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William Sherwood of Little Meadows Borough asked the Susquehanna County Commissioners last week to consider trimming some services in order to hold the line on taxes. He also asked the commissioners to enumerate the services residents of his borough are receiving for their tax dollars.
“We are very concerned about this latest tax hike,” Mr. Sherwood said. “We are hard pressed to see any services at all provided by the county to our borough. We supply our own water and sewer. There is no garbage collection. There is no law enforcement. All we get is the possible lackadaisical approach of the (county) Planning Commission.”
Mr. Sherwood said the Planning Commission allowed a tobacco store to open next to his home. As a result he said his yard is overrun with garbage, vehicles are driven over his property and he cannot get any results from the Planning Commission. He said there were some ordinances passed but the commission does not enforce them.
“It sounds like you have a lot of issues,” Roberta Kelly, chair of the Board of Commissioners, said, “but have you taken them up with your own municipality before you take aim at the county and the Planning Commission?”
Mr. Sherwood responded that he had, but recently cannot find out when his governing body meets. He said the last time he went to the meeting place no one else showed up. He said he believes the meeting night was changed but he does not know when it is. He was advised to contact a member of the borough council in Little Meadows.
“We can research the history of this store for you,” Mrs. Kelly added. “And we can facilitate getting information to you. As for the services, you may not need them but there are 27 different departments in the county that provide services and we are required by law to distribute tax dollars to these groups so they can provide these services.
“Our backs are against the wall. Almost every county in Pennsylvania had to raise taxes this year. It is a sad fact.”
Mr. Sherwood said he understands that taxes are necessary but he would like some services for the taxes he pays.
In another matter, the commissioners approved two proclamations naming February as Rotary International Month and Senior Resources Awareness Month.
In a proclamation read before representatives from Rotary Clubs in Montrose, New Milford and Forest City, the commissioners paid tribute to Rotary International and cited area Rotary Club members for their high ethical standards and their commitments of service to their clubs and their communities.
A spokesperson for the senior citizens pointed out there are 9,000 county residents age 60 or above. The figure represents about 21 percent of the county’s population.
The proclamation urges county residents to help their elderly family members by informing them of the resources available to them in the county. Additional information can be obtained from the Area Agency on Aging, Barnes-Kasson Senior Services, and the Susquehanna County Assistance Office.
The commissioners passed four resolutions related to the county’s Community Development Block Grant Program.
The principle resolution authorizes the county’s Redevelopment Authority to file an application for some $300,000 for housing rehabilitation, street and road repairs, removal of architectural barriers, public facilities and economic development.
A second resolution allows the transfer of $22,000 from the Street/Roads budget to the storm sewer line item in the budget, while the remaining resolutions address the county’s compliance with fair housing laws and a continuance of the countywide housing rehabilitation project for low/moderate income families.
The commissioner reappointed the following individuals to the Susquehanna County Emergency Advisory Committee for a term ending at the end of this year: Jerry Fives, chairman; Jay Klein, Dick Hennessey, Charlie Daly, Trent Turner, Jim Krupinski, Sheriff Lance Benedict, and Commissioner Jeff Loomis.
In a Salary Board matter, the board approved a motion giving all non-union employees a 3.5 percent salary increase retroactive to January 1. The amount equals the increase given to union members by contract.
An efficient meeting of the Great Bend Township board of supervisors was kicked off with some good news. Supervisors George Haskins and Walt Galloway (chair Bob Squier was unable to attend) heard Tony Conarton, president of the newly reorganized Hallstead-Great Bend Ambulance, report that the corps has passed its inspection, has had its relicensing approved, and is in the process of starting up again after a brief hiatus.
Six members of the ambulance company board were also there to enjoy the passing along of this good news. They and Conarton were also there to request that the township approve the organization as its first-responder for basic life services (BLS) (Susquehanna and New Milford have been filling the gap while the local group reorganized). Montrose Minutemen and the Broome volunteers will remain advanced life support (ALS) responders.
The supervisors were glad to approve their request, effective on February 18, which is the date that the local emergency squad will be operational. Between now and then, they will also be making the same request of Great Bend Borough and Hallstead, and getting their workers’ compensation reinstated.
In his roadmaster’s report, Haskins related that a DEP representative told him that the township would require 2-4 months to review and approve plans related to work on the Graham Hollow road slide. Another slide has befallen the road that will also need repairing. When the time comes to tackle that, Haskins noted that the township should probably look at what a new firm, Plan B Consulting and Engineering, in Hallstead could present in terms of a timely study and prints. The township waited quite a while for work on the Graham Hollow slide by KBA Engineering.
On Haskins’ recommendation, the board approved sending township employee Nick Mase to Dirt and Gravel Road School in Wysox. Haskins explained that the township cannot apply for road grants without someone being certified from this school. Mace will be reimbursed for travel expenses.
Haskins also reported on an unfortunate traffic accident that caused about $5,000 worth of damage to the F350 truck and the spreader attached to it. An employee was blinded by the sun as he was pulling out of Bogert Street onto New York Avenue, and a car hit the truck. Secretary Sheila Guinan reported that earlier in the day a check arrived from the township’s insurance carrier, as determined by its insurance adjuster. Haskins will get three estimates to get the truck repaired as soon as possible. In the meantime, employees will have to rely on the F800 truck that’s limping along, on the Volvo, which was just re-outfitted with a new roller for its spreader, and hope that it doesn’t snow for awhile. In the meantime, Haskins thought that the township will have to start looking for a truck to replace the F800. A resident suggested that he look into a place in Hazleton which sells reconditioned state trucks, since he heard that New Milford Township has had good luck with equipment it has bought there. Haskins will follow up.
