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At its regular monthly meeting on June 7, the Montrose borough council, who were all present but for Craig Reimel, voted to advertise an ordinance that would adopt the new state construction code, and to continue to have Shane Lewis, the borough codes enforcement officer, administer and enforce it, with a couple of exceptions.
Lewis recommended that ordinance include not only state-required ones, but also property- maintenance and existing-structure code as well, and they will be included in the advertising and ordinance. The ordinance is expected to be adopted at councils next meeting on July 6, with an effective date of July 7.
Lewis is certified to conduct inspections for new UCC code except for two required areas handicap accessibility and commercial. He recommended that Commonwealth Code Inspection Service, Inc. out of Manheim, PA, be used for these inspections. It is the company that Susquehanna Borough, where Lewis is also CEO, will be working with. The company is a third-party code inspection service, which Lewis said could also be a (kind of) safety net for all borough inspections, should something arise which would prevent Lewis from inspecting the residential properties that he is certified to inspect. Council authorized the use of the Manheim company when Lewis determined its services would be required. Lewis will work with borough secretary Annette Rogers on making available the third-party inspection firms fee schedule to the council, since they will also have to vote on adopting the schedule at its next regular meeting.
In other codes-related matters, Lewis thought that the borough might want to have its solicitor send a letter about high grass and other "stuff" at Strong and High Streets. An attorney will, but not borough solicitor Jason Legg, who is also attorney for the property-owner with the high grass. So, council will ask Charlie Aliano to act on its behalf here.
Lewis also reported that he would re-inspect a property on Grow Avenue that is apparently a resting place for junk cars. If the property-owner is not in compliance by the date requested, the borough will begin litigation. As to a commercial property that he and Labor and Industry have looked into, Lewis reported that if the property-owner does not respond to L&Is requests for corrections of the problems within a given time frame, it would shut the business down.
Lewis written report of activity for May included issuing 3 verbal warnings, 6 violations, and 8 building permits. He addressed 3 complaints and performed 5 general inspections.
Police officer John Walker also attended the meeting to address, said Mayor Tom LaMont, any questions they had of him.
What they had was praise for his monthly activity report for May, which showed that the police department has responded to 429 incidents from the beginning of the year, and closed 343 or 80% of them. Seventy-four of those responded to occurred during May, and 85% were closed.
Its an interesting report, breaking down activity into traffic and criminal. It breaks down incidents by type, and the top three kinds of incidents in the borough are: assisting other agencies or departments (19% of total), criminal mischief/vandalism (13%) and harassment (10%).
In other police matters, LaMont reported that officer Bruce Kortys rehabilitation was coming along slowly, and thought that perhaps Korty might be able to return come September.
A member of the audience wanted to know what was going on with parking meters being ripped out. Walker replied that six were recently removed two of them pole and all. One was recovered in Montrose cemetery, its meter empty, of course. Rogers reported that two others were pried apart over the weekend. Maxey though that the police would have to keep cruising. LaMont reported that a nighttime police shift was recently spent up by the courthouse, and only four cars were seen going through the area. Nevertheless, police will continue to cruise the area in hopes of catching those doing this damaging "mischief."
Theres a water problem on Cherry Street. John Gerald, resident and property owner, was at the meeting, along with neighbors of his, to ask whose problem it was that water was either collecting or running through several residents home in and around a certain portion of Cherry Street. Gerald noted that he spoke with a borough representative, who told Gerald that he would need to dig along his property and put pipe down to keep water from his land from running down and into a garage owned by Elaine Harvey, who is his neighbor. Gerald did this doing all the digging by hand, and it seems to have solved the garage problem.
Geralds actions, however, did nothing to stop water accumulating near a tree line; water is now running down to his property and to Harveys where it has ruined her driveway. Neither has it alleviated the water problems that at least two other property-owners, including one on Union Street, are having.
Council president Tom Maxey said it was his understanding that Streets foreman Ken DiPhillips visited and inspected the area and found no drains that were plugged. He thought that more discussion was needed with DiPhillips; if drainage from the towns roads was not causing the excess water, he didnt know what, if anything, the borough could do. He thought that a water problem not caused by an adverse road or borough drain condition would be a homeowners responsibility. Maxey also noted that it has been an excessively wet spring and, if the current problem had not arisen over the past five years when weather patterns were more or less normal, perhaps the excess rain and higher water tables could be the culprit.
The residents with the problem thought it could be another pipe that Gerald came across in his excavation. He noted that there is a drain directly in line with the tree line where water is accumulating. "Could the pipe be plugged?" some asked. And, if so, would unplugging make it worse?
Said Maxey, "I think it boils down to this: We will fix that drainage pipe that is blocked, and I think we need to get Ken [DiPhillips] up there as soon as possible the next time it starts to pour, so that he can check the water."
So, thats councils next step, and DiPhillips will also look at the blocked pipe. Then Council will determine what it will do after that. Maxey was quite clear about the fact that, if the water is not coming from a drain pipe on a borough street, he did not think it would be taxpayers responsibility to take care of it.
