Please visit our kind sponsors
The Council of Governments and its two committees – Codes Enforcement and Sewage Enforcement – have lately made efficiency an art, attending to every item on their agendas with not a second of wasted time. Their last regular meetings, held November 16, were no exception, even though the COG meeting room was filled with representatives from many COG member municipalities.
President Rick Pisasik presided over the Sewage Enforcement Committee meeting which is first up in the evening. Secretary Karen Trynoski reported that no correspondence was received for the reading, and with bills, minutes and the treasurer’s report approved, Pisasik moved onto administrative actions.
The first was to point members to the proposed budget that each received for their review. He requested their input on the budget at its next meeting. In brief, Pisasik said the proposed budget shows an estimated deficit under Act 537, which the budget committee expects to be offset by income from subdivisions, which should result in a surplus.
He reported on the results of an appeals hearing that convened the night before the meeting for a situation in Liberty Township. An agreement was reached whereby the property-owner would perform necessary repairs and corrections to the sewage system, with the contractor doing the repairs cooperating with COG. If violations are not remedied by next July 1, a civil fine of $2500 kicks in, with a fine of $500 for every week after the July deadline that the violation is not remedied. Court costs will also be paid by the property-owner, with payments amortized over time, with final payment by December, 2005.
This meeting was then adjourned.
COUNCIL OF GOVERNMENTS
It was basically a bond and information items that took up the bulk of the COG meeting presided over by Elliot Ross.
Secretary Cheryl Wellman, who last month reported the purchase of a blanket bond to cover COG board members, treasurers and all non-compensated officers, wanted to know from the group how it wanted to split its $690 cost among the three elements – COG, Sewage and Codes. It wanted to split it the way it does most items shared among the three groups and which is based on cost and/or use, and that was 3 percent by COG, 82 percent by Sewage and 15 percent by Codes. Members also agreed that a $50 charge for COG’s website domain would be picked up by COG and not apportioned among the three groups.
Ross reported that he’s been busy producing street and road signs for members, with more requests arriving. He expects to be busy over the next few weeks in working out new signs for Springville and Thompson Township and other member municipalities. Ross mentioned that a supervisor from a Wyoming County municipality, which is a member of that county’s COG, contacted him. He was interested in more information about the street/road signs program that the Susquehanna group offers its members. Ross wanted to run by members whether it would be okay for Wellman to send the rep. more information about the program and the grant that helped fund it. It was fine by them.
Member Mike Greene reported on the latest activities of the county planning commission which, says Greene, is still working on land-use ordinances. It expects to brief county commissioners sometime in early December, with a presentation to the public expected in January. Greene also mentioned that six of the county’s nine planning commission members attended a recent state planning association conference in Harrisburg. Greene reported that it was a real eye-opener to learn what is happening with planning around the state, and noted that the Northern Tier Coalition here in the county appears to be on the right track in working as a group to effect coordinated and managed growth.
Lastly, Wellman reported that she received a request from the county cooperative extension to use COG offices for a meeting it plans to hold next April; members approved the request. She also reported that information about COG was provided to Montrose Borough, but it’s Wellman’s understanding that its council members did not take any action on it at their last meeting.
This meeting was then adjourned.
CODES ENFORCEMENT COMMITTEE MEETING
Attached to the agenda of this meeting, labeled with the name of each municipality, was an orange sheet which was the report to date of Codes activities in the member’s municipality. The report included type of inspection, fee, permit issued, date and other information involved in UCC permitting and inspecting. Committee president Ted Plevinsky told members that they could expect this report monthly, and secretary Karen Trynoski urged them to give the report to their municipality’s secretary to keep in their files. Trynoski also asked members to give her a call if “something doesn’t look right,” and noted that the reports contain information on sites which have completed the whole process and paid the fees; they do not include work that is in process.
There was no correspondence to speak of and, like the Sewage Committee before it, Codes also distributed its proposed 2005 budget to members for their review before the next meeting. With so many new members and so much of the Codes landscape having been changed by the UCC, Plevinsky explained that the budget was developed based on best available knowledge and assumptions because, “there’s no history to go back on, with so much having changed.”
Included in administrative actions was a proposed change of fees to municipalities, which members accepted. This change increases from $25 an hour to $35.50 an hour the fee that will be charged to a member municipality when it requests the codes enforcement officer to attend the municipality’s meeting. Time over one hour will be billed at $25 an hour, in one-quarter hour increments. Mileage will not be charged for a CEO’s attendance at a municipal meeting.
Before adjourning, a member asked if any progress had been made about proposed or sample ordinances that define setbacks. Trynoski replied that she’s received some samples but was having a difficult time getting a handle on them. She thought perhaps the executive committee would want to take it up with, or run it by counsel Jason Legg.
The next regular meeting of the Council of Governments is scheduled for December 21 at 7 p.m. in COG offices in the New Milford Borough Building on Main Street.
The Great Bend/Hallstead Volunteer Ambulance Service will hold a special, open meeting of the ambulance service on Monday, December 6, 7:00 p.m. at the Great Bend Borough Hall. The public is encouraged to attend, as the future of the ambulance service will be discussed and decided.
They are in need of community support and participation in the process of determining direction. The number of active volunteer EMS providers in the service has decreased in recent years. Their license to operate as an ambulance service expired on June 30, 2004 as a result of this decline and other factors. Put simply, they do not have enough trained people to respond to calls and to operate the service. The problem of retaining a sufficient number of volunteer emergency responders is an increasing problem in our state, and is not unique to this service.