In Bridging Communities activity, Haskins noted that the township has received a $3,500 from Hallstead borough. A sidewalk design by KBA Engineering is due to the township by the end of the month.
Dixie Russell, the township’s emergency management coordinator, was on hand to update supervisors on actions she’s recently taken. Russell has already taken and passed two on-line courses and needs to take three more. The courses are not on-line, but the books are, where they can be downloaded and printed. Problem is, Russell does not have a working printer. Could she use one in the township office?
Guinan noted that because the printer that’s in the office is rarely used, Russell could take it home and print out what she needed, providing the printer was compatible with her computer. Another resident at the meeting offered up a printer that he won’t need because he’s getting a new one.
She also told the supervisors that “one of the things that’s an absolute necessity is communication between myself and the central emergency office in Montrose in the event of a disaster, and the only way to do that is with a radio.” Russell had already done her research and gave the supervisors information on a radio priced at $500, for use in emergency management. She wanted to know how a $500 grant that the township received in 2003 for emergency management was spent. Russell noted that grants will not be given for emergency management this year and may become available next.
Haskins replied that the 2003 grant money was used to purchase a portable, “folding” stop sign for use when the red light at the intersection off the interstate was down, as it was two years ago because of a widespread power failure, requiring Great Bend fire company volunteers and Haskins to manage traffic at the intersection for many hours.
Haskins and Galloway agreed that if Russell needed the equipment, then the township would get it for her. First, Haskins wanted to check with the folks at the Great Bend fire company to see if perhaps they had, or knew of where the township could get, a good used radio. The supervisors would decide at its next meeting, then, how to proceed on fulfilling Russell’s request.
It was also recommended, Russell said, that an external mike was a good thing to have as well, and she will research the cost of that. She also requested that the township appoint a deputy emergency manager, should she be out of town when a disaster struck the area.
Both Haskins and Galloway reported that they plan to attend a February 24 meeting in New Milford Township, along with representatives from Great Bend, Hallstead and New Milford, to talk about development along the Route 11 corridor. Bob Templeton of the county planning commission will be presiding at this meeting.
In “for your information” agenda items: the township received a sample ordinance from the Council of Governments for building setback requirements; the planning commission accepted the preliminary plan for a Dunkin’ Donuts in the Hallstead Plaza, contingent on a letter from the Hallstead-Great Bend Joint Sewer Authority and the filing fee; and the planning commission granted preliminary acceptance of the plan from the Endless Mountains Car Wash.
With a car wash and a Dunkin’ Donuts on their way, making for more traffic going in and out of any of six entrances into Hallstead Plaza, a resident asked if there were any rules, regulations or codes that would make the area more manageable and safer – like the recent alterations across Route 11 at the Mountainview Plaza – or by requiring more lighting at night to illuminate parking areas. There aren’t, but Haskins said he thought that PENNDOT was doing a review of traffic patterns at the busy location, and hopefully some recommendations would come from them.
Another resident was concerned what provisions, with New Milford soon to hook into the Hallstead-Great Bend Sewer Authority, would be taken to handle the smell. Already an odor wafts across some parts of Great Bend near the treatment plant, and it was thought that with a new influx of effluence, it would probably get worse.
Haskins noted that the Sewer Authority controls the system, but that he would bring the resident’s concerns to its attention.
Before adjourning, Walt Galloway said he didn’t have any word yet on the new township building project, except to say that he’s had two or three meetings with KBA Engineering, that the firm has already missed the February 1 target date of information due to the township, and that it promised that Galloway would have it by Friday. February 11.
The next regular meeting of the Great Bend Township board of supervisors is scheduled for February 21 at 7 p.m. in the township building.
For Your Information. The following information is from the approved minutes of the January 18, 2005, meeting of Great Bend Township that the Transcript was unable to cover. Roads: A culvert on Parks Valley Road is plugged, causing the road to wash out. A culvert was replaced on Church Road. A slide on Old Route 11 was fixed. Airport Road flooded again and all the cold patch was lifted out of the potholes as a result. Airport Road will be turned back to dirt.
New township building: The township received a letter of support for its CDBG grant from Senator Madigan; Galloway met with Todd Schmidt on January 12 so he could take some additional measurements.
Executive session of January 3: Haskins and Galloway approved a 2.7% cost-of-living increase for Nick Mase, which increases his hourly wage by $.45 to $17.30; a cost-of-living raise of $.33 a hour and a $.67 an hour merit raise, increasing his hourly wage to $13.25, and a $5 per week cost-of-living raise to Sheila Guinan, bringing her salary to $205 a week. The road crew will also be paid hourly; comp time will accumulate for any hours worked over 40 hours. The health insurance will be reviewed prior to renewal this summer and the workers have been informed they will be paying a portion of their benefits when the policy is renewed.
Trooper Heading For Higher Court
A Pennsylvania State Trooper and his cousin were bound over for higher court action at separate hearings last week before District Justice Peter Janicelli.
Trooper Glen Whitney, 34, and Clifford H. Grosvenor, 34, both of New Milford, were freed on their own recognizance while awaiting a trial date before Susquehanna County President Judge Kenneth W. Seamans. They are charged with simple assault, criminal trespass, burglary, harassment and criminal mischief.
Mr. Whitney, who has been a state trooper for 10 years, has been suspended without pay pending an internal investigation. Attorney Michael Giangrieco of Montrose represented him in court.