Council member Jack Yeager reported that 16 diseased or hazardous trees were taken down by a certified arborist and removed. While the arborist was at it, he also took down some trees that some residents at their own expense, asked him to take down. All told, the net cost to the borough was about $1,700, after it receives the $7,000 grant dedicated to this improvement project.
The next regular meeting of the Montrose Borough council is scheduled for July 7, at 7 p.m. in the Borough Building.
Vice president Mike Matis presided at the June 8 meeting of the Susquehanna Boro Council in the absence of president Roy Williams. All other council members were present, as was secretary/treasurer Margaret Biegert.
The agenda was amended to include an executive session at the beginning of the meeting, to discuss a personnel issue.
After the executive session, two items of correspondence were read. The first, a letter from Police Lieutenant Jon Record gave an update of the departments newly implemented bike patrol (the letter is included in its entirety in this issues Letters to the Editor section).
The second item was a letter of resignation from Mrs. Biegert; it said that her decision was made with deep regret, and that it had been a great experience working for the boro, especially on revitalization projects. Her intent is to stay involved with the river-front project and the Main Street program. Councilman Ron Whitehead thanked Mrs. Biegert for all she has provided to the boro over the past several years that she held the position. "Its been a great joy to work with you," he said. A motion carried to accept her resignation and to advertise the opening; a special meeting was scheduled for June 14, 7 p.m. to review applications.
Mrs. Biegert reported that the actuary used by the boro recommended that a resolution be passed, to fund the police pension at an amortized amount over the next ten years. This is what the boro has been doing, but a resolution was suggested; a motion carried to approve.
An inquiry was received, by a party interested in purchasing a lot the boro owns to be landscaped and used for parking; council will request more specific information.
A list of 2004 tax exonerations was reviewed, as well as the criteria for exoneration; residents must be over the age of 65 with an income of $7,470, or a full-time student. A motion carried to approve; Mr. Kuiper abstained as he had a family member on the list. Mr. Lewis voted against.
Ordinances pertaining to the boros curfew, ordinances, and barring trucks from making right-hand turns from Main St. onto Erie Ave. have been advertised and will be voted on at the June 23 meeting.
PENNDOT is in the process of bridge repair work on Main St.; information from the county Housing and Redevelopment Authority indicates there may be enough money left from the Streetscape project to fund sidewalk replacement in this area.
The Susquehanna Community Development Association, which will be hosting Hometown Days in July, has some question about a proposed fishing derby council will sponsor. It was agreed to discuss details at the meeting scheduled for June 14.
The Main Street program is really coming along, Mrs. Biegert said. The design committee is busy working on guidelines and criteria for the business owners to use to apply for matching grants. Some of the criteria that the funding can be used for are window replacement, paint, awnings, restoring of brick work and cornices, doors and signage. Hopefully, the guidelines will be completed by the end of the month and submitted to the state for approval. After approval, the guidelines will be made available to businesses and building owners. There has been a terrific response so far from local businesses and organizations. Main Street has seen additional membership, and local businesses and organizations will be selling 50/50 tickets as a fund-raiser for the project.
As there was no other business, the meeting adjourned. The next regular meeting will be at 7:00 p.m. on June 23, in the boro building.
Approves B-K Refinancing
The Susquehanna County Commissioners adopted half a dozen resolutions last week, including one that makes the county the guarantor of a $5.2 million refinancing program by the Barnes-Kasson Hospital in Susquehanna.
Barnes-Kasson apparently has decided to take advantage of low interest rates and will use portions of the money to refinance outstanding obligations and for any projects that will benefit the hospital. The hospital will have 20 years to pay off the debt at an interest rate that will be 0 percent for the first year and will then escalate annually to a maximum rate of 5.210% in the final year.
A second resolution approved by the commissioners endorses an agreement made between the Eastern Susquehanna County Partnership, Susquehanna County, and Gannett Fleming Inc. of Harrisburg. Gannett Fleming will provide professional services to the partnership for three years and will be paid from state grants expected to be awarded to the partnership.
Other resolutions serve the following purposes: outlines the policies and guidelines on access to and acceptable use of technological systems (computers) by county employees; enrolls the county in a joinder agreement with Bradford, Sullivan and Tioga counties for administering federal, state and county funds for programs for the elderly; endorses the Bradford/Susquehanna Emergency Medical Service Mass Casualty Incident Plan; authorizes the TREHAB Center to perform all services and administration in Susquehanna County for purposes of the funding provided under the Homeless Assistance Program.
Roberta Kelly, chair of the Board of Commissioners, said the resolution setting up rules and regulations for using county computers is aimed at avoiding what occurred a couple of years ago when two county employees were caught with pornographic material in their county-owned computers.
In another matter, the county received a report from the Pennsylvania Inmate Medical Cost Control Program indicating that the medical cost per inmate has dropped below the PIMCC average. The county cost calculated for the years 2001-2003 is $4.07 per inmate compared with the state average of $4.38.
