be converted into a housing project, perhaps for the elderly. This would not only provide a needed service to the boro, but would bring new residents to the homes vacated by the elderly.
If that is something council would like to consider, there are venues such as HUD where federal funds could be obtained. There would be very little cost to the community, mainly the legal fees to form a nonprofit housing authority, which would then take ownership of the building, and the costs of an artists rendering of the final result. RCAP would work with a developer, most likely one chosen by them with a proven track record. RCAP could also help train local personnel to run the facility if needed.
Mr. Alio recommended that council solicit input from the boros residents, either through a public meeting or a canvassing, which RCAP could conduct. If housing seemed to be a viable option, a task force could be formed to determine whether to maintain a council office and meeting space in the building or to put up a new one on the adjacent lot, what parking facilities would be needed, what the project costs would be, how much income could be garnered to pay off loan funding and maintenance costs, and any other concerns that should be considered.
Mr. Alio said that RCAP has worked on similar projects in Massachusetts; it would be possible to arrange a tour for any council members who would like to see it.
Councils consensus seemed to be that the project is something worth keeping in mind.
In other business, codes enforcement officer Shane Lewis was on hand to answer any questions property owners might have regarding "stackable" apartment units. However, before the discussion turned to those, State St. residents Joe and Carol Skiba addressed council to continue discussion about the property next to them. There has been a considerable accumulation of household garbage (for several years), estimated at several hundred bags, both inside the house and outside. This has attracted all kinds of vermin, especially rats and skunks. The home has been declared uninhabitable and is scheduled for a Tax Claim Bureau upset sale this fall. Mr. Lewis said that there had been court hearings, where the owner had been found guilty and had been given thirty days clean it up but had not, and had subsequently been held in contempt of court. In the meantime, the garbage is still there. There had been some question of whether or not council had the authority to go into the house to try to do something about the vermin and to clean up the garbage. Mr. Lewis said that, under the Property Maintenance Code, council could authorize the cleanup and bill the owner for the cost. After some discussion, it was agreed to get a dumpster; volunteers, both council members and residents, will clean up the garbage after which the windows and doors will be boarded up.
Several other violation cases were discussed; the wall at the Beamer property must be removed by July 1, after which litigation will begin if it is not done. It was noted that nothing has been done as of yet. Court dates have been scheduled for two other violation cases. And, attempts to notify the owner of a Westfall Ave. house about codes violations have been unsuccessful; the matter has been turned over to the boro solicitor for further action.
With the discussion returning to "stackable" apartment units, Mr. Lewis explained that right now, these buildings must be registered with the state Department of Labor and Industry. The registration applies to buildings with two floors, but in August that is subject to change to apply to those buildings with three or more floors. It is the landlords responsibility to see that it is registered; the application itself does contain most of the information a landlord would need. After inspection, occupancy permits will be issued. Any subsequent change of use or occupants would also require an inspection.
Council was pleased to report that a joint grant, with Susquehanna Boro, has been approved. It will enable both boros to increase codes enforcement hours. A committee will be formed to oversee codes activities.
A report of the Oakland Rec. activities was given; a Meet Your Neighbor Day is tentatively scheduled for May 23; Community Days are being planned, date to be announced; fund-raisers have netted a total of $194.88; and Oakland tee-shirts have been ordered to sell as a fund-raiser.
Officer VanFleet will be asked to look again into complaints about two pit bulls that have been menacing pedestrians and getting into garbage. Mayor Towner will look into some concerns that were raised about the police department, such as obtaining a portable radio and a portable light for Officer McDonald.
Resident Holly Cross will be moving out of the area; replacements will need to be found to fill her positions on the boards of SOLIDA and River Bounty. It is not necessary to be a member of council to serve in those positions; interested residents should contact council.
Council approved a request from the Tri-Boro Municipal Authority to adopt a resolution allowing the authority to act as a conduit to refinance bonds for Barnes-Kasson Hospital; this will allow the hospital to qualify for a tax-exempt interest rate. It will involve no liability on the part of the boro.
A request from Windwood Hill Dance Academy was discussed, for a rent reduction for the months of July and August as the academy does not hold classes during those months. As the rental revenue is used towards the heating costs for the building over the winter and had been accounted for in the annual budget, the request was not approved.
Tax assessor Joan Battisti has resigned; appointment of Shirley Gall to the position was approved.
The Boy Scouts have requested to use space in the boro building for temporary storage; the request was approved.
Council will complete a survey form from the District Attorneys office, to provide community service workers for projects in the boro.
As part of their Agility agreement with PENNDOT, the Susquehanna Streets Department will be sweeping State Street and Westfall Avenue, when time allows.
The streets committee completed a survey of the boro streets, to see which are most in need of paving this season; it was agreed to bid out for 245 feet of Walnut Street and 234 feet of East High Street.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, June 10, 7:00 p.m. in the boro building.
Clifford Township Police Chief Tom Munley is back in uniform and on duty.
The veteran police officer returned to duty after a three-year hiatus during which time he was recuperating from a work-related injury. He was also involved in a legal battle with the township prior to being reinstated.
Mr. Munley did not return to the full-time status he held prior to his injury. Instead, the township Board of Supervisors gave him a part-time work schedule that includes three eight-hour days a week. He will be paid $11.50 an hour plus benefits.
In another matter, residents of Crystal Forest, a housing development located in Clifford Township and neighboring Fell Township, asked the supervisors to consider paving the portion of the road in the development that is in Clifford.
Paul Pisarcik, a homeowner in Crystal Forest, said Fell Township paved three-fourths of the road that is in that township and asked the supervisors to pave the one-fourth of the road that is in Clifford.
"We pay taxes and we get nothing. No plowing, no street lights, nothing," Mr. Pisarcik said. He said residents of the development will "bend over backwards" to work with the township on a paving program. A woman in the audience, who also lives in the development, said residents would even consider paying a part of the cost.
However, James Sposito, chairman of the townships Planning Commission, said there is a possibility that Fell Township may be receiving liquid fuel funds for the entire road. He said Fell may have obtained a deed for the road two years ago.
"I thought Fell took over the road," Mr. Sposito said.
Chairman John Regan said the township would prefer to look further into the matter before reaching a decision on the paving request. He said if Fell Township is receiving liquid fuel money for the entire road then Fell is responsible for maintaining it.
"We would be more than happy to oil the road for the time being while we determine if any part of the road is ours," Mr. Regan said. However, residents at the meeting did not respond to his offer.
Acting in conjunction with the state Department of Environmental Protection, the township revoked a sewer permit issued to Hometown Builders and Renovators Inc. for a home the firm built on Elkwood Lane.
Hometown has requested a hearing on the matter and Mr. Regan said it will be held as soon as a suitable date can be arranged. He said the permit was revoked because of a soil discrepancy.
Michael Fortuner, a former township sewer enforcement officer, submitted a letter claiming the township owes him $2,010 for services rendered. Mr. Regan said Mr. Fortuner will be paid when he turns in all township records.
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