Testimony from the state’s key witness, John Haggerty, revealed that Mr. Whitney and Mr. Grosvenor entered his home about 2 a.m. on January 15 and assaulted him. He said Mr. Whitney’s wife, Christine, was in a bedroom inside the mobile home on Cobb Street, New Milford at the time the assault took place. He said he tried to reason with Mr. Whitney but the off-duty trooper would not listen to him.
Efforts by Mr. Giangrieco and Mr. Grosvenor’s attorney, John Petorak of Scranton, to have some of the charges dismissed in the lower court were rejected by Justice Janicelli. Specifically, both attorneys said there was no criminal intent and asked that charges of criminal conspiracy, criminal trespass and burglary be thrown out. State Deputy Attorney General George Seig prosecuted the state’s case against the two defendants.
In an affidavit of probable cause, Mr. Haggerty told authorities that Mr. Whitney and Mr. Grosvenor kicked open the door to his home, entered the residence and proceeded to punch him with closed fists. He said the suspects then left his home but Mr. Grosvenor returned and knocked his computer to the ground and struck him with the computer keyboard.
The affidavit further stated that when Mr. Haggerty visited the Gibson Substation, he had swelling and bruises in the facial area and abrasions on his neck. Mr. Haggerty said he knew Trooper Whitney and Mr. Grosvenor and identified them as the individuals responsible for his injuries. Trooper Robert Bauman testified that he observed bruises on Mr. Haggerty when he responded to a call to the victim’s home shortly after the alleged assault.
Neither defendant testified at their preliminary hearings.
Montrose Council Addresses Issues
There were several more in the audience than were at the table when the Montrose Borough Council convened for its regular meeting on February 7. Absent were Joel Maxey and Randy Schuster. Many of the guests were members of Boy Scout Troop 92 and their leaders. The scouts’ attendance was a requirement toward their Eagle Scout badge.
Street Foreman Ken DiPhillips was not in attendance, but his report detailed lots of snow removal in January and, weather permitting, he is looking forward to spending some time getting and keeping equipment in good condition in the coming month.
Police officer John Walker was in attendance, but gave no oral report other than to say that everything was going well. The written police report for January listed 71 incidents, ranging from two missing persons (both now accounted for) to twelve active criminal cases. Of the 71 general cases listed for the month, 62 are now closed.
Steven Sumner of Gannon Associates, Towanda, gave an extensive presentation on an insurance package to cover the Borough of Montrose. If accepted, the contract would run from March 1, 2005 to March 1, 2006 and would cost $27,742. Davis Kyle Gregory (DKG) Insurance, that now holds the insurance for the Borough, will make its presentation at the recessed meeting to be held on February 17 at 7:00 p.m. A decision will be made after hearing the two presentations.
Bridgewater Township supervisor, Bill Gorski, was in attendance to talk about a parcel of property that surrounds the Bridgewater Township Building, but that discussion was moved to the recessed meeting on February 17. The upcoming discussion will involve cleaning up the old town dump for which a $15,000 grant has been secured from the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).
Primary action items of setting interviews for part-time police officers and parking enforcement officer were tabled. Those also will be addressed at the above-mentioned recessed meeting.
John Tracz appeared before the Council to discuss his involvement in the cleanup of a burned out property at 17 Cruser Street on which he intends to build a home eventually.
Price quotes for a new copier came in at $4398 from Xerox and $4165 from Golden Business. The monthly leasing price from Golden would be $80.27. None was given for Xerox. No decision was made.
A request from the Montrose Restoration Committee for $1000 to be used for sidewalks in the borough was granted. $5000 has been set aside for this project.
The meeting ended with an executive session that was closed to reporters and the general public.
The next regular meeting of the Montrose Borough Council will be held on March 7 at 7:00 p.m. in the Borough Building on Cherry Street.
On the evening of February 3, a trooper from the State Police fire marshal unit investigated a fire on Church Street in Springville which damaged two apartments. The fire was determined to be intentionally set.*
An unknown person(s) smashed a mailbox belonging to Joanne Mahon in Harford Township sometime between the evening of February 8 and the following morning.
On the afternoon of February 8, unknown persons pumped 14.59 gallons of gas into their beige Buick sedan and fled the Lenox Shell Station in Lenox Township without paying for it.
Lighting equipment, extension cords and metal pipes were found along Susquehanna Street in New Milford on the morning of February 8.*
Unknown person(s) entered a shed alongside an unnamed victim’s home in Little Meadows, started the victim’s ATV with a key that was left in the ignition, and then drove the ATV out of the shed and headed west on Little Meadows Road. This incident happened sometime between the evening of January 15 and the following morning.
Sometime between December 19 and January 14, unknown person(s) entered the home of an unnamed person and removed tax papers and a microscope from a back room, as well as an extension ladder from under the back porch, before fleeing the scene undetected.
A 1997 Polaris snowmobile driven by a 17-year-old from Susquehanna was stopped on the night of January 22 at the top of a hill waiting for Larry Cassidy, 18, Thompson, who was driving a 1988 Yamaha snowmobile. Cassidy crested the hill, not knowing that the Polaris was stopped there. He couldn’t stop and hit the rear of the Polaris. The juvenile was not injured, and Cassidy, who was transported to Barnes Kasson by the Susquehanna Volunteer Emergency Services, received moderate injuries.
On the evening of February 5, John Wandall, 33, Meshoppen, was traveling north on State Road 3001 in Bridgewater Township at an apparent high rate of speed when he lost control of his vehicle, crossed the southbound lane and hit a tree. He was flown to Robert Packer Hospital where he remains in critical condition. Wandall was not wearing a seat belt, and was assisted at the scene by Montrose EMS.