The commissioners agreed to hire the following students for temporary summer intern positions through the Conservation District office: Shawn Arbaugh, Carbondale, team leader; Trevor Kashuba, Clarks Summit, Levi Pedrick, Covington, and Rylan Coker, Tunkhannock, team members.
The Salary Board set the hourly rate for the team at $10, and for team members at eight dollars, with no benefits. All wages and expenses will be reimbursed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
The commissioners rehired Christine Kilmer to a temporary part time position in the Register and Recorders Office and the Salary Board set her pay rate at $7.50 an hour.
Robert Selinsky, owner of a number of properties in Forest City, doesnt attend too many Borough Council meetings. But when he does, you know he has been there. Mr. Selinsky attended last weeks council meeting and it was another typical appearance chock full of accusations, allegations and insinuations.
Mr. Selinsky threatened to file suit against the council and some of its members as individuals. But it wasnt just the council members that felt Mr. Selinskys wrath. He also tossed a couple of barbs in the direction of the borough police, chastised the council for adding two Main Street properties to the Keystone Opportunity Zone, and accused Mayor Frank Brager and Council President Jim Lowry of selective code enforcement.
Mr. Selinsky threatened to bring legal action against Council members Allan Gordon and Ruth Fitzsimmons for voting in favor of placing the former Kartri Sales building on Main Street in the Keystone Opportunity Zone.
"I am here," he told them, "to tell you that I am bringing (legal) action against you as individuals." Mr. Gordon and Mrs. Fitzsimmons are related to Michael Goskowski, present owner of the building. Mr. Selinsky maintains that their affirmative votes to put the building in the KOZ was illegal because they are related to Mr. Goskowski. But the vote on the Kartri Sales Building was unanimous so it would have passed regardless of whether or not Mrs. Fitzsimmons and Mr. Gordon had voted.
Besides the Kartri Sales Building, the former Big Chief Market building on Main Street was also put into the KOZ. Both buildings will be free from property taxes for the next eight years, if and when the buildings meet code specifications.
"The taxpayers should not have to pay the Community National Banks property taxes," Mr. Selinsky said. "And they should not have to pay Mr. Goskowskis property taxes."
Mr. Selinsky criticized the police for parking a patrol car inches from a fire hydrant every day. He also said he has seen a patrol car parked at the firehouse blocking the exit doors of the fire engines.
"If I parked there I would get a ticket," he said. He said that Hornbeck Chevrolet on Main Street parks vehicles inches from a fire hydrant and also parks vehicles on the sidewalk and nothing is done.
"I parked on the sidewalk once and I got a ticket," he said
Mr. Selinsky chastised the county for placing the Kartri Sales Building and the former Big Chief Building on Main Street in the KOZ.
"You didnt care about taxes when you gave free taxes to the two richest people in town, Community National Bank and Mike Goskowski," he said. "You put an additional burden on the citizens of the borough and many of them are widows."
In another matter, a half dozen borough residents attending the meeting complaint about the change of address program that will be instituted countywide as part of a plan to expedite 911 response time. They also pointed out that a large number of residents have signed petitions opposing the program.
Mayor Brager and Councilwoman Mary Twilley also spoke out against the change.
"I dont see any reason for it," Mrs. Twilley said. "There has never been a life lost because the ambulance or fire truck could not find an address."
Councilman Paul Amadio suggested that the borough invite Susquehanna County 911 personnel to a public meeting where borough residents can get answers to questions about the program. Council will write to the county in an attempt to set up a meeting.
Council voted 6-1 in favor of a plan to provide police patrols to neighboring Vandling Borough. Tentative terms call for Vandling to pay Forest City a monthly fee of $550 and an hourly rate of $30 when an officer is summoned to Vandling to handle a problem.
"It is a six-month trial program," said Mr. Lowry. "If it works we can renew it after the six months. If council feels it is not working, we can forget it." Included in the agreement are three daily police patrols through the streets of Vandling.
"Personally, I dont think it will work at all," said Mrs. Twilley who cast the lone negative vote against the program.
Former Council President Dorothy Fives complained about the appearance of the borough. She said residents are storing junk in backyards and some lawns are not trimmed in accordance with local laws.
"Forest City is going to the dogs," Mrs. Fives said. "Dont just warn them (violators), fine them."
Because of the July Fourth holiday weekend, the next regular council meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 6.
Steven S. Yaroslawski and Roxanne Yaroslawski to Leonard J. Macon and Jodi Macon, in Bridgewater Township for $27,900.
Laverne C. Conklin to Harold B. Conklin, in Silver Lake Township for $10.
Harold B. Conklin to Christopher S. Lewis and Matthew D. Lewis, in Silver Lake Township for $23,000.
Delores Rudick, Joann Rudick and Mary Rudick Sands to Delores Rudick, in Gibson Township for one dollar.
Charles Sanders and Phyllis Sanders to Dale Rumage, in Bridgewater Township for $109,000.
Peter F. Hackett and Louise B. Hackett to Joseph T. Burke, in Franklin Township for $110,000.