Before them are two options to consider:
Option One: Continue a cooperative arrangement with Broome Volunteers who have already stepped in to ensure prompt ambulance and paramedic service in the area, with an offer of a viable solution. This option would involve a trial period where Broome Volunteers would lease the ambulances from Great Bend/Hallstead, for one dollar. Broome would manage the service and staff the ambulances, and Great Bend/Hallstead members would continue to respond and would become members of Broome Volunteers. If the trial period is successful, title to the ambulances would be transferred to Broome. Broome would also provide Great Bend/Hallstead with a seat on their board of directors. The ambulances would stay housed in the community and the name of the Great Bend/Hallstead Ambulance will be kept on the vehicles, with a notation that the service is operated by Broome.
Option Two: Seek out additional volunteers who can provide leadership, business expertise, or EMS experience. They would reorganize and re-license Great Bend/Hallstead Volunteer Ambulance, Inc. The reorganization would change the structure of the corporation so that a board of directors will be elected and will oversee and manage the service. The board of directors would include community representation. A change in bylaws will need to be made to do this, since now the membership votes on all operational decisions. This option also requires strong commitment from individuals in the community and a workable plan to recruit additional emergency responders to staff the ambulances before they can re-license.
They need your help, commitment, and most importantly, your support. Many people in the community have supported the ambulance service over its 50 years of service. Many have donated time and money, and now they need to know which direction would be best for you, the community they serve. All of the members of the ambulance service truly want to do what is best for the community which is why they are taking this unprecedented step in holding a public meeting.
The meeting will be facilitated by Steve Wirth, an attorney and consultant specializing in EMS and public safety law and planning. He is a former paramedic, ambulance service manager, and is an active volunteer EMT/firefighter in his community. His firm, Page, Wolfberg & Wirth, in Mechanicsburg, PA specializes in assisting ambulance services throughout the country. Also participating will be Brent Meadows, Executive Director of the Bradford/Susquehanna EMS Council. Mr. Meadows will be present to answer questions about licensure and any assistance that can be provided by the regional EMS office and state.
They hope you will join for this meeting and get involved in a very important issue for the community. Nothing can be more important than ensuring the protection of families, businesses and visitors to a community in time of emergency. Keep in mind that they will be addressing the future, not dwelling on the past and will keep this meeting positively focused on the days and years ahead.
If you have any questions prior to the meeting, or issues you would like addressed, please call Terry Gow at 879–9061.
F C Hearing Draws Crowd
One of the largest audiences in years attended last Thursday’s public hearing in Forest City to argue pro and con on the issue of bulk or bag trash pickup in the borough.
As expected, most senior citizens in the audience supported the current status quo that is bag pickup, while younger parents with families that generate more trash sought a change to the bulk pick up.
The Borough Council took a straw vote at the end of the 90-minute session. A total of 28 hands were raised in favor of retaining the bag system, while 17 wanted to change to bulk pickup.
Council agreed to run a ballot in The Forest City News and allow borough residents to vote for their choice. The vote will be tallied prior to the December council meeting where a decision will be reached on the collection method.
Borough Secretary/Treasurer Sue Coleman told the audience that stickers needed for bag pickup would probably be sold at five for $14 for the next three years. She said that, besides taking the bags that are stickered, the cost would provide for an annual Spring Cleanup when bulk items will be picked up.
Using the bulk system, Mrs. Coleman said the cost would be $153.94 per household. She said the estimate includes additional money for approximately seven percent of the users that will not pay their bill.
Council President Jim Lowry said the borough can assure residents that the bag price quoted will be in effect for the next three years. However, he said the bulk rate cost can be increased annually by the waste hauler.
Councilman Nick Cost said his concerns included the billing process, how to collect from those who do not pay, and how to stop people from other communities from discarding garbage on piles already at curbsides.
Al Daugevelo, a senior citizen and a former councilman, said he supports the bulk system and would prefer to see the senior citizens help the young folks who find the per bag cost too expensive. Another former council member, Barbara Mihelc, who said she would prefer remaining with the bag system responded to Mr. Daugevelo.
“The thing I like about the bag system,” Mrs. Mihelc said, “is I am not asking anyone else to pay for my garbage. I pay my own.”
Those who argued for the bulk system indicated that the cost of the bulk rate is only slightly higher than the bag rate. They said with two or three kids, they generate three or four bags of trash a week and the cost becomes greater than the proposed bulk rate.
Someone said the bulk rate would hurt the recycling program in the borough because people would get into the habit of throwing recyclables away with the bulk rate. This prompted another person to say that he recycles because he cares about the environment.
Another person pointed out that some people do not put stickers on their bags of garbage and it gets picked up anyway. She asked if there was anything that could be done about this. Mr. Lowry said the borough can do nothing because it has no control over the men who pick up the garbage.
Council said the ballots in the Forest City News can be filled out and dropped off at the borough building or in select stores on Main Street, including Zazzera’s Market, Cooley’s, Red Cross Pharmacy, and the library.
Council said its final decision will be based upon the voting and that a contract for the garbage collection will be awarded at the regular council meeting on December 6.
Sometime between November 13 and 18, someone took a Nokia 3360 cell phone from a vehicle belonging to Phyllis Wedman, Kingsley, while it was parked in the lot at Mountain View Elementary School in Harford Township.*
Joseph A. Nardo, 55, Montrose, reported that his home was burglarized sometime between 5 a.m. and noon on November 16. Several rifles were taken.
Brian S. Visakay, 28, and Nicole Visakay, 29, both of Dimock Township, were involved in a domestic dispute at their home late on the night of November 15. Both were cited for harassment.
