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Thompson Boro Council met for their regular meeting on March 6 with vice president Wayne Shontz presiding in the absence of president Andy Gardner. Council members present were Gary Swartz, Scott Halesky, Diane Sabatelli, Jeff Sheldon. Also present were treasurer Marge Whitney, acting secretary Susan Shontz, mayor Jim Delaney and a number of guests.
It was reported that, on February 7, the day after the last regular monthly meeting, council received a letter of resignation from secretary Diane Sheldon, effective immediately. A special meeting was held on February 21, at which Susan Shontz was appointed acting secretary. A motion carried to advertise for applications for a permanent secretary.
A representative from HA Thompson Co., the boro’s insurance carrier was present to review the boro’s policies and any changes that may need to be added. He noted that there are reserve funds to cover any prior acts that might arise (old police cases) and the police car is still listed on the policy, as the boro still owns it. After the presentation, a motion carried to put the police car out to bid.
Mr. Sheldon reported that he had been in touch with an individual who has a shed for sale; council has been looking for one to use for storing tools, etc. The owner of this particular shed is asking $2,000. It is insulated, and it is wired for electric service, but the buyer would have to arrange to have it moved. It was agreed that this is considerably more than the boro is prepared to spend.
Mr. Swartz is till waiting for information requested from PENNDOT regarding no winter parking signs.
Susquehanna Boro has a street sweeper they’re putting out to bid; council discussed the pros and cons of trying to buy it. The road committee will explore the possibility and inspect the machine. A motion carried to authorize Mr. Swartz to submit a bid at a specified amount, contingent on verification from the boro’s insurance carrier that volunteer operators would be covered.
Mr. Swartz was asked why the boro does not use salt on the roads in the winter; he responded that it is too expensive and eats away at blacktop. When the state salts, he said, they use liquid brine.
Mayor Delaney was asked by Ms. Sabatelli if he could give more detailed reports of Crimewatch activities, to make residents aware of what is going on (without mentioning names). The rumors heard around town are always much worse than the actual facts, she said. Mayor Delaney responded that he always gives council detailed reports. Ms. Sabatelli cited a recent incident that people were talking about, regarding a girl being assaulted while walking on Water St. Mr. Delaney explained that, at the last Crimewatch meeting, a hypothetical question was asked by one of its members; what could Crimewatch members do if such a thing happened? There was no report made of any real incident.
Plant operator Larry Travis’ monthly report was reviewed. Council approved purchase of spare ultra violet light bulbs, used for disinfection; cost $400.
Mrs. Whitney will look into a complaint regarding a mix-up with billing for sewage fees.
The ESCP is waiting for the grant money it has secured to come in. They are also looking into pursuing other grant funding, provided it does not conflict with the (specifications) of that grant.
And, Mrs. Whitney will notify the county that at last month’s meeting, Cathy Sinnott was appointed as the boro’s tax assessor.
The next meeting will be on Monday, April 3, 7 p.m. in the fire hall.
For the second consecutive meeting, the Susquehanna County Commissioners had some good news relating to the long awaited, and now much anticipated, economic growth in the county.
At its meeting on February 22, Roberta Kelly, chair of the Board of Commissioners, spoke of commercial growth along Route 11 and Interstate 81 and had some good words to say about some manufacturing facilities exploring the possibility of locating in Susquehanna County.
Last week, the commissioners brought in Anthony Ventello, whose firm, Central Bradford Progress Authority, was hired last year to help lure some business and industrial growth into the county. He echoed Mrs. Kelly’s thoughts and went one step further.
Ventello said the county has been advised that the state has awarded it a $50,000 plan grant. He said it will be used to set up a strategic plan that will focus on areas in the county that have quick growth possibilities.
“We are now going to put together a meaningful strategic plan,” he said. “and we will look geographically at where we might best concentrate our efforts for investment and put funds in those locations.”
Ventello said the county has also been approved for a grant that will allow it to proceed with the proposed enterprise zone and, in the future, additional grant money that will help to establish a revolving loan fund for county businesses.
“And we are working closely with the rail authority,” Ventello said. He described the authority as the “strongest rail program we have in the region.
In another matter, the commissioners approved a resolution banning open burning in the county from March 17 through April 16. The move was recommended by the District Forester and a number of municipal fire chiefs in the county.
Mark Wood, coordinator of the county’s Emergency Management Agency, said the ban will include backyard burn barrels. He said state and local police will enforce the ban and that it could be extended beyond April 16 if fire officials see the need for it.
In personnel matters, the commissioners did some more shuffling and hired a new personnel director. She is Kathleen Aldrich of New Milford and her starting salary was set at $24,500 plus benefits. Meanwhile Katie Bartels of Kingsley was hired as a full time occupation clerk in the assessment office at $8.20 an hour. She replaces Daniel Walter who was promoted to deputy chief clerk.
And the commissioners accepted the resignation of Bradley Swetter who was hired three weeks ago as a watershed specialist in the Conservation District.