J. Randall Houser and Cheri M. Houser to Terry Ralston Jr. and Kristy Lynn Ralston, in Forest Lake Township for $77,000.
Thomas J. Flynn and Renee M. Flynn to Richard A. Flynn and Gwendolyn M. Flynn, in Great Bend Borough for $59,000.
William Dittmar and Sharon K. Dittmar to Chester E. Kilmer Jr., in Liberty Township for $80,000.
Thomas C. MacNamara and Deborah A. MacNamara to Michael Briechle and Michele L. Pavelski, in Lenox Township for $165,000.
John B. Backes (aka) John Bennett Backes (estate) to Edward Allen Phipps Jr. and Susan North Phipps, in Lenox Township for $30,000.
Christine Butler to Jeffrey Butler, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Clark Cable Jr. and Winifred Cable to Kathryn Ann Zack, in Herrick Township for $18,000.
David A. Butler to Deborah A. Butler, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Jeffrey L. Schroy, Lisa M. Shroy, Richard F. Shroy, Gail L. Schroy,. Brian R. Schroy, Shari L. Schroy,. Keith M. Schroy and Lisa Schroy to Jeffrey L. Schroy, Lisa M. Schroy, Richard F. Schroy, Gail L. Schroy, Brian R. Schroy, Shari L. Schroy, Keith M. Schroy, Lisa J. Schroy, Gregory Ede and Renee Ede, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
Marie Andreoli to James S. Brewer, in Bridgewater Township for $120,212.
Cheryl Salinska to Cheryl Salinska and John Thomas Salinska, in Great Bend Borough for one dollar.
Walllington M. Simpson and Shirley Simpson to Wallington M. Simpson, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
Theresa M. Teel to Theresa M. Teel, in Springville Township for one dollar.
Bruce K. Begasse (estate) to B&P Begegasse Revocable Living Trust, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
John A. Tewksbury and Charlene S. Tewksbury to David J. Priestner and Dulcema C. Priestner, in Auburn Township for $28,000.
Kenneth Pietraszewski and Oanh Pietraszewski to Charles J. Gzemski and Sherri A. Gzemski, in Harford Township for $20,000.
Glenn M. Thatcher and Marie Thatcher to Gary M. Thatcher and Micheline R. Thatcher, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.
Village of Four Seasons Association Inc. to Thomas P. Carden and Mary C. Carden, in Herrick Township for $55,000.
David A. Hulslander and Judith Hulslander to William Kelley and Patricia Kelley, in Auburn Township, for $140,000.
Ronald E. Waddy and Harriet M. Waddy to Ron Waddy (loving trust) and Harriet Waddy (Loving Trust), in Susquehanna for 0 dollars.
Ronald E. Waddy and Harriet M. Waddy to Ron Waddy (loving trust) and Harriet Waddy (loving trust) in Silver Lake Township for 0 dollars.
Ron E. Waddy (loving trust), Harriet M Waddy (loving trust), Ronald E. Waddy, Harriet M. Waddy to Fredric Conte, Catherine L. Conte, Joseph Conte, Maria C. Conte, and John J. Conte in Silver Lake Township for $53,500.
Holly Cross to William L. Lawrence, in Oakland Borough for $60,000.
Kenneth J. Sparks Jr. and Alice Sparks to Kenneth J. Sparks III and Paula Green, in Oakland Township for one dollar.
Edward D. Conboy and Shirley Conboy to Stephen L. Conboy, in Middletown Township for one dollar.
Edward D. Conboy and Shirley Conboy to Joseph P. Conboy, in Middletown Township, for one dollar.
Joseph Scarlata Jr. to Joseph Scarlata Jr. and Linda J. Scarlata, in Hallstead Borough for one dollar.
Jay M Anstee and Lilliane M. Anstee to Brian H. Dascher and Nancy E. Dascher, in Jackson Township for $75,000.
Ann Steveskey to Ann Steveskey, Karen Plaia and Jay Steveskey, in Ararat Township for one dollar.
Paul E. Fogel and Sue A. Fogel to Richard Baus Sr., in Ararat Township for $79,000.
BarbaraJo K. Rieck (by sheriff) (aka) Barbara Jo Rieck (by sheriff) to Everhome Mortgage Company, in Dimock Township for $3,694.
Donna J. Teel (nbm) Donna J. Gleason, Debbie L. Bishop (nbm) Debbie L. Tilley, and Diane J. Boris to Michelle A. Hitchcock, in Lathrop Township for $127,000.
Robert J. Hunter, Carole Hunter (aka) Carol Hunter to Robert J. Hunter, in Herrick Township, for one dollar.
Jennie H. Mikulewicz (est aka) Jennie Mikulewicz to John Kowalewski Sr., in Forest City for one dollar.
Karl Beck (by sheriff), Ellen Beck (by sheriff) (aka) Ellen T. Beck to Fannie Mae, in Forest City for $1,298.
Kenneth L. Kinney III and Laura J. Bullock to John F. Green, in Dimock Township for $98,000.