RECKLESSLY ENDANGERING ANOTHER
Shortly before noon on November 5, Johnie DeRose, 20, Susquehanna, went into the Robinson Grocery Store in South Montrose and tried to pass a bad check. When DeRose was told to go to the store’s office, he was confronted by William Robinson, 63, who asked DeRose to compensate the store for the bad checks DeRose cashed there. When DeRose replied that he couldn’t, Robinson tried to contact the State Police. DeRose grabbed the bad checks Robinson was holding in his hand, and ran out the front of the store.
Robinson followed DeRose and stepped between the open door and DeRose’s car. DeRose then placed the car into reverse and went about 4-6 feet before he threw the bad checks out the window and drove away.
Susquehanna County Det. Debra Millard is investigating the bad checks, theft and other crimes related to this incident, and the incident in the parking lot is being investigated by the State Police. The charge of recklessly endangering another person was filed against DeRose in the district justice office in Montrose.
THEFT BY UNLAWFUL TAKING
Sometime between August 27 and September 12, an unknown person(s) went into a barn at the intersection of State Roads 1001 and 1002 and took a portable generator that a farmer was using to run his hay elevator. There are significant leads in this investigation that are being followed up on by State Police.
Early in the morning on November 15, Becky Johnson, 31, Brackney, was driving her 1995 Jeep Cherokee south on State Route 167 when she hit a deer that came onto the road. Johnson, who was wearing a seat-belt, complained of back pain and was taken to Endless Mountains Health System via a private vehicle. Members of the Silver Lake Volunteer Fire Co. assisted State Police at the scene.
HIT AND RUN CRASH
This incident happened as a unknown vehicle with a unknown driver was traveling south on Township Road 582 shortly after 2 a.m. on the morning of November 7. The driver lost control of the vehicle, left the road and struck a post-and-wire fence before fleeing the scene.*
Charles Schneider, 68, , and Rita Schneider, 48 – both of New Milford – became involved in an argument on the afternoon of November 13 when Rita Schneider was assaulted by Charles Schneider. He was placed under arrest and was subsequently lodged in the county correctional facility in lieu of $10,000 bail.
Sometime between Halloween night and the following morning, someone dumped maple syrup on a vehicle belonging to Victoria Tonkin, 34, Clifford Township.
A 1990 Honda Accord driven by Shelly Mathews, Friendsville, was traveling north along a snow-covered Kiney Road when it slid and hit a tree. Mathews, who was wearing a seat-belt, was transported to Lourdes Hospital for a check-up. Members of the Silver Lake Volunteer Fire Department assisted State Police at the scene of this November 12 accident.
At around 11 a.m. on November 14, someone stole a jacket and cell phone from Cheri L. Penny, Hallstead, while she ate lunch at Tedeschi’s Restaurant in Great Bend Township.*
James Baker, 40, Auburn Township, and a juvenile became involved in an altercation on the afternoon of October 29 during which Baker was punched. The juvenile was charged with harassment.
* Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the State Police at 465-3154.
Charles S. Dodge, Bethel I. Dodge, David E. Dodge, and Jennifer Dodge to John H. Hoffman and Joan D. Hoffman, in Auburn Township for $27,500.
Hans Jurgen Weilandt, Nathalie Quince, Mark Kevin Weilandt, Kari Weilandt, and Christ Norman Weilandt to Ronlock, in Springville Township for $78,000.
Charles L. June (estate by trustee) to John Levi Sheldon, Cheryll Sheldon Feuerstein, and Robert James Sheldon, in Harmony Township for one dollar.
James O. Wikoff and Maryann Wikoff to Richard G. Vance, in Lenox Township for $106,000.
Borden-Gerber, Inc to Michael H. Helm Jr., in Herrick Township for $12,500.
Borden-Gerber, Inc. to Michael H. Helm Jr., in Herrick Township for $12,500.
Bordon-Gerber, Inc. to Michael H. Helm Jr. in Herrick Township, for $7,500.
Francis Chesnick and June Chesnick to Chesnick Living Trust, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Millard H. Stalker to Loise M. Johnson, in Forest City for $39,900.
Ferdinand M. Weiss and Joyce M. Weiss to Robert Schuler and Gabriele Schuler, in Franklin Township for $49,000.
Scott D. Johnson and Mary Beth Johnson to Dennis Stewart, in Silver Lake Township for $39,900.
James E. Morrison and Valerie Morrison to David C. Peck and Margaret A. Peck, in Silver Lake Township for $175,000.
Harry W. Marvin Jr. and Kathleen S. Marvin to Harry W. Marvin Jr., in Great Bend Township for one dollar.
Borden-Gerber, Inc. to Michael H. Helm Jr., in Herrick Township for $7,500.
James H. Chupella (aka by sheriff) James Chupella, Cecelia W. Chupella (aka by sheriff) Cecelia Chupella to Wachovia Bank (SIIT), First Union National Bank (SIIT), Corestates Bank, in Hallstead Borough for $2,860.
William Cook and Kelly Cook to Robert Clayton and Mary Ann Clayton, in Franklin Township for $120,000.
Patricia Gardner (estate) to Joseph Leonard, in Forest Lake township for $40,000.
Phillip C. Hodges and Donna Hodges to Darlene A. Daniels, in Forest City for $75,000.
Jeffrey Bennett to Victoria L. Morales and Jacqueline M. Puskas, in Clifford Township for $97,000.
Donald Suloman and Connie Suloman to Orhan W. Ozkan and Ethna Ozkan, in New Milford Township for $240,000.
Kathryn Fedirko to Kathryn Mills and Michael W. Fedirko, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.
Rose Mary Stevens to David Chester Stevens and Marybeth Brinkner-Stevens, in New Milford Township for one dollar.
Alexander D. Wilson II (estate) to Todd R. Wilson, Peter N. Wilson, Laura M. Wilson Brosten, and Ann W. Scala, in Silver Lake Township for zero consideration.
