Please visit our kind sponsors
At its business meeting on March 7, the Blue Ridge School Board accepted the retirement requests of four veteran teachers, Joan Eidenier, Judy Kelly, Marijane Bartkus and Audrey Cook. Judy Kelly is also the current president of the Blue Ridge Education Association, the teachers' union. Three of them are retiring from the Elementary School, and Robert Dietz, their principal, expressed regret at their loss. "They've done a great job," he said. Superintendent Robert McNamara seconded the sentiment, taking special note of the smoothly-functioning relationship between teachers and administration.
The retirements come in response to the annual incentive program that is intended to encourage older – and higher-paid – teachers to give way to fresh faces – and lower salary costs. With a new budget looming, the Board is trying to squeeze every nickel out of the funds available. Another way they're trying to do that is by bringing some special-education programs in-house.
The administration is proposing to take over the elementary "life-skills" and high-school "emotional support" programs now operated by the Intermediate Unit (IU). The IU offers these programs at the Blue Ridge campus, charging participating schools tuition for each student enrolled. Since Blue Ridge already hosts them, the administration thinks it can realize significant savings by actually operating the program locally.
An analysis by the Business Office claims an estimated savings of almost $133,000 per year by taking over these programs. Blue Ridge would no longer have to pay tuition for its own students who are enrolled (who currently number 4), and would receive tuition from other schools who send students to the program at Blue Ridge. Total enrollment now is eight or nine in the two programs. Blue Ridge would have to employ a teacher and an aide; classroom space is clearly available.
In order to carry out the proposal, the Board would need to pass one measure to adopt the in-house program, and another to alter the district's contract with the IU to reflect the change. Board member Joel Whitehead, who is also the Blue Ridge representative on the IU board of directors, was absent from the meeting but, through Board President Alan Hall, wished to make an argument against the proposal. So a motion was accepted to table both items until Mr. Whitehead could be present.
As it happened, the Board had a bare quorum of five for the meeting. Besides Mr. Whitehead, missing were Cindy Gillespie, Harold Empett and Priscinda Gaughan. The five nevertheless worked through the agenda expeditiously, even approving the calendar for the next school year that won't begin until late August. They also approved adjustments in the current-year calendar to account for extra days lost to snowy weather. Mr. McNamara said that there should be enough make-up days left in the school year, however, with more bad weather forecast, he said that he was reluctant to move graduation - now scheduled for June 11. He said that in the worst case, graduating seniors would miss perhaps one day of the 180 required (seniors cannot attend following graduation). The district would have to forego about $300 in state funds for about 90 students missing one day of school.
Business Manager Loren Small told board members that real-estate tax receipts next year are expected to rise less than one percent (without a rate increase), further squeezing revenue in an uncertain climate of state support. Per- capita and occupation taxes are expected to fall. Board member Lon Fisher asked about the effect of recent changes in the "Clean & Green" program that are supposed to put the "base acre" back at normal levels. Mr. Small and Mr. McNamara said that the county, which is tasked with making the changes, has reported that the increase will not be reflected until next year's tax bills. Mr. Hall told his colleagues that the board will begin to study the new budget in earnest at their meeting on April 11. And he asked the administration to draft a letter to the county strongly urging implementation of the tax changes as soon as possible; he called the delay "not acceptable."
The Board decided to spend some of the money it has on renovations to the entrances and walkways at the High School and the cafeteria. Last month the Board allowed the administration to submit documentation to the state that is required for such construction, even though this type of work is not reimbursable. The project is estimated to cost about $75,000, and the Board will now request bids. Since the original plan was submitted, the administration has decided to add a "hydronic" system to the outdoor areas near the entrances. This is a heated-water piping system embedded in the walkway concrete that should help to keep the entrances clear of snow and ice and minimize damage from that cause. Virtually the entire entrance lobby area at the High School will be replaced in the project.
Each of the school principals reported interesting activities recently. High School Principal Michael Thornton took special note of a presentation given to the 10th grade by John Clirehugh, a survivor of the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941 and submariner throughout World War II. Mr. Clirehugh, who has also served as a Blue Ridge school director, gave a fascinating talk that he even related to current events. For his effort he was awarded a red and white Blue Ridge jacket.
Middle School Principal John Manchester described projects in some of his charges' classes to construct castles and pyramids and sphinxes. One of the latter, said to have been made of chocolate and peanut butter, has been safely stored in a refrigerator "for further study" by teachers and staff.
Mr. Dietz took special note of a recent program that involved the entire second grade class in learning about Latin American, Israeli and West African cultures under the inspiration of Lisa Facciponte, a story-teller and "artist in residence" at the Elementary School, whose presence is made possible in part by the IU and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.
Mr. Dietz also noted that the next series of PSSA tests will begin on April 11, and he urged everyone to help ensure 100% attendance on those days. PSSA results are based in part on the level of participation. At a small school like Blue Ridge, even three students missing the test can make a big difference, he said.
Board member Denise Bloomer, announced that the next "movie night" will be on Friday, March 18.
They don't often show movies, but the next Board meeting will be a workshop on Monday, March 21, in the cafeteria in the Elementary School, beginning at 7:30 p.m.
All members, with the exception of Pat Frederick were present at the March 8 meeting of the Susquehanna Boro Council.
Secretary Judy Collins’ report included an update on the last Susquehanna Community Development Association (SCDA) meeting; the SCDA is working on a membership drive for the coming year, and has been planning events for Hometown Days, which will start on July 15, at 6:30, with a parade. On July 16, from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., arts and crafts and other activities will be available, ending with fireworks at dusk. The SCDA office on Main Street will be open as of April; engraved bricks for Main Street are still available for sale.
Mayor Hurley’s report elaborated on the SCDA meeting; a planning and research consultant spoke on promoting and encouraging tourism in the boro and gave suggestions on how to focus on marketable competitive advantages, such as the area’s heritage, railroad, and landmarks by planning events to draw tourists. Those events could be publicized through free advertising from local radio stations and newspapers, and through the boro’s website. A tourism plan would include a marketing program, such as brochures, listing specific places as well as events.
A representative of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) was also present at the meeting, and informed the group of future plans at the church’s site on Route 171 in Oakland Township, which include a chapel with a welcome center and a reconstruction of Joseph Smith’s house. Also discussed were finding ways to direct tourists who visit the site to Susquehanna Boro.
Other guests at that meeting included Carson Helfrich of Community Planning and Management and Bob Templeton, Director Susquehanna County Department of Planning and Development.
Mrs. Hurley said that several people have expressed an interest in developing the area’s cultural aspects; she feels that a Council on the Arts would be a perfect way to gather talented people in our area. A theater group could be formed, as well as promoting artists, writers and musicians.
Mayor Hurley offered her compliments to New Milford Township, New Milford Boro, Great Bend Township, Great Bend Boro, and Hallstead Boro; representatives had met recently to discuss shared municipal services. Topics discussed included development of a comprehensive plan to designate areas as residential or commercial for zoning purposes.