David T. Baker and Wendy D. Baker to Antonio F. Gamboni, in Thompson Township for $15,000.
Catherine A. Staros to Stanley R. Staros and Lisa M. Staros in Thompson Borough for one dollar.
Charlotte Whitbeck (fka) Charlotte Jones to Charlotte Whitbeck, in Lenox Township, for one dollar.
Theta Land Corporation to Maple Highlands, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Craig R. Hildebrand, Kingsley, and Ann Marie Thompson, Kingsley.
Daniel R. Rinker, Binghamton, NY, and Sherrie Lee Willard, Binghamton, NY.
Karl Barrows, Clifford, and Jane Patricia Whitney, Nicholson.
Thomas M. Mellor, Kingsley, and Jessica Lea Slater, Kingsley.
David Walter Craft,Womelsdorf, Pa, and Amanda Beth Deyler, Harbor, NY.
Roger William Raub, Fort Drum, NY, and Kristin Marie Gahring, Vestal,NY.
Gregory Eugene Wright, Susquehanna, and Crystal D. Zakrojsek, Windsor, NY.
Brian George Natzle, Silver Lake Township, and Alicia Marie Fraser, Montrose.
Roger Allen Millard Jr., Susquehanna, and Curis Angela Dawn Mead, Susquehanna.
Curtis Alan Ross, RR3, Montrose, and Tanya M. Williams, RR3, Montrose.
Phillip Charles Trackey, Fort Drum, NY, and Wendy L. Pixley, Fort Drum, NY.
Jay Henderson, Friendsville vs. Marcie Henderson, Springville.
Suzanne Kern Gretchen, Springville vs. Shawn Lee Garrison, Springville.
William N. MacDonald, Springville, vs. Young-ja MacDonald, Susquehanna.
Juanita L. Salsman, Meshoppen, vs. David Troy Salsman, Meshoppen.
Alfred L. Aldrich, Jr., 76, and Susan Lathrop, 33, both of Montrose, were treated and released from the Endless Mountain Health Systems facility after both received a minor injury in a traffic accident. Aldrich, driving a 1994 Mercury Grand Marquis, drove his vehicle from the Lake Montrose Mall parking lot, intending to travel east on Route 706. Instead, he drove his vehicle into the direct path of a 2001 Dodge Ram pick-up driven by Lathrop and traveling west on 706. The Ram struck the Mercury. Both drivers were wearing seat belts in this accident that happened on the afternoon of June 8.
THEFT OF MOTOR VEHICLE
Sometime between June 5 and 6, a 1999 gray Yamaha golf cart belonging to Douglas Gray, Binghamton, was stolen from where it was parked at the residence of Eldon LaRue in Springville Township by an unknown person(s). Anyone with information, please call the State Police at 465-3154.
An unknown person(s) smashed the mailbox in front of the residence of Louise Welch, Forest Lake Township, sometime between the evening of June 5 and the following morning. Anyone with information, please call the State Police at 465-3154.
On May 30 at 11:30 p.m., state police responded to a complaint of a fight on Route 11 across from Maloneys Bar in Hallstead. When they arrived, Troy Irvin, Binghamton, was arrested for aggravated assault simple assault, reckless endangering and disorderly conduct. He struck Debra Calderone, Binghamton, in the head with a rock and she required medical treatment. Irvin was remanded to the County prison on $10,000 bail. On June 4, both Irvin and Calderone appeared before magistrate Janicelli, and Calderone refused to cooperate with the prosecution against Irvin. He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct based on what troopers observed upon their arrival at the scene of the assault.
HIT AND RUN
Michael Sperry, Montrose, backed his 1992 Dodge into the 1988 Mack belonging to George Poff, Kingsley. Sperry left the scene. No injury resulted from this May 22 incident.
Thomas Borsheski, Olyphant, and Amy Cribbs, Browndale, were on a motorcycle headed south on Route 171 about a mile north of Herrick Center. Borsheski struck a deer in the road and both he and Cribbs neither of whom were wearing helmets were thrown from the motorcycle and required treatment at CMC in Scranton. Borsheski broke his ankle; Cribbs had broken bones and head injuries. Mark Fallon, Thompson, driving along Route 171, struck the motorcycle as it lay in the roadway. An investigation continued in this accident that occurred during the late evening on May 21.
MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT
On May 21 at 9:30 p.m., Dennis Devine, 23, Florida, NY, was driving his 1999 Isuzu Amigo westbound on Route 492 in New Milford. He failed to stop for a posted stop sign where the road intersects with Route 11 and struck the 1995 Ford F-150 driven by Kenneth Rinker, 49, Hallstead. Neither Devine nor Rinker were injured, both vehicles received moderate damage, and New Milford Fire and Ambulance responded to the scene.
Unknown(s) person went to a school bus garage belonging to James M. Ainey, Montrose, sometime between 5 p.m. on June 2 and 6 a.m. the following day, cut the phone line into the garage, and pried open the entrance door.