Todd R. Wilson, Peter N. Wilson, Laura M. Wilson Brosten, and Ann W. Scala to Todd R. Wilson, Peter N. Wilson, Laura M. Wilson, Ann W. Scala, Patricia R. Wilson, and Alexander D. Wilson III, for one dollar.
Mildred Whengreen to Kathleen A. Whengreen and William W. Whengreen, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Roland F. Wheeler and Alice J. Angier to Nathaniel S. Williams, in Lanesboro Borough for $30,000.
Claudia A. Montelione (by sheriff) to Federal National Mortgage Association, in Harford Township for $1,512.
Edward Tirjan (rev trust) and Antoinette Tirjan (rev trust by trustees) to Timothy Tirjan (rev trust by trustees), Michael Tirjan, and Joanne Loew, in Gibson Township for one dollar.
Ann Marie Rhiel, Christopher J. Rhiel, and John F. Heintz to Ann Marie Rhiel, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Warden A. Brace (by sheriff), Donna E. Brace (by sheriff) to CitiFinancial Services Inc., in Lenox Township for $1,630.
Manuel Diaz and Maria F. Diaz to James J. Foltz, in Brooklyn Township for one dollar.
Richard B. Smith and V. Carol Smith to Jeff S. Carson and Diane M. Carson, in Springville Township for $100,000.
Carol E. Haist (rev trust) to Francis J. Pinkowski, Francis J. Pinkowski Jr. and Michael J. Pinkowski, in Choconut Township for $75,000.
Christer S. Jansson and Susan L. Rolnick-Jansson to Steven C. Wilson, in Dimock Township for $32,000.
Scott E. Seman, Renee Sparks (nbm) Renee Seman, to George Glenn Wilder and Mary Elizabeth Wilder, in Clifford Township for $119,000.
Alexander Harvilchuck and Halena Krynska, both of Brackney.
John Charles Clapper Jr. of Montrose and Suzanne Marie Bryant of Friendsville.
Joshua Franklin Hobbs of Lanesboro and Nicole Renae Scott of Montrose.
Edmund Joseph Wasnock and Deborah Ann Butler, both of Herrick Center.
Dayton E. Fisk of Susquehanna vs. Rene M. Fisk of Susquehanna.
Timothy Cavanaugh of Susquehanna vs. Debra Cavanaugh of Susquehanna.
Thomas M. Albright of Thompson vs. Deborah R. Albright of White haven.
Melanie Sue Lasher of Kingsley vs. Raymond Roy Lasher of Kingsley.
Correction from last article printed: Mike Hestor is the only Certified Operator who submitted a quote for services for the Bridgewater Township Municipal Authority.
The Bridgewater Township meeting Monday, November 15, began with a review of last meetings minutes. They were accepted with minor corrections. Attending were Supervisors, Beverly Way, Chuck Mead and Bill Gorkski; and Connie Ely, Secretary.
Old business brought up was the need to send a second letter to Ken Housen on his trailer property concerning the sluice. Chuck Mead contacted a licensed real estate appraiser to appraise the property to be purchased from Montrose Borough. It will be done in a couple of weeks at a cost of $200. The CDBG grant application came back with some stipulations. In order to be eligible for the grant, 51% of the property owners have to be in a low income bracket. The Housing and Redevelopment Authority will be surveying the six property owners listed.
New Business: Bill Gorkski mentioned a message on the answering machine requesting proof of additional bills for FEMA for the debris removal reimbursement. Connie Ely will follow up on their request. Tom Codington requested a resolution be passed to participate in a feasibility study to merge Montrose Borough and Bridgewater Township Municipal Authorities.
Chuck Mead completed the 2005 Budget but has to make some adjustments due to the Property Assessment total coming in at $52,863,000. Connie will be placing an advertisement in the paper when the Budget is available for public review.
Connie Ely will be filling out paperwork for membership in the PA One Call System. The annual fee for membership is $50. The PA One Call System lets you know if there is any buried telephone, gas or electric cables where you plan to dig. You are protected from liability damages if you check with the system prior to digging.
A letter from Hinds Oil Company informed the Township that they will not be able to deliver fuel oil and diesel fuel in the near future. Connie will call other companies to get quotes on pricing.
A postcard was read by Chuck Mead from citizen Paul Gere regarding recent township business. A letter from DEP was reviewed giving Don Rickey permission to open up a stone quarry on his property. PENNDOT has given permission for Montrose School District to install a few “School Bus Stop Ahead” signs on Rte 29.
19 Checks were presented for signature and approval totaling $3,411.27. The meeting adjourned at 8:00 p.m.
The Clifford Township Board of Supervisors introduced its 2005 township budget last week. Perhaps the most significant change from last year is the date.
The tax rate for municipal purposes will remain at (yawn) 1.25 mills giving township residents bragging rights for another year. The rate ranks among the lowest in the Commonwealth. Township homeowners will pay $1.25 in township real estate taxes for each $1,000 of assessed value.
The 2005 budget totals $324,000 while anticipated revenues amount to $434,700 including $104,200 in the Liquid Fuels account and $5,000 in the capital project account. If all goes according to plan and no emergency situations pop up, the township could end the year with a surplus of $110,700.
Appropriations for road maintenance were increased from $90,000 in the 2004 budget to $110,000 in the new spending plan. Of this amount, $80,000 will be taken from the Liquid Fuels. Last year, the supervisors sliced appropriations for road maintenance in half.