At their last meeting, at the request of the present owner of a property on Willow Ave., council had approved returning the steps connecting Erie Ave. to Willow Ave. back to its original property; the property will need to be appraised before it can be deeded, and can be deeded over only if its appraised value falls below $1,500. If the value is determined to be greater than that amount, putting the property out to bid will be necessary.
Mr. Williams updated council on the outcome of litigation against a Franklin Ave. property owner. Mr. Williams had met with the boro solicitor and discussed the specific permits and plans that the owner must have in place prior to cleaning the property up. And, regarding the same property, Mr. Williams and Mr. Lewis had met with the supervisors of Oakland Township to discuss conditions affecting the township. “We approached the supervisors to work with us,” he said, “and they declined.” He noted that the portion of this particular property that falls within the township’s boundaries is in worse shape than the portion within the boro’s; he suggested that the supervisors be advised that the township will be responsible if debris encroaches Susquehanna Boro property. The owner has been given 90 days, until May 11, to complete cleanup.
Council approved loaning out the services of Green Thumb worker Dave Sexton to help sort out old police files, which will then be put into storage.
Council discussed hosting another fishing derby during Hometown Days, and possibly a float for the parade.
Complaints by citizens included a property owner on Washington Street who has been throwing snow back into the road after the roads have been plowed; this individual had been cited last year for similar activities. In that instance, a traffic hazard had been created when the snow caused an ice buildup. It was agreed to send the individual a letter, signed by council and the police department; it will include a reminder that such activity is a violation of boro ordinances, and he/she will be held responsible for any injury or damage caused by his/her actions.
A motion carried to change the carrier for health insurance for the two boro employees who receive that benefit; the current carrier’s policy had increased at an unexpected rate. The new policy will result in a yearly savings of about $700.
Correspondence reviewed included a letter from the PSAB (PA State Association of Boroughs), which is taking action to save CDBG funding from major federal cuts. This program, which has been in existence for thirty years, provides funding for a variety of improvements for low-income areas. It is expected that next year’s allocation will be one billion dollars less than the allocation for 2005. PSAB has been working with a congressional delegation to secure a 2006 package; municipalities are being asked for their input. It was agreed to send a letter in support of PSAB’s efforts to keep the funding from being drastically cut.
The final topic discussed was the boro’s police pension fund; it was noted that the current fund administrator has not made any presentation to council in quite some time, and that council is dissatisfied with the performance of the fund’s investments. Another administrator has requested to make a presentation to council. After discussion it was agreed to contact both concerns to request a presentation.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday, March 22, 7:00 p.m. in the boro building.
It will take a court decision to determine whether or not Rush Township residents can vote on a referendum that would prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages in the township.
The Susquehanna County Commissioners, meeting as the Board of Elections, referred the matter to President Judge Kenneth W. Seamans on advice of the board’s attorney, Michael Giangrieco. Mr. Giangrieco said the petition calling for the referendum contains two questions that should have been submitted in separate petitions.
“I do not believe it is in its proper form,” Mr. Giangrieco said of the petition that seeks a May vote on the issue. “We have to ask the court whether it could be placed on the ballot in its improper form.
“I cannot advise the election board to put something on the ballot that I believe is improper. I suggest the board petition the court for a declaratory judgment and have the court make a determination on whether this should go on the ballot or not and clear up this discrepancy.”
A motion by Roberta Kelly, chair of the election board, was passed unanimously and Mr. Giangrieco said he would expedite the paper work to allow a court decision to be made in time for the printing of ballots. In addition to the court decision, Commissioner Jeff Loomis also suggested that the election board scrutinize the signatures on the petitions to make certain they are authentic.
State law allows the township residents to seek the referendum if the petitions are signed by 25 percent of the township residents that voted in the last general election. Mr. Giangrieco said 347 voters cast ballots for Sen. Arlen Specter, the top voter getter in the township last November and the petitioners have more than enough required signatures.
Court approval would allow township residents to decide if they favor the granting of licenses for consumption of alcoholic beverages on premises located in the township. If enough voters say no, the Hay Loft, which is the only tavern in the township, could be forced to close or move the license elsewhere in the county. Mr. Giangrieco said there is no grandfather clause in the liquor laws.
At their regular meeting prior to the election board session, the commissioners learned that the county will get $328,000 from the State Department of Public Welfare for subsidized child care. Betsy Esgro, director of the Child Care Information Services (CCIS) of Wayne and Susquehanna counties, said the amount reflects an increase of $92,000 for the 2005-2006 fiscal year.
CCIS, which administers the programs for Wayne and Susquehanna counties, provides subsidized child care and other services for low income families. One of the subsidies helps to pay child care for working parents from birth through 12 years old.
In another matter, the commissioners name Robin Kaminski as the new administrator of the Susquehanna Drug and Alcohol Program. She will be paid $40,000 a year plus benefits but James Martin, deputy administrator of the Mental Health and Mental Retardation Program, said the bulk of the costs for Ms. Kaminski comes from grant money.
Other motions approved by the commissioners completed the following actions-
-approval of a resolution authorizing the commissioners to enter into an agreement with Susquehanna County Coroner Anthony J. Conarton for the use of building space and storage at 328 Main Street, Great Bend, for $400 a month.
-reappointed Eleanor Kurosky and John Benscoter to the Agricultural Preservation Board for a three year term from Jan. 1, 2005 through Dec. 31, 2007.
-ratified the hiring of Bobbi Benedict to the temporary fulltime position of clerk/typist in the Clerk of Courts office at a salary of $7.87 an hour and no benefits.
-adopted a proclamation declaring the month of March as American Red Cross Month.
The full trio of supervisors of Great Bend Township braved the frigid weather on the night of March 7 to talk about plans. There were many to discuss but not a lot of people in the audience to hear them.
One plan, if shared with other municipalities along the Route 11 corridor, could have the potential to make the communities along the road attractive for economic development. The idea for it arose from a meeting on February 24, attended by supervisor Walt Galloway and board chair Bob Squier, along with municipal representatives from Great Bend Borough, Hallstead, New Milford Borough and New Milford Township. They heard county economic development committee head Bob Templeton and speaker Carlton Hilford talk about how Route 11’s convenience to the Interstate, a railroad running parallel to it, and a good infrastructure along it, made it a draw for potential investors. Development of historical sites by the Church of Latter Day Saints on Route 171, reported township secretary Sheila Guinan, also could impact tourism and growth in the area.
Templeton thought it important that the municipalities control their own destinies and growth and the most efficient and economic way to do this was through a comprehensive plan. Galloway said the group of municipal officers was told that a comprehensive plan generally takes about two years to develop and get approved, with another two years to put in place any zoning associated with the comprehensive plan. If a municipality joined with another, 70 per cent of the cost of writing the plan would be covered through grants, with participating municipalities picking up the remainder. The Northern Tier Coalition is one such group working together in the county; it was reported that Gibson, Harford and Lenox are working together as well. (Municipal secretaries and officers have long been told that, as far as funding and grants go, there appears to be strength in partnership with other municipalities.)