On April 19, Stephen Joseph Kaminsky, Jackson Township, was arrested for the crimes of aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, terroristic threats, endangering the welfare of children, indecent assault, indecent exposure and corruption of minors for an incident that occurred on April 16. He was arraigned before District Justice Janicelli. Bail was set at $10,000, which Kaminsky posted before he was released.
A Pepsi-Cola delivery truck driver was making a delivery at the Lenox Texaco in Lenox Township when a local juvenile, 17, took two bottles of soda from the truck. A patron detected his behavior, and the juvenile faces the charge of theft in this June 2 incident.
ACT 64 DRUG INVESTIGATION
At Blue Ridge Middle School, New Milford Township, school officials became aware that several students were involved in or possessed prescription medication that had apparently not been prescribed to them. As a result, the state police are investigating the circumstances as described to them on June 2 by school officials. An investigation is ongoing.
Timothy Major, 23, Thompson, was traveling on a curve on Route 547 in Harford Township near the Interstate when a part of his stone load that was not properly secured fell off the truck and struck a vehicle being driven by Neda Tuttle, 17, New Milford. No injuries were reported in this collision that occurred on the afternoon on June 1.
A 13-year-old juvenile brought marijuana to the Elk Lake Junior High School, Dimock, on April 30, where it was discovered by the school principal. Charges have been filed through juvenile court.
Thompson Boro Council met on June 7 with vice president Andy Gardner presiding in the absence of president Dennis Price, who arrived later in the evening.
The first item discussed was brought up by council member Nicholas Sheptak, who asked about the lack of a written agenda, and why minutes were not available for review before each meeting. Mr. Gardner pointed out that the boro does not have an office or a copier, and that the secretary and treasurer are not full-time. Secretary Diane Sheldon added that much of the information that comes up for discussion is not presented until right at the meeting.
After discussion about repair bills amounting to about $725 for a broken (sewage) line in front of Hobbs Market, due to the lack of casing at the lateral joint, a motion carried to pay the individual contractors for their repair work and to hold back that amount from final installment to be paid to Pioneer, the system contractor, and to make a $50 donation to the Thompson Hose Company for their help flushing the line. Mr. Gardner noted that the project engineers (recently) released Pioneer from concreting the tees, which had been included in the specs, at an approximate cost of $50 each. This total would be deducted from the amount due to Pioneer, but it would be up to council to contract the work; council is in the process of getting prices from another contractor.
Several items on a "punch list" prepared by council and the engineers have not been addressed by Pioneer, such as a tee that was not placed on one property.
Council received a bill from Pioneer from 2003, for other repair work done at Hobbs Market. Since there is still some dispute as to who was at fault, no action was taken.
Upon completion of the project, "leftover" funds will be applied to paving; Pioneer has given a price of $106,000 to complete the paving, which does not include berming, expected to be an additional $7,000; the original estimate had been for $70,000 for both the paving and berming. And, some restoration work such as repairing driveways and sidewalks where necessary is to be completed when the paving is done. As Pioneer would not do the actual paving work, but would subcontract it, council discussed bidding the work out themselves, to get other prices with the same specs. Unfortunately, Pioneer got the "go ahead" from the engineers, to do paving and were to start the following day. Discussion that followed included comments that it is "frustrating" that council is not satisfied with the job they did "now we have to let them do the paving" and "theyre coming in tomorrow, and theres nothing we can do about it. We should have approval for these decisions." Mr. Price checked with the boro solicitor, to find out if the boro is obligated to use Pioneer for the paving. "He doesnt think so, but we have to check with RUS... we may have to (use Pioneer)." Mr. Price agreed to contact RUS first thing Tuesday morning to see if council could assume responsibility for contracting for the paving, to get a better price. In the event that it is possible to secure their own contractor, or to go on record if it isnt, a motion carried to withdraw from Pioneer for paving and restoration.
It was noted that five property owners have not yet applied for a permit to connect to the system. After discussion, it was agreed to send those owners a letter, reminding them that all homes included in the project must be connected by June 30. In response to a comment from an audience member about the expense of sending letters, councils consensus was that it is preferable to pay the cost of sending a letter, rather than to have to pay for legal proceedings. If these homeowners do not comply, they will be turned over to the solicitor for liens and fines; boro ordinance does allow for a fine, of $50 to $125 for each offense. Each day of noncompliance is considered a separate offense. And, the property owner will be responsible for any legal fees involved. All properties within the system will be billed for monthly usage fees, as of June 30, whether they are hooked up or not.
Plant engineer Larry Travis gave his monthly report; "seed" sludge was brought in to get the plant started. On May 10, there was an alarm incident, caused by a malfunctioning controller. A new one was obtained and installed. Other than the cost to ship the defective one back to the manufacturer, there should be no cost to the boro as it should be under warranty. Mr. Travis supplied details about the May 17 incident at Hobbs Market; the tee has since been encased to prevent future breakage. Results from samples taken on April 21 were all good. More samples were sent out to be tested on May 19. An application must be made for a NPDES permit, cost $500; it usually requires three sample results but because the system has not been operating long enough, two should be acceptable. And, the county must be notified that the permit has been applied for. Some lab equipment is needed for operational control, cost is about $608.36 plus shipping and handling.