The public safety account will remain at $60,000 in the new budget. Earlier this year, Police Chief Thomas Munley, the township’s only full time officer, returned to duty after being out with an injury for three years. Shortly after Chief Munley started work, he fell while on duty and injured his leg and is still on injury leave. The township will enter the new year with $120,000 in leftover cash from the 2004 budget. The figure includes $85,000 from the general fund account, $20,000 from liquid fuels, and $5,000 from the capital project account. While the full amount is included in the revenue for next year, the township expects to have a budget surplus in excess of $90,000 at the end of 2004.
Elk Lake School Board meeting called to order at 7:25 p.m. The meeting started with a presentation, given by Lockhaven University student, Aaron Copeland. Aaron is an Athletic Trainer Certified student. Mr. Copeland discussed the training and certification required to become and ATC. Mr. Copeland mentioned that Elk Lake should consider the possibility of having and ATC on staff at the school to reduce insurance premiums, legal liability, and student athlete safety. As an Athletic Trainer Certified, a student would be taken care of with injury, as well as rehabilitation of a sports related injury. Mr. Copeland stated, EMS can stabilize an injured student and take them to the hospital, but they do not know the students personal medical information, nor do they see the athlete on a daily basis. The average cost, for a high school to have an ATC on staff, ranges between $28,000.00 to $32,000.00, for a 10 month contract, from around 2:00 PM, until the last sporting event is finished in the evening.
The meeting continued with Principal reports. Mr. Pirone, elementary principal, discussed results from the mock election. Mr. Pirone mentioned, in 26 years, students have been correct every year with the results. The majority of students voted for George W. Bush, whereas most parents voted for John Kerry. Students voted the most important issue, this election year, was Homeland Security with Healthcare not far behind.
Mr. Mallery, Jr. High Principal stated the Homework Club is now up and running, with staff.
Dr. Cuomo, High School Principal, mentioned 197 students had perfect attendance and were rewarded with a pizza party.
A second presentation was given by Mr. Stang for bus communication.
(1) CB Radio, estimated cost $100.00 each. (2) Global Star Satellite Telephone, estimated cost $1,000 per unit, with monthly fee of $49.95. (3) Business Band Trunking Radio, estimated cost $650.00 per radio and antenna. (4) Business Band Radio, estimated cost $550.00 to install on each bus. Mr. Stang mentioned UHF was good on mountain tops but not good in the valley areas, whereas VHF was opposite, covering valleys but not mountain tops. Mr. Stang noted the most reliable choice would be Satellite Phones with 100% reliability to communicate between school and buses. For CB use, a bay station would be put at the school, at a cost of $1,500. Due to Middletown Township being so rural, a repeater would be necessary, the cost between $$3,000 to $4,000. The next Elk Lake School Board meeting will be December 6, at 7 p.m. in the High School library. Dr. Bush stated he will put together three proposals for the board to review.
The proposed 2005 budget that Great Bend Township will soon be advertising ups the allocation for equipment which, over the last year or so, has been hard hit in repairs and maintenance costs. This increase would, in turn, raise township taxes by 3/8 of a mil, or roughly 2.5%, for a net to the township of about $5,000 in additional tax revenues, said Bob Squier, chair of the township board of supervisors at its regular meeting on November 15. The budget is expected to be adopted next month.
For their part, supervisors are doing their share, literally, to try to keep costs down. Supervisor and roadmaster George Haskins thanked residents Donnie Tyler and Doug Evans with the help they gave to him, Squier and supervisor Walt Galloway over the past few Saturdays. They, along with Charles Haley, were busy behind the township building putting up the new salt storage barn. Tyler donated time and equipment to set the base for the trusses. The group did it all, from the roof to plywood siding on two walls. The building is almost finished, and some salt has already been moved into it for the spreading. A tarp will be rigged across the front to keep the snow from blowing down into the building, making for dryer salt and less waste.
In the rest of Haskins’ report, he noted that township secretary Sheila Guinan has coordinated all the paperwork that DEP needs to issue a permit to continue work on Graham Hollow Road. However, with time flying and snow soon to do so, the big fix on the road will need to wait until the spring to go out to bid. Haskins pointed out, though, that the road held up well with all the water that’s visited the area. In the meantime, the road crew will continue patching roads around the township until the weather stops them from doing so.
Other road news is that PENNDOT will be replacing the bridge on Randolph Road that spans the Interstate. The Department requested permission from the township to reroute traffic onto a township street, and the supervisors gave it, in a letter Guinan had already efficiently prepared for their signatures. The bridge will become a one-lane bridge with a red light during the construction, and other rerouting involves Emerson Road.
Haskins suggested to the other supervisors that they review the employee manual regarding work hours. This was in response to winter work needs in relation to overtime. Employees who work more than 40 hours a week receive overtime, and the supervisors would like to save money and not pay it. It’s why, they said, they hired on-call workers to help with plowing on an as-needed basis.
In the past, the road crew would, said Haskins, work 40-41 hours a week on the roads, with not a lot left over for the equipment repair and maintenance that’s critical during the winter. He suggested that Galloway and Squier give some thought to using the crew for 32 hours during the week, if possible, with 8 hours available for weekend work. The board, then, will review the manual, and most likely take up the topic at its next meeting.
Guinan passed along a conversation she recently had with Debbie Dissinger of the Bridging Communities committee. Guinan reported that Dissinger said she contacted an engineering firm, McFarland Johnson in Hallstead, who would be available to work with the supervisors of the township as well as Great Bend and Hallstead council members on Bridging Communities project. Haskins pointed out, “we have a commitment with Todd Schmidt to do that work – but we haven’t presented him with the material to get started, either.” Nevertheless, it won’t hurt to talk, so Squier will make himself available to meet with the engineer and find out what costs would be.
