Clifford Hears Complaints
Harford Budget Flat
Property Tax Reform Bill Approved
County Employees To Pay
Military Family Relief Assistance
Camping Vs. Parking
Silver Lake Twp. Police Report
Susky Adopts Budget
Susquehanna Boro Police Report
Clifford Hears Complaints
Thomas Andzulis, Clifford Township’s Sewage Enforcement Officer, came in for some sharp criticism and some serious allegations at last week’s meeting of the Board of Township Supervisors.
Thomas Munley, owner of Munley’s Grove & Catering Facilities, presented the Board of Supervisors with a strong letter alleging that Mr. Andzulis “knowingly falsified soil test results so that DEP will reject the initial test, then multiple tests.”
“This,” Mr. Munley wrote, “allows Mr. Andzulis double and triple billing on our sewer site, even though he hasn't done the testing completely yet.” Among those that received a copy of Mr. Munley’s letter were District Attorney Jason Legg, District Justice Eugene Franklin, State Representative Sandra Major, Maryann Nester, an investigative officer with the Department of Environmental Protection, and Kevin Colgan, Pennsylvania Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
John Regan, chair of the Board of Supervisors, did not appreciate Mr. Munley’s actions.
“We are here to help each other,” Mr. Regan said. “I don’t like to stir the pot and in my opinion this is what you have done.”
But another township resident, Andrew Wyzykowski, said he went through “pure hell” trying to get testing.
“He never showed up,” Mr. Wyzykowski said. “I called you and even went to your house,” he told Mr. Regan. “Why should this community have to put up with this nonsense?”
After the meeting, Mr. Andzulis said whenever there is a problem, people just naturally look for someone to blame. He said he does his job in accordance with the law and that Clifford is one of the fastest growing townships in the county.
“I am only a part time employee and I do the best I can,” Mr. Andzulis said.
In another matter, the supervisors said they would look into complaints of problems at Elk Forest Estates, a housing development off Route 247 near Forest City. The supervisors were told there are a couple of polluted wells in the project and some suspicious surface water.
After the meeting, outgoing supervisor Adam Baron, whose name has become synonymous with Clifford Township, was honored for his years of service to the township. In addition to his community service, until recently, Mr. Baron operated Baron’s Hotel on Route 106 (Main Street) in Clifford.
Mr. Baron was a township supervisor for a good number of years and decided this year would be his last. He did not seek reelection. “He is a pillar of the community,” Mr. Regan said. “We want to thank him for all the years he gave the township.”
The supervisors agreed to purchase fuel oil from Airline Petroleum at $2.12 per gallon and picked Harold McGovern, who maintains insurance offices in Forest City and Carbondale, to manage the township’s insurance affairs.
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Harford Budget Flat
The Harford Township Supervisors formally adopted a budget for 2006 that calls for no increase in tax rates, and seems under no stress. Surpluses from prior years easily accommodated significant variances from the 2005 budget as the year comes to an end.
Three categories accounted for the largest discrepancies: the Secretary was shifted to an hourly wage in mid-year resulting in expenditure more than 50% higher than projected; legal expenses were expected to be about $500, but total nearly $10,000 so far, largely for clearing the deed for the Odd Fellows Hall; purchase of and outfitting new trucks accounted for over $33,000 where none was budgeted. On the other hand, health insurance for the Township's employees was somewhat lower than expected. The other components of the budget – state funds for work on the roads and the sewer budget – are relatively fixed.
The Supervisors met on December 10 and approved a resolution setting tax rates at the current level. Property owners pay $3.13 per $1,000 of assessed valuation (3.13 mills); an additional 75 cents per thousand is assessed for the fire department. All residents pay a $5 per-capita tax. The other major source of revenue, the earned income tax, is fixed by law at the maximum of 1/2% for residents and 1% for non-residents who work in Harford.
With some luck, legal expenses for the Odd Fellows Hall won't carry over into the new year. According to Terry VanGorden, all paperwork is now complete; the Supervisors and their attorney are now waiting for a court date. The purpose is to clear the deed on the property of covenants that restricted what the township could do with the property, and how it could be done. According to the township's solicitor, the final actions may be able to be completed without an actual court appearance.
An observer asked what the Supervisors planned to do with the building once the deed is finally clear. Risk Pisasik was reluctant to commit to a course of action, saying that he wanted to complete this phase before stirring up more "controversy." "We'll let the controversy come out" once the covenants are released, he said.