Galloway said he thought “we ought to get going on that [a plan]. We have no plan in place; we have no control over anything at all.” And while it may be two or four years away, “At least we can get started,” he said.
For his part, Squier noted that New Milford Borough “already has zoning, and they seem to think it works pretty well. Hallstead and Great Bend Borough were at the meeting, and I think they were willing to go along with it. For sure, New Milford Township and Great Bend Township need it. I think we ought to go along with it.”
George Haskins did, too. “I’ve thought about this for a long time,” he said. “I think that with planning, we can get more grants, get more help, and we have to have a plan in place. I am for it.”
The board then made and passed a motion to pursue the writing of a comprehensive plan, asking Guinan to contact Templeton to let him know that the township is interested and find out if he knows of a municipality that might be willing to join it in pursuing one.
So, the “Z” word (zoning) is out there, and is most likely being talked about by other municipalities whose officers attended the February 24 meeting.
Galloway also reported on another plan – well, two, actually. He and Guinan have been pursuing grants to fund township building projects. One plan would add handicapped access to the restroom in the building. The other, larger one would add an addition to the building that would accommodate a new meeting room and other updates. Galloway reported that he expected to receive all the architectural and other plans the following day and all must accompany the grant. He would also run the mechanicals past the UCC building codes folks at the Council of Governments to ensure they are correct. Galloway will keep the rest of the board and the public apprised.
The last plan discussed was paving for Old Route 11. The supervisors held an executive session at the end of last month to determine, said Galloway, the kind of loan the township could reasonably manage and which would be dedicated to fixing what is a pretty nasty road. That figure, reported Galloway, is $26,000 a year. Thus, he recommended that the township go out to bid for a loan of up to $165,000, which would be enough to tar and chip the northern end of Old Route 11 and rebuild its southern end in the township, as well as around the bridge by the railroad tracks. The nine-year schedule assumes an interest rate of 4 percent, but could in fact be higher or lower. Thus, the bid will include loan terms of both 7 and 9 years. Guinan will get it done.
The group discussed the sample setback ordinance provided (and reviewed) by COG. They agreed to advertise it, with a few changes. In brief, the setback ordinance that the township will soon be advertising requires a front setback of 35 feet, 10 feet on either side, and 10 feet from the back lot-line (or 75 feet from a high-water mark). It also noted that it advertised and will pass on March 21 an ordinance requiring that a sewage review/permit for a habitable residence must be obtained before a building permit is issued.
In other township matters, George Haskins delivered roadmaster Nick Mase’s report. It included plowing snow and laying down a lot of anti-skid and routine maintenance on equipment. Haskins also reported on a conversation with a representative from Plan B engineering about the Bridging Communities sidewalk project. The rep. said he would give Haskins a time frame and cost estimate for the work once he obtained more details from PENNDOT and elsewhere. The rep. thought he could have this information to Haskins by the end of the week, which was a pleasant surprise to the supervisors who have been frustrated with delays by another engineering firm. Haskins told the Plan B rep. that two weeks will work.
Squier reported that emergency management coordinator Dixie Russell has been scouring to find radios no longer used, but still kept by police departments, but is coming up empty. Haskins thought the township would probably end up buying one, and suggested that it wait a meeting or two to make this decision and when tax receipts would start making their way to the township.
Lastly, with both Galloway and Haskins hanging up their supervisor spurs at the end of the year, a reminder was included on the agenda that March 8 was the last day to circulate and file nomination petitions for supervisor offices. So far, none have been filed, and none are thought to be circulating.
The next regular meeting of the Great Bend Township board of supervisors is scheduled for 7 p.m. on March 21 in the township building.
Carl Gyidik to Gyidik Living Trust, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Positron Corporation Inc. to Byron Miles and Jeanne A. Miles, in Hop Bottom Borough for $150,000.
Kirk A. Hayes and Kelly K. Hayes to April L. Walker, in Liberty Township for $83,000.
Giles A. Pierson (life estate) and Leila A. Pierson to Kevin G. Stockholm and Penny Stockholm, in Rush Township for one dollar.
Gene J. Markoski to Robert Seymour and Bonnie Borgna, in Clifford Township for $205,000.
Borden-Gerber Inc. to Bryan Kruysman and Shirley Kruysman, in Herrick Township for $25,000.
Kristen Petrilak to Joe M . Petrilak, in Forest City for one dollar.
Mark Silfee and Jean M. Shinn to Mark Wilmot and Sandra Wilmot, in Forest City for $9,000.
Thomas M. Delaney Jr. and Carol D. Delaney to Warren J. Coughlin and Kevin T. Coughlin, it Forest City for $75,260.
Bruce Ross (by POA), Nancy Ross, Raymond Swingle (by POA), Lulu Swingle (by POA), Jerilee Turner (by POA), James T. O'Brien (by POA), Kathleen D. O'Brien (by POA), Barbara Campbell (by POA), Clarence Fleming (by POA), Anne B. Fleming (by POA), Judd Roberts (by POA), Marilyn Roberts (by POA) to Melissa M. Tolan, in Herrick Township for $55,000.
John C. Ricciardi, Frank W. Perry to John C. Ricciardi, Joseph A. Ricciardi, John Ricciardi, in Jackson Township for $30,000.
Kathy Tiffany to Edward J. Kozlowski and Lisa A. Kozlowski, in Clifford Township for $51,000.
Santiago Restrepo, Heidi M. Nichols to Manzek Land Co. Inc., in Brooklyn Township for $19,000.
David R. Culp and Isobel B. Culp to Kenneth J. Luff and Melanie Luff, in Bridgewater Township for $31,200.
Frank T. Sincavish to Douglas E. Gardoski, in Auburn Township for one dollar.
Frank A. Newhart Jr. and Sharon V. Newhart to WLR Family Limited Partnership, in Middletown Township for $230,000.
John F. Fritz and Ruth C. Fritz to John R. and Marilyn G. Anthony, in Auburn Township for $35,000.
Richard M. Marcho and Donna M. Marcho to Charles S. Flynn, in New Milford Borough for $49,000.
Chanan Braunstein (by sheriff) and Jennifer Braunstein (aka) Jennifer N. Line (by sheriff) to Cendant Mortgage Corp. (fka) PHH Mortgage Corp., in Montrose for $1,966.
Louis G. Lahrman and June M. Lahrman to William Corter, in Auburn Township for $89,100.
Gail M. Adams, Gary D. Allen to Gary D. Allen, in Ararat Township for one dollar.
Margaret Wickizer to Jeffrey R. Spadine and Brenda L. Spadine, in Brooklyn Township for $24,500.
Thomas J. Lopatofsky Jr., Donna M. Fekette to Joseph Keller and Patti R. Keller, in Lathrop Township for $77,000.
Thomas J. Perkins and Emily Perkins to Kurt Frey, Kimberly Frey, in Franklin and Liberty townships for $75,000.