Galloway next made the case for the township to join the Council of Governments for its sewage enforcement needs. It is already a member of COG and its Codes committee. Galloway pointed out that fees which COG charges for services are basically the same as the township fees, without the permitting hassles the township sometimes has. He made a motion that was passed to join the COG Sewage Enforcement Committee effective January 1, preceded by advertising an ordinance to do so. It has between now and then to review in depth Sewage information and decide whether to adopt the ordinance.
Galloway also reported that he and Guinan have been working on specs and a drawing of new township space to be included in a grant request that Guinan will handle. “If we do get a grant,” he said, “we have to be as ready to go to bid as we can. This needs to be in before year-end,” and Guinan will ensure that it will be.
In new business, Squier explained a recent meeting with representatives of the USDA and DEP at a property in the township that has been eroded by September’s flooding. A house sits close to the eroded creek. The homeowner has qualified for assistance by the USDA whereby that department would pick up 85 percent of the cost of stabilizing the stream bank if the township picked up the remaining 15 percent of the cost, advertise for bids to repair the stream bank, and maintain it for ten years. Estimated total cost was anywhere from $50,000 to $80,000, and picking up 15 percent of it – not to mention maintaining the bank for a decade – was not something the supervisors wanted to do. Neither did the county, they reported.
The next regular meeting of the Great Bend Township board of supervisors is scheduled for December 6 at 7 p.m. in the township building.
With only four members present, Hallstead Boro Council met on November 18 for their regular monthly meeting. Present were president Michele Giangrieco, David Callender, John Giangrieco and Joseph Franks; secretary Cindy Gillespie; maintenance supervisor John Gordon; and several guests.
First item of discussion was the Route 11 park, badly damaged by flooding caused in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan. Council had met for a special meeting on November 4, at which a bid was awarded for replacement of rip rap at the park and to prepare the 2005 budget.
At this evening’s meeting, discussion continued on both topics. Work at the park had been just about completed, with all expressing satisfaction in its outcome. Topsoil will need to be replaced, as will gravel at the parking area. It was agreed to hold off on both of these items until spring, when the ground has settled and the materials are easier to move around. Mr. Gordon has re-placed the barbecue grills that were moved around by the flood, one being found downstream from the park after the floodwaters went down. And, over the winter months he will build three picnic tables for the park pavilion, to replace those lost in the flood.
Mr. Gordon had begun putting up the boro’s Christmas lights earlier in the week and expected to have all of them in place in time for the Thanksgiving weekend. Placement of lights on one pole was still pending, as Penelec had not yet installed the connection needed there.
Council has received notification that Adams Cable will be increasing its monthly customers’ fees, as of December 1.
A motion carried designating Ms. Giangrieco as the boro’s agent for disaster relief, necessary to apply for funding to address damage caused by emergencies such as Hurricane Ivan.
Also carried was a motion to approve an amendment to ordinance number 235, which defines the square footage requirements for structures under the UCC.
Returning to the 2005 budget, council decided not to take any action on provisions covering changes in council members’ pay until more of them were present to discuss it, although the proposed 2005 budget does cover the (possible) increase.
After discussion regarding uses of state highway aid funding for the coming year, several allocations were agreed on, including $30,000 for paving. It was agreed that Pine Hill is the street most in need of paving. But, a drainage problem first needs to be addressed. It had been thought that an existing storm drain had been covered over at some point in time, which could be one reason why there has been a continuing problem with flooding under the viaduct. In the meantime, at Mr. Gordon’s recommendation, he will contact several concerns to find out what the cost would be to clear storm drains beyond the immediate area, which should help to divert some of the water.
Finally, both Hallstead and Great Bend Boros were presented with monetary gifts, proceeds of the third annual Tim Fancher Memorial Run, held this year on July 25. Mr. Fancher had been a lifelong resident of the Hallstead-Great Bend area, and had died unexpectedly on August 25, 2001. As he had been an avid runner, each year a race is held in his honor, with all proceeds donated to both Hallstead and Great Bend, to be used for park maintenance and improvements.
Hallstead’s share of the donated funds received thus far had been earmarked for improvements at the Route 11 park, as it is a family-oriented park and sees the greatest amount of usage. Ms. Giangrieco noted that some of the improvements planned for the park had been put on hold due to flood damage, but the donation was gratefully accepted and will be put to use once the damage has been repaired.
The Harford Township Supervisors adopted a preliminary budget for 2005 at their meeting on November 13. The budget increases expenditures in the township component by nearly $20,000 without an increase in property taxes. (The township budget is actually in three parts. One part is covered by local revenue. The state part of the budget is covered by liquid fuel subsidies and other direct transfers, primarily for the roads. The third part of the budget is for the sewer system alone.)
The earned income tax has become the largest single source of revenue for the township. Under the 2005 budget the township expects to receive fully $100,000 from the earned income levy, while property taxes will account for about $81,000.
Overall, Harford Township expects to spend just under $250,000 next year. State funds will amount to another $141,000. The sewer system budget doesn't grow much from year to year, and stands at almost $99,000 for 2005.
So far during the current year, the township has overspent its budget by just about the same $20,000, depending on which sheet of figures you read. The new budget anticipates account balances to remain essentially unchanged over the next 12 months or so. The biggest increases in expenses will be on health insurance for township employees, and for heating fuel. For some reason, the budget expects wages to drop by more than $10,000 next year.
Not much of the new budget is targeted for the Odd Fellows Hall. Supervisor and Township Secretary Sue Furney said that, because there was no way to estimate what costs might be (since they don't even know yet what they're going to do), any expenses connected with the deed to the property, renovations or demolition, will be accounted as a "special project," presumably to be paid out of accumulated surplus, which now totals just under $140,000.