Other motions approved by the commissioners completed the following actions-
Awarded the 2006 West Nile Virus program to Clarke Mosquito Control of Norristown who submitted the low bid of $32,000. And in a related development, approved the signing of the grant agreement that will provide the county with $46,485 for the West Nile program.
Adopted a resolution proclaiming March as American Red Cross Month.
Emerson Wiley Veitch, Susan Veitch Perry to Emerson Wiley Veitch, Dallas, PA, Susan Veitch Perry, in Jessup Township for one dollar.
Eleanor J. Cole to Edward L. Kelley, RR5, Montrose, Joseph Flaherty, Gary Lupole, in Friendsville Borough for $15,000.
Rudolph Rombold Jr., Eleanor N. Rombold to Jane A. Liebegott, Springville, in Springville Township for one dollar.
William P. Liebegott, Marion A. Liebegott to Charles H. Liebegott, Springville, in Springville Township for one dollar.
Charles H. Liebegott, Jane A. Liebegott, Donald J. Lockhart, Shirley A. Lockhart to Charles H. Liebegott, Springville, Jane Liebegott, Donald J. Lockhart, Shirley A. Lockhart, in Springville Township for one dollar.
Robert Rufe to Joseph Gerchman, Forest City, in Forest City for $29,500.
Joseph MacConnell to Rhonda Conlon, RR3, New Milford, Joshua Ellis, in New Milford Borough for $52,000.
Ethan Z. Simon, Sondra T. Katz to Ethan Z. Simon Family Trust, Rockville, MD, in Harford Township for one dollar.
Scott A. Stoll (by sheriff) to Ameriquest Mortgage Securities (by trustee), Orange, CA, Deutsche Bank National Trust Co., in Forest City for $3,619.
Neal Ainey, Kathleen Yanvary (nbm), Kathleen Erin Ainey, George Dale Howell to Jeremy D. Benedict, Holly A. Benedict, in Lenox Township for $67,000.
Cindy L. Casella to Bonnie Lee Hayter, Hallstead, in New Milford Township for $70,000.
Liza A. Payne to Justin S. Lee, Springville, Kimberly A. Robinson, in Springville Township for $74,200.
Gary D. Rotherforth (by sheriff) to Great American Federal Savings & Loan Assn., Carls Place, NY, in Forest City for $1,449.
David L. Bean Jr., Amy Bean to David L. Bean Jr., Forest City, in Forest City for one dollar.
Sharon E. Winans (estate), Joyce R. Warner, Gilbert Barrier, Paul Ferencik, Mark Kovach, Robert Nemcek, Robert Porzucek, Willard Rockefeller, William VanNort, Patricia Jenner, Phylis Barrier, Gail D. Ferencik, Kathy C. Kovach, Mildred Nemcek, Marilyn Quiggle, Connie P. Porzucek, Marjorie Rockefeller, Betty Jeanine VanNort to Joyce R. Warner, RR5, Montrose, Mildred Nemcek, Gail D. Ferencik, Kathy C. Kovach, in Jessup Township for one dollar.
David D. Florance, Lynette S. Florance to Donald E. Gehman, Donna J. Gehman, Hatfield, in Hallstead Borough for $55,000.
David D. Florance, Lynette S. Florance to Donald E. Gehman, Donna J. Gehman, Hatfield, in Great Bend Borough for $150,500.
Lynn Stonier to Richard Budzinski, Lisa Budzinski, Factoryville, in Springville Township for $40,000.
Lillian Neild, Elaine Misner, Jim Misner, Maxine Powell, William Powell, Marie Wormuth, Lydon Wormuth to Zoltan Fodor, Hamilton Township, NJ, in Thompson Township for $160,000.
Richard C. Decker Sr. to Jeanne F. Decker, Hop Bottom, in Brooklyn Township for one dollar.
Gerald William Eckman (by poa) to Curtis A. Wentz Jr., Shari Wentz, Lehighton, in Jackson Township for $12,000.
Robert Gaffey, Dawn M. Gaffey to Christopher W. Slocum, Milford, Ronnie W. McCoy, in Susquehanna for $50,000.
Kenneth D. Woodruff, Carol V. Woodruff to Mrmelk, Waverly, in Clifford Township for $135,000.
The Silver Lake Township Municipal Authority has field judgment/municipal liens against the following:
Gary A. Fahs, Pamela Fahs, C. Peter Austin, Jane H. Austin, $1,496.
David Webster, Walter D. Webster, Jeanne Hallquist, Chadwick Webster, $1,059.
Kenneth F. Zaleski, Lori-Jean Zaleski, $624.
James Martin Klein, $1,062.
Michael Studzinski, Ingeborg Studzinski, $1,060.
Benjamin L. Gregory and Jilllian Haley Seavey, both of Montrose.
Jeffrey John Cragle and Kimberly Sue Godshall, both of Meshoppen.
Hasib Daniel Sagarin and Lila May Barnes Stone, both of Lansing.
Michael Joseph Roy and Karen Kay Bush, both of Dalton.
Michael J. Koscelnak, RR2, Union Dale vs. Amy Burchell Koscelnak, RR2, Union Dale.
Jan Kaha Kuha, Dickson City, vs. Theresa F. Kuha, Peckville.