Mr. Gardner gave an update on the ESCP; a meeting is scheduled for June 21 at the fire hall, at 5:00 p.m. All are welcome to attend, including representatives of area groups, businesses, utilities organizations who operate within the member municipalities, to state their views and needs as well as their plans for future development.
Damage to the sidewalk at the corner of Main and Jackson was reported, most likely caused by a vehicle driving over it.
A motion carried to adopt ordinance No. 140, to participate in the county readdressing policy.
A motion carried to amend the boros nuisance ordinance, No. 106, providing for removal of disabled vehicles, and fixing penalties. A resident asked, why arent ordinances posted in a public place, so that residents could read them; Secretary Sheldon explained that copies are available for review by making an appointment with her, at the solicitors office, or at the offices of the County Transcript. Mr. Price said that permission has been given to put up a bulletin board in town, but help is needed; council members seem to be the only ones who volunteer for anything that needs to be done.
Mr. Lloyd stated that he strongly objected to the procedure used to adopt this ordinance. He felt that council members need more time to review items that affect everyone. "Im not saying this (ordinance) is a bad thing, but I dont know. I didnt have enough time to study it... I object to an ordinance showing up at council and a vote being taken on it that night."
Mr. Gardner agreed that council should discuss changes that could be made to their practices in these situations, so that all members could be equally informed before a vote is taken.
A motion carried to approve amendments to ordinances 128 and 137, regarding sewer rates and charges; these amendments were made at the request of PAWC to include the exact monthly billing charges (PAWC has contracted to bill the monthly sewage usage fees).
And, after some discussion, a motion carried to adopt ordinance 143, adopting the Uniform Construction Code and the Property Maintenance Code. In response to a question from a resident, Mr. Price said that council really had no choice but to accept the UCC; their only choice was to "opt in" and designate an inspector. This would allow some say as to inspection costs to the property owner; otherwise, Labor and Industry will appoint someone to do it at a cost of $800 to $1,500 per inspection. "Were hoping to have more control over enforcement, and to keep costs down to the homeowner," Mr. Price said.
As for the property maintenance code, it had been decided to adopt it because it has a better chance of holding up in court; violations could be taken directly to the county courts rather than a magistrate. CEO Shane Lewis noted that the code can be modified to suit a municipalitys preferences. For example, the code states that grass ten inches high is a violation, but a municipality could lower that figure.
And, at Mr. Lewis recommendation, council will use another, third party inspector for properties requiring handicap accessibility and for backup, in situations where Mr. Lewis is unable to conduct inspections. Mr. Lewis will still administer permits.
A building permit was approved, for an addition for the Skiba property.
A motion carried to advertise for bids for refuse removal within the boro.
A number of complaints regarding restoration of properties due to the sewage system construction will be forwarded to Pioneer.
Councilman Jeff Sheldon reported that he had contacted the county for more information about the availability of inmates to do litter control; council will have to designated three areas they would like to see cleaned up. The boro will be responsible for supplying bags and for pickup of the bags.
Continuing discussion from the last meeting, Mr. Lloyd had contacted the refuse hauler used by the boro; a boro-wide cleanup would have to be at the boros expense. Things to be considered would be the need to hire someone to watch a drop-off site, to ensure that participants were not dumping items indiscriminately. Such a project would necessitate raising taxes, something council has been reluctant to do.
Council approved use of the fire police for the boros town fair, to be held on June 19.
And, council extended their congratulations to colleague Diane Sabatelli, who had given birth the previous Thursday.
The next meeting will be on Monday, July 5, 7:30 p.m. in the fire hall on Water Street.
All members of the Oakland Boro Council were present at the June 10 meeting, with the exception of Doug Arthur; also present were Mayor Towner, Secretary/Treasurer Flo Brush, CEO Shane Lewis, and a number of residents.
Council approved purchase of a hand-held radio for police officer Phil McDonald, cost approximately $350.
Council discussed a proposal made at a previous meeting by a representative of Recap, a nonprofit consulting firm, to consider turning the boro building into a senior residence facility. President Ron Beavan reported that a boro resident has expressed interest in working on the project, and has contacted Recap to discuss particulars. Some of the benefits of proceeding with the plan were discussed; it would create several job opportunities, for management and maintenance of the building; council could add the provision that meeting/office space for council be included; the water system would see an increase in customers; the boro would realize tax income from the property; the boro would no longer be responsible for upkeep costs for the building, such as heating; it would provide viable housing options for the boros elderly. In many ways, it could be beneficial to the boro.
But, a "task force" needs to be formed, to conduct what is, in essence, a feasibility study to look at all aspects of the proposal. The task force would be given the responsibility of determining what, exactly, the proposal would entail; what would be the costs to the boro to proceed, if it were to be determined to do so. Recap would provide guidance, but the final determination would be up to the boros residents. With this in mind, there would need to be some involvement from boro residents, both for input of ideas and volunteers to work on the project. It was agreed that the project was something to be considered; Mr. Beavan asked for recommendations, names of possible candidates to serve on the task force.
