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Supervisor Terry VanGorden teased Roadmaster George Sansky as the Supervisors' meeting broke up on April 16, cautioning that his head might not fit through the door. The meeting was full of laughter and good humor, most of it to the account of Mr. Sansky, who was credited with saving the township a lot of money through his diligence and outstanding extra effort.
In his road report, Mr. Sansky reported that assembly of the first of two Mack trucks has been completed at a total cost of about $16,500. The 1994 truck, with about 600,000 miles, was completely renovated, and is expected to give many years of service to the township for less than half the price of any other equivalent vehicle similarly equipped. Mr. Sansky said that he had spent more than 40 hours on the Internet looking for trucks to replace the broken-down 1980- vintage Ford from which he was able to scavenge many useful parts, including the entire hydraulic system. He said that he spent about 37 days rebuilding the truck to suit the specific needs of Harford Township.
Mr. VanGorden said that when word got around that Mr. Sansky was building a truck, the township garage hosted many visitors, some of which offered jobs, all of which Mr. Sansky graciously declined. "I'm happy here," says he. "You're well worth your money," said Mr. VanGorden. "I wish we could give you more."
Mr. Sansky was also given credit for significant awards from Federal and State Emergency Management Agencies for damage resulting from last year's hurricanes. Some of the work clearing Butler Creek is under the jurisdiction of the Army Corps of Engineers, Mr. Sansky's next target. He will also be pursuing grants for a variety of projects in the township, particularly to replace or repair bridges.
Mr. Sansky is also developing a plan to "work the roads" on a regular cycle so that each mile of township roads gets some serious attention each year. The cycle will begin with Blanding Lake Road, and continue around the township until the week before the Harford Fair, when work will be completed on Sherwood Hill Road. He hopes that the cycle will become a permanent process.
The Supervisors could not have been more delighted with Mr. Sansky's abilities as a mechanic, his commitment to organization and planning, and his demonstration of initiative on behalf of Harford Township. One observer commented, that it's "nice to have a Roadmaster who thinks and plans ahead."
Mr. Sansky's reward will be a pickup truck, which the Supervisors decided to add to the township inventory at a cost not to exceed $3,999. Sue Furney and Mr. Sansky told the meeting that a cheap pickup would help to make the road crews more efficient, and save wear and tear on the workers' own vehicles. Mr. Sansky will also get a digital camera at a cost of less than $500 to document projects around the township. Mr. Sansky said that some of his work with the emergency management agencies might have been even more effective with readily available photographs.
There was other business at the meeting, including, of course, a progress report on the Odd Fellows Hall. Whatever progress there is was not obvious. According to Rick Pisasik, the township's attorneys are working with the Fire Company's lawyers to develop a legal position to take to court to remove restrictive covenants from the deed. The move, supported by residents in an informal vote last election day, will clear the way for whatever is to come next for the prominent structure in the middle of Harford village.
The Supervisors decided to solicit bids for diesel fuel and liquid calcium. They had postponed this part of the annual bidding process earlier in the year at the suggestion of suppliers. They expect to purchase 50,000 gallons (more or less) of 34% calcium chloride solution, and about 5,000 gallons of diesel fuel. The calcium chloride solution, applied at the rate of about 1,000 gallons per mile, is used to control dust during the summer. Harford Township has about 47 miles of road, most of them dirt.
The township often treats a dusty road with water when calcium already in the road can use the water to bind the surface. In the past water has been drawn from village hydrants. According to Mr. Sansky, however, the procedure has been known to set off low-pressure alarms in the fire suppression system at the Harford Village Apartments. Local "dry hydrants" that the fire company can use to draw water from lakes and ponds are not filtered so that the township spreaders can get clogged with debris. Mr. Sansky will be looking for another solution.
The Supervisors accepted a proposal by Johnson Lauder & Savidge to perform the sewer system audit for 2004 for $4,500. The formal external audit is required by the terms of the financing contract for the sewer system.
A subdivision proposed on Tingley Lake road may be in a little difficulty. The property owner would like to install a driveway. Tingley Lake road is a state highway, so the township wouldn't ordinarily care. In this case, however, the driveway crosses the main sewer line in that area. Sewer system engineers originally proposed that the property owner insulate the sewer line and bed it in concrete to protect from frost. Now, however, given the configuration of the driveway and the sewer line, the owner will be required to actually dig the sewer line deeper into the ground for a considerable length. The township cannot approve or deny a subdivision request; that is a county function. But the township can object to the proposed subdivision, and the Supervisors decided to do just that, in writing to both the county and the land owner.
The Supervisors decided to schedule the annual "clean up" for the week of June 6-10 this year. This program gives residents the opportunity to rid their property of just about any kind of junk or other detritus by simply piling it in a designated place for township workers to pick up. The Supervisors also decided to keep the fee at a low $35 per load (a large pickup with a staked body) to encourage people to take advantage of the program. According to Ms. Furney, the clean up last year cost the township about $200 over the total of collected fees; the Supervisors were agreed that the cost was worth it to keep the township clean.