Rebecca L. Johnson, Hallstead, vs. Brian Johnson, Scranton.
More concern about Forest City’s diminishing stature surfaced at last week’s Borough Council meeting as borough officials continue to discuss ways of improving the town’s image.
Mayor Nick Cost suggested the borough begin by doing something for the youth in the community.
“I would like to see us open some type of youth center for our kids in town,” the mayor said. “Now is the time to do it people,” he continued, “or pretty soon we will see white sheets running up and down our streets. It will be a ghost town.”
The mayor asked for and received support from the council and Council President Jim Lowry said the borough may have to come up with some financial assistance for the project.
“It’s going to take a lot of work,” the mayor said, “but I think we can do it.”
At the February meeting, Police Chief Paul Lukus told the governing body that a bowling ball could be thrown down Main Street, intimating that the business district is hurting. Council will meet March 21 with the local Merchants Association to exchange ideas that might improve conditions on Main Street.
And Councilman Paul J. Amadio expressed concern about a rumor that another Main Street building will be sold and subsequently torn down for an expanded new and used car lot.
“It’s a beautiful building and it would be a shame to tear it down,” Amadio said. “The borough will lose tax revenue and it will be up to the taxpayers – many of whom are senior citizens – to pick up the slack.”
Amadio challenged council members to find empty store fronts on Main Street.
“There aren't that many left,” he said, “because every time there is a vacant building, it is torn down. We are destroying the town piece by piece when we sit back and let this happen time after time.”
Amadio said he did not know whether council could do anything to stop Main Street buildings from being razed but he asked the borough solicitor to look into it.
In his report, Mayor Cost also said there have been some “break-ins” in the borough. “If you hear something,” the mayor said, “go to the window and look. And if you see something, don’t be afraid to call 911. You do not have to give your name.”
The mayor also urged residents to lock their vehicles and cautioned motorists to stop for pedestrians or they might be issued a citation. He said strict enforcement of the yield-to-pedestrians law will come when new crosswalks are painted.
Representatives from the Susquehanna County Emergency Management Agency and the 9-1-1 Communications Center assured borough officials last week that the readdressing program being done in the county will not affect Forest City.
Art Donato, director of the 9-1-1 com center, said that, while the county has opted to issue new 9-1-1 addresses in the county, Forest City officials voted not to opt into the program. While the borough will be readdressed by the county, the current mailing addresses will not be changed.
“Borough residents will get packets and we urge them to fill out the brief questionnaire,” Donato said, “with the understanding that there will not be any changes made in the borough at the present time.” A note attached to the packet will advise residents that their house numbers will not be changed.
“A packet will be delivered to each home,” Wood said. “Residents will be asked to write down their names, current addresses, phone numbers and the names of the neighbors to the immediate right and left of their homes.”
Wood did caution borough officials that if the readdressing becomes mandatory in the future, the borough will have to pay the cost of completing it. He said if the borough opted in now, the cost would be absorbed by grant money awarded to the county to finance the readdressing. He said Forest City is the only municipality in the county that did not opt in.
“Forest City will also be required to issue any new addresses that may be needed in the future,” Donato added. “It means somebody in Forest City has to take that responsibility.”
In another matter, council accepted with regret the resignation of Ruth Fitzsimmons and replaced her with Bernadette Twilley, a teacher in the Forest City School District. Mrs. Fitzsimmons had recommended Ms. Twilley and Amadio’s motion to accept the recommendation passed unanimously.
Sometime between noon on February 22 and 5:30 p.m. on March 8, an unknown person(s) broke in a door of the storage and concession building at the Harford-Lenox Little League baseball field in Harford Township, damaging the jamb in the process.*
An unknown person(s) broke into the Brooklyn Township PENNDOT shed and took a television, fax machine and a George Foreman electric grill, damaging a chain-link gate in the process. This break-in occurred at 6:30 on the evening of March 7.
On the afternoon of March 7, Debra Marie Clark, 47, Montrose, was verbally harassed by her ex-boyfriend at the County Seat Hotel in Montrose.
At 7:20 p.m. on March 4, a 1989 Red Eagle driven by Thomas A. Westbrook, 21, Meshoppen, hit the rear of a 1997 Jeep driven by Scott Minto, 40, Montrose, while the Jeep was slowing down on State Route 706 in New Milford Township. Westbrook fled the scene and was found about 6/10 of a mile west of the collision on route 706. He showed signs of intoxication and was transported to Endless Mountains Health System in Montrose for BAS testing. Charges are pending the findings of the testing. No injuries were reported by either driver or their passengers.
Sometime between 10:30 on the evening of March 2 and 11 the following morning, an unknown person(s) loosened lug nuts on a 1990 D150 pickup belonging to Larry Bishop, Oakland Trailer Park.*
Shortly after 4 on the morning of February 16, someone threw a brick through the bedroom window of an apartment in which Sandra Lois Fisher lives in Great Bend. The window is valued at about $100.*
THEFT BY DECEPTION AND RELATED OFFENSES
Michelle Lynn Shepard (Sterling), 32, New Milford, was arrested on the afternoon of March 1 for four felony charges: theft by deception, forgery, identity theft and criminal use of communication facility. She was arraigned before a district justice and committed to the county jail in lieu of $50,000 bail.