Mr. Beavan reported that a "good number" of volunteers had participated in the cleanup of a State Street property that has been the subject of numerous complaints in the last few years. Over 80 bags of household trash had been disposed of; only perishable trash had been disposed of. Discarded toys and other household items had not been removed. And, bait that had been put at the site had apparently done its job, as several dead rats had been found.
Mayor Towner reported that a load of tires had been dumped at the McKune Cemetery, after a county sponsored tire pickup had been held in the area.
In response to complaints about stone and lumber trucks on Westfall Ave., council will contact PENNDOT for information on weight restrictions, as Westfall is a state road.
A water committee meeting was scheduled for Saturday, June 12 at 10 a.m.
Councilman Crawford reported that work to address the water problem at the Medlar property has almost been completed, close to the budgeted amount.
At a prior meeting, council had discussed retaining the services of the boros "Experience Works" employee, Bruce Moorehead. By all accounts, Mr. Moorehead had been an excellent asset to the boro, and has even voluntarily given his time to help on several projects. After discussion, a motion carried to keep Mr. Moorehead on, at 20 hours per week or less, at minimum wage. And, council will accept the offer of an additional Experience Works worker.
Correspondence reviewed included notice of a meeting, to be held in Montrose on June 16, for the Experience Works program, and an equipment show, to be held at the Harford Fairgrounds on July 29.
Council accepted the resignation of auditor Marie Curtis; it was not clear whether a replacement would need to be appointed, as the boro currently does not use the services of elected auditors.
Paving for the coming season was discussed; at Mr. Crawfords suggestion, it was agreed to advertise bids for East High St. and a portion of Walnut St. Bids will be solicited to include an "alternate" portion of Walnut which was said to be hardly used, except as access to High St.; a determination will be made to include this portion depending on the amount of the bids. Prospect St. is also in need of paving, but ditch work needs to be done before it can be paved; it was agreed to hold off on paving Prospect until next year after the ditch work has been done, which is scheduled to be taken care of over the summer.
A resident inquired about the progress of cleanup on a boro property; Mr. Beavan responded that it is "moving along," as a court date has been scheduled for June 29.
The Oakland Boro Rec. will be sponsoring a community yard sale on June 26; vendors and volunteers will be welcome. All proceeds will benefit the boro park. In addition to the yard sales, the Rec. committee will have the concession stand open, and various items will be offered for sale, with all proceeds to go towards the park fund.
Public comment included a report that dogs that had previously been reported to have attacked other pets, with fatal results, had since been menacing a child and had attacked at least one other pet. Another concern was about the number of vehicles speeding on Westfall Ave.
Council proudly displayed a replica of a check received the previous week, shared grant funding for an expanded codes program with Susquehanna Boro.
The meeting adjourned to an executive session, which included SEO Shane Lewis.
When the meeting reconvened, a motion carried to adopt the ordinance pertaining to the states Uniform Construction Code. Council and Mr. Lewis are in the process of working up a fee schedule for inspections.
Council agreed to accept an offer from resident Bill Briar, to construct a web page for the boro.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, July 8, 7:00 p.m. in the boro building.
Everyone knows it pays to advertise, but how much better does it get when you re-advertise? Clifford Township learned that sometimes it does pay to re-advertise.
Last month the township supervisors received bids on installing a new roof on the township building. The bids ranged from a low of $86,000 to a high of $246,000 for a hip roof with 40-year shingles. The roof would replace the present flat roof that has been collecting water during heavy periods of rain, causing a number of leaks in the former elementary school.
The bids were much higher than the township estimated cost of about $70,000 and so the Board of Supervisors decided to reject all bids and re-advertise. Revised specifications reduced the plywood for the new roof from three-quarter-inch to five-eights. New bids were received at last weeks meeting and the price range dropped to a low of $83,000 and a high of $192,000.
The supervisors believe the lions share of the cost will be paid by a state grant. When the township decided to install a new roof, John Regan, chair of the board of supervisors, said the township had been in touch with State Representative Sandra Major and she indicated that a state grant would be forthcoming.
The low bid of $83,430 was submitted by OKeefe Service Company of Dunmore. The companys initial bid of $86,000 was also the low bid when the initial bids were received in May. At that time, Mastriani Construction Co. also of Dunmore submitted the high bid of $246,000 and their new bid of $192,000 is also the highest received. Other bids included Kazor Construction, $99,650; Unique Building Systems, $129,900; and McGraw Construction of Greenfield Twp., $138,000.
The supervisors will hold a special meeting on June 15 to award a contract.
In another matter, Police Chief Tom Munley is back on part-time duty after an absence of three years due to an injury from a fall. Chief Munleys first monthly report since returning to duty confirmed the need for the townships police department.
During May, Chief Munley handled more than 60 calls covering an assortment of activities ranging from noise complaints to motor vehicle thefts.
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