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The Susquehanna Boro Council met on August 23 with vice president Roy Williams presiding in the absence of president Mike Matis. Pat Fredericks was absent as well.
Secretary Ann Kemmerer reported that the name on the treasurer’s bond cannot be transferred, a new one must be issued. Credit for the unused time on the bond for Judy Collins will not be given. The new bond will cover until August, 2006. Bids for fuel oil have been advertised for the coming winter; they are requested by September 9 and will be opened at the September 13 meeting. And, the boro has received the recorded copy of the River Bounty property deed.
Mayor Hurley’s report included a recap of the meeting held on August 19 with a PENNDOT representative, to discuss the Agility program and appropriate projects for the boro and PENNDOT. At the request of the Mayors’ Association, Mayor Hurley has sent a letter to Rep. Sandra Majors encouraging passage of SB482, which would give municipal police the authority to use radar to enforce limits on motor vehicle speed. Due to many local efforts to increase tourism in the area, radar would help to protect against speeders, and would benefit the boro as well as surrounding communities.
Several Prospect Street residents were present to discuss what they felt was harassment; complaints have been made about debris thrown in the road (it was grass from the sidewalk), unregistered vehicles, kids playing, ATVs on the road.
Mr. Williams noted that CEO Shane Lewis and police officers have explained the procedures in each situation. “The bases have pretty much been covered,” he said.
A resident asked if the number of complaints could be considered harassment. Mr. Williams said that that would be a civil issue. “If it is in police jurisdiction, they can do something about it.”
Another resident asked, “Isn’t it everyone’s problem when the police department is called for nothing?” Lt. Jon Record agreed that it is a problem when numerous calls are made, but the police are required to check every complaint.
Mayor Hurley added that, if an individual feels that he/she is being harassed, they should keep track of incidents, dates, time, etc. and file a complaint with the magistrate, who will make a decision as to whether or not it is harassment. Lt. Record said that a police officer would be willing to guide the complainant through the process.
Lt. Record also wished to make residents aware that it is illegal to put grass, snow or other material on the streets, and that there are laws concerning ATVs; none are permitted on any boro street unless they are crossing it, and they must be registered. If a resident sees an ATV rider on the street and can identify him/her, the rider can be cited if the witness is willing to make a written complaint and appear in court if necessary.
Resident Ron Whitehead asked for clarification of a statement made at the last meeting; residents with complaints were asked to attend committee meetings rather than use the public comment period at regular meetings. Could citizens still come to meetings and voice their opinions, or did this mean that concerns would not be welcome at regular meetings? Mr. Williams said that general concerns could be discussed during public comment, unless those comments were personal attacks.
Mayor Hurley said that when people make false accusations or statements at public meetings, they get published. “We would prefer that people come to the office and fill out a complaint, or come to committee meetings,” she said. Regular meetings are the only ones covered by press, and when false accusations were made at those meetings, they get published. “Everyone is responsible for what they say at meetings.”
Council discussed the Burns property on Franklin Ave., which had been the subject of codes violations. The owner is no longer dumping illegal items, Mr. Williams said, and no longer uses it for parking equipment or repairing it there. He is allowed to dump clean fill, but once it is filled, it does have to be seeded and maintained. “He is in compliance,” Mr. Williams said. “It would be in the boro’s best interest to leave (the matter) stand as it is.”
FEMA has inspected damage from the April 2 flooding, and has awarded $20,450.00 to erect a retaining wall on Front St. and for drainage work.
Mr. Williams said that PENNDOT will put up a retaining wall near Center Lane. A damaged tree has been removed, drainage pipes will be cleaned, and a guard rail will be put up.
An amendment of the application to FEMA for repair of the Drinker Creek park was approved. In addition to the $92,000 repair costs, an additional $26,670 was requested to address additional damage due to the April 2 flood. So far, the west walls have been poured and will be back filled. Excavating is being done for footers on the east side. Work will probably be finished in September. Future plans for the park will be discussed with the Park and Rec. committee; the park itself will be drastically changed after repairs are complete.