Patricia Kelley, owner of PJ’s Café in Bridgewater Township, reported that at around 4:15 on the morning of February 3, an unknown person(s) forced open a door to her café and stole a cash register drawer from inside it.*
On the afternoon of January 30, a 17-year-old was driving a snowmobile with a 14-year-old girl as a passenger in the area of block 6 on Chenango Street in Bridgewater Township. The driver failed to yield to a passenger car driven by another 17-year-old when the snowmobile was crossing Chenango, and was struck by the car. The girl was transported to the Endless Mountains Health System for unreported injuries, and was assisted at the scene by the Montrose EMS.
James Searles, 33, Friendsville, reported that sometime between 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. on January 20, an unknown person(s) entered his unlocked garage.
* Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the State Police at 465-3154.
Steven J. Larue to Harry A. Larue and Pearl E. Larue, in Dimock Township for one dollar.
Steven J. Larue to Harry A. Larue and Pearl E. Larue, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
Joyce Ann Romich to Richard P. Bennett and Amanda C. Bennett, in Forest City for $42,500.
Andrew Banko and Mary Banko to James Speicher and Robyn Speicher, in Jackson Township for $36,460.
Robert C. Walker and Robin M. Walker to Robert C. Walker and Robin M. Walker, in Ararat Township for one dollar.
Gordon C. Whitney and Deborah A. Whitney to Gordon C. Whitney, in New Milford Township for ten dollars.
Mary Cizike to Cynthia Kulikauskas, in Susquehanna for one dollar.
Eleanor Markarian (estate) to Crystal G. DeMarco, in Hallstead Borough for $105,000.
Carol D. Robertson (trustee) to Diana L. Robertson and Sandra R. Clifford, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Margaret V. Rockey, Susan Lavelle, William Gerber (estate), WNG Co., John J. Lavelle Sr. (estate), and RALLG Associates to James Dzielak and Patricia Ann Dzielak, in Herrick Township for $19,500.
Brent Reed and Bonnie Reed to Brent Reed and Bonnie Reed, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Brent Reed and Bonnie Reed to Larry Holgate and Kevin Holgate, in Lenox Township for $25,000.
Norbert B. Schramm and Elizabeth A. Schramm to Michael Califano, Joseph Califano, Domenico Califano, and Michael Wilson, in Ararat Township for $35,000.
Kenneth D. Corbin and Dawn M. Corbin to Skip Tracy and Mary E. Tracy, in Brooklyn Township for $69,480.
Judy Millard (aka) Judith F. Millard, Raymond G. Millard to Michael C. Solomon and Mary L. Solomon, in Jackson Township for $8,000.
Keith F, Hausser and Renee M. Hausser to Keith F. Hausser, in New Milford Township for one dollar.
Heather DeBoer (by sheriff) and Douglas D. DeBoer (by sheriff) to Wachovia Bank (fks) First Union National Bank (trustee), in Silver Lake Township for $1,159.
John Kowalewski Sr. and Florence Kowalewski to Joshua T. Astleford, in Forest City for $77,000.
Yvonne M. Melia, Dennis J. Melia to Dennis J. Melia, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Joseph M. Schmidt to Joseph M. Schmidt and Sandy L. Schmidt, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Charles Trayes and Vicki Trayes to Stewart Bialer and Susan Begasse, in Rush Township for $69,150.
Sonia Aikens to Joey Aikens and Karen Aikens in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Harold Bolcavage (trust by trustee) to Brian Bolcavage and James Bolcavage, in Clifford Township for one dollar.
Mary Ann Cole (estate, aka) Mary Ann Cole-Rosaco (estate, aka) Mary Ann Rosaco (estate) to Robert L. Cole and Joan Snyder Cole, in Harford Township for $20,000.
Joanne M. Cerretania to Joanne M. Cerretania and Dominick A. Cerretania in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Alan S. Barber and Cassie Barber to Lisa-Anne Uhfelder, in New Milford Township for $250,000.
Joe Barondeau to Richard D. Barondeau and Sharon G. Barondeau, in Jessup Township for one dollar (assignment of interest in lease agreement).
Brian C. Swan to Diana Stone, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Lawrence Budzeyko to William L. Cure Jr., in Forest City for $85,000.
Mildred Tyrrel (nbm) Mildred Tyrrel Dunnewold, David Dunnewold to Brian C. Swan, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Doris Faye Riley to Susquehanna County Heritage Preservation, in Montrose for $25,500.
David E. King, Wanda King to David E. King, in Little Meadows Borough for one dollar.
David E. King, Wanda J. King to David E. King, in Little Meadows Borough for one dollar.
David E. King, Wanda King, to David E. King, in Little Meadows Borough for one dollar.
David E. King, Wanda J. King to David E. King, in Little Meadows Borough for one dollar.
Guy L. Gerstel and Frances D. Gerstel to Guy E. Gerstel and Gale G. Casini, in Forest City for one dollar.
Edward T. Jeremiah to Roger W. Jeremiah and Thomas Jeremiah, in Harford Township for one dollar.
Shiloh Apostolic Temple Inc. (poa) to Katherine R. Lamb-Cuff and Bruce Cuff III, in Jessup Township for $185,000.
Ellen M. Esposito, Robert Gaffey to Robert Gaffey and Dawn M. Gaffey, in Susquehanna for one dollar.
Hugh F. Coombs and Margaret E. Coombs to David C. Bolles, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.
David C. Bolles to Hugh F. Coombs and Margaret E. Coombs, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.
Peter Comero and Jane Comero to Eugene J. Saccone and Susan R. Saccone, in Middletown Township for $290,000.