If you want to find out what the township is doing or has done about anything, you may have some procedures to follow. Changes to the Open Records Act (the "Right-to- Know" law) in 2002 require a governmental agency in Pennsylvania to publish its policy with regard to public access to records. Among other things, municipalities are allowed to set charges for locating, editing and duplicating documents. Mr. Pisasik said that he didn't want to get overly bureaucratic about it, recognizing that occasional requests for information are honored as part of township service. However, he said that voluminous inquiries, say, from developers, might become burdensome; policies should be established to deal with cases like this.
The county Council of Governments (COG) is proposing to study the feasibility of establishing a regional police agency for a collection of municipalities, primarily along the Route 11/Interstate 81 corridor. COG is asking townships and boroughs to sign on to the feasibility study at no cost. The study would be carried out by consultants from the Governor's Center for Local Government Services. The state is encouraging small municipal governments to collaborate on things like this by making funds more readily available to "multi-municipal" consortia. Harford Supervisors were asked to adopt a measure accepting participation in the study, but they declined. Mr. Pisasik didn't think a police force for Harford was ever likely to be affordable, at least relative to the enforcement needs in the township. Even though participation would cost nothing, Supervisor Sue Furney said simply, "No, not at this time."
Roadmaster George Sansky did not attend the meeting. Perhaps he should have. A resident couple told the Supervisors, "We think you guys do a great job" clearing snow from township roads. All that extra money put into equipment this year is now being employed to apparent good effect.
The last meeting of the Harford Supervisors for 2005 will take place on Tuesday, December 27, beginning at 7:30 p.m. They will reorganize themselves on Tuesday, January 3, 2006, beginning at 7:30 p.m. The meeting schedule for 2006 will be determined at that time.
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Property Tax Reform Bill Approved
The State Senate passed a comprehensive property tax reform plan that would allow voters to decide in the 2006 primary election whether to reduce school property taxes by raising local earned income taxes.
“The measure we approved reflects serious bipartisan negotiation, it profits from the lessons drawn from the experience of Act 50 and Act 72, and it is true to important taxpayer principles,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Robert C. Jubelirer. “This approach offers a certain timeline, relative simplicity in the choices, broad participation, and the ability for families to reasonably calculate how it benefits them.”
The proposal would require school districts to place a referendum on the Spring, 2006 Primary Election ballot asking voters to increase the Earned Income Tax (EIT) rate in exchange for a reduction in their property taxes.
“We considered the merits of many proposals during the Special Session and we reached a consensus that this plan represents the best opportunity to empower local citizens and provide true and immediate property tax relief,” said Senate Majority Leader David J. Brightbill.
Under SB 30, the minimum property tax reduction offered would be at least 35 percent of the maximum homestead exclusion, and homeowners would see tax relief in 2006. In addition, the legislation establishes a statewide “backend referendum” requirement for school districts wanting to increase tax rates that go beyond the inflation rate.
SB 30 would also double the size of Pennsylvania’s popular Property Tax and Rent Rebate Program – increasing payments by $131 million and enabling 281,000 additional low income seniors to receive tax relief.
“Both sides of the aisle worked together to meet the Governor’s requests and we improved upon that,” said Senate Education Committee Chairman James J. Rhoades. “We expanded the Property Tax Rent Rebate program to add 281,000 more senior citizens -- those we consider to be the most vulnerable and those we hear from on a regular basis.”
SB 30 now goes to the state House of Representatives for consideration.
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County Employees To Pay
The Susquehanna County Commissioners passed two important motions last week and, in the process, set the stage for some interesting union negotiations somewhere down the road.
The first motion will require all non-union county employees to contribute 10 percent of the monthly premium for their health insurance starting in 2006. The second motion assures volunteer firefighters and ambulance personnel that enough money will be set aside in 2006 to finance a needed study of the county’s communication system with an eye on making some sorely needed improvements to the 9-1-1 system.
Tempers flared during discussions on both motions as Republican commissioners Roberta Kelly and Jeff Loomis took turns browbeating each other in front of a sizable audience. A handful of volunteer firemen applauded the motion to appropriate funds for the communications study, while a few non-union employees expressed their disapproval of the insurance contribution.
“We don’t agree with paying 10 percent when no one else is paying it,” Chief County Detective Debbie Millard said. “It’s not fair.”