The streets committee is awaiting word on when scheduled paving will begin. In the meantime, the streets department will be raising and repairing storm drains in the project area prior to the paving and the Tri-Boro Sewer Authority will raise caps on the sewer lines.
One project discussed as part of the Agility program is crack sealing on the boro streets; if the agreement is approved by PENNDOT, this will possibly be done in October.
The backhoe is in need of repairs; the streets committee discussed several options as well as their cost. The repairs are needed as quickly as possible, Mr. Williams said. The repair funds are available in the streets budget.
Correspondence reviewed included a letter from the county Tax Claim Bureau. The 2005 upset sale will be held on September 19. Municipalities have until August 30 to certify any liens that may be in place so that those funds are included in the upset price.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday, September 13, 7:00 p.m. in the boro building.
After the meeting, Mr. Williams asked that the County Transcript make Grant St. residents aware that the water company will be relocating lines. Information will be posted in the affected area, and residents should know that there will be intermittent disruptions in service.
The Susquehanna County Commissioners breezed through three public meetings in about 40 minutes last week completing light agendas on all of them.
Perhaps the most disappointing action taken by the commissioners was accepting, with regrets, the resignations of four county employees. In recent years, the county courthouse and the office building on Public Avenue seem to have revolving doors with employees coming and going at an unbelievable rate.
Those resigned last week included Attorney Bob Hollister, conflict counsel, who was appointed several years ago by Susquehanna County President Judge Kenneth W. Seamans. Others bidding sayonara were Joan Hicks, a 911 dispatcher trainee; Jason Sechrist, a correction office at the county jail; and, Mindy Williams, a custodian.
In another subject that has become somewhat controversial, Roberta Kelly, chair of the Board of Commissioners, put a request from Fred Baker to add three veterans to the county’s Memorial on the Green Committee on the backburner until she talks to the remaining individuals on the committee.
“I think this is important,” said Mrs. Kelly, “but before I do anything, I would like to hear from Ellen O'Malley (chair of the existing committee) and see what she has to say.” Mrs. Kelly further stated that she does not see the need to create another committee. She acknowledged all the work put in by the present committee and Commissioner Jeff Loomis pointed out that the contractor that refurbished the monument has agreed to honor his guarantee and will re-do areas that are currently unsatisfactory to the county.
Mrs. Kelly also told Mr. Baker that she sees no need to create a new committee and praised the efforts of the existing committee.
Jim Jennings of Brooklyn Township asked the commissioners to reconsider some of the provisions incorporated in a resolution establishing ground rules for obtaining copies of public records from the county. Mrs. Kelly said the commissioners will review the resolution to see if any changes could be effected.
The commissioners adopted a resolution setting up a mutual aid agreement between Susquehanna and Lackawanna counties for emergency services.
In a Salary Board matter, a motion was approved to create a temporary position in the Clerk of Courts Office for the purpose of implementing a new common pleas criminal court case management system. The position will pay $7.87 an hour and will run from September 1 to December 31.
And meeting as the Board of Elections, the commissioners approved a polling place change in Franklin Township. Voting in November will take place in the Community Building on Franklin Hill Road.
The Harford Township Supervisors managed to cover some ground in only 20 minutes -- including an executive session -- at their meeting on August 23. And it was the second day of the Fair, too.
Chair Rick Pisasik opened the meeting by recessing immediately for the executive session to discuss health insurance rates for township employees. When the three returned a few minutes later, the meeting resumed on a perennial topic: the Odd Fellows Hall.
Supervisor Terry VanGorden, who is also on the board of the fire company, said he had talked with the fire company's attorney, who agreed to a meeting on August 24 with the board to go over the details of the township's request to remove restrictions from the deed for the Odd Fellows property. Mr. VanGorden said he hoped to "get [the Odd Fellows situation] resolved before the end of the year."