The vote on November 2 on the "special question" regarding the Odd Fellows deed was approved by registered voters by a margin of 353 to 101 (about 77%). The township will ask its attorneys to begin proceedings with the court to have the restrictions removed from the deed. In addition to the voter poll, the Supervisors will ask the Fire Company for a letter supporting the action, since the township received the property from the Fire Company originally, in about 1970. It was deeded to the Fire Company in 1963 by Live Oak Lodge #635 of the Odd Fellows; John Adams, Rush Simons, and Devere Decker, the only names on that document, are now deceased. However, the Supervisors will also try to obtain approval from current members of the lodge to support its petition in court.
The only other item on the agenda for the Saturday morning session was a letter from a couple on Stevens Road who complained that road crews had damaged their property during recent work to replace a sluice pipe. They claimed damage to several trees and a mail box; and an untidy appearance after completing the work. Supervisor Terry VanGorden said that damage to the trees was minor, and that, while replacing a four-foot pipe with a five-foot pipe, a large boulder was encountered, which necessitated changing the angle of the pipe. He said he thought the damage claims were exaggerated, but that the work had to be done. Supervisor Rick Pisasik said that at the very least, damage to the mail box caused by the township crew should be repaired. "We'll do everything in our power to comply with their requests," he said.
The budget proposed this month will be formally adopted in December, probably at the regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, December 28.
A 45-year-old Susquehanna County man was sentenced to a term of 21 months to 48 months in a state correctional facility last week on an assortment of drug charges stemming from a State Police investigation in 2003.
Jared James Squire, 48, of Montrose will also be on probation for six years and was fined $2,000 after authorities cited him for delivery of a controlled substance, possession with the intent to deliver a controlled substance, and possession of a controlled substance.
A second sentence of 21 months to 42 months in a state facility will run concurrently with the initial sentence handed down by President Judge Kenneth W. Seamans. Judge Seamans also ordered Mr. Squire to pay the cost of prosecution, to seek drug and alcohol treatment while he is in prison and to receive outpatient counseling when he is on parole.
On a day with a heavy court calendar, Judge Seamans handed down the following additional sentences:
Brian Brown, 45, of Laceyville, five months to 12 months in the Susquehanna County Jail, with credit for time served, for possession of a controlled substance in Bridgewater Township on March 24. He was also fined $$750 and cost of prosecution.
Coleman Coles Greene, 22, of Hallstead, one month to 18 months in the county jail suspended and probation for 18 months, for theft by unlawful taking in Great Bend Township on Oct. 25, 2003. He was also fined $500 and was ordered to make restitution to his victim.
Peter Lesley Supancik, 33, of Jackson, two months to 12 months in the county jail, with credit for time served for indecent assault in Gibson Township on Aug. 24, 2003. He was also fined $750 plus a DNA testing charge of $250.
Christopher Michael Bennedum, 19, of Montrose, seven months to 18 months in the county jail and a $500 fine for receiving stolen property in Great Bend Township on Aug. 11. His case was transferred to Broome County, New York where he is being held as a parole violator.
Shaun Michael Ketchuck, 19, of Maine, NY, three months to 15 months in the county jail for receiving stolen property in Great Bend Township on Aug. 11. He will be given credit for time served, pay a $500 fine plus the cost of prosecution, and do 50 hours of community service.
Brian S. West, 21, of Binghamton, NY, one to five years in a state correctional facility suspended, five years probation to run concurrent with a New York state sentence, for burglary in Harmony Township on April 8, 2003. He was also fined $750. On a second charge of theft by unlawful taking, also in Harmony Township on April 8, 2003, he was sentenced to six months to 30 months in the Susquehanna County Jail to run concurrent with the above sentence and fined $500.
Donald Patrick Arthur, 31, of Montrose, 11 months to 23 months in the county jail with credit for time served and a $1,000 fine for receiving stolen property in Gibson Township on July 18, 2003. He also received one month to 23 months in the county jail and a $1,000 fine for receiving stolen property in Gibson Township on May 20, 2002. Mr. Arthur must complete a total of 100 hours of community service.
Nicky J. Conklin, 27, of Montrose, one month to 23 months in the county jail with credit for time served, a fine of $500 and 50 hours of community service for escape in Bridgewater Township on July 21.
Townsend Delhagen, 42, of Montrose, three months to 23 1/2 months in the county jail with credit for time served for manufacture of a controlled substance in Montrose on July 21. He was also fined $750 and ordered to do 25 hours of community service.
Susanne Lynn Lipko, 18, of Forest City, one month to nine months in the county jail, suspended, nine months state probation and 25 hours of community service for theft by unlawful taking in Forest City on April 16. She was also fined $250.
William Wayman Jr., 25, of Susquehanna, 45 days to 15 months in the county jail with credit for time served, 50 hours community service, and $250 fine for habitual offender in Susquehanna on May 4, 2004.
Jeffrey Robert Heller, 44, of Susquehanna, four months to 23 months in the county jail with credit for time served, for two counts of drunk driving in Susquehanna Borough on Nov. 3 and Nov. 22, 2003. He was also fined a total of $1,000, must perform 25 hours of community service, and was ordered not to enter any establishment whose sole purpose is the sale of alcoholic beverages.
Paul Krzan, 38, of Olyphant, three months to 23 1/2 months in the county jail for indecent assault in Forest City on March 3. He was also fined $1,000 and must make restitution to his victim.
Sugarlee Wakefield, 25, of Binghamton, NY, two months to 15 months in the county jail suspended, 165 months probation, $750 fine plus cost of prosecution for unsworn falsification to authorities in New Milford Township on Aug. 21, 2003.