Ram C. Sharma and Ann Marie Sharma, both of Sayre.
Richard J. Pichura and Cathera A. Zeggert, both of Vestal, NY.
Bridgewater Discusses Spring Cleanup
The February 7 Bridgewater Township meeting began at 7:00 p.m. Supervisors Chuck Mead, Beverly Way were present, along with Secretary Connie Ely. Bill Gorkski left earlier to attend the Montrose Borough meeting. He was there to conclude the property acquisition from Montrose Borough.
Retraction: The proposed list of road names and PENNDOT approved road numbers were actually turned into the Susquehanna County readdressing coordinator in August, 2003. To date, no action has been taken. At that time the coordinator worked in the Susquehanna County Emergency Management Dept. This activity now falls under the Susquehanna 911 per Mark Wood, present EMA director.
Old business: Chuck asked Connie if FEMA had contacted the township. She replied that there was no word yet. Chuck Mead surmised that when FEMA does come back they will have to take a GPS reading at the sites on the claim. They will also review the townships application for flood relief. Chuck mentioned that grant money was available on a competitive basis for non-profit organizations through the Parks and Recreation Dept. The ballpark would qualify as a non-profit. The ballpark could request help with writing the grant from the Northern Tier Regional Planning Commission.
New business: Spring Cleanup was discussed. Last year there was no Spring or Fall cleanup offered. The township supervisors will contact the salvage company, who will set the dates. They are shooting for the beginning of May. Beverly Way said that several citizens have inquired about the township setting up a Spring Cleanup Day.
A local engineering firm sent the township a letter of introduction. Connie will keep it on file, as Chuck said they may be useful in the future because of their experience with storm water management.
Connie presented bills which were approved and signed.
The meeting adjourned at 7:50 p.m.
Tempers Flare In Clifford Township
A Crystal Lake woman took the Clifford Township Board of Supervisors to task last week in an impassioned plea for action on a plan to sewer the Dundaff/Crystal Lake areas of the township.
“What is the problem?” Mrs. Lynda Williams asked the board, obviously referring to the fact that the supervisors appear to have placed the project on a back burner.
But she failed in her attempt to back John Regan, board chair, into a corner and force a decision from him on the project
“We (the three supervisors) need to talk among ourselves,” Mr. Regan said. “We need to get together and figure out what’s what.”
“This has been going on for a year and you haven’t talked about it?” Mrs. Williams asked. “You are varying and waving this way and that way. What is the problem?”
“We are not ready yet,” Mr. Regan replied. “We have issues. We may have some people get hurt. People who do not qualify must come up with six thousand dollars.”
“Well, we can afford it,” Mrs. Williams said “People that are for it are here and saying let’s go for it. We have waited a long time. The funding is there. So what’s the problem?
“You don’t have answers,” Mrs. Williams continued. “Are you for it or against it?”
“I am undecided,” Mr. Regan replied.
“When will you decide?” Mrs. Williams asked.
“When I am ready,” Mr. Regan answered.
“This is ridiculous,” Mrs. Williams concluded. “I am mad.”
Residents of the Crystal Lake area of the township have been pleading for a sewage system for years. While opinions on whether the lake is contaminated vary according to who is doing the talking, there can be no denying that the homes alongside the lake are serviced with on-lot sewage facilities.
The township did update its Act 537 plan to bring it in compliance with state requirements and the supervisors appeared to be in accord with the public on the need for the project. However, Mr. Regan has maintained a position right along that he will not support the project if the township is not guaranteed a sizable grant to finance the cost of it. Recently, the township was advised that a grant from the United States Department of Rural Development has been cut from the initial 70-75 percent of the cost to 50-55 percent. The reduction may be the cause of some hesitancy on the part of the supervisors.
The township has been assured of an interest loan in or around one percent to pay for its share of the project. Besides the increase to the township in the installation of the system, user fees for residents tied into the system have already increased from the initial $42 to $52 per month.
In recent meetings of the Board of Supervisors, concern has been expressed over the possibility that the township could lose the grant because of the war, or because it may be procrastinating too long and the money could end up going to another community.
In another matter, Mr. Regan reported on the progress being made to take over Wright Road as a part of PENNDOT’s turnback program. Mr. Regan said the state is ready to present the township with a sizable check for needed repairs to the road.
And in another progressive move, the township reported that its police department has launched a new program that will keep the officer on duty in touch with many of the township’s senior citizens.
Ptl. Donald Carroll said the department now makes it a habit to touch base with the elderly to make certain they are all right and to let them know that the police are in the neighborhood and are concerned about township residents.
The Borough of Forest City has been advised that its grant application for a needed sewer project in the community has been approved.
Council President Jim Lowry said at last week’s meeting that the Department of Community and Economic Development has awarded the borough $475,000 to install new lines on Dundaff Street where recurrent problems have been giving the borough trouble for years. Mr. Lowry said he believes the project may start in April.
Besides replacing broken sewer mains, the state Department of Transportation will pay 80 percent of the cost to install new sidewalks, curbs and storm drains on Dundaff Street. The borough’s 20 percent share will be covered by the DCED grant.
In another matter, the borough received a letter from SSG Bill Capo of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard advising area municipalities that members of Guardsmen assigned to the Carbondale unit will be available for community service.
Sgt. Capo said he intends to make guardsmen who have not been called into active duty perform an assortment of duties on weekends in and around the Carbondale area.
“Each weekend,” Sgt. Capo wrote, “I would like to bring my troops to a chosen town and take an hour or two to perform a task that needs to be done. I do not care if it is shoveling snow, cleaning city hall or helping senior citizens. You come up with the mission and we will take care of it.”