The meeting quickly moved on to the county's proposal to readdress everyone. On the recommendation of the local fire company, the supervisors agreed to advertise a proposed ordinance that would allow Harford to sign on to the county resolution implementing the readdressing program, and the road renaming that goes along with it. The public will have 30 days to review the ordinance before the supervisors can formally adopt it. Ultimately, it will mean that every property will have a new address, a street address rather than a P.O. box number. The main purpose is to help make emergency service response more effective by locating all inhabited properties accurately and consistently.
And finally, Mr. Pisasik outlined the need for the executive session by explaining rate hikes announced by Blue Cross and Blue Shield for the township's employees. The township currently pays 90% of the premium for its employees' health insurance. Rates are now about $516 per month for individual coverage, and $1,228 per month for a husband and wife.
With rates rising by 15%, the supervisors find that it is no longer possible for the township to carry such a heavy burden alone. "The township can no longer afford to pay such rates," said Mr. Pisasik. They hunted around for cheaper coverage, but found nothing satisfactory. So they asked Blue Cross/Blue Shield for other options.
The one they chose was an HMO plan, the "most cost- effective plan that Blue Cross/Blue Shield proposed to us." The new HMO rates will be $480.18 for individual coverage and $1,142.91 for a husband and wife. Under the new program, approved by all three supervisors (including Sue Furney, who is also the township secretary, and, as an employee, covered under the township's plan), employees will still pay only 10% of the premium for an individual plan. However, the husband-and-wife coverage will be subsidized at only 75% of the difference between the individual plan and the husband-and-wife plan. In effect, covered employees will be paying more in most cases. Moreover, because of the shift to the HMO, they will no longer be able to choose health-care providers, say, in New York state.
The new plans will be "more expensive for the employees" said Mr. Pisasik. They will still be allowed to choose a different plan, but he said that the township's contribution will be limited to what it would be for the equivalent HMO plan.
With the meeting breaking up so early, there was still time to get back to the fairgrounds for the tractor pulls.
The next meeting of the Harford Township Supervisors -- the only meeting in September -- will begin at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday the 17th. All meetings are at the township building on Route 547 just west of the Interstate.
Ronald D. Petracca to Charles Mancuso, in Rush Township for $366,426.
Marilyn S. Williams to David Kwiatkowski, in Harmony Township for $1,000.
Charles H. Snyder Jr., Michelle Fox-Snyder, Mary E. Snyder to Mark W. Albert, Michelle l. Albert, in Franklin Township for $18,000.
Eugene Kuntz (by guardian) Martha Kuntz to Richard Wagner, in Auburn Township for $122,900.
Marilyn Quick to Reginald A. Quick, in Rush Township for one dollar.
John A. Smales, Catherine F. Smales to Carl R. Ernst, Kathleen A. Ernst, in Little Meadows Borough for $150,000.
Marion Erat to John A. White, in Harford Township for one dollar.
Carl Stahl (aka) Carl L. Stahl to Norman K. Stahl, Nancy L. Schaffer, Carl Stahl, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Keith Willson, Connie Willson to John W. Kawka, Sara E. Kawka, in Bridgewater Township for $68,500.
Marion C. Baker to Dale J . Baker, Marian R. Baker, in Oakland Township for one dollar.
Bonnie T. Noll, Jack J. Noll to June Kowtko, in Clifford Township for $110,000.
Linfort J. Wentzell, Judith A. Wentzell to Anthony Lombardo, Kathleen Lombardo, in Jackson Township for $110,000.
Ronald J. Cosklo, Gail Cosklo to Alex A. Kwiatkowski, Diane P. Kwiatkowski, in Clifford Township for $145,000.
Richard W. Magnus, Joyce M. Magnus to Carol J. Curran, in Silver Lake Township for $20,000.
Jeffrey A. Norton (by sheriff) to Peoples National Bank, in Susquehanna for $2,765.
Edmund S. Beautz, Carol Beautz to Joseph Soliman, in Thompson Township for $122,500.
Bart C. Jennings, Wendy L. Jennings, Raymond C. Jennings, Elizabeth A. Jennings to Bart C. Jennings, Wendy L. Jennings, Raymond C. Jennings, Elizabeth A. Jennings, in Harmony Township for one dollar.