And finally, it was announced that a real estate specialist from the U.S. Postal Service will attend the Supervisors' next meeting on April 26 to discuss the search for a new location for the Harford P.O. 18823. That meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m., and take place, as always, at the township building on Route 547, half a mile southwest of the Interstate.
A Forest City resident, whose most recent address has been the Susquehanna County Jail in South Montrose, will spend four-and-one-half years to nine years in a state correctional facility on a rape charge.
Susquehanna County President Judge Kenneth W. Seamans also fined 40-year-old Eugene Cintron $2,500 and ordered him to stay away from school grounds, undergo treatment for sexual offenders and psychological evaluation, and pay $250 DNA costs. He will be on probation for 10 years after his sentence.
In an affidavit of probable cause, Police Chief Paul Lukus charged that Mr. Cintron sexually abused a juvenile girl in Forest City on July 23, 2003.
Other sentences handed down by Judge Seamans last week included:
Stephen Kaminsky, 43, of Susquehanna, three months to 18 months in the county jail for endangering the welfare of a child on April 16, 2004 in Jackson Township. Mr. Kaminsky was also fined $500, was placed on work release and was fined an additional $200 for harassment, also on April 16, 2004.
Martin Joseph Ryan, 29, of Hallstead, three months to 23 months in the county jail, $500 fine and $250 DNA costs for indecent assault. Mr. Ryan was also sentenced to an additional six months to 23 months for a second charge of indecent assault in Lenox Township. The sentences will run concurrently.
Stephen Michael Bennett, 43, of Montrose, 8 1/2 months to 23 1/2 months in the county jail plus $1,500 fine for criminal conspiracy/manufacture of a controlled substance on March 23, 2004 in Jessup Township. He was also fined $1,000 and must pay $250 DNA costs.
William James Bowie, 24, of Bronx, NY, two years to four years in a state correctional facility and $1,000 fine for possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver in New Milford Borough on December 9, 2004. He must also pay $250 DNA costs.
Kaci Jo Howell, 21, of Montrose, eight months state probation and $50 fine for theft by deception in Montrose on October 24, 2003, and nine months state probation and $50 fine for theft by deception in Montrose on October 18, 2003.
Scott Edward Krupovitch, 28, of New Milford, 12 months state probation and $300 fine for recklessly endangering another person on March 20, 2003. Mr. Krupovitch also received one year probation to run concurrent with the first sentence and an additional $300 fine for recklessly endangering another person in Clifford Township on March 20, 2003.
The New Milford Township supervisors faced a packed house Wednesday, April 13 at the monthly meeting. The full board was present. Last month’s minutes were read and accepted.
The checkbook balances were stated.
Anna Jenkins from DGK insurance presented a review of the township’s insurance plan which was approved with minor changes being noted. A question arose as to the possibility of covering the tax collector and monies therein. The cost will be minimal, being approximately twenty dollars.
It was noted the township will be covered with terrorism insurance coverage this year.
Public comment was taken. The opening question started an intense discussion about the quality of the roads that some from the public indicated need repair. The first question was, “Why is New Milford Sand & Gravel being allowed to destroy Stump Pond Road?” Buzz Gulick acknowledged the road is in need of repairs and the township is trying to maintain the roads despite the wet weather. Gulick further noted that the people bought homes on dirt roads knowing the roads were dirt. The public commented that out of state stone trucks cause damage and leave town with out repairing the roads. It was questioned as to whom is assessed to repair the roads, or is the money “donated” by the taxpayers.
The Helisek case did not have a hearing as planned last month but was “settled out of court.”
The status of the East Lake Campground would not be discussed by the supervisors. A man in the audience wanted to know, “Why can’t we comment on it?” Gulick gave a “No Comment” to direct inquiry stating, “it was in litigation.” Gulick stated that to his knowledge the business is not open.
The trailer at the end of town near the Route 11/706 intersection was discussed. The New Milford men’s club has offered to assist in the removal of the trailer and clean up. After tossing around many ideas, including a controlled burn, there was a friendly agreement to remove it to the township property and burn it with several people volunteering time and equipment to accomplish the task.
A motion to pass a resolution for New Milford Township to authorize the Susquehanna County Redevelopment Authority to file an application for funds with the DCED. This was approved.
The public wanted to know if the township has applied for any grants through the Homeland Security terrorism programs. Gulick made note that it should be looked into.
Planning commission granted a preliminary and final approval of the Burchell property with some conditions outlined.
The problems with Lower Creek Road washing out due to the pond are being addressed in that the property owner will decrease the high water level by eight inches.
The solicitors who were not present suggested the township consider improving the roads at the property owners’ expense by addressing the section 2314 and 2315. This can be done by petition or ordinance. This will be made available to the public for review prior to approval. The goal is to have the authority address the issues that need resolving.
Ron Boyd, local volunteer and advocate for county beautification, raised concerns and ideas to improve the intersection at Gibson. He will co-ordinate the effort needed to accomplish this task. Boyd noted that Gibson Partnership Limited holds the property on the said intersection which is a wetlands. Further Boyd explained the wetlands could be turned into a beautiful walk or nature area to enhance the area and attract tourist.