“We have been discussing it for over a year,” Mrs. Kelly said. “I don’t know of too many places that pay 100 percent of the workers’ health insurance.”
In response to a question from Jim Jennings of Brooklyn Township, Mrs. Kelly said when the current union contracts are up for renewal, the county will attempt to get the union employees kicking in toward a health insurance plan.
Mr. Loomis, who spearheaded the movement that brought about free health insurance for all employees, failed to budge Commissioners Kelly and Warren who supported the motion over Mr. Loomis’ objection.
“This (discussion on the issue) should have been done at an open meeting,” Mr. Loomis said. Mrs. Kelly said she was assured by the county solicitor that it could be done the way it was handled.
Having lost that battle, Mr. Loomis returned to the need for a communications study and again the volunteer firemen and ambulance personnel in the audience joined in.
“Here comes Mr. Loomis on the loose, clouding the waters of Susquehanna County. He quotes numbers that don’t exist,” Roberta Kelly said.
Mrs. Kelly, who chairs the Board of Commissioners, assured the firemen that she and Mrs. Warren are in “complete support” for the study. She said they are looking into the possibility of hiring a grant writer for the county and perhaps picking up some money to help with the study and also pursue other avenues for grant dollars.
Mr. Loomis said the communications grant application needs the touch of an experienced hand in such matters. He said there is enough money in the budget to pay for the study.
“This is pie in the sky,” Mr. Loomis said. “There is no way you are going to get someone to write grants for all departments.”
“The county just doesn't have the proper communication system,” Firefighter Jay Klein said. “We don’t have the expertise to solve this. We need a consultant.”
“We have the money for the study,” Mr. Loomis said. “We have plenty of money and I see no reason why we cannot reinstate the money in our budget.”
Mrs. Kelly again echoed her support for the project but she said she would prefer to apply the money toward the hiring of a consultant that could write grants for a number of county agencies.
But Mr. Loomis wasn't finished. He said the health insurance matter should have been brought before the Salary Board and that all discussions should have been made in public. His motion at the Salary Board meeting to rescind the motion ended in a 2-2 tie.
Mr. Loomis said he would make a motion to supply the money for the study if the county cannot get a grant to finance it. Mrs. Warren seconded the motion and in a matter of minutes, the motion to finance the study if no grant money was available was passed. The audience applauded.
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Compiled by P. Jay Amadio
Dale G. Empet, Margaret W. Empet to Richard M. Empet, Kingsley, Dana I. Empet, in Harford Township for one dollar.
Wesley Ditzel, Annette A. Ditzel to Sandy L. Kilmer, RR2, Thompson, in Ararat Township for $3,000.
Josef G. Kiehstaller, Kristin Kiehstaller to Gary Caligiuri, West Grove, in Herrick Township for $120,000.
Joseph C. Baron, Jill Baron, Bernadine A. Baron to Joseph C. Baron and Jill Baron, Forest City, for one dollar.
Joseph C. Baron, Jill Baron to Joseph C. Baron, Jill Baron, Forest City, in Forest City for one dollar.
Robert L.Groover, Teri Ann Groover to Gary P. Schermerhorn, Binghamton, NY and Cindy K. Brown, in Silver Lake Township for $187,500.
Bonson Pinchot to Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation, Dunmore, in Harford Township for one dollar.
Bronson Pinchot to Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation, Dunmore, in Harford Township for one dollar.
Daniel S. Warner, Gretchen M. Warner to Kurt R. Brunges, RR6, Montrose, in Bridgewater Township for $35,000.
Patricia Ann Hank to Ellen Thornton Staerk, Joseph Staerk, in Abington for $115,000.
Lindley R. Chilson, Maria Chilson to Thomas J. Corcoran, Karen Corcoran, Apalachin, NY, in Silver Lake Township for $41,000.
Agnes M. Jones to William Zitzow, Barbara Zitzow, 338 Main Street, New Milford, in New Milford for $165,000.
Deutsche Bank, National Trust Co. of CA (fka) Bankers Trust Company of CA to Walter A. Baker, Carol J. Baker, 314 Broad Ave., Susquehanna, in Susquehanna for ten dollars.
Randall Eckhard, Ruth Eckhart to Lyle E. Leonard, RR1, Susquehanna, Nelda Leonard, Charles W. Wormuth, Sarah Wormuth, in Harmony Township for $27,000.