Council agreed to participate in the program and agreed with a suggestion from Councilman Paul J. Amadio that a copy of the letter be forwarded to the Board of Education and to the local Senior Citizens Group.
In another matter, Mr. Amadio asked council to consider a Landlord Lemon Law that is being adopted by municipalities across the Commonwealth. He said the law includes a “three strikes” clause that could shut down a rental project if the owner fails to comply with any maintenance provisions in the ordinance. It also requires the landlords to notify the borough of renters/occupants who move in and out of rental units.
Borough Solicitor Paul Peterson will contact the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs to obtain a copy of the ordinance and review it to determine if it can be implemented in the borough.
“It might be a good law,” said Mr. Amadio, “but I would not want it to be too picayune.”
Council accepted with regret a letter of resignation due to retirement from William Paulin who has been a part-time police officer in the borough for more than 30 years. Council agreed to send Mr. Paulin a letter expressing its gratitude for his years of service.
Great Bend Signs On For Ambulance
The Great Bend Borough Council had some special visitors at its meeting on February 10. Webelos Den 3 of Cub Scouts Pack 91 led Council and observers in the Pledge of Allegiance to begin the session, and stayed through a fair portion of what, to most of them, must have been a pretty boring exercise in democracy.
The Cub Scouts stayed long enough to hear the long-awaited announcement that the Great Bend-Hallstead Volunteer Ambulance corps is preparing to resume service as a Basic Life Support (BLS) provider to the community. Tony Conarton, the new president of the ambulance service, told Council that his team has been re-licensed with 14 Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and will be ready to take calls beginning on February 18.
Mr. Conarton and several members of the new board of directors of the ambulance corps asked Council to designate the local service as the primary BLS provider in the town, and also to reinstate workmen’s' compensation insurance coverage beginning February 18. Council eagerly accepted the request and quickly approved the designation. Council chair Ray Holtzman told the volunteers that the Borough's insurers have already agreed to re-start coverage on that date.
Asked the status of the corps' reorganization, Eddie Arnold, Commander of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars organization and a member of the new board of the ambulance service, said "not a lot of things have been finalized." He commended his colleagues and the service volunteers for doing an "outstanding job" getting the service going again.
Mr. Conarton said that the local volunteers will still work with the Broome Volunteer service, as well as the Montrose Minutemen, to provide backup and Advanced Life Support (ALS) services in the community. And he pledged that the Great Bend-Hallstead Volunteer Ambulance service will "keep growing" until it recaptures its former place as a leader in emergency medical service in Susquehanna County.
The remainder of the meeting could hardly offer the drama of the resurrection of the ambulance service. But the routine service of a borough government to its citizens must go on nonetheless.
One of the services Council has always been concerned with is police protection. A recent overture to Susquehanna Borough to borrow its police force is still awaiting a response. The Susquehanna police chief visited Great Bend a couple of months ago to outline what his force might be able to offer. A subsequent meeting with the Susquehanna Borough council was reported to have received a positive response. So far, however, no definite moves have been made to develop the idea.
Council has also been trying to get the State Police to visit with information about what coverage and services they can and do provide to the borough. A trooper will attend the next Council meeting on March 3 to answer questions.
People who have already been caught by the police and reside in the county jail may be available to help with borough maintenance, like street cleaning, and upkeep in the parks. The program, started a few years ago, is still active, subject to availability of deputies to supervise inmates on the job.
The Susquehanna County Planning Commission will be hosting a meeting on February 24 at 7:00 p.m. at the New Milford Township building to discuss planning for development along the U.S. Route 11 corridor, which is Great Bend Borough's Main Street. Council members and borough residents are encouraged to attend.
Council has requested assistance from Penelec to replace a light bulb on a high pole in Greenwood Park. Penelec has agreed to help, but the borough must supply the bulb. Trouble is, nobody knows what kind of bulb to get, so it may take two trips up the pole to get the light turned on again. Mr. Holtzman also asked for others to join him in a meeting with Penelec engineers about lighting in the borough in general, at the request of Penelec.
Pennsylvania American Water Company is offering grants up to $10,000 to municipalities and organizations with proposals for environmental management, particularly in the area of water conservation.
The borough secretary reported that the cost of renovating the kitchen in the Borough Building, which also functions as the Blue Ridge Senior Center, has been completely covered by insurance and a reimbursement from the Area Agency on Aging. The secretary also offered copies of the 2005 election calendar, which may be important for four council members whose seats come up for grabs this year.
Mr. Holtzman seems to have injected some discipline into his sometimes boisterous group, and when he signaled the opening of the session with a sharp rap of a real gavel, his colleagues settled into an orderly process that gave everyone who wished time to speak – but not too much. He also got approval for a measure that would require any correspondence leaving the borough office to have the approval of the full Council.
Unfortunately, at the very end of the session, Council member Bea Alesky announced that she would not lead the Fun Day effort again this year, at least not as long as the event is held as usual in May. When it was suggested that Fun Day might be combined with the Fancher Memorial foot race, usually held in July, she said that when the idea was broached before, the organizers of the foot race did not take it up with enthusiasm. The town also enjoys a day of parades and activities sponsored by the Great Bend Hose Company, and a sidewalk-sale day. Could all of these events be combined in some way? Council member Jerry MacConnell said he would contact people connected with the Fancher program to find out more.
The Borough may be looking for an Eagle Scout candidate to help create new welcome signs for each end of Main Street. Recent improvements in similar signs in New Milford Township and New Milford Borough, as well as at Kirkwood in New York state, are prodding town officials to upgrade the town's face to visitors.