It was noted that Flying J’s is a large corporation which has money that should be invested in Susquehanna County, especially improving that intersection.
Another building was noted in the Gibson area that is an eye sore and has been vandalized. A brief discussion ensued regarding the demolition of that building. It was suggested the Men’s Club could clean up that “by tomorrow afternoon.”
DEP applications were noted received by two mining companies. The Lancott Landfill monitoring may cease according to a notice received from DEP with a waste treatment plant suggested be build there.
Bids will be advertised for liquid calcium.
The township meeting which began on a rocky road ended with a pleasant outlook and was adjourned at 8:37 p.m. the same evening.
Klees Family Trust (by trustee) to Eric Lockwood, in Gibson Township for $35,000.
Allan E. Elbrecht, Darlene A. Elbrecht, Christine A. Elbrecht, Steven F. Gordon, and Kathleen A. Gordon to Robert E. Shaffer and Sharon A. Shaffer, in Great Bend Borough for $47,900.
Robert S. Dietrich and Dawn H. Dietrich to Robert M. Squier and Mary Jane Squier, in Great Bend Township for $37,200.
SLM Financial Corporation to Ryan Cosklo, in Clifford Township for $95,000.
Arthur R. Roberts and Robin Roberts to Arthur R. Roberts, in Clifford Township for one dollar.
Borden Gerber Inc. to Jennifer Denike and Eric Robinson, in Herrick Township for $24,000.
Stanley D. Freier and Margaret A. Freier to Jeff M. Flynn, in Brooklyn Township for $15,000.
Orval D. Page and Rose C. Page to Kevin R. Bell and Amy McGovern, in Lenox Township for $26,000.
Dieter G. Dauber and Linda L. Dauber to Henry Glover and Amy L. Glover, in Great Bend Township for $117,000.
Judy L. Lewis to Gary E. Lewis, in Liberty Township for one dollar.
Paul E. Marcotte (irrevocable trust) to Tracy Dunn, in Choconut Township for $105,000.
Charles P. Gayson, Eric W. Sprout, Cynthia D. Sprout to Joseph Tangorra and Lorraine Tangorra, in Jessup Township for $138,600.
David R. Crandall and Patricia A. Crandall to William F. Hugelmeyer, Christine McLaurin, William C. Hugelmeyer and Richard G. Hugelmeyer, in Jackson Township for $135,000.
Joseph E. Slick Sr. to Robert J. Barrett, in Herrick Township for $9,500.
Harold C. Craige and Gloria Craige to Alliance to Protect Life Inc., in Rush Township for $54,000.
Kenneth Kublo and Angel Kublo to Denise Rossi and David R. Rossi, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Shane T. Lewis and Margaret A. Lewis to Brian Chamberlain, in Susquehanna for $1,250.
Mary Ellen Bevan, Charles Lloyd Garrison, Karen Garrison to Richard G. Peltz Sr. and Judy Peltz, in Oakland Borough for $1,000.
EMC Mortgage Corporation to Richard Lane, in Susquehanna for $25,000.
Carol Marie Stahl (aka) Carol Stahl (nbm) Carol M. Moore to Carl Stahl (aka) Carl L. Stahl, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Margaret V. Rockey, John J. Lavelle Sr. (estate), Susan Lavelle, William Gerber (estate), RALLG Associates, to Joseph Pfluger and Sharon Pfluger, in Herrick Township for $21,000.
Sandra L. Shager to John M. Shager, Eric J. Shager, Melissa Lynn Casper, in Forest City for one dollar.
David Carmody and Ruth Carmody to Sharon Carey, in Thompson Borough for one dollar.
Donald A. Burns, Mary Burns, David A. Burns (estate), Donna M. Burns to James L. Brink and Donna M. Brink, in New Milford Township for one dollar.
Robert Gubitosi and Kathleen A. Gubitosi to Daniel J. Backer and Gretchen B. Platt, in Dimock Township for $257,500.
Thomas J. O‚Reilly to Donald JK. Frantz, in Springville Township for $133,000.
Albert B. Snell to Stephanie A. Ralston, in New Milford Borough for $72,000.
Carlo G. Baccile to Harry Bomersheim and Stella M. Bomersheim, in Gibson Township for $108,130.
Carlo G. Baccile to Harry Bomersheim and Stella M. Bomersheim, in Gibson Township for $50,000.
Carlo G. Baccile to Carlo G. Baccile, in Gibson Township for one dollar.
Silver Lake Presbyterian Church to Silver Lake Presbyterian Church, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Jacob Edward Brewer and Kathryn Scarlet Gilbert, both of Montrose.
Kris V. Conforti, Johnson City, NY and Stacy L. McNish, Vestal, NY.
Brian W. Wagstaff and Heather L. Harrington, both of Kirkwood, NY.
Edna F. Thompson of Susquehanna vs. William Thompson of New Milford.
Andrew C. Francis of Susquehanna vs Carolyn L. Francis, of RR2, Susquehanna.
Ross J. Doolin vs Margaret K. Doolin, both of RD, Nicholson.