Kathy Quinn (aka) Cathy A. Quinn (aka) Kathy A. Quinn (by sheriff) to Federal Home Mortgage Corp, Wienna, VA, in Susquehanna for $1,498.
Roger G. Thomas, Barbara S. Thomas to Roger G. Thomas, Kingsley, in Brooklyn Township for one dollar.
Marilyn A. Youngs (fka) Marilyn Meinhold, Robert Young, Jacqueline Tyler, Daniel Tyler, Gary F. Gerber, Hui Yun Chou Ferber to Lawrence L. Travis Jr., 70 State St., Susquehanna, in Oakland Township for $6,000.
Donald S. Johnson (aka) Donald Johnson, Frances E. Johnson, Jean L. Vance (aka) Jean Vance, Theodore Eric Klees to David S. Hesse, Michelle A. Hesse, Morrisonville, NY, in Franklin Township for $60,000.
Linda Faux, George Faux to Fannie Mae, Philadelphia, in Friendsville Borough for $3,163.
Andrew Wyzkowski, Rachel Kochmer to Gerald J. McCawley, Cynthis L. McCawley, RR1, Springville, Union Dale, in Clifford and Gibson townships for $150,000.
Barbara S. Squier to Robert M. Springer, Barbara M. Springer, RR1, Springville, in Springville Township for $100,000.
Mary A. Evans to Henry J. Carter, 710 Railroad St., Forest City, in Forest City for $67,000.
Milton Garcia, Haydee Garcia to Alfonso P. Morgese, RR2, Kingsley, in Harford Township for $115,000.
Andrew C. Elliott to Andrew C. Elliott, Claire Elliott, 408 Erie St., Susquehanna, in Susquehanna for one dollar.
Mark Hendley, Kara J. Hendley to Thomas J. Lewis, Barbara A. Lewis, RR2, Hallstead, in Liberty Township for $42,000.
Robert M. Springer, Barbara M. Springer to Nancy D. Celeste, Richard Celeste, in Springville Township for $176,000.
Robert G. Baldwin, Marcia M. Baldwin to Joseph R. Betkavsky, Lisa R. Betkavsky, Apalachin, NY, in Apolacon Township for $44,900.
Theodore Betker, Sara R. Betker to Jennifer D. Betker, Levittown, in Apolacon Township for one dollar.
Ricard Collins, Joann Collins to Edward DeMott, Myrna DeMott, Beachwood, NJ, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Loise M. Johnson to Dolores Kowalewski, 750 Delaware St., Forest City, in Forest City for $500.
Dolores Kowalewski to Dolores Kowalewski, 750 Delaware St., Forest City, in Forest City for one dollar.
Dolores Kowalewski to Loise M. Johnson, Hawley, in Forest City for $500.
Loise M. Johnson to Loise M. Johnson, Hawley, in Forest City for one dollar.
Byron G. Sands, Renee L. Sands to Dean A. Johnson, Valerie Johnson, Union Dale, in Franklin Township for $60,000.
David Taylor, Linda L. Taylor, Nathan Taylor, Kelly Taylor, Kevin Stone to Brian Morgan, RR1, Friendsville, Bernadette Palumbo, in Forest Lake Township for $75,000.
Three Little Bers to Thompson Hose Co. Inc., Thompson, in Thompson Borough for one dollar.
Richard Tumsuden, Richard Tumsuden to Vincent A. Bennett, RR3, Susquehanna, in Jackson and Thompson townships for $150,000.
Bradford & Susquehanna Shoreline Naturally to Squier Family Truse, RR1, Little Meadows, in Apolacon Township for $10,000.
Loretta I. Parker to Ronald W. Gill, 27 1/2 Prospect St., Montrose, in Hallstead Borough for $59,900.
Paul Guiliano, Edward Arduino, Armand Arduino, Walter Hawley, John Crawford, Robert Joseph, Patricia Joseph, Willard Kirkwood to Frank Summa, Adelfina Summa, RR1, Hop Bottom, in Hop Bottom Borough and Lenox Township for $15,000.
Joseph F. Eger and Cathy J. Westcott, both of Susquehanna.
Eric Curtis Brunges and Annette J. Clary, both of RR2, Montrose.
Mary Jean Hollenbeck, New Milford Township vs. Robert J. Hollenbeck, Olyphant.
David Cicon, New Milford Township vs. Glenda Joyce Cicon, Great Bend.