Nancy Porter, 41, Hallstead was driving a 2001 Ford F250 south on the Wilkes-Barre Turnpike in Silver Lake Township at 10:30 a.m. on March 4 when she lost control of the truck on the snow-covered road. The truck left the road and hit a tree. Both Porter and her passenger were not using seatbelts. Both received minor injuries and refused medical treatment at the scene.
This crash happened at 1:30 on the afternoon of March 3 when Christine Whittemore, New Milford, was driving a 2003 Ford F250 pickup south on State Route 1021 about one-quarter mile south of State Route 1010. Whittemore lost control of the truck on the snow- and ice-covered road and hit an embankment and several trees before coming to a stop. Susquehanna Fire and EMS responded. French’s towed the Ford. Whittemore was wearing a seatbelt and was not injured.
At about 7:30 on the evening of March 3, Paul Cook, Forest City, was driving a 2004 Jeep Liberty east on an ice-covered State Route 106 in Lenox Township. Arthur Congdon, also of Forest City, was driving a 1994 Toyota west on the road. Cook failed to make a right curve and went into the path of Congdon. Both drivers were wearing seatbelts, both received minor injuries, and both vehicles were severely damaged.
HIT AND RUN COLLISION
At an unknown time on February 27, an unknown operator and vehicle hit the Rush Township Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary Hall in Lawton, causing extensive damage to its siding and the structure.*
Shortly before six on the afternoon of February 27, David Michael Thompson, 27, violated a PFA order which was in place against him by Dale J. Vandewalker, Great Bend. Thompson turned himself in to the state police and was taken before a district justice where he was released on ROR bail. The violation in question was not of a physical nature.
At about 12:30 on the afternoon of February 28, someone in a white Pontiac Grand Am pulled up to a pump at the HO Mart in New Milford, pumped about 5 gallons of gas worth $11.95 into its tank and left without paying.*
This accident happened just before 8 on the evening of February 26 when a vehicle driven by Aaron Rider, Susquehanna, caught on fire on State Route 706 in Montrose. Montrose Fire Company assisted at the scene and Rider was uninjured.
At 10:30 on the morning of February 25, a vehicle driven by Mable Allen, New Milford, turned left onto State Route 706 from State Road 1026 in Bridgewater Township and crossed the path of a vehicle driven by William Kars, Hop Bottom, damaging the left front quarter panel.
At 5 in the morning on February 26, a 2003 Dodge Neon driven by Elizabeth Cook, 19, Hop Bottom, hit a deer on State Road 2009, Lathrop Township. Cook lost control of the car and it left the road. She was wearing a seatbelt and received minor injuries. The car received major damage.
Someone stole skis valued at $450 and belonging to Linda Marie Zembrzycki, Uniondale, from the Elk Mountain Ski Resort in Herrick Township sometime between 9 and 9:15 pm on February 22.
Sometime between February 19 and 25, someone forced open a door and entered St. John’s Roman Catholic Church in New Milford, removing a small amount of money once inside.
This accident happened at 1:20 on the morning of February 25 when Mark Overmiller, 22, Montrose, lost control of a 1997 Chevy pickup while driving north on Township Road 537 in Jessup Township. The truck slid across the road, hit an embankment and then rolled onto its roof. Inspection of the truck at the scene showed it had a broken tie rod end which probably contributed to Overmiller’s losing control of the truck. Overmiller was not injured and was wearing a seatbelt.
FATAL MOTOR VEHICLE CRASH
Shortly before three on the morning of February 25, David Shawn Repella, 31, Greenfield Township, lost control of a 1987 Buick on Fairhill Road in Harford Township. The Buick went off the road, through a wooden fence and began overturning numerous time and striking several pine trees as it did so. It came to a stop on its roof in a field. Repella was pronounced dead at the scene by the county coroner.
CRIMINAL MISCHIEF AND THEFT
Sometime between 4 pm on February 24 and 9:30 the following morning, an unknown person(s) broke a lock from a fuel tank belonging to George Welch, Silver Lake Township, and stole several gallons of fuel oil.*
THEFT BY UNLAWFUL TAKING
Virginia Aberant, New Milford, reported that Lisa M. Drake, formerly of Harford, removed furniture when she moved out of a rental property owned by Aberant in Harford Township. This happened sometime between 1:30 p.m. on February 2 and 9 the following morning.
*Anyone with information about the incident are requested to call the State Police at 570-465-3154.
On Tuesday, March 7, at approximatley 3:00 p.m. the van of Ken Singer (pictured), owner of Singer's Appliance store was engulfed in flames.
Mr. Singer said that just five minutes prior he had parked the car then was told it was engulfed in flames. The smoke was black and thick drawing a crowd as school let out and traffic slowed. Singer claimed that tools were in his van totaling $4,000-$5,000, which will be a large loss. Fire companies arrived but the van burned quickly.