Christone L. Plavier of Montrose vs. Robert J. Plavier, RR3. Montrose.
On Monday April 18, the Elk Lake School Board convened. The absence of Jack Sible was noted.
It began late, at 7:30 p.m. due to an executive work session.
Board President Arden Tewksbury opened the evening with a brief history lesson. He handed out copies of the April 17, 1989 minutes citing the fact that the people voted NO on a “referendum in Pennsylvania regarding a proposed constitutional amendment authorizing lower property tax rates for residential than for non-residential properties.” According to the hand out 70% of voters in Pennsylvania voted NO for this amendment. However, Tewksbury pointed out that the school board at that time strongly urged taxpayers vote YES and adopted a resolution to that April 17, 1989 in support of local lax reform that was proposed in the statewide referendum. The referendum would have reduced the real estate taxes by 43%.
Tewksbury concluded that the public sometimes does not do what is good for themselves. This evening Tewksbury was attempting to squelch rumors that the board has no interest in reducing taxes for the people and cited this vote as proof otherwise. A question arose as to what other stipulations the law proposed. Tewksbury could not recall precisely.
A brief executive session was held which interrupted the Board meeting.
This reporter was asked to state for the public record that I was personally taping the meeting and why as Dr. William Bush explained it is policy to do such.
Correspondence was read. May 15 a Spring Legislative session will be held and the Board was encouraged to attend.
A funding audit for fiscal year June 30, 2003 was completed and the school was found in compliance.
A note from the local library was read thanking the Board for the donation of $600.
Carol Coolbaugh, a Security Guard, requested a leave of absence which was approved by Board vote.
Dr. Cuomo announced Senior awards assembly will occur May 16. June 11 is the scheduled Commencement exercises. April 29 and 30 is a play in the auditorium.
An Activities banquet is scheduled for May 13, 7:00 p.m. Mallery discussed the recent bus problem that occurred during the eighth grade trip to Baltimore. The bus was disabled for hours along highway Route 81. He noted the faculty handled the dilemma very well and thanked all.
Mallery presented the new science curriculum for review, evaluation and approval at the May board meeting. Cuomo explained the science program in greater detail. The new academic standards will be aligned with Pennsylvania’s and will incorporate some national expectations.
Mrs. Staats discussed the survey sent to parents of special needs students. As a result there will be four scheduled meetings in compliance with the No Child Left Behind program.
The 2005-2006 calendar was discussed and approved.
Caps and gowns for graduations to be purchased by the school was approved by vote for many years to come.
Head Start agreement was approved by vote. A summer academy was approved which will assist students in the elementary to maintain their academic level over the summer. This is a five week program funded by Federal money. There reportedly is no cost to the local taxpayers. It was voted upon and approved.
A Driver Education End of Course test will now be given by Mr. Grovener. This was approved by vote. The Substitute list was approved.
Right Reason Technologies is an internet staff development program that can be done in-house on computers. Eventually home school, homebound and charter school students can use it for education as well. Training, such as sexual harassment prevention will be available on-line for the staff. This was also approved by vote. The cost is $7.00 per staff member with unlimited training time.
Arts Alive was requested and approved for one homebound student. The cost is $1600 for 2 students with each additional student cost being $600. This was approved, however Copeland abstained.
A janitorial bid was approved. Construction project bids were not discussed with Bush stating, “We will pass on that for the evening.”
Title One summer reading rates were approved at $25/hour. Summer school tuition was increased from $110 to $125 for a twenty week program. The increase is needed for teachers’ stipends, which increased.
The IDEA agreement for the 2004/2005 year was approved at a cost of $164,812.
Four policies were discussed and approved. They involved medication use and access issues which were previously handed out. A minor change was noted and approved. A change in the promotion/retention policy was also approved.
Minutes from the last two meetings were approved as well as the treasurers report. Bills were voted approved to be paid at this time. Life guards names were submitted and approved.
Open items were discussed before taking public comment. A Board member noted that the March 28th minutes stated in the Correspondence section,” A letter was received from the Montrose Area Kiwanis Club regarding the Key Club and the lack of activity periods,” however she does not recall that event occurring. Bush explained at length that the Kiwanis Club inquired as to the difficulty with students not being released to attend the Key Club. Bush explained that there appeared to be a conflict with the academics and activity schedule. Bush stated he did receive the letter and responded but did not read it publicly. Minutes were accepted and approved.
April 25 at 8:00 p.m. a special Board meeting for construction bids was scheduled. May 9 another Board meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. regarding the budget and Act 72. May 16 will be the regular board meeting at 7:00 p.m. Minutes were accepted and approved.
Act 72 was discussed with the latest updates. There is a reluctance to accept this ACT. There is a proposal to delay the acceptance period until 2006.
Public Comment period opened with Patti Dudock expressing concerns about the school web site which in her opinion is not user friendly and “boring.” School spirit is lacking according to Dudock and wishes to address this issue. Dudock raised concerns about the quality of the baseball field that has rocks on it. Bush offered that dirt is not being released by DEP due to the excessive storm damage and wet weather. Further she noted the lack of toilet facilities and coaches. Dudock stated she had personally offered to resolve some issues and was denied the opportunities to do so, specifically being asked to leave. After much discourse Dudock’s offers of support were accepted and she was given assistance as to how to use the web site efficiently. Board members took offense to the constant complaints from Dudock and tempers rose.