Robert Scott Romanchick Old Forge vs. Carla Alexis Romanchick, Moosic.
Harold S. Wayman, Hallstead vs. Victoria L. Wayman, Kingsley.
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Timothy Scott Ely, 18, Forest City, and Michael Matthew Ely, Jr., 18, Montrose, are accused of unlawfully entering a barn belonging to Harold and Jennifer Lewis, Dimock Township, on November 19 at 1:30 a.m. Both Elys have been criminally charged with burglary, theft by unlawful taking, and criminal mischief.
VEHICLE, PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENT
This accident happened on the afternoon of December 9 when Ruth Kowaleski, 74, Hallstead, attempted to walk across a parking lot along Maple Street in New Milford while Rolland J. Hawk, 72, was plowing snow with a 1995 Dodge Ram Truck. As the truck was backing up, Kowaleski thought she had time to cross the street, but she was hit by the Dodge. She received minor leg injuries and was transported to Endless Mountain Health Systems in Montrose.
Shortly after six on the evening of December 7, a 2003 Toyota Prius was traveling south on State Road 4006 in Silver Lake Township when Jeffrey Reed, 50, Montrose, lost control of it. The car slid across and left the road, where it hit a parked 1995 Dodge Ram pickup, owned by Richard C. Harvey, that was being displayed for sale. Reed was cited for driving a vehicle at safe speed.
This accident happened when Raymond Vibbard, 57, Springville, driving a 1999 Plymouth Voyager, went through a posted stop sign at the intersection of State Route 29 and Township Road 378 in Dimock Township. He entered the intersection in front of the southbound 2005 Jeep Liberty driven by Diana Huff, Tunkhannock, which struck the Voyager when Huff’s efforts to avoid the accident failed. Huff was wearing a seatbelt, received minor injuries and was transported, along with her two uninjured children (who were in child safety seats) to Tyler Memorial Hospital by the Montrose Minutemen. Neither Vibbard or his passenger – both wearing seatbelts – were injured. This accident happened shortly after 4 on the afternoon of December 6.
An unknown person(s) went to the corner of Susquehanna and Pine Streets in Hallstead sometime between 11 on the evening of November 17 and 9 the following morning, and stole an off-road motorcycle from an open, unsecured porch, then fled undetected with the motorcycle.*
A 1998 Dodge Ram driven by Shelyn R. Cook, 35, Montrose, was moderately damaged when Cook failed to drive on the right half of Township Road 367 in Choconut Township, causing it to hit a 2003 Honda Pilot, driven by Marc Lippman, 57, Friendsville, which was traveling in the opposite direction. The Honda was severely damaged, both drivers and Cook’s passenger were wearing seatbelts, and Lippman was the one among them to receive minor injuries. This accident happened at 2 on the afternoon of December 5.
A 1996 Dodge Ram driven by Brian D. Palmer, Hop Bottom, was traveling east on State Road 2096 shortly after 1 on the afternoon of December 3. A 1994 Chevy S-10 driven by Mark Rudock, Hop Bottom, was pulling out of a driveway as the Ram was driving down the middle of the road. The Ram hit the S-10 in the front end with its front, leaving about 90 feet of skid marks, leaving the road, and striking an embankment and four trees before coming to a stop on its right side. Hop Bottom Fire and EMS responded and transported Palmer and his passenger, both of whom received minor injuries, to Tyler Memorial Hospital. Rudock was not injured. Moleski’s towed both units.
Edward Wade, Susquehanna, was involved in a domestic dispute with his daughter, a juvenile, on December 4 at 2 in the afternoon. The daughter pulled a knife on her father. Charges are pending; other family members were present during the altercation.
Dustin Tompkins, New Milford, was driving a 1996 Chevy Cavalier on the afternoon of December 4 when he turned into the path of Elaine King, Binghamton, who was driving a 2004 Dodge Neon. This accident happened on State Road 1033 in Great Bend Township; no one was injured, but The Neon was towed from the scene.
Sometime between 10 and 11 on the night of December 2, an unknown person(s) went onto property belonging to Bonnie Brigham, New Milford, and paint-balled three vehicles and a house, fleeing in an unknown direction.*
This accident happened at 9:30 on the morning of December 2 when a 1997 Chevy Venture driven by Caroline Alleman, 56, Thompson, was traveling west on snow-covered State Road 1005 in Thompson Township. It filed to make a right curve, causing it to travel off the road and hit an embankment. Neither Alleman nor her passenger were injured.