MONTROSE, PA Susquehanna County 911 has moved on to the next step of our 911 Mapping and Readdressing with the start of Notification Card Delivery. The packets are being placed on what appears to be the main entrance to the building. It is extremely important for residents to fill out these cards and return them promptly. They are being mailed back to the contractor’s headquarters in Arkansas. The question on the card that asks for the neighbors’ names has caused some confusion. The neighbor to your left and right would be if you were facing the front of your building from the street, and the neighbor listed should be on the same side of the road, even if it is some distance away. If there is no neighbor on the same side of the same road, leave the line blank or put “no neighbor.”
Forest City Borough is not currently participating in the project, but we are still collecting data about the existing addresses there. Susquehanna County will not issue new addresses to residents inside Forest City Borough, although the cards themselves still say that your “new address” will be mailed to you.
This part of the project is expected to last several more weeks as the delivery crews progress across the county. After processing, the data will then be turned over to the Postal Service for approval and entry. It is expected that new addresses will be delivered to those receiving them by the fourth quarter of 2006.
We appreciate everyone’s cooperation in this very important project. Questions or concerns can be directed to our toll-free number at 1-800-395-6503.
Montrose, PA – “The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) with the National Weather Service (NWS) will conduct a statewide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) on Friday, March 17, at 10:10 a.m.,” said Susquehanna County Emergency Management Coordinator Mark Wood.
“This EAS test will follow a statewide exercise of severe weather emergency response plans and procedures conducted by the 67 county emergency management agencies with community-based special care facilities.”
According to the coordinator, the exercise provides county and local emergency personnel, schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and day care centers the opportunity to test and refine their emergency plans under non-emergency conditions.
“The National Weather Service and PEMA will provide exercise-related weather information over our normal weather communications systems,” the coordinator said.
“As the scenario conditions become more serious, we will alert key county staff, municipal officials and those special care facilities where staff can review their procedures about what to do had this been an actual weather emergency.”
“Essential to effective community public safety is our ability to alert and inform residents of approaching severe weather conditions so that appropriate precautions can be taken,” Wood said.
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“The EAS network allows state and county officials to broadcast essential information and instructions about developing conditions that could threaten public safety.”
The Emergency Alert System is a voluntary network of more than 300 radio and television stations across the state that have agreed to provide authorized federal, state and local officials access to their broadcast capability. This system is an essential communications link between government and the public.
When conditions occur that threaten public safety, emergency management staffs activate the EAS system by contacting a designated radio station. Using an electronic notification system and the procedures defined in the state's EAS plan, area radio and television stations receive and re-broadcast the information from the emergency management agency.
During Weather Emergency Preparedness Week in Pennsylvania, emergency preparedness officials urge residents to identify what could happen where they live and to develop a family emergency response plan. This plan describes what to do and where to go if severe weather occurs. It should be in writing and should be discussed with all family members.
President Ron Beavan presided at the March 9 meeting of the Oakland Boro Council. Other council members present were Randy Glover, Doug Arthur, Brian Rhone and Gary Boughton, as well as mayor Wendy Dudley, secretary Flo Brush and a number of guests.
Three of those guests were Karen Allen, Bobbi Jo Turner and Joe Matis of the Susquehanna County Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA). Council had requested some input from the HRA to help decide the fate of the borough building.
Mrs. Allen began the discussion with some bad news. An engineer had toured the building in January to get an idea of whether or not it would be feasible to convert the building into senior housing units. His findings were that there would be prohibitive costs involved in bringing the building up to code; his recommendation was that it should be demolished. The HRA would be willing to help obtain grant funding to cover the costs to tear the building down. With a number of sources to apply to for grant funding, there would need to be some idea of the site’s intended use after the demolition, as some of those grants are contingent upon what will be done with the property after demolition.
One option would be for the boro to turn over part of the land to the HRA, which could develop the site for first-time home buyers, or low-income housing units; how many would depend on the size of the land deeded to the HRA. Other plans could involve mixed usage, with part being used for housing and part for commercial usage; perhaps retail space on the ground floor with residential space above it. The boro would benefit from any of these choices as there would be revenues either from taxes or an agreement with the HRA for payments in lieu of taxes, and there would be additional revenue for the water system through additional customers. It was noted that the site really isn’t suited to commercial usage as the roads in that area are not conducive to truck traffic, and it was felt that many residents near the site would not appreciate having a commercial enterprise and all that it entails in the midst of a residential area. The part of the site retained by the boro be used for a smaller, more efficient building with a meeting room, office space and possibly a garage.
While the building does have sentimental value to the boro and its residents, it does not have any real historical value (placement on a national register of historic sites) and one council member noted that many people are just not aware of how badly the building has deteriorated over the years.
To reach a decision on which avenue to pursue, residents would need to be surveyed to find out what the area’s needs are and how they can best be served. This survey would cover more specific housing needs questions than the one that had been solicited from residents by council last year. The HRA would be willing to draft a survey, to be distributed before the demolition takes place, with results being used to help council make a final decision as to the property’s use. Council agreed to take the time until the next meeting to consider its options. And, if the decision is made to demolish the building, a resolution would need to be adopted to enter into a cooperative agreement with the HRA to apply for grant funding.