Samantha Shaw to Samantha Shaw, Douglas Shaw, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Joseph F. Cerra Jr., Joseph F. Cerra III, to Joseph F. Cerra III, Jean Marie Cerra, in Harford Township for one dollar.
Edward F. McGavin, Louise E. McGavin, to Eleanor M. Carter, in Auburn Township for one dollar.
Dennis C. LaRue, Victoria LaRue to Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Susquehanna County, in Jessup and Rush townships for $353,453.
Jack H. Reynolds, Elizabeth Reynolds to Dee Ashington, in Jessup Township for $279,000.
Christopher Valenti, Kathy Valenti to Diane R. White, Joseph J. White, in Clifford Township for $167,000.
Aaron D. Slater, Jennifer L. Slater to Rosalia A. Chiarenza, Lorenzo Chiarenza, Bernadette T. Schaefer, Philip S. Schaefer, in Forest Lake Township for $135,000.
Charles J. Aliano, Marcia Aliano to Charles J. Aliano, Marcia Aliano, in Oakland Township for one dollar.
Bernard Cudo Sr. (estate, aka) Bernard Cudo (estate), to Yvonne Stone, in New Milford Township for one dollar.
Ruth Jane Henderson to Charles J. Aliano, Marcia Aliano, in Oakland Township for $23,000.
Jean H. Clary (nbm) Jean H. Very, Harvey E. Clary to Jean M. Very, in Forest Lake Township for one dollar.
Judy A. Wambold (nbm) Judy A. Ripic, Edward D. Ripic, to Judy A. Ripic, Edward D. Ripic, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Joseph J. Dolce, Lorraine M. Dolce to Michael R. Nelson, Linda B. Nelson, in Ararat Township for $72,000.
Joseph J. Dolce, Lorraine Dolce to Michael R. Nelson, Linda B. Nelson, in Ararat Township for $200,000.
John M. Snopkowski, Lisa A. Snopkowski to Sara K. Murphy, in Dimock Township for $143,000.
William C. Burchell, Margo J . Burchell to Eric S. Stallings, Julie M. Stallings, in New Milford Township for $148,000.
Victor Peckenschneider, Naomi Peckenschneider to Charlene H. Greer, in Great Bend Township for $167,000.
William H. Haas, Sandra Haas to John June Jr., Philip June Jr., in Forest Lake Township for one dollar.
MK Bjorklund Family Trust (by trustee) to Timothy Loomis, Kristine Loomis, in Bridgewater Township for $200.
David L. Weston, Marylynn S. Weston to David R. Keen, Najah Jawdat-Keen, in Auburn Township for $104,000.
Joann M. McCann (rev trust by trustee) to Nancy Reddon, in Dimock Township for one dollar.
Patricia E. Sweeney to Robert S. Harris, Ann Harris, in Dimock Township for $110,000.
Kok C. Lau (nka) Aaron C. Lau, Yue M. Zhong, Siew H. Choong, Rita Choong, to William Neifert Jr., Doreen Neifert, in Brooklyn Township for $15,000.
Arden C. Baker, Diane L. Baker to Stephen L. Anderson, in Auburn Township for $140,000.
Robert Vadovsky, Melissa A. Vadovsky, to Roy S. Surma in Ararat Township for $99,900.
J. Parker Properties to Ivan A. Guzman, Mary Ann Guzman, in Susquehanna for $19,300.
Angelo Scarfalloto, Jacquelline J. Scarfalloto to Rodolfo A. Scarfalloto, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
Pamela J. Harvey, Charles J. Harvey to David C. Harvey, Joyce Harvey, in Hop Bottom Borough for one dollar.
Rudolph Borove to Robert A. Borove, Kathleen Sue Borove, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Angelo Scarfallotto (aka) Angelo Scarfalloto, Jacqueline J . Scarfalloto to Esther Smith, in Lenox Township for one dollar.
Charles D. Melhuish, Janice E. Melhuish to Charles D. Melhuish, Janice E. Meluish, in Great Bend and Liberty townships for one dollar.