The Board was asked to explain and confirm whether or not a Probation officer is on staff to prevent drug trafficking in the school and on the property. It was confirmed that no probation officer is on staff. It was further questioned if the school has a policy on lock downs or drug checks. The Board acknowledged that no searches have been done this year and that they do not do them routinely. Tewksbury noted that parents, teachers staff are all concerned about drugs. It was stated that the school is locked to the public and visitors must buzz to get in.
Radios should be installed and operable on buses for the 2006 school year. June 11 is the Commencement Ceremony with practice on June 9. The National Honor Society requested to be established as a student activity and open a checking account to conduct their business. This was approved.
This Board meeting adjourned.
The Career and Technology Center Board convened.
Correspondence was read. Judy Hinkley requested approval for her retirement after twenty years at the end of the 2005 school year. Board voted to approve. Vacancies will be advertised.
The Robotics Team will have a competition on May 7th at 9:00 a.m. Public was invited. Updates on the house building projects were noted. The sell date is expected to be Spring 2006. Public is invited to examine the home. The school calendar was approved as was the substitute list.
The Automotive quote was accepted as it was under $10,000. Janitorial and Cosmetology bids were approved. The adult tuition rate is $6000 with a base rate increase from $4.80 to $5.00 per hour for returning students. Voted approved.
The Right Reason Technologies was approved. Microscope bids with a matching $25,000 grant was approved. The house project to drill a well and grade the site will be bid as voted approved.
The medication policies provided were approved. Copiers will be purchased as planned.
Minutes and treasurers reports were approved.
Public comment inquired as to what is an Epi-pen for medication. This was explained as a self administered injection.
This meeting was adjourned at close to ten p.m.
The Susquehanna Community School District Board met on April 20; all members were present except Johnine Barnes.
Items of correspondence reviewed included a request from the district’s bus contractors, to consider a rate increase due to the recent, escalating cost of gasoline. The board agreed to discuss the request at their next work session.
Superintendent Bronson Stone reported that several of the district’s Title programs had been, just that day, audited by the state. An exit interview with the auditor indicated that the district received good marks on these programs; a full report will be available by the next board meeting.
On the negative side, Mr. Stone said that the district is anticipating a drastic cut in Title funding next year; the cut is expected to be about $6,000.
With Act 72 in the forefront of everyone’s minds, it would seem that as of this date, only about one percent of the state’s school districts have opted into the legislation. There is some feeling, Mr. Stone said that Act 72 may be good for taxpayers, but not for schools as the legislation contains the potential for “backend” referendums to be added. The Pennsylvania School Board Association has filed for a one-year delay of its implementation, and is challenging the legality of the act. It is, Mr. Stone said, a tough situation that will be closely watched.
The state Dept. of Education was scheduled to visit the following Friday to review the district’s early education program, particularly the Pre-K.
In keeping with the district’s receipt of EET grant funding, the Dept. of Ed. will be conducting a site visit to see how the funds have been spend (EET grants are used to further technology). During the visit, the department will be conducting interviews with teachers and students.
The number of student refractions has shown a favorable decrease; when the number of incidents from January of 2004 were compared with those of January, 2005, the number decreased by more than half.
Students have been provided with copies of a dress code, which applies to Class Night and graduation activities.
Mr. Lisowski and guidance counselor George Moore had attended a workshop held at Parris Island, to show educators how new recruits handle military training.
The district education association has been very successful in their fundraising efforts. In addition to the annual scholarship they award, they have also donated towards trips for the French and Spanish clubs, and to a fund to buy a new piano for the high school. The association will be hosting their annual car show on May 15, and a retirement dinner has been scheduled for June 4, to recognize employees who have or will be retiring from the district during the current year.
At the beginning of the school year, surveys were sent home to find out what students and parents had to say about extracurricular sports programs, with a very poor response in the number of surveys returned. The surveys were given out again, this time while the students were in school, with a greatly improved number being turned in. Another will be given out at the end of the school year.
The board granted the business office permission to tabulate and award bids and to order supplies for the 2005-06 school year, subject to board approval in May; approved May 3 as Teacher Recognition Day, and will be sponsoring a breakfast on that day; approved a homebound instruction request for a tenth grade student; approved a request from Kathleen Hilling, Elementary teacher for a one-semester leave of absence for the first semester of the 2005-06 school year; and approved changes/additions to two bus contracts.
Revisions to four policies were approved, the Management and Operations Policy, in keeping with Keystone Education Accountability standards; the Professional Educator Hiring Policy, which is to streamline the process to fill what is expected to be a large number of vacancies over the next few years due to retirements; the Facility Usage Policy, to ensure that any groups or individuals who request use of the district’s facilities provide the proper documentation and proof of insurance; and the Correspondence Policy, in anticipation of Gov. Rendell’s proposals to allow high school students to complete college courses during the school day.