On December 1 at approximately 2:50 in the afternoon, Joseph John Conchado, 47, New Milford Township, was discovered dead in his home. CPR was administered with negative results. An investigation is pending the toxicology and coroner’s reports, however, there are no indicators that the death is equivocal in nature.
Brothers Trent Smith, Harford, and Arron Smith, Nicholson had a verbal argument shortly after 8 on the evening of November 11. It lead into a physical argument, in which both sustained minor cuts and bruises on and around their faces. Charges are being filed at district court.
At around five in the morning on November 28, Janette Sherwood, 59, Great Bend, was driving south on State Route 11 in Great Bend Township when she swerved to miss a bear crossing the road and lost control of her 2000 Jeep Cherokee. The Jeep spun 180 degrees, going off the right berm, up an embankment, and hitting a tree. Marv’s Towing removed the Jeep from the scene.
Unknown person(s) arrived at the home of Brenda Lee, Susquehanna, sometime between November 13 and 14 and poured sugar into the gas tank of her car while it was parked on the street.
Unknown person(s) smashed both side mirrors on a car belonging to Heather Demarest, Montrose, while it was parked at the Forest Lake Inn on November 27 between 8 and 10:30 at night.
*Anyone with information about the incident are requested to call the State Police at (570) 465-3154.
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Military Family Relief Assistance
Harrisburg – Members of the United States Military and eligible relatives can now receive information regarding the Department of Military and Veteran Affairs’ (DMVA) Military Family Relief Assistance Program (MFRAP) from district offices, announced Rep. Sandra Major (R-Susquehanna/Wayne/Wyoming).
“With our country fighting a war in Iraq and recent devastating natural disasters, our troops are being deployed for military service,” Major said. “The unexpected military service can bring major financial strain to the military member and their family; however, the MFRAP can relieve some of those monetary pressures caused by active military deployment.”
On November 10, House Bill 1179, which created the Pennsylvania MFRAP, was signed into law. The measure will allow members of the United States Military and their immediate families who are found to have an immediate financial need as a direct result of military service receive financial assistance.
“The DMVA is still in the process of establishing some of the program’s guidelines,” Major said. “Until these details are fully developed and processed, my district office staff will be available to assist interested individuals and provide them with information on the program’s details including – but not limited to – eligibility requirements, applications for assistance, program guidelines, and donation information.”
The program will be funded through voluntary donations from the public, most of which are expected to come from Personal Income Tax refund check-offs. To receive more information, contact Major’s district office in Montrose at (570) 278–3374, and in Tunkhannock at (570) 836–5888.
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Camping Vs. Parking
New Milford Township supervisors held the regular meeting Wednesday, December 14. Attendance was down to approximately eight.
During a reading of the minutes, a correction was made whereby Supervisor Gulick attempted to acknowledge that he did in fact know the township attorney was going to modify the petition against the East Lake Campground (ELC) to include all (septic) “systems.” The other supervisors claim no knowledge. Scott Young noted that to date the council did not provide the promised accounting of the SEO’s expenses for the litigation. Further, Young noted that he was informed by the township attorney that the township is not in possession of any information that the public needs to know, which Young had requested under the Freedom of Information Act. The council members stated they were also not aware of that fact.
A concern arose over the extensive use of Flying J’s truck stop as a camp ground. The owners of East Lake Campground believe the legal definition of “campground” includes the type of business that is occurring at Flying J’s. Since Flying J’s has not been authorized to be a campground the Youngs, owners of ELC. suggest that the operation should be evaluated to determine whether they are in compliance with all necessary regulations especially those relating to the health and safety of the large number of customers. Such concerns would address truck waste water run-off as well as the discharge of possible effluent into a tributary of unknown origin. Young is concerned about the petroleum waste products, such as diesel spills, from the increased traffic and the impact to public health and safety. Young claims there is evidence of campers at Flying J staying overnight, not unlike what occurs at their campground. Council stated they will not fight a personal issue for the Youngs. However public health and safety is of great concern agreed the Council.