Alfred A. Picca, Ann M. Picca to Alfred A. Picca, Ann M. Picca, Alfred A. Picca Jr., Kathy M. Picca, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Ann M. Picca, Aldred A. Picca to Ann M. Picca, Aldred A. Picca, Aldred A. Picca Jr., Kathy M. Picca, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Joshua Daniel Winn, Montrose, and Heather Nichole Flock, Brooklyn Township.
Christopher A. Nuttall and Sharon J. Darling, both of Forest City.
Brian D. Taylor of Montrose vs. Jessica A. Taylor of Meshoppen.
Kelly M. Cokely of Masonville vs. Shannon A. Cokely of Hallstead.
Gail Wnorowski of New Milford vs. Anthony Wnorowski of New Milford.
Shelly Joy Weaver of Montrose vs. Shawn Fiorento of Montrose.
David H. Strickland of Hop Bottom vs. Marie M. Strickland of Hop Bottom.
Mountain View School Board met for one hour on Monday, August 22. Seven of nine members were present. The board prepared for the start of school with many housekeeping issues approved.
The van and bus contracts were approved. The flashing signal on route 106 will be repaired at a cost of $3,800.00.
Special education services for one child were approved for increase from $30,000 to $46,997.57 due to an agreement with the parties involved.
Several teaching and coaching positions were filled. Madonna Munley will be the Language Arts Department Head. Patrick Keaton was approved as Golf Coach.
Ty Yost is now the Jr./Sr. High Tech. Ed. Teacher pending documentation. His salary was approved at $42, 373 which is step 7, Masters column schedule.
The school will advertise for a part-time clerical position and a Jr./Sr. Math position with applications due September 9, Friday. The resignation of Ed Thomas was accepted. A part-time custodian is also needed and was approved for advertising.
Karen Voigt, Coordinator of Curriculum Instruction gave a presentation outlining the EAP (Educational Assistance Program). Money will be used for tutoring, staff development and supplies. According to Voigt, “Pennsylvania has one of the largest achievement gaps in the nation.” One hundred twenty students were tutored last year at Mountain View. Staff development will occur at times during the day with substitutes being used during these training periods. Board member Mr. Halupke didn’t “buy it,” and questioned why a child needs to spend a full day in school then stay for more tutoring. Halupke offered that the results are debatable as to whether or not they do in fact improve the scores. Superintendent Chambers motioned for a mandate for Seniors to re-take the PSSA tests if they did not score a proficient rating the first time.
A truck used by maintenance staff is in need of extensive repairs. It was discussed as to whether or not a new truck should be purchased. Mr. Griffiths noted that this should have been budgeted. Hilkert expressed frustration and suggested a five year maintenance plan to avoid further “surprises.” A decision was made to outline specifications and obtain bids for a new truck with the best financing. Also from the Building committee was a recommendation to remove the soccer goals and replace with mobile goals. Again Board members were angered by the last minute needs not budgeted. New goals will be purchased.
A conference was approved as well as a field trip to Gettysburg, a favorite spot of this reporter. The Faculty Handbook was approved. Finally a long over due Substitute Teacher Handbook was created and presented. Thanks were given to all who participated.
During public comment Ms. Hilkert reassured the public that given adequate time she could explain every check on the bill list. After the meeting was adjourned a round of delicious pies was graciously served. The pies were definitely blue ribbon quality!
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Don Sherwood announced that a total of $818,201 in federal funding has been awarded to fire companies in the 10th Congressional District under the second round of awards in the 2005 Assistance to Firefighters program.
“The support provided by this program helps our local first responders obtain new equipment, update their training and provide public education and fire prevention initiatives,” said Sherwood. “I congratulate the fire companies receiving grants in this round, and I look forward to more good news as the next rounds are announced.”
Locally the following fire companies received grant awards: Hallstead Hose Co. #1, Operations and Safety, $135,566; Union Dale Volunteer Fire Co., Vehicle Acquisition, $209,000.
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