The board accepted resignations from Matthew Tarbox, maintenance; Patricia Ross, food service; Kenneth Stanford, bus contractor; James Walsh, assistant football coach; Richard Bagnall, athletic director; Jared Norris, assistant boys’ volleyball coach; Richard Mazikewich, girls’ basketball coach; John Seigle, Student Council advisor; Vince Rock, English Department head; and Vince Rock, senior class advisor.
Hiring of the following was approved: Louis Sparks, elementary wrestling; Ray Wolf, bus contractor (contract #4); and Todd Cundy, assistant boys’ volleyball coach.
Additions to the substitute list were approved: Sarah McNamara-Sparks, elementary; Elizabeth Matis, nurse; Barbara Passarelli, Special Education; Karen Kitchner, elementary; Brandy Pitcher, early childhood; Donna Evans; Charles Cuevas, maintenance; Sarah Krause, teacher aide; Kristin Snedeker, teacher aide; and Diana Wayman, elementary.
One volunteer position was approved, Jeannye Glidden, drama.
The usual lists of requests for workshops/seminars/conferences, use of facilities, activities and fund-raisers was approved.
The next meeting will be on Wednesday, May 18, 7:30 p.m. in the administration offices in the elementary building.
Ararat Township will host a municipal building dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony on May 14, 2005 and all area residents are welcome to attend.
The current Ararat Township Supervisors are Donald M. Stone, Chairman, Richard G. Cottrell, Vice Chairman, and Arthur M. Straway, Sr. Mr. Stone has been a supervisor since 1964; Mr. Cottrell since the mid-1970’s; and Mr. Straway since 1999. When Mr. Stone was first elected supervisor, the township had a total of 16.35 miles of road to maintain. Today, that mileage has grown to 32.36 miles, as a result of the state's turn-back program. This doubling of the road maintenance requirements necessitated an increase in equipment. The township has never bought equipment for which it could not pay cash. They have never bought a new truck, or other road maintenance vehicle except with cash. Mr. Stone wanted to have one location where all of the township’s equipment could be kept. The township was able to acquire a little less than an acre of land on SR 1003, which is just about in the East/West center of the township and is one of the main North/South roads. The original township building was a pole barn, erected on this property in 1968-69. Prior to that time, most of the equipment – consisting mainly of a shovel, horse-drawn road grader, and a truck – was housed at township supervisors’ or employees’ residences. To this day, the pole barn has no running water or facilities. The dream of the supervisors has been for a real municipal building, capable of servicing the township’s needs – both in terms of maintenance and storage of the equipment as well as a place to administer the township.
Ten to twelve years ago, the township started saving any monies available at the end of each year, to put into a special account for capital expenditures. This account served to purchase needed equipment or other necessary items for the township; the remainder stayed in the interest bearing account. During the same time, the township has been forced to raise its tax rate only twice. The current rate of .0039 includes .00075, which is an expenditure for fire protection for the township.
In 2003, an adjacent parcel of vacant land became available and the township was able to acquire it through eminent domain. The resultant property encompasses just over four acres. The special account had grown to the point where the supervisors felt they could afford to build a new municipal building on the property. Their goal, which was accomplished, was to keep the project under $200,000.00 and not have the township incur any loans or debt for the construction. Ground was broken on April 1, 2004 and the Certificate of Occupancy from Labor and Industry was issued October 27, 2004.
The township supervisors kept costs to a minimum through careful planning, penny-pinching, utilizing township employees, and taking an active role in the construction of the building. Special equipment required for the construction was either borrowed (such as the scaffolding from Richard Cottrell) or arrangements were made for economical rental of those items. Ed Cameron, a local draftsman, provided the plans and worked with the supervisors to meet permitting requirements for the project. As a township employee, he also worked on the physical construction of the building and later afforded the township a good price for interior trim wood he had harvested from his tree farm. Richard Cottrell did the digging of the footer for the foundation, and Warren Stone did most of the major excavation work for the building site. Jim Slocum did the necessary concrete work, including the foundation and floors. Stan Upright and his crew of carpenters did the framing and construction of the building. Donald Stone provided his expertise with the sewer, plumbing, heating and electrical systems. He was able to do much of the work related to these phases of construction himself. He spent innumerable hours acting as general contractor and overseer of the entire project. Under the supervision of Max Straway, township employees, including Harvey Hugaboom and Hank Stanke, accomplished the interior finish work and a number of other phases of the building project. Township secretary, Irene Seney provided her skills of organization and follow-through in dealing with the paperwork, bids, and finances.
The building still needs some finish work. Landscaping will have to wait for nicer and drier weather. The driveway also needs some work. The few people who actually did the construction and the work feel very proud of their accomplishments. The 60’ X 100’ building consists of an entry foyer, meeting room, office with adjoining file room, two restrooms, an upstairs archive room, utility room, truck/equipment workshop (designed with space for tools and at the same time being able to work comfortably on a large truck), and a garage area that is capable of holding all of the township’s equipment (truck, backhoe, plows, etc.). The building is a conditioned environment that takes into account Ararat’s extremely harsh climate. Equipment can be worked on year-round in comfort. The original pole barn building is going to be retained for storage of items that need to be “out of the weather.” As Mr. Stone says, “You have to move ahead or else go backward.” The township’s new municipal building is quite an accomplishment for Ararat Township.