Flying J’s has submitted an application to discharge waste waters into an open stream. This occurred somewhere near November 10, 2005 according to council. Council decided “not to take action” as it was not their responsibility to evaluate the matter because Flying J’s sewage treatment plan is regulated by the state. Council did not know if a 30 day period for approval was needed. Young noted that a 30 day period is unfortunately expired without comment nor action. Perhaps the public needs to be aware of this negligence. Young stressed that open discharge should be a township concern and that action which is being sought for approval is not part of the sewage treatment. Gulick told Young if he has evidence that effluence is being dumped into the open discharge he should bring it forth. Young said he would but wondered if it is worth it due to the time parameters. The questions remain: Are the customers parking or camping and is the public health at risk?
Several property subdivisions and developments were submitted. Some had received the approval of the Planning commission. But a few applications need the approval of the SEO (Sewage Enforcement Officer) Mike Fortuner. The issue was brought up that considering the amount of work this township alone gives Fortner, is he capable of actually serving the needs of the township? When asked if it is possible to get Fortuner to come here to address the issues, Gulick said quickly, ”It’s not.”
One frustrated township resident said he had been trying since October, 2004 to get a subdivision approved. But only (tonight) in his mail did he get another application from Fortuner that must be submitted. The resident was expecting by this time to have met the requirements for subdivision approval. Gulick reassured the resident that he would contact Fortuner and determine if approval can be given. Gulick said,” The Planning Department creates problems… if you call it a problem… They okay some of this stuff when they shouldn’t okay it.” Further, explained Gulick, “They are supposed to have the sewer planning and all this work in before they okay this stuff. Then people come in here expecting us to okay it and we can’t do that.” One contractor defended Fortuner and sympathized for the lack of a written, systematic process. A resident said, “It’s like shooting at a moving target.”
Later in the meeting, Scott Young suggested the township solicit for another SEO. Young proffered that a usual and customary application and interview hiring process take place to determine who is qualified to be the SEO. According to Young this process likely did not occur when Fortuner was hired, thus by-passing proper scrutiny.
The township budget was approved with an amendment to increase the millage by half a mill. That will have to be re-advertised. This will increase revenues but not affect anything else in the budget.
The re-organizational meeting will be held Tuesday, January 3, 2006 at 7:30pm. This is a meeting at which the SEO position is confirmed. The cost of litigation and the direction taken by the SEO is relevant to consider, stated Young. Gulick did not want to advertise for a SEO because it would be only to please Scott Young and “not anyone else.”
Gulick who is retiring after serving 12 years of service stated, ”This job has been mostly enjoyable.” Gulick then expounded, “The only peeves I have are these so called reporters writing opinions instead of facts. Then we have the other pet peeves of people who try to thumb their nose at the system. And that’s an aggravation.” As indicated throughout the township meetings, the fact is there has been no evidence of a system to which one could thumb ones nose. As an example, the meeting was held with out a printed agenda and minutes available for public review.
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Silver Lake Twp. Police Report
Following is the Silver Lake Twp. November police report, as submitted.
On or around November 7, a box of personal checks and $160.00 cash was taken from the Stephen Peet residence on SR4008 in Silver Lake Township. Subsequently, checks were forged and cashed at area banks. An arrest has been made and this activity is still under investigation.
On November 13, Frank Boyle of Silver Lake Township reported that he has been repeatedly experiencing criminal mischief at his property. He has had damage inflicted on his vehicles and boat on his property, as well as damage to the dwelling.
On November 15, Michael Shuta of Binghamton, N.Y., who owns property in Silver Lake Township, reported that persons have been trespassing on his property and have also stolen tools and equipment from his garage located there.
On November 18, Denise Landon, who is trying to sell her property on Laurel Lake, reported that she was being harassed by an adjacent neighbor who is blocking her right-of-way access to her property. This activity is now a civil matter and all parties have been directed to the proper authorities.
Any information or questions for Silver Lake Township Police, please call 278-6818 or 663-2760.
All information will be held strictly confidential.
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Susky Adopts Budget
Susquehanna Boro Council met on December 13 with president Mike Matis presiding and took care of business in short order. Not present were Roy Williams, Allen Wolf, secretary Ann Kemmerer and Mayor Hurley. The audience was comprised of two reporters, mayor-elect Denise Reddon and former council member Ron Whitehead.
The proposed budget has been advertised and will be voted on at the December 27 meeting; it reflects a one-mil increase in taxes.
At their last meeting, council had decided to seek additional proposals for conducting the boro’s annual audit. Of two firms contacted, both declined to provide a price quote.