Michael Allen Robbs, 36, of Susquehanna, one month to 15 months in the county jail, $500 fine plus cost of prosecution, for drunk driving in Susquehanna Borough on Jan. 25.
Brent William Vanteger, 20, of Great Bend, one month to eight months in the county jail, suspended, six months probation and a $500 fine for receiving stolen property in Oakland Township on Dec. 9, 2002.
The regular meeting of Starrucca Borough Council was called to order at 7:08 p.m. on November 1 by Andy Bennett, Vice-President. Council members present were Brigitte D'Agati, Paul Everett, Lou Gurske, Helen Haynes, and Robert Weldy. Absent was Mary Ann DeBalko. Also present was Mayor Frank Mroczka. The audience included Alice Rhone, Kirk Rhone, Fred Rhone, Sharon Conklin, Ronald Herrmann, Paul D'Agati, Robert Lunt, Diane Boothe and Atty. Michael Lehutsky.
The minutes of the October 4 meeting were approved unanimously The treasurer's report was approved unanimously. A motion passed unanimously to pay the bills mentioned in the report and to allow a single signature on checks to pay these bills only.
Andy Bennett read a letter of resignation from Mary Ann DeBalko, effective October 31, 2004. Council unanimously approved a motion to accept. Mr. Bennett assumed the office of Council President.
Mr. Everett presented an assortment of documents from June, 2003 through February, 2004 which included unopened bills, unsent checks to pay bills, undeposited checks made out to the borough, unopened IRS documents, a contract with Thompson Hose Co. for fire protection. He stated these were uncovered in the presence of Ms. D'Agati and Ms. Everett in the Starrucca Town Hall, while researching records of flooding incidents.
Correspondence was presented, Council unanimously approved a motion to contract with Freddy's Refuse Removal for the next year. Adams Cable Service notified the borough of its rates effective 12/1/04: basic cable $12.99, expanded service $24.00.
Persons To Be Heard
Kirk Rhone presented information on beaver/human conflicts; the information may be helpful along Kellogg Road. Mr. Rhone also submitted forms about Federal Surplus Property Program; the secretary will complete the application form and return it to council for action at the next regular meeting.
Mr. Herrmann and Ms. Conklin discussed with council an on-going drainage/sewage problem. Council will follow up with Mr. Andy D'Agati, sewage enforcement officer for the borough.
Kirk Rhone presented to council a letter from Atty. Jason Legg, solicitor for Thompson Township, written to Atty. Krause. He stated that the Thompson Township Supervisors acted well within their discretion in temporarily closing Erk Road. He went on to suggest that Atty. Krause direct further inquiries to Starrucca Borough concerning the Buck Bridge on Erk Road which has a load limit of three tons. Discussion ensued which included storm damage and repairs at Mack Pond, Kellogg Road, Jacobs Ladder Road, Shadigee Creek and inspections by DEP. The upshot of the discussion was the need for residents and council to work together for the betterment of the borough so that everyone is part of the solution.
Old Business and Committees
As a result of the resignation, a resolution designating Paul Everett as the agent for PEMA/FEMA project (storm Ivan damage) was passed unanimously. Committee memberships were revised to include: Roads – Ms. D'Agati; Hall – Mr. Bennett; Ball Field – Mr. Gurske; Ordinances – Mr. Gurske; Storage Room – Mr. Everett.
Council of Governments (COG): Mayor Frank Mroczka reported on the October COG meeting. He will propose rotating the location of COG meetings, in part to give COG representatives exposure to the member communities and in part to share the benefits of hosting the meetings. He will investigate the possibility of switching to a different COG and will report back to council. Mr. Everett noted that residential repairs are no longer part of the UCC.
Hall: The Starrucca Civic Association requested use of the Community Hall on Nov. 13 for a square dance. Council unanimously approved.
Roads: The borough has received half the funds for the Jacobs Ladder sluice project. Work is expected to commence during November. Mr. Gurske will check the current winter plowing contract with regard to plowing Fairmont Road, which last year had been plowed by Scott Township. Mr. Bennett offered to contact an individual regarding brush trimming. A work party to fill potholes was scheduled for Nov. 6 with residents and council members working together, contributing labor and equipment.
Budget: The Budget Committee promised to distribute a draft budget during November so council can be prepared to discuss the budget at the Dec. 6 regular meeting.
A motion carried unanimously to advertise the open borough secretary/treasurer position.
Council approved the addition of three names to sign borough checks. The Mayor will coordinate adding Lou Gurske, Andy Bennett, and Brigitte D'Agati to his signature on bank forms. Two signatures are to be required on all borough checks.
Kirk Rhone re-introduced the Buck Bridge issue which initiated discussion of possible solutions to the three-ton-limited bridge. Once again the need for council and residents to work together became evident. Council President Bennett promised to include residents in investigating solutions to the borough's bridge problems.
Fifty-three responses to the Community Development Block Grant survey have been received; over 150 responses are desired. Starrucca residents are urged to return their surveys so the borough can qualify for grants. Great care has been taken by the secretary to ensure confidentiality.
The resignation left open the vice-presidency. A motion passed to name Paul Everett as Council Vice-President; Mr. Everett abstained and all other members voted in favor.
A motion passed unanimously to post notices on Election Day at the Community Hall for the open council seat and for the open secretary/treasurer position. Robert Lunt, Judge of Elections, approved the postings at the polling place. Applicants should appear in person on December 6, 7:00 p.m. at the Community Hall or should state their interest in a letter addressed to Council at P.O. Box 83, Starrucca, PA, 18462 so it can be presented at the Dec. 6 meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:05 p.m.
News | Living | Sports | Schools | Churches | Ads | Events
Military | Columns | Ed/Op | Obits | Archive | Subscribe