In other business, it was noted that the amount allocated in the 2005 budget for heating fuel has been used up. There was some discussion about how much fuel should be purchased with the 2006 allocation, to get through what remains of the winter. With the building’s future somewhat uncertain, it was agreed to purchase enough to get by for the time being.
Mr. Glover gave a rundown of ongoing codes violations.
The backhoe is out of commission; a mechanic had checked it out and had determined that it is not worth repairing. It was agreed to get a second opinion.
An invitation was received for a Kid Safe Night at Blue Ridge High School on March 30, 5-8 p.m. which will cover many topics of interest to parents, such as safe Internet usage, and underage drinking.
In response to numerous complaints council had received about a vicious dog, some research had been done to find out just what the boro can do. There is an ordinance that covers nuisance dogs, but would making it more strict also keep it enforceable? And, the question arose, was the owner of this particular dog aware of the complaints? After discussion it was agreed to send a letter to this dog’s owner, outlining the complaints.
Mayor Dudley reported a quiet month for the police department. Patrols were conducted on two weekends with warnings and a citation issued for running stop signs.
Mr. Beavan reported favorably on a meeting that had been held with the HRA to pursue grant funding for sidewalk replacement.
Complaints discussed included speeding on High St.; Mayor Dudley will follow up with the police department. Incidents of four-wheelers on Second and Third Aves. and mini-bike on the boro building property were noted; Mr. Beavan said that if residents witness incidents when the police are not on duty, they should be willing to file written complaints.
Extra copies of the employee timesheets will be made available at council meetings, so that they can be reviewed prior to the meetings instead of during them.
Mr. Glover and Mr. Boughton will schedule a road survey with streets commissioner Jeff Wayman to review his recommendations of repairs that need to be taken care of and to see if there are any others that need to be added to the list.
The boro is a new member of the Costars program, where member municipalities can bid for goods and services through the state at a savings over what it would cost to bid individually. Council will take a detailed look at the goods available, such as fuel, to see how much the boro could save by purchasing through Costars.
In the interim between the last meeting and this one, council presented former council member Buddy Brown and council member/police chief Bob VanFleet with plaques in recognition of their years of service to the boro.
Information on domestic violence is available at the boro office for those who may be in need of it.
The boro has a new worker through the Experience Works program, Buzz Hoopes, who has been helping out in the streets department.
Information on a scholarship available through the Pennsylvania State Association of Boros was forwarded to the school.
And, the last topic discussed was paying of the bills. Would the present council like to continue with the practice of allowing payment of the commonplace bills (utilities, etc.) to be made as they are received, and how to deal with those that do not fit this category? It was agreed to think it over and discuss any recommendations at the next meeting, which will be on Thursday, April 13, 7 p.m. in the boro building.
New Milford Township council met for their regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, March 8 at 7:30 pm. The three board members, secretary, Scott and Ginny Young owners of the East Lake Campground and of course John Clirehugh were present. A very pleasant, productive meeting ensued.
Notice for mining permits were acknowledged. A sub-division was approved.
The supervisors approved their attendance at the annual Susquehanna County township supervisors spring dinner scheduled for Thursday, May 11.
They voted to solicit bids for a new furnace and air conditioning system as well as other renovations to improve the township building.
Bids were approved for a grader, back hoe, and roller with a rent to own option.
Scott Young asked if the improvements he made at the exit of the camp decreased the ice build up that was occurring. Council said it did and thanked Young.
A local road is frequently used as a dump for everything including computers. Young said he thought that was a “new high tech industry!” This will be remedied during the state’s Spring clean up days. County commissioner Mary Ann Warren notified the township that the days scheduled are April 22- May 20. Signs will be posted by the township to advise no dumping.
Also township “White Trash” day was scheduled for the first weekend in May. The collection is an effort to remove white trash from properties. This includes: washers, dryers, and large appliances.
Young again requested to review the invoices submitted by the Sewage Enforcement Officer from the year 2003 to present. Young reminded the council that former president Buzz Gulick said he would get that information. The council said the solicitor had that information at a meeting but Young was not present.
A discussion ensued regarding the request to DEP by Flying J truck stop to discharge waste or storm water directly into streams. Young reminded the council of his objections and the pictures he provided to the board. The three members stated they do not have the pictures. They claimed Buzz had the pictures and told them “the pictures were not indicative of Flying J’s.” So Young said he would be glad to take more but those should have been adequate. To summarize Young’s concerns briefly it is that Flying J’s is technically operating a campground with out proper regulations. Further that the RV’s potentially discharge both black and gray water onto the parking lot which then washes into the stream ultimately polluting the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Jim Hunter said he is going to a conservation meeting next week and will have more information as to how storm water is to be controlled. Young wants council to file objections with DEP to the notice of application filed by Flying J’s so that an inquiry may be made. Young suggested storm water is regulated by the department of conservation.
Montrose Borough Council met Monday, March 2, to a full house. Ken DiPhillips gave the street report stating that many signs are being replaced. A truck is undergoing major repairs requiring new hydraulic lines for the installation of a plow. DiPhillips also suggested that the meeting room get renovated.