Boring or not, the Great Bend Borough Council does the people's business usually on the first Thursday of each month, beginning at 7:00 p.m., at the Borough Building on Elizabeth Street.
The supervisors of Lenox Township held their monthly meeting on Monday February 7 at 7:30 p.m.
Supervisors Jim Taylor, Don Zablotsky and Fred Benson were present as well as Secretary Sharon De Pew.
Minutes from last month meeting were accepted and approved.
The treasurer’s report was presented.
Orval Page sought approval of a subdivision.
A supervisor will likely be sent to the H & K Group breakfast to be held February 17 at the Montrose Fire Hall.
A member of the public inquired as to “the total cost of legal fees for Fred’s (Benson) and Litwin’s case.” This was in regards to a legal dispute involving “the misuse of township equipment and personnel for personal gain.” The supervisors quickly researched the cost and stated it to be “$7,189.73.”
This should be the final total as the issue has been resolved.
Township bills and payroll were reviewed and paid.
The meeting was adjourned within a half hour.
New Milford Twp. Discusses Codes
The New Milford Township supervisors held their monthly meeting on Wednesday, February 9 at 7:30 p.m. in the township building. The supervisors are Jim Hunter (Vice Chair), Don Shipley, Franklin Gulick (Chair). Carol Smith is secretary/treasurer.
In attendance was Victor Howell, the township building code officer. Approximately 20 people from the general public came as well.
The meeting began with inquiries from the public, with the supervisors addressing their needs and concerns.
A discussion of the high cost of “error and omission insurance” for the code officer ensued. Concerns regarding the enforcement of the new building codes and how to handle the fees for inspections were also addressed. Myron Rosh of Athens is only available two days a week for inspections if all goes as planned. Another concern is whether Rosh can adequately serve the people of New Milford.
Mr. Bob Lee sought permits for driveways he intends to build on a subdivision for multi-family housing. Mike Fortner, SEO (Sewage Enforcement Officer) will have the final say in whether or not the housing unit planned will be required to hook-up to the town sewage. Fortner was not present.
A member of the public expressed frustration with “black cinders being used to fill potholes.” Hunter explained that cinders were mixed with #2 stones to fill pot holes.
In other business a resolution was passed for Emergency Management, which is valid for two years.
The parties involved in the McDonald’s interchange were unavailable so discussion on that issue was tabled.
The sewage system on a property owned by Sandra Conklin on Butterfield road needs to be inspected due to the lapse in use. Fortner is expected to evaluate this property.
The supervisors announced they are “short on cash” and need to borrow $15,000 until FEMA money is reimbursed. Fuel tax reimbursements are anticipated in April.
There was a suggestion to place the tape recorded meetings in a file and that they are approved as minutes. This is expected to be done from now on so the public may review any missed meetings.
Scott Young, owner of East Lake Campground is being sued by the township for sewage violations. He was present in an effort to work out the issues amicably.
A motion was made to pay the bills and the meeting adjourned.
With president Ron Whitehead presiding, the Susquehanna Boro Council met on February 8. Council members present were John Bronchella, Mike Matis, Shane Lewis and Bill Kuiper. Also preset were Secretary Judy Collins and Mayor Nancy Hurley.
Mr. Whitehead began the meeting by thanking the police and streets departments as well as boro residents for their cooperative efforts in getting snow removed after two recent storms.
Mrs. Collins’ report included information she obtained from a seminar she had attended, hosted by the Downtown Center.
A representative from the Downtown Center visited the boro on February 4, to offer suggestions for the Main Street project and provided information on grants that are available for projects like these; she will return for another visit in March.
The deed for the land obtained from River Bounty is expected to be filed shortly, after it has been reviewed by River Bounty’s attorney.
An amendment to the fire escrow ordinance has been sent to the boro solicitor for review. The amount to be held in escrow (by the boro) will be increased to $2,000 for each $15,000 of a claim, and if a claim is $15,000 or less, $2,000 will be held. (The escrow is to ensure that the property damage is addressed properly.)
Information was requested from DGK, the boro’s insurance carrier regarding storm damage to Drinker Creek, which is designated as a flood plain area. The report indicated that flood insurance coverage, which is very expensive, is needed.
No information had been received as of the date of the meeting from the actuary, regarding a cost of living increase for retired police officer David Scales.
The secretary’s computer has been cleaned out and defragmented. The technician who did the work recommended increasing the memory; later in the meeting, council approved spending up to $250 to purchase the memory and a CD burner, to be used to back up files.
The Parks and Rec. Committee has been notified that council feels the Prospect St. park electric bill should be paid by the Little League.
In her report, the mayor report elaborated on the visit with the Downtown Center representative. Also present at that meeting were members of the SCDA, councilman Roy Williams, Karen Allen, director of the county Housing and Redevelopment Authority, and two representatives from the regional DCED office. Topics discussed included combining services with other areas, and money available for those services; historic preservation; design elements for store front facades; and low cost loans for improvements.
The next Crime Watch meeting will be on March 16, 7:00 p.m. in the boro building. New members are welcome.
Mr. Williams was unable to attend this evening’s meeting, as he was in Montrose at an Emergency Management meeting. He did send information for council to review; his report said that PENNDOT has reviewed council’s request to ban trucks over 25 feet long from turning right onto Erie Ave. from Main St. Specific instructions on sign dimensions and placement were sent to council by PENNDOT; this information was then given to the streets department. Business owners in that area will be informed that PENNDOT has approved the request so that their suppliers can be informed of the impending change, which will take effect when the proper signs are in place.