Maridel L. Candela to Raymond J. Hinkley, in Springville Township for $42,000.
Rosemarie Bedford to Robert S. Curry and Antoinette R. Wambold, in Ararat Township for $7,000.
Lennart Berg and Marilyn Berg to Allison J. Chapman and Thomas E. Davis, in Lenox Township for $350,000.
Dale L. Garrison and Deborah L. Garrison to Richard C. Kern, Susan E. Kern, Donald G. Gray, Judith A. Gray, in Springville Township for $120,000.
Deborah Balsam, Marilyn Workman, Donald Lerner, Raymond Lerner to Bernard Kolenda, Karie Kolenda, in Thompson Borough for $67,500.
Rose Mary Timlin (estate) to Joseph Timlin, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Eleanor Elizabeth Seamans. Lawrence Family Limited Partnership to Ronald E. Young Jr., in New Milford Township for $125,000.
Richard Eric Gould to Gregory and Jennifer Stewart, in Great Bend Township for $156,400.
Charles Edwin Geertgens of Montrose, and Shawna Pryscilla Edwards of Hallstead.
Gordon Clifford Whitney and Paula Lynn Smith, both of Montrose.
Theresa Marie Hegedty of New Milford vs. Paul Hegedty of Factoryville.
Traci L. Call of Montrose vs. James G. Call of Binghamton, NY.
Cynthia Delgado of Friendsville vs. Isaac Delgado of Kirkwood, NY.
Tamara Sue Brennan of RR 5, Montrose vs. William Joseph Brennan of RR 5, Montrose.
On the night of March 7, Eileen Kingsbury, Oakland Township, found a small bullet hole in her house and reported it to the state police. An investigation is continuing.
A two-vehicle crash occurred at 7 a.m. on March 8 when Aaron G. Treadway, 23, Hallstead, pulled his Dodge Dakota truck up to a stop sign and slid into a Ford F350 driven by Martin P. Reed, 44, Great Bend. The Dodge was traveling south on state road 1035 in Hallstead; the Ford, south on state road 1033. Both drivers were wearing seatbelts and were not injured; their vehicles received minor damage.
DUI Traffic Crash
Donald Larue, 50, Montrose, hit a guide rail on Route 29 in Bridgewater Township on the evening of February 10 while trying to back his vehicle onto another road. An investigation revealed Larue was driving under the influence of alcohol and charges were filed in district court.
Brett Ruhf, Lawton, lost control of his 1994 Oldsmobile on a curve on Route 706 in Rush Township and hit a tree. He was injured and assisted at the scene by Rush Fire and Ambulance as a result of this accident that happened shortly after 6 on the evening of March 7.
An 11-year-old juvenile was injured on the afternoon of March 7 after getting off a school bus on State Road 858 in Apolocan Township. After the bus left, the youth tried to cross the road and ran into the side of a vehicle driven by Daniel Montalbano, Montrose, and was knocked to the ground. Little Meadows transported the youth to an unreported facility. Montalbano was not injured.
Linda Cohn, Hallstead, was driving her 1996 Subaru north on Route 11 in Great Bend Township shortly after 6 on the evening of March 3. Two vehicles – one driven by Jorge Tobon, New Milford; the other, by Christopher Generelli, New Milford – were southbound. Cohn crossed into the southbound lane and collided with both Tobon’s and Generelli’s vehicles. She received major injuries and was life-flighted to an unreported facility. Tobon and his two passengers were not injured. Generelli and his two passengers received minor injuries. Hallstead-Great Bend, New Milford and Susquehanna ambulances transported the injured to area hospitals.
The Bridgewater Township meeting for March 7 began at 7:00 p.m. with Chuck Mead, Beverly Way and Connie Ely in attendance. Connie Ely read the last meeting’s minutes and Chuck motioned to accept while Beverly seconded it.
Dave Zimmer, the Chairperson of the Montrose Sign Committee was there to get the Supervisors approval for five signs they would like to erect welcoming people to Montrose. He had photos along with a list of the property owners to show the Supervisors. If the signs can be erected outside the right of way, some fees may be eliminated. Of course they will have to also get approval from the property owners. Mr. Zimmer said the Mayor will be contacting property owners. He said he would like to have them all up before July 4. He also said all organizations in Montrose are welcome to participate.
Old Business: COG officer, Randy Williams called Chuck about the building permit for the Church of Latter Day Saints. Spring cleanup will be in early May. A project engineer from FEMA visited with the Supervisors to view the site of flooding damages. The township’s claim was approved and submitted to the State and the money is forthcoming. Mr. Mead requested a traffic study to be done by PENNDOT for the intersection of Ellsworth Drive and Rte. 29 as a result from a meeting with the Montrose Commissioners. They feel that it is a dangerous intersection.
New Business: All three supervisors will get together to discuss if there needs to be any action taken on the house in South Montrose that was in the news recently for a meth lab drug bust. They will consider the International Property Maintenance Code when making their decision. Chuck Mead received a legislative update in the PSATS monthly newsletter regarding fireworks sales and displays. He will review the new legislation with the township solicitor. Bev Way suggested talking to Sandra Major who may have a copy of the bill. Connie Ely, township secretary said she has received several calls regarding property taxes. The Bridgewater Township office has no tax information. Property tax questions should be directed to Sylvia Baker at (570) 278-4123. An organization entitled “Experience Works” contacted Bill Gorkski. He was informed that they have older workers who they could send out to do odd jobs, such as painting. The organization pays for their wages and insurance. Bill plans to pursue this prospect further in the near future. Nine checks were presented by Connie totaling $2,383.64. All were approved and signed. The meeting adjourned at 8:00 p.m.
After several weather related re-schedulings the Elk Lake School Board met Monday night, March 7, for the February board meeting.
Having arrived from another meeting this reporter was able to be present for half the District meeting followed by the Career & Technology Center Board meeting.
Minutes for the January 18 meeting were approved and available.
Construction or renovations are planned for the school. There is a need for a new boiler.
A rubberized track is expected to be constructed. It is a budgeted item and is to be paid from the capital reserves. The cost is anticipated to run between $125,000- $250,000.
The NSBA may have a list of vendors. The project will be put out to bid.
The gym roof is in need of repair and will also be a bid project.
Paving is anticipated in the parking lot. All projects were approved and permission was granted to advertise for bids.
Contracts for sport coaches and activity leaders were approved. They were for baseball, boys volleyball, assistant drama director, track, tennis and extended season pay for various coaches.
A confidentiality policy for Special Education was approved as needed to be in compliance with an anticipated audit scheduled for April 18.
The bill list was approved as was the Treasurer’s report.