The police report was questioned. The problem according to one board member is that the budget has been expended. The budget was to be spent at a rate of 16% and it is only March. Further that coverage is not adequate. All five officers are part-time. Chief John Walker did notify the board that some officers were out sick or had family issues.
Anna Jenkins of DGK Insurance presented the board with the annual review of services. Jenkins is to meet with DiPhillips to confirm what items can be removed or added to the insurance plan. She noted the borough obtained terrorism insurance and suggested bond coverage for tax collectors.
Debbie Nagle, Executive Director of the Montrose Restoration Committee spoke about plans to renovate the Montrose Theater Building. Nagle confirmed that there are no plans to sell the theater. The intent is to upgrade the air conditioning system and make handicapped accessible bathrooms. A request was made to release $900 of funds to cover design work. The owners of the Dietrich theater in Tunkhannock may be interested in managing the facility. The current operators are not interested in running the theater.
The council discussed having a student associate member sit in on board meetings. This is a good educational experience, the board agreed. Meetings are open to the public but executive sessions are held in private by the board members.
Community Bank and Trust was represented by branch manager Mark Caterson. Annette Rogers informed the board that they did not name a depository at the first meeting of the year. So CBT was approved as the depository. Concerns were voiced also that the interest on various savings accounts are not high and it may be in the best interest of the Boro to evaluate getting better service elsewhere. A Trust officer from the Clark Summit office advised the boro to consider developing a financial plan of investing to cover future expenses such as retirement. According to some board members the actuary has not provided adequate answers to explain why now, "we’re in debt up to our ears,” for future obligations. The board was advised to implement an investment policy if there is none.
Mike Dopko the Code Enforcement Officer spoke to the issue of ongoing concern of the safety issues involving the property at 33 High Street currently owned by Greg Strawn. Mr. Strawn was not present to express his side of the issue. Dopko informed the council that he intends to take Strawn to court for non-compliance with the codes. Dopko said Strawn was to provide a letter of intent which has not occurred to date.
Robert Wert asked for approval to move the property line that currently crosses through his paved driveway. This was approved
The board voted unanimously to become a member of COG, Council of Governments. Then a motion was made to enforce the ordinance of COG. Annette Rogers was approved as the liaison to COG with the Mayor being the alternate.
A brief executive session was held after which Lloyd Overfield was hired as a part time officer for 32 hours a week.
Great Bend Township board of supervisor chair Bob Squier and supervisor Sheila Guinan (David Sienko was unable to attend) discussed sample ordinances at the board’s well-attended meeting on March 6. Their discussion is sure to please a lot of residents and community organizations but might pose problems for a few others. They address ways to put some teeth into ensuring that property owners maintain property and not turn them into junkyards.
The impetus for this discussion is one business property in particular that sits on New York Avenue and which various boards have been trying to get cleaned up for more than a decade. They have been stymied by current ordinances that require, it seems, periodic payment of a fine without requiring the cleaning up of unsightly conditions. The board and other residents are concerned that the same thing is happening with a property along Route 171, in which the owner met with the board, agreed to certain conditions to make the business property less unsightly, only to go halfway, with nothing further done for many months.
The board will be reviewing sample ordinances that Guinan obtained from PSATs. And while the pieces of the samples weren’t discussed at length, the board will look at the best sections of them and consider them for a township ordinance that will not make people wince as they drive by properties that resemble junkyards or turn business or potential businesses away from the area. Other sample sections the board will review pertain to junked motor vehicles, dumping junk in our streams and egregious actions that detract from good neighborliness.
Guinan reported that the one sample section the board will consider would give the township the right to go in and clean up the problem areas and bill the property owner through the courts. Another forces property owners to clean up and pay. “The way our ordinance stands now is that property owners can pay the current fine ten times and never clean up,” added Squier. He was concerned that this would also mean that some businesses might need to clean up a bit, too, in addition to the worst offenders, but he didn’t see any other way to control what could become a spread of, well, rural blight.
A resident in attendance – a business owner himself – thought that such an ordinance was long overdue. “Everyone has a responsibility to their neighbors,” he said, adding that while some people might be upset about having to neaten up, what about their neighbors who keep their properties nice? He thought that an ordinance with some teeth might make some people mad, but the community will be better for it – pleased, he said, that the board is stepping up to the plate and doing something about it. Another resident and former supervisor commended the current board for considering the ordinance.
Squier noted that the board will more thoroughly review the sample ordinances before its next meeting, when it expects to make recommendations. Guinan was hopeful that perhaps the township could have its own Spring Cleaning this year.
Resident and Hallstead-Great Bend Ambulance chair Del Austin reported to the board that the volunteer company will be putting out a report booklet this week that includes general information for the public, including a report on the number and types of emergencies to which it has responded. It will be available in area stores and restaurants.
But of greater importance was a flyer that the company will be circulating throughout the community, seeking volunteers. As Austin put it, “If we don’t get more first-responders, this book won’t mean a thing.” Currently, the company is operating three crews, and it wanted to have five by this point. Austin reported that, unfortunately, the third crew is losing one person. They need more.