Also included in Mr. Williams’ report was an update from FEMA, regarding damage in the boro from Hurricane Ivan. On January 30, project worksheets from FEMA were received. The project manager has sent them on to Harrisburg with his recommendation for approval; the process should take two to four weeks. Mr. Williams added that he also received help with the seemingly endless reports involved, on the county level from Mark Wood (Emergency Management director), and at the local level from Steve Glover, Dick Hennessey, Tom Kelly and Margaret Biegert.
In other business, council approved installation of an extra phone line and a router in the boro building for the Main Street computer.
Approval was given for the SCDA to host the annual Hometown Days celebration on July 15 and 16. The celebration will be an expanded one this year, with more vendors and activities planned, beginning with a parade on Friday.
Council approved Mrs. Collins’ attendance at a training course for municipal secretaries and administrators, at no cost to the boro.
Information on a Robert C. Edwards Scholarship, through the PSAB, will be forwarded to the Susquehanna Community School District.
The Fish and Game Commission has made information available for applying for grant funding for boating facilities at the River Bounty property.
Several items of information were sent, regarding changes to the Clean and Green Act. A new bill has been signed by Governor Rendell, but the changes will not help taxing bodies until the 2006 tax year. It is expected that the changes should have a tremendous impact on municipalities’ tax revenues.
An Experience Works worker will be available to the boro, for 20 hours a week; approval was given for him to work with the streets department.
The meeting adjourned to an executive session to discuss a legal issue.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday, February 22, 7 p.m. in the boro building.
Thompson Discusses Delinquent Accounts
The Thompson Boro Council meeting of February 7 began with six of its members present, president Price, Andy Gardner, Jeff Sheldon, Nick Sheptak, Scott Halesky, and Diane Sabatelli, as well as Mayor Delaney, Secretary Diane Sheldon, Treasurer Marge Whitney, Emergency Management Coordinator Mark Carmody, Police Chief Rivenburgh, and a number of residents.
Council went out of their usual order to hear the concerns of a resident who has had continuing problems with water; it has been running down a hill, past a sluice, going under his garage and has flooded his garden. Mr. Price said that he and Mr. Delaney had gone to take a look, and had cleaned out a sluice pipe and laid rock to help divert the water into the sluice. This, he said was done even though the situation was not caused by recent sewer system construction, and is not a boro responsibility, as the water is coming from private property as well as from a nearby stream. The resident said he had attempted to contact the property owner, but had been unable to. The discussion went on a bit longer, and ended with the resident clearly unhappy with the results; council did not change their position that it is not the boro’s responsibility to address this particular problem.
In other business, council was pleased to note that residents are apparently satisfied with Thompson Township’s plowing and cindering over the past few months, as no complaints have been received.
There was a lengthy discussion about delinquent sewage fees. Mr. Gardner had obtained lists from PAWC, which administers the billing, from December 30 and January 28, showing which accounts were in arrears. A comparison showed that mostly the same people were on both lists. Some, Mr. Gardner said have not paid the fees since day one. Three property owners have contacted Mr. Gardner to correct inaccuracies; in one case, an incorrect address was listed and was subsequently corrected. Another case, where two residents were being billed for the same property has, hopefully, been straightened out. It was agreed that delinquents would be contacted before legal action is taken, and that it is the residents’ responsibility to let council know about any address changes, inaccuracies, etc.
Plant operator Larry Travis’ report was read. It included that the system’s average flow is 17,782 gallons per day, and on one peak day, January 12, reached 44,500, most likely due to the wet weather. The bagger is not keeping up, and is running out of space. Annual reports have been composed, and sent to the engineers, who will be visiting the boro next month to conduct a final inspection, at which time the (project) contract will close out.
Council reviewed two individual complaints that had been made regarding damage caused as a result of the system construction. One, a wall, had been repaired; several council members inspected the finished project and declared that “it looks good.” The second complaint was about a fence that had been moved, and is now loose. Mr. Gardner felt that the posts weren’t set deep enough, which wasn’t helped by all the rain the area has received. It was agreed to table this matter until spring, when (council) volunteers will try to straighten it.
A motion carried to reimburse alternate plant operator Calvin Ripple for the $35 cost of a certification training course he had attended.
A lead to find the person responsible for an abandoned property has not panned out; an attorney who had handled matters for a past owner has notified council that he no longer has any connection to the property.
Mr. Sheldon will look into repairing a stop sign on Pleasant Avenue that was knocked down during plowing.
Ms. Sheldon reported that she has obtained a new monitor for the boro computer, but that the computer itself needs work. A resident has volunteered to take a look at it.
Three four-year terms on council will be open in the coming election (Price, Lloyd, Sabatelli); one two-year term (Sheptak); the mayor’s; and the tax collector. Ms. Sheldon has petitions and financial statements available for any interested candidates.
Mr. Sheldon reported that he looked into a problem with water runoff on Pleasant Ave.; it will be fixed in the spring.
Mr. Carmody gave council copies of the boro’s updated Emergency Management Plan; a motion carried to adopt a resolution accepting the plan.
Mr. Price has been contacted by a local individual who could serve as the boro’s Codes Enforcement Officer if needed. The current CEO, Shane Lewis, was “grandfathered” under the new state UCC regulations; if Mr. Lewis elects not to take the required certification after the three years he is allowed are up, the boro will need to find a new CEO. Council will keep the information on file in the event that Mr. Lewis decides not to get certified.
Council will receive their annual visit from the boro’s insurance carrier at the April meeting.
Council’s next meeting is Monday, March 7, 7:30 p.m. in the fire hall on Water Street.
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