The public was welcomed to comment near the end. Patti Dudock had several questions regarding policy. Dudock inquired as to whether or not there is a coach for junior high baseball. Ryan Ehrie is the varsity baseball coach. The board stated that the varsity coach or someone from administration will monitor the practices. Dudock further questioned why children could work out in the gym and “run & condition” in the halls but today (Monday) they could not. She noted the children did not have a coach and some did not have insurance papers signed. Administration explained the children did not complete the recertification paperwork and needed to be directed to leave for insurance and liability concerns. Dudock questioned the unequal application of the rules to certain children or families. She explained that on numerous occasions the school has not complied with procedures regarding insurance and liability. She further questioned the procedure on how the boy’s basketball coaches picked who got to play in the play-offs in Dunmore recently.
An extended discussion ensued as to the method. Dudock was advised to finish the conversation personally with Bush. It was noted to Bush that “Hook Day” may have factored into who played or started at the Dunmore game.
A mock car crash is planned for May 2 with the 3rd and 4th being postponement days. This event is sponsored by SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions). The last day of school is scheduled for June 8 and graduation is set for June 11.
NEIU will hold the annual convention at the Radisson in Lackawanna Station on April 26. Staff is asked to submit reservations immediately.
The District Board meeting was adjourned. The board meeting for the Career and Technology Center followed.
The audit review was approved.
An upgrade of nurse assistance program was approved. Funding is through a grant.
Attendance for reimbursement at the state competition of VICA was approved. This is scheduled for April 4-6.
Pupil transportation cost increase was approved.
A Special Education confidentiality policy was approved as needed for the audit next month. Minutes were approved from the January 18 meeting. The bill list was approved.
The NEIU convention was approved as well.
The meeting was adjourned without public comment.
Following is the Susquehanna Borough Police Report, as submitted, for February, 2005.
On January 1, at 9:27 p.m., Gerald Fletcher of Susquehanna caused a disturbance at Barnes Kasson Hospital after being admitted. Fletcher was taken to Marion Community Hospital with assistance from Montrose MICU.
On February 5, at 10:08 p.m., Albert Bishop, Jr. of Brandt claimed he was assaulted by an unknown person with a stick while he was walking on Main St. intoxicated. Bishop was taken to his residence and refused to give further information of who assaulted him.
On February 8, at 11:16 p.m., Todd Ohara of Susquehanna was arraigned at District Justice 34-3-02 for allegedly harassing Ashley Kelly in the Prospect Park Apartments. Ohara was placed in Montrose Jail pending bail for previous warrants.
On February 9, at 9:50 p.m., a cable wire caused a traffic obstruction in the 700 block of West Main St. Assistance from Susquehanna Fire who placed cable out of the way.
DRIVING AT SAFE SPEED/DUI COLLISION
On February 13, on or around 1:10 a.m., Loren Carpenter of Susquehanna was stopped and cited for Driving at a Safe Speed during snow and ice conditions. Carpenter was made to park his vehicle after he’d failed field sobriety testing. At 2:25 a.m., Carpenter failed to stop at a Stop sign while traveling in the opposite side of roadway at a high rate of speed going West on Turnpike St. Police followed his tracks in snow to where he’d crashed by SR 92 and Turnpike St. Carpenter was arrested for DUI with assistance from Gibson PSP.
Also on February 13, Howard Burns III of Susquehanna was cited for Disorderly Conduct after causing a disturbance with his vehicle at Grand St. and Willow Ave.
On February 15, Michael Gandy of Susquehanna reported a burglary to his apartment at 215 Willow Ave. that occurred sometime during the day. Lisa Florez also reported a burglary to her apartment during the same time frame located in the same building. Investigation is still pending as Gandy has since moved.
HIT AND RUN *
Sometime between 11:00 p.m. on February 15 and 7:00 a.m. on February 16, someone drove into the stone wall at East Main St. and Willow Ave. causing property damage to Susquehanna Borough and leaving the scene.
DUI COLLISION/CARELESS DRIVING
At 12:55 a.m. on February 19, Police witnessed Martin Colleran of Wilkes Barre crash his Chevy truck into a utility pole wire in the 300 block of Front St. A traffic stop was initiated after Colleran attempted to leave the scene. Colleran was arrested for DUI and Careless Driving. Preliminary Hearing at District Justice 34-3-02.
On February 19, at 9:00 p.m. Howard Burns III of Susquehanna was again cited for Disorderly Conduct after several witnesses reported him causing a disturbance at Grand St. and Willow Ave. with his truck.
During daytime hours on February 21, Lynn Cafaro of Thompson caused a disturbance in The Depot Restaurant with another adult female of Eynon who’d spit on a juvenile. Charges are pending following location of the adult female suspect in Eynon.
On February 27 at 12:42 a.m., Michael Treacy of Susquehanna was arrested for Assault after he’d allegedly hit Meredith Clapper at 517 Prospect St. leaving marks on her face. Preliminary Hearing is set at District Justice 34-3-02.
AGGRAVATED ASSAULT/SIMPLE ASSAULT*
Also on February 27, at 1:49 a.m., Police responded to Bill’s Hilltop for a 911 Hang Up call. Upon arrival, two people were injured after several fights had occurred. Susquehanna EMS was called to assist with one transport to Barnes-Kasson ER. Several people are expected to be charged with assault type charges pending a detailed investigation.
Through out the month of February, the Police received several Drug tips of illegal narcotics being sold in the Borough to children. Police have been working with the County DA’s office and State Attorney General’s Office to stop these offenders. Please call 1-877-PA NO DRUGS with any tips. All calls are confidential.
* Any other information, please call Police at 853-3147 or SusqPol@Epix.Net.
The Forest City Borough Council adopted a resolution last week authorizing the Susquehanna County Housing/Redevelopment Authority to file an application for Scattered-Site Housing Rehabilitation with the state Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).
If it is approved, the borough could receive $364,000 for affording housing under the National Affordable Housing Act of 1990. All funding received for the project will be awarded to eligible homeowners in the borough with consideration in accordance with the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Council also adopted a cooperation agreement between the borough and the Susquehanna County Housing/Redevelopment Authority who will develop and undertake the project. Karen Allen, chair of the Redevelopment Authority, said there are already 24 homes in Forest City on a waiting list for an assortment of needed improvements.
Besides concentrating on the quality of the work to be done on the houses in Forest City, the Redevelopment Authority will also maintain fiscal and administrative responsibility for the funds. No word on how long it will take before the borough learns whether it has qualified for the rehabilitation funds.
In another matter, the borough’s police committee will meet with members of the Vandling Borough Council to hammer out a new agreement for Forest City to provide police service to Vandling. But council turned down a request from Fell Township to provide police coverage in that municipality.
Renewal of the Vandling agreement comes after a successful six-month trial period that concluded with both boroughs pleased with the results. Terms of the new agreement and the length of the agreement will be determined by the committee members from both boroughs.
The Fell Township request asked the borough for police services including traffic control and incidents that require police response. In a letter to the borough, Fell Township Supervisor Ron Cosklo said the township would like Forest City Police to provide service in blocks of four to six hours a day.
Council was advised that the state Department of Transportation has no plans for drainage and sidewalk improvements on Hudson Street which is SR 2025. State Representative Jim Wansacz suggested that the borough seek other avenues for funding and mentioned the Hometown Street and Safe Routes to School Program. Mr. Wansacz also urged the borough to send a request to the Northern Tier Regional Planning Commission for enrollment on PENNDOT’s 12-year transportation program.
The supervisors of Lenox Township held their monthly meeting on Monday, March 7, at 7:30 p.m.
Supervisors Jim Taylor, Don Zablotsky and Fred Benson and Secretary Sharon De Pew were all in attendance.
Minutes from last months meeting were presented and accepted for approval.
The Treasurer reports that the checkbook balance for the General fund is $4,171.82 and the State fund balance is $57.61.
Planning approval was sought for Rybnick, Kilpatrick, Wagner subdivisions.
Invitations for workshops were received for: March 16, at Keystone College; March 16, 23 & 30 at the Dalton Fire Hall from Countryside Conservancy for a Community Planning course sponsored by PA Planning Association; March 22 at the Montrose Bible Conference for the 2005 Contractors Workshop hosted by the Susquehanna County Conservation District.
The Sewage Enforcement Officer (SEO) Michael T. Fortuner, Jr. was unavailable and did not provide a report.
Stones will be purchased using a “piggy back” method to save on cost according to the supervisors.
Trash Pick-up Day will be held May 11, 12, 13 and 14. The charge this year has increased to $50 a truck load. Tires will be accepted at a cost of $3.00 for small or skid steer tires and $5.00 for large trucks tires.
A resolution adopting the Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) was approved. This Plan is effective for two years and delineates who or what agencies are responsible for what duties during a disaster.
The meeting was adjourned within a half hour.
Glen Patrick, Chairman of the Montrose Municipal Authority (MMA) and Ted Cady, Jr., manager of the plant, attended the Montrose Borough Council meeting on March 7 to discuss extending the MMA’s loan. The original 1999 loan of $831,000 from Peoples National Bank is now down to a little over $350,000, but is in arrears due to oversight. Payments were not being made consistently and the loan now needs to be extended or re-written. The Authority representatives asserted that the bank’s figures are in error, but the last paperwork that can be accounted for was in 2002. The original loan with 4.75 percent interest should have been paid off in 2007, but now needs to be rewritten either by People’s Bank or Community Bank and Trust Company, depending on who offers the lowest rate. The new loan will be around $357,000. Council has charged the Montrose Municipal Authority to produce budgets and audit reports regularly in the future, plus specific ones from the past. This matter will be discussed again at a recessed meeting of the Borough Council at 6:30 on March 22.
In other business the Council agreed to have a representative from the Council present a floral tribute at the Memorial Day service on the Green as requested by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Ayres-Stone Post, the sponsoring group of the parade and service. The Borough will also provide police officers that day.
They further granted the Farmers’ Market Committee permission to use three parking spaces adjacent to the Montrose Green for the purpose of loading and unloading their vehicles while setting up and taking down the market. The Farmer’s Market will be held on Fridays again from the end of May through October.
The Council will be conducting interviews for part time police officers on March 15 starting at 7:00 P.M. There are five candidates for this position. Four people have applied for the job of parking enforcement officer. Those interviews will take place on March 22. Also being interviewed on that evening will be Michael Dopka for code enforcement officer. He is the only applicant and comes well-credentialed. Street foreman Ken DePhillips is ready to begin the big project of shoring up and containing the old dump at the south end of town. The creek has eroded part of the area, allowing refuse to spill into the creek, so a retaining wall will be built, the contents re-settled and a cap put on it. Council approved expenditures for supplies and labor up to $15,000, which is the amount of the grant awarded by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). DePhillips has been instructed to detail every expenditure to satisfy DEP that the money was used as specified. The Council is also requesting a similar grant from Pennsylvania American Water. DePhillips will be reporting progress to council member Fred Peckins and borough secretary, Annette Rogers.
The next regular meeting of the Montrose Borough Council will be on April 4 at 7:00 p.m.
New Milford Township supervisors met Wednesday, March 9 at 7:30 p.m. for their monthly meeting. Present were Franklin “Buzz” Gulick, Don Shibley, Jack Conroy, Jim Hunter and Carol Smith, Secretary.
Minutes were read and approved from the February 9 meeting.
Balances for the accounts were $2000 in the State and $6,748.75 in the General checkbooks. Mr. Myron Rosh will write the building codes inspections.
Public comment was initiated first.
Scott Young owner/operator of East Lake Campground asked how to obtain building permits. Young was directed to Myron Rosh at who is available 2-3 days a week.Young questioned procedure for a septic permit. Buzz was advised to call Mike Fortuner, SEO. Young wanted to know how long it will take to get a sewer permit, considering the complaint filed against his campground. Young then questioned the procedures to hire and fire the SEO. Was an application needed? Certification? Buzz acknowledged an interview process was done. The SEO is governed by DEP. Further, Buzz explained that Fortuner was hired without an application and that simply a decision was made to hire Fortuner. Buzz added that only one SEO was dismissed because he would not show up. Buzz acknowledged that there is no procedure to fire an SEO. Young informed the Supervisors that he did in fact contact Fortuner who, to date has not provided an application for a sewer permit. Young asked if there was an alternate SEO. Buzz advised that since the campground is in litigation some questions should not be answered. Young stated in two years he has not been given an application. Buzz advised Young to have his attorney contact their solicitor. The township solicitor is Michael Giangrieco’s law firm. Buzz told Young he must use the primary SEO. Young may not use the back up SEO according to Buzz unless “the primary SEO is unavailable.” Buzz reluctantly informed Young the alternate SEO is Tom Button of Kingsley.
Young inquired as to the outcome of the meeting between Miss Visk and Fortuner regarding the campers and grey water complaint. It was determined that one camper was hooked up and no grey water was observed. Further, that Visk failed to show so the meeting was cancelled.
Everything was approved for the Gruber drive permits.
Sandra Conklin subdivision and cabin issue needs to be resolved. The cabin has not been used for a long time so Fortuner needs to approve of the sewer; however, he has not done so to date. An update is requested by next month’s meeting.
Core drilling will be done on the Oliver Road bed site. According to Gulick, he met with the Economic Development rep. from Montrose. Milne Engineering was contacted. Gulick’s son works for that engineering firm. Grant money is available according to Gulick.
A brief discussion followed regarding the amount of fines to impose on people who do not comply with the building codes. The fees will be $100 maximum for residential, $200 for commercial. The minimum is now set at $50 per day for residential and $100 for commercial. Fees have been traditionally doubled according to Buzz. Young stated his fines are in excess of $5,000 per day. Gulick said that fine is not from the supervisors. Motion to pass the new ordinance for fines was passed. The wording of the ordinance will be reviewed by Giangrieco’s office.
Labor and Industry will handle large commercial permits.
Montrose Materials is intended to provide antiskid stones using the “piggy back” system. This method of purchasing is anticipated to be less expensive.
A man named Bill, last name unknown, was purchasing land. He was notified that the SEO would need to review the sewer plan as per the Planning Commission, according to Buzz. Bill said that a house and sewer is already there and nothing was changed.
Buzz did not know the SEO’s fee and explained that Fortuner sets his fees.
Mr. Helisek has a sewage issue needing resolved at Page Lake. A hearing will be held at the township building and will need a stenographer. Cost of that is to be born by Mr. Helisek. The appeal is a result of the SEO, Fortuner. Helisek wanted a holding tank and was advised by Fortuner to install a sand mound. Helisek did not want a sand mound. Buzz said, “DEP said we do not issue permits for holding tanks.” If there is ample ground, owners must put in a sand mound according to Buzz, as per DEP.
Van Cott Road is to be vacated as per agreement. The road will not be abandoned. Vacating a road relieves the township of responsibility. If a road is abandoned for any length of time, then is requested to be reopened it must be done.
Dues were reported as paid to the State association.
Northeast Regional Contractors Workshop at Keystone College is March 16, supervisors were sent an invitation.
Buzz advised Carol to note that this meeting is being recorded by Kostelac and Young.
Municipal zoning is gaining interest in Hallstead. Currently there is no zoning in the township.
The supervisors were asked to address the closing of the campground, noting the lack of jobs in the county. They were asked what they would do to facilitate the opening of the campground. Buzz advised this reporter to contact Giangrieco’s office and direct inquires to attorney Beichle. Buzz noted the township did not create this problem. When asked, “Will you help resolve it?” Buzz commented, “I certainly hope so.” And another supervisor added, “The sooner the better, we’d like.” Buzz noted it is in litigation and I should contact the attorney.
General Surplus in Harrisburg is available to the township. The surplus is seized from drug raids and other means of obtaining numerous useful items.
Motion to pay bills was followed by adjournment at 8:18 p.m.
Oakland Boro’s council meeting of March 10 was attended by all members except Dave Dibble and Leon Dubanowitz. Also present were Secretary Flo Brush, Police Chief Bob VanFleet and five residents.
President Ron Beavan was pleased to report that grant funds the boro will be receiving to take care of ditch work on State Street amounted to much more than had been expected, and totals $60,000, which will allow for approximately 500 feet of ditches to receive work. PENNDOT has also been working with council to discuss other work on State Street; Mr. Beavan has met with their municipal services supervisor.
CEO Shane Lewis will be asked to check out a complaint about a large, dead tree on State St., which is in danger of falling.
The boro’s agreement with Mr. Lewis involves hourly charges; council was unhappy to note that they had been charged for time Mr. Lewis spent dealing with boro residents who had contacted him directly rather than going through proper channels. Council stressed that Mr. Lewis was to be contacted directly only if a building permit is needed. In all other situations, a resident can obtain a complaint form from the boro office, or contact Doug Arthur or Randy Glover to discuss concerns. A determination will then be made whether or not to ask Mr. Lewis to look into complaints/concerns.
The school district has been contacted with information for needed “School Bus Stop” signs, and a steam pipe in the boro building has been repaired.
Mr. Arthur asked if an agreement had been drawn up for any employee hired for the boro’s streets/water departments, as council had discussed last year. The agreement would stipulate that any individual who holds this position would reimburse the boro for any money spent on (water) training if that individual were to leave the boro’s employment within a specified period of time. Mr. Crawford agreed to check the meeting minutes for information, as all agreed that it had been discussed but could not agree that a motion had been carried to do it.
Mr. VanFleet reported that he has been conducting traffic control at the intersection of Westfall Ave. and State St., and had made five arrests.
Three of the residents in attendance will be on the ballots in the May primary, Wendy Dudley (mayor) and Brian Rhone and Jerry Hallisey (council). Mr. Beavan “put them on the spot” and asked all to give a brief synopsis of why they have chosen to run and what goals they hope to accomplish.
Resident Joyce Burdick has been in contact with the current owner of the old church/boro building on Westfall Ave. She reported that the owner has plans to renovate the building in the spring; painting will be completed, windows and doors replaced. Mrs. Burdick said that she (the owner) lives out of state. She has owned the building for some time and had allowed an unnamed party to use the building free of charge, but had been unaware that it was not being taken care of. She is also concerned about incidents of vandalism; irreplaceable etched glass windows were broken. She plans to petition the school board to move a bus stop in front of the building to another site nearby, in the hopes that this might cut down on vandalism.
Mrs. Dudley reported that there has been no news on a $40,000 grant application for funds to improve the park; there should be word by the end of April.
In response to a complaint about a bump on River Road, it was agreed to post signs to warn motorists for the time being, until paving can be done.
The boro has not had much luck with its vehicles lately. The boro truck has had a broken axle and transmission problems. The estimated cost of repairing the transmission looks to be about $3,000. With more snow predicted for the coming weekend, Mr. Agler joked that residents should get their shovels ready, along with kitty litter or whatever they could find to take care of the roads in front of their homes. During a storm following the broken axle, Mr. Agler volunteered use of his truck to see that the streets were plowed.
In response to questions from Mr. Arthur, specifically about the snow our area saw on February 17; he was not pleased that the roads had not been plowed and reported an ice buildup in some areas. It was noted that this snow came the day the truck axle had broken. Mr. Crawford stressed that it was not possible for the streets to be plowed every time there was snowfall, especially at night; sometimes it was taken care of in the morning. Mr. Beavan agreed, and noted that even state roads are not always taken care of right away. Mr. Crawford felt that it was unfair to make a judgment based on one incident. The discussion became a bit heated and council moved on to other topics after agreeing to continue discussion during an executive session.
Later in the meeting, Mr. Crawford apologized for losing his patience. He said that he was sometimes made to feel defensive by (continual) criticisms from other council members and from residents who were not happy with how the streets were being taken care of. Jeff Wayman, he said is doing his job and doing it well. After discussion, it was agreed to ask Mr. Wayman if he would consider attending council meetings to directly discuss any concerns that might arise.
The boro’s tractor has also seen its share of repairs; at the present time, it will not start. There was some discussion about whether to have it repaired yet again, or to look for a newer, more heavy-duty one. It was agreed to start looking around to see what else is available.
As Mr. VanFleet has notified council that he intends to retire (at an unspecified date) and Officer Phil MacDonald plans to move out of the area, a decision must be made on the future of the boro police. Mr. Beavan said that residents he has spoken to seem equally divided; some would like to keep the department active, others would like to see it disband. But, he said, some of those in favor of keeping it do not seem to be aware of the costs involved. The boro currently spends about $2,000 per year for part-time officers. Would residents be willing to keep spending this much (or more) for police services? And, if there are other options available, such as joint municipal police with other boros, or contracting services from another municipality, would residents like to see that happen?
Mr. Beavan recommended that a survey be drawn up to find out what residents want to do, and if they are willing to pay for it. Consensus seemed to be that this is a good idea, and could include other questions, such as what to do about the boro building, what residents envision for the boro’s future, and any other concerns that residents would like to see council address.
Bids will be put out now for replacement of the retaining wall on River Road; hopefully it can be done this spring.
Council received a request from DGK, the boro’s insurance agent, to furnish an inspection of the boro building’s electrical wiring, and to replace any fixtures or wiring that is found to be inadequate. As the building is quite old, and council has been discussing whether to keep it or not, Mr. Beavan was against any expense this would involve. Last year, an inspection had been done when council discussed converting the building into senior housing. He contacted DGK to see if this inspection report would suffice. DGK agreed to submit the report to the policy holder for approval. DGK also recommended that council require a written contract for any work done in the boro building, requiring that any damage caused by a contractor be that contractor’s responsibility to repair.
The water tower was to have been included in the boro’s liability policy, but through some oversight it seems it was not. The boro received a bill for coverage of the tower, for the period between April of 2004 to April of 2005. There was some discussion as whether or not the bill should be paid, as the current policy expires in April.
Information was also requested regarding the dam on the Susquehanna River. Does the boro own it? It does, but River Bounty holds a lease for it; it is currently not generating any power. And the dam was also inspected last year by a federal agency.
As the policy does expire in April, Mrs. Brush has been obtaining price quotes from DGK and from other companies. A committee comprised of Mr. Arthur, Randy Glover and Mr. Crawford will meet to review the quotes and bring their recommendations to council.
Mr. Arthur has compiled a list of street lights that are not working, and will notify Penelec. Any resident can report malfunctioning lights by calling Penelec with the pole number.
The Experience Works program has requested that council consider a donation. Mr. Beavan said that the boro has had a very good experience with this program but, unfortunately, there is no money in the budget to cover a donation. It was agreed to see what might be available at the end of the year.
The Parks and Rec. Committee is planning an Easter egg hunt for March 19. A new roof has been ordered for the concession stand, which Mr. Crawford has volunteered to put on. He has also volunteered to put in a retaining wall behind the bleachers, and would welcome any help. Mr. Beavan commended the committee. A “host” of people, he said had worked very hard to improve the park and had accomplished a lot.
Mr. Agler’s family has been hosting an exchange student from Ecuador, Heidi Borja, a ninth-grader. He said that it wasn’t just his family who were her hosts, he said, but Oakland Boro. Miss Borja is here to improve her English, and to see how American students conduct their studies.
Correspondence reviewed included a thank you note for flowers, from the family of Midge Dubanowitz; information on home repair loans for low-income families; and the usual assortment of training classes and conferences.
In closing, Mr. Beavan reiterated what he has been saying for quite some time, that he can’t conduct boro business by himself. He asked what commitment other council members were willing to make, beyond the monthly meetings. Mr. Glover, Mr. Arthur and Mr. Agler all said that they would be willing to help out as time allows. Mr. Crawford said that he has been helping whenever he could, and would continue to do so.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, April 14, 7:00 p.m. in the boro building.
With all members present, with the exception of Nick Sheptak, the Thompson Boro Council met on March 7.
Discussion continued regarding delinquent sewage fees; Mr. Gardner noted that some arrears have been paid up to date, others have been partially paid, yet others have not been paid at all, and some new delinquents have been added to the list since last month. He recommended that council set a standard policy for future occurrences, beginning with a phone call to the home owner. Secretary Sheldon disagreed with this, and asked why delinquents should have to be called every month with a reminder to pay their bills. Mr. Gardner had an alternative suggestion, to hire the services of a collection agency. The agency’s fees would be deducted from the monies collected, but at least the boro would be spared the cost of expensive legal action. Mr. Price felt that the boro’s solicitor should be contacted for some insight, as he also represents other municipalities who have faced the same situation. He also had some questions, such as, if the boro were to place a lien for unpaid fees, would subsequent delinquent amounts require separate liens, or could they be filed to include cumulative amounts.
And, it was noted that the ordinances currently in effect regarding the sewage system allow for legal action, with the property owner also responsible for any costs involved, and termination of water service.
Plant operator Larry Travis’ report led to a lengthy discussion. Along with some expected expenditures for supplies, there were some unexpected ones. Material has been moving through the treatment process too quickly; Mr. Travis recommended purchase of chlorine tablets to be used until the flow can be slowed down. And, there are other problems; the plant currently has 100 bags of sludge in the process of drying out, which cannot be disposed of until it has dried out to an acceptable level. All of which has resulted in a need to have some of the sludge hauled away, as the system is producing more than had been expected, an expense that was not foreseen.
In response to a question from a resident, Mr. Price explained that the type of system the boro has, a bagging system, was supposed to be “a problem solver.” It was to have been six months before bagging started, but it actually began much quicker than that. The system, he said, was a good idea in principle, considering the boro’s needs. But the accumulation of bags must be dealt with according to stringent regulations. The material has to be tested before it can be used for fertilizer, and there are restrictions about where it can be used – it cannot be used for food crops. There are tests that must be conducted before it is disposed of, it must be disposed of properly, and it takes about a year for the bags to dry out enough to be disposed of. Once all of this criteria has been met, the bags will ultimately go to a landfill. In the meantime, efforts are being made to try to slow down the number of bags produced by having some liquid pumped out.
Through an oversight, the owner of the property where the pump station is located had never received payment for that property; Mr. Price reported that he had taken care of it, as payment had been approved as part of the project planning.
A stop sign on Pleasant Ave. has not yet been replaced, as a backhoe is needed to break ground for the post.
A zoning workshop, hosted by the Eastern Susquehanna County Partnership ((ESCP) for member municipalities, had been postponed due to inclement weather, and will be rescheduled. Mr. Gardner reported that consulting engineers have been putting together a draft of a comprehensive plan. Some considerations include which types of the area’s businesses are the strongest, with the consensus being that timbering and stone quarries top the list. Farming is also prevalent, but it could be that that will change some years down the line. Tourism continually changes, as does the population which would seem to be aging, with fewer children in the area.
On behalf of the Town Fair Committee, of which several members were present, Chairman (and Mayor) Jim Delaney presented council with one of the four new “Welcome to Thompson” signs the committee has purchased with proceeds of the annual fair. The signs will be placed at each of the four entrances to the boro.
Council approved June 18 as the date for the next fair. So far, activities (some tentative) include a parade, zoomobile, dancing, strawberry festival, karate demonstration, vendors and yard sales.
A motion carried to adopt a resolution, required as a result of Act 192 legislation, which basically allows collection agencies to increase the amount they charge to collect delinquent taxes.
Correspondence reviewed included information on USDA loans available for low income homeowners to improve, modernize or add handicap accessibility.
The meeting ended with Chief Rivenburgh’s police report for the previous month; he had responded to five calls in Thompson, and three in Ararat.
The next meeting will be on Monday, April 4, 7:30 p.m. in the fire hall.
News | Living | Sports | Schools | Churches | Ads | Events
Military | Columns | Ed/Op | Obits | Archive | Subscribe