The flyer advertises state-required, first-responder classes that the company is sponsoring from April 10 to mid-June. “If we don’t get these people,” said Austin, “the ambulance will be affected. We’re going to keep trying as long as we can, but we need your help. Otherwise, we’re in trouble.” He asked that if anyone knew of a nurse or other healthcare person who might be interested, to direct them to the company. It sorely needs volunteers.
As for Austin himself, former supervisor George Haskins pointed out the critical work Austin has done with the reorganized ambulance, as well as taking on the volunteer project of raising funds to install benches at the welcome center commemorating the 109th and service men and women. He proposed the board formally recognize these efforts and name him an outstanding citizen, which it did with great thanks. As to the benches, Austin reported that the community responded by donating $5,232 to a bench fund that needed $3,200.
Roadmaster Terry Mroz attended the meeting to provide his report, which included applying antiskid and plowing; work on Highlands Road, Haley Road and McHugh Hill Road; and regular equipment and maintenance. He reported that the F-350 will be out of commission until a rusted hole in its oil pan is repaired at a cost of $100 because the truck is still under warranty. Considerable discussion followed between residents, the board and Mroz about conditions on McHugh Hill Road and Emerson Road, and these discussions will continue until the weather is such that more permanent fixes can be made. In the meantime, Mroz is aware of them and working on stabilizing fixes to them. A resident thanked the road crew for excellent work on Church Road.
In other business, the board was notified that Thomas G. Moore, Sr., of Maceyville, NY, was granted a permit for Small Noncoal Operations. Guinan reported that this was for bedrock operations but the notification letter did not identify where in the township the operation is. It was also notified by the DEP that the Sunoco station had an undetermined amount of off-road diesel release (spill) on February 1; the DEP sent a notice of violation to the station and recommended actions to be taken. Neither supervisor was aware of the nature of the release, but noted that it could be something like fuel continuing to pump out of the hose after a fill-up.
Community events figured in other communications. The first was a notice that a Kid Safe Night will be held on March 30 at the Blue Ridge High School from 5 to 6 p.m. Guinan reported that a wide range of information is available to parents, guardians and other interested residents for them to become educated about many concerns – Internet safety, bullying, child abuse, teen drinking, piercing and tattoos, sexually transmitted diseases and other topics. The event is sponsored, said Guinan, by Judge Seamon’s office, the office of the county district attorney, the juvenile probation office and the Blue Ridge School District.
The board received a letter from commissioner MaryAnn Warren notifying them about and asking for the township’s participation in the Great Susquehanna County Clean-up. She noted that the state will help, providing free supplies (gloves, safety vests, etc.) if a group registers its project online. Groups need to provide the people. Squier noted that several community groups do various clean-ups throughout the year. Guinan asked if anyone knew of anyone who might want to volunteer. One resident pointed out that there were bunches of junk being tossed in the Randolph Road area and would be willing to suit up with others if the township obtained the supplies.
Another resident asked about last year’s county initiative of providing labor from the county jail to help on community projects. Guinan answered that it turned out that there weren’t enough people in the sheriff’s office to supervise such crews.
In other township business, Guinan will research the average amount of salt the municipality has used over the last five years to determine if it made sense to participate in the annual statewide contract for road salt. The contract requires that a municipality buy at least 60 percent of the amount they say they expect to use. She’ll also be on the lookout to see if state prices are cheaper than what the township obtains through its own bidding process.
A resident asked about the status of employee Mike Mullins, who has been out on disability for quite some time. Squier noted that Mullins has been notified that his health insurance benefits will shortly run out; that he is not eligible for COBRA continuation because federal law only applies to employers of a certain size and the township is not big enough to be one of them; and that the matter is now with attorneys.
And, in a follow-up to a report by township tax collector Margot Merritt that the state is backing the Blue Ridge tax collectors in their united effort to forego collecting school taxes for 60 cents a pop, Guinan spoke with the appropriate state representative to confirm this and was told that the state will not back up their actions.
The next regular meeting of the Great Bend Township board of supervisors is scheduled for March 20 at 7 p.m. in the Township Building.
Montrose, PA – The Susquehanna County Board of Commissioners in cooperation with the County Fire Chief's and the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry, District 11, have issued a resolution for a temporary ban on open burning in Susquehanna County from 12:01 a.m. Friday, March 17 to 11:59 p.m. Saturday, April 15.
Open burning is defined as the burning of any combustible material, such as garbage, leaves, grass, twigs, litter, paper, vegetative matter from clearing land or any sort of debris, either in a burn barrel or on the ground. Controlled burning done by the fire departments is allowed under this resolution. Fire department personnel and apparatus must be at the site of the burn. Propane grills, gas stoves, charcoal briquette grills and the use of tobacco in any form is not covered under this act.
The resolution makes a violation of the open burning ban a summary offense, punishable by fines of up to $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second offense and $300 for the third offense. The act is enforced by local and state police officers.
Mark Wood, Susquehanna County EMA Coordinator said that in order to