More people than usual were at the latest meeting of the Great Bend Township Board of Supervisors on April 18. Most were residents on Jackson Street and Hall Road, there to – depending on the neighbor – factually, firmly or sarcastically inform the board about problems resulting from stone being put down too deeply on their streets. Come the spring and after snowmelt, residents find stone here, there and everywhere, and spend a lot of time raking a lot of it (12 wheelbarrows from one front yard on Jackson alone) from lawns and driveways, where it was moved by winter snow plowing.
On Hall Road, which was tarred and chipped twice last year by PENNDOT under the state’s Agility Program, residents say stone has made its way onto their properties, leaving the road dirt and dust. Two also noted they have a lot of water in their yards and feel the condition of the road has something to do with that. “You’ve made a nice mess out of the whole thing. I don’t like having Lake Erie when it rains,” said one, “and what are you going to do about it?”
What the supervisors will do is take a look at these roads, determine the best solutions and implement them once the weather becomes more predictable, and lay a thinner layer of stone for roads most appropriate for the product
As for what’s doing on other roads, board chair Bob Squier read Nick Mase’s roadmaster report, which included a lot of patching, repair and assessing work to be done after recent heavy rains undid repairs made last year. Airport Road and Parks Road were especially affected, and the road crew has been adding stone, making culvert repairs and other fixes. More work will be done on both, plus McHugh Hill Road, starting next month. Also, Squier noted the board has advertised an ordinance for a $165,000 loan for the Old Route 11 paving project, and will adopt it on at the board’s May 2 meeting.
Supervisor George Haskins and Mase have been pricing a dump truck for the township, and expect to look over some used PENNDOT trucks and see if their price is right.
Haskins also reported on the technical and cost engineering proposal from Plan B in Hallstead, for the sidewalk improvement project as part of the Bridging Communities project. The cost estimate for environmental studies, labor, survey and other engineering costs was $39,120. Haskins noted that a decision can’t be made on whether to go ahead with it until he confirms what, if any, portion of it could be paid from grant money for the sidewalks. He expects to find that out soon.
The board approved a subdivision for Judy and George Stover on Airport Road, contingent on obtaining a letter of approval from the Municipal Authority, and a driveway permit to Robert Squier contingent on receipt of the appropriate permit from PENNDOT.
Township secretary Sheila Guinan reported she sent out delinquent tax notices for 2004. She also reported on information she researched about an order that the township and other municipalities received from DEP about the requirement to comply with state and federal storm water regulations. The net result was that a municipality can apply for a waiver by filling out a form. Unfortunately, the form is not easily available, and she was advised to contact the township solicitor.
In other business, the board approved a resolution transferring Tedeschi’s liquor license from New Milford Township to Great Bend Township, agreed to donate $200 to Blue Ridge Recreation’s 2005 Summer Adventure program at the school, noted the township received its Road Turnback Annual Maintenance Payment of $3,375, and reported the bids for a new township building have been advertised and will be opened on May 16.
Board members also wanted to remind residents about DEP burning restrictions, which allow the burning only of regular household garbage and yard brush. No tires, no plastic, no pallets, etc. Supervisors will also review penalties for violations of the township’s nuisance and other ordinances; penalties have not been updated in some time, and supervisors will consider raising them.
Lastly, Squier reported on the state’s Growing Greener program, which facilitates the formation of a watershed association among municipalities, and makes available some funds for them. With so much erosion of and silting in local creeks because of big rains and extensive flooding, this may be a good way to take care of the problem creeks. Squier will look into it more.
The next meeting of the Great Bend Township Board of Supervisors is scheduled for May 2, 7 p.m. in the Township building.
Hallstead Boro Council met on April 21 with all members present.
The owners of a property on Prospect St. asked about the procedures to obtain a variance to replace an existing mobile home with a bigger one. The property in question is somewhat triangular in shape, and the required fifteen foot setback would be difficult at the rear of the property, where the home’s dimensions would only allow for twelve feet. After discussion, a motion carried to approve a variance contingent on two conditions. The owner of an adjacent property, which is within the boro’s boundaries, would have to provide written permission that the variance be granted. And, the boro would have to check with Great Bend Township, where the adjoining property on the other side of the one in question lies. It was agreed that the township should be contacted to see if there were any reasons why a variance should not be given.
Two residents were in attendance to discuss their concerns about the hazardous traffic condition that exists at the intersection of Route 11, with Susquehanna St. on one side and Harmony Rd. on the other. Both had contacted PENNDOT with their concerns; PENNDOT has agreed to put in a crosswalk, which would prohibit parking from within twenty feet of either side. But, one resident said, that could impact businesses in that area, and would not address the problem with speeders, who add to the problem. He asked, why not put in a traffic light that would only be in operation during peak hours, and would only change if sensors detected oncoming traffic from either Susquehanna St. or Harmony Rd.? Would council consider petitioning PENNDOT to consider a traffic light?