At the previous evening’s meeting of the finance committee, one of two CD’s the boro has invested was discussed. Mr. Matis said that it was their recommendation not to “roll over” one that is near maturity, but to place the funds into the capital reserve fund as this would realize a better interest rate; the CD rate is at 1.9%, and the capital reserve fund is at 3%. A portion of the CD funds are for Parks and Rec.; this portion would be designated to the Parks and Rec. line item in the budget. A unanimous motion carried to approve.
Funds from fines and forfeitures have been earmarked towards purchase of a new police car. As both of the boro’s police vehicles have needed what Mr. Matis called “perpetual maintenance” and have seen a number of breakdowns, Mr. Matis asked that council carry a motion to collect bids for a replacement vehicle, a four-wheel drive SUV. The bids would be used to collect information that council could use to review options. He said council is not moving forward with purchase of a new vehicle at this time. If a new vehicle is purchased, the Jeep would be taken out of service. A motion to proceed with obtaining bids carried unanimously.
Sale of the boro’s “steps” property on Erie Ave. was tabled pending information from both parties interested in purchasing it. Mr. Matis said that its sale might be bid out.
A unanimous motion carried to adopt Ordinance 438, which is to participate in the county’s readdressing program.
With Mr. Lewis’ being the lone vote against, a motion carried to retain Zavada and Associates as auditors for the year, at the same price as last year ($4,000).
Continuing discussion from prior meetings, Mr. Lewis had spoken with the boro solicitor regarding a commercial parking lot in the boro; council has received numerous complaints about its poor maintenance, which has been the cause of damage to vehicles. Mr. Lewis said that an ordinance could not be enacted mandating maintenance. But, the owners would be totally liable for any damage caused from lack of maintenance. Mr. Lewis said that Mr. Williams had spoken with Lone Star, which owners the property and an agreement had been made to have the lot paved. But, on the day the work was to have been done, it had been canceled by the owners. And, after a recent snowstorm, the lot had not been plowed and the adjacent sidewalks had not been cleared. Mr. Whitehead suggested that a formal complaint be made to the owner, in writing.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday, December 27, 7:00 p.m. in the boro building.
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Susquehanna Boro Police Report
Following is the Susquehanna Police Dept. Report for November, 2005, as submitted.
THEFT BY DECEPTION
On November 8, Police charged Daniel Bentz, Brian Phillips and Charles Perry of Susquehanna for taking at least $150.00 from the “Brian Hird” donation fund that they’d placed at several local businesses in October.
On November 12 and 19, someone slashed tires on a Chevy Blazer belonging to Brenda Lee while parked on Washington St. during early morning hours. They further placed sugar in the gas tank.
THEFT BY UNLAWFUL TAKING
On November 13, Police arrested Jeffrey Craig of Susquehanna for stealing two vehicles in Susquehanna Borough the night before. Craig allegedly took a Dodge Neon belonging to Janet Fabrizi from West Main St. and then took a Chevy Cavalier belonging to Albert Deangelis from Front St. between 7 and 8 p.m. on November 12. Craig was further charged with Unauthorized use of vehicles. Charges have since been carried over to Common Pleas Court. Both vehicles recovered.
PUBLIC DRUNKENNESS / DISORDERLY CONDUCT
Albert Bishop, Jr. of Susquehanna was again arrested for Disorderly Conduct and Public Drunkenness at Main and Exchange St. on November 13 after he’d refused to leave while publicly intoxicated. Bishop was taken to Susquehanna County Jail on a Probation warrant and is further charged for Terroristic Threats to Police.
On November 18, Rodney Towner of Susquehanna was charged with 7 counts of bad checks written in July to the American Legion of Susquehanna totaling $700.
FLEEING AND ELUDING / DUI CRASH
On November 14, Police attempted to stop Robert Hornish of Susquehanna while driving his Jeep truck East on Main St. with vehicle damage and a front tire missing. Hornish fled for approx. 1/2 mile then stopped at Spring and Main St. Investigation with PSP revealed Hornish had crashed on SR 171 in Great Bend Township then proceeded to Susquehanna while intoxicated at .21%. Hornish is further charged for DUI.
Under Age Drinking: 1-888-UNDER-21 (Anonymous).
Drug Tips: 1-877-PA NO-DRUGS (Anonymous).
Terrorism Tips: 1-888-292-1919 (Homeland Security).
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© 2005 Susquehanna County Transcript. All