Council has discussed this intersection many times; one of the problems is thought to be parking that has impacted the sight distance for motorists trying to turn onto Route 11. At one time, “no parking” signs were posted at the intersection, but the signs had been removed (by PENNDOT) during construction of the new bridge and had not been replaced once the construction was finished. After further discussion, council agreed to contact PENNDOT and request a traffic study, and see what could be done about replacing the “no parking” signs in the meantime.
There were several complaints by residents discussed. The first was about cinders still on the roads now that winter has passed; can they be cleaned up? Maintenance supervisor John Gordon said that he would pick them up if residents swept them into piles that could be picked up with the bucket loader. Councilman Ted Loomis said that he would check with a neighboring municipality that has a street sweeper, to see if it could be used.
Several other complaints were about junk vehicles and garbage accumulation. A list of specific complaints, with names and addresses, will be given to COG to see if they can be addressed through COG’s codes enforcement officer.
Mr. Gordon will check some of the storm drains that are not functioning well to see what can be done; this is in addition to the ones that council approved having cleaned at last month’s meeting.
Trees downed at the Route 11 park in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan have been collected and will be burned shortly.
Council President Michele Giangrieco reported on a meeting she had attended with representatives of Senator Madigan, to discuss the continuing problems the boro has seen with flooding. Within several weeks, the boro should be receiving funding through FEMA for repairs of flood damage. As a way to deal with the continuing flooding, Senator Madigan’s office recommends that a watershed committee be formed. It can be comprised of officials from area municipalities, or Hallstead alone, to try to find ways to prevent future incidents. Mr. Madigan’s office will send letters to the surrounding community officials to let them know of this plan, and to set up a meeting with them and representatives from DEP to discuss options available to address the problem.
A motion carried to have a second phone line installed in the secretary’s office, and to get Internet access for the boro computer.
Secretary Cindy Gillespie was authorized to get price quotes for the boro’s insurance; the current policy expires in July.
A motion carried to give final approval for an ordinance regulating construction within the boro; it requires that a sewer permit be obtained before any structure is built.
There was discussion regarding the lease agreement with the Blue Ridge School District for use of the ball field on Route 11. An agreement had been drawn up, but had not been signed by both parties. It was agreed to notify Blue Ridge’s superintendent of the situation so that the agreement could be put in place.
A motion carried to approve the boro’s annual $200 donation to the Blue Ridge Recreation summer program.
In discussing long-range planning, Mr. Franks suggested that council consider a one-room addition to the boro building for the secretary’s office, to be used by the secretary and the mayor as current space is cramped. Mayor Canfield’s office had been eliminated with renovations to the rest room, to make it handicap accessible. Mr. Franks thought it might be worthwhile to look into costs for an addition, and to see what grant funding might be available to finance it.
Some questions were raised at last month’s meeting regarding liquid fuels funds; could they be used to repair drainage? Information indicates that they can be used for cleaning or repairing drains, but not for the grating used to cover them. And, if a drain is situated on a state road, the state could be responsible for replacing a grate.
A motion carried to approve a request received through the Planning Commission, for subdivision of the George property on Main St. The owner of an adjoining property would like to purchase a portion of the George property to put up a garage.
Communications discussed included an inquiry from the county Dept. of Planning and Development, asking why the boro has not participated in recent talks with Great Bend Boro, Great Bend Township, New Milford Boro and New Milford Township to discuss regional municipal planning and zoning. The consensus was, that there is no property that the boro owns that could be developed. Whatever land the boro does own has been willed to it with specific limitations as to its use, such as for recreation.
Mr. Gordon was authorized to purchase a toddler’s swing for the Chase Ave. Park.
And, Mayor Canfield reported that a number of residents have complained that they have not yet received their tax bills. He said that the boro’s tax collector did mail them out on March 1. But, any mail that is sent out in bundles of more than five pieces is sent to the postal distribution center in Scranton, which indicates that the notices are lost somewhere in the postal system. Any resident who wishes to take advantage of the discount that is offered when payments are made by April 30 should contact the tax collector.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, May 19, 7:00 p.m. in the boro building.
HARRISBURG - Voters will have the opportunity on May 17 to decide whether they want the Commonwealth to borrow $625 million to fund environmental initiatives under the state's Growing Greener program, Rep. Tina Pickett (R-Bradford/Sullivan/Susquehanna) said.
The state House approved the bond issue on April 13 after a compromise was reached with the House, Senate, and governor's office earlier in the week. The governor signed the legislation immediately.
The ballot question states: "Do you favor authorizing the Commonwealth to borrow up to $625,000,000, for the maintenance and protection of the environment, open space and farmland preservation, watershed protection, abandoned mine reclamation, acid mine drainage remediation and other environmental initiatives?"
The legislation also waives certain election requirements so counties can get the question on the ballot by the May 17 primary election and extends the collection of absentee military and overseas votes until May 31.
If voters approve the borrowing, legislators and the governor will work out how much the Commonwealth can borrow each year and specifically what the additional funds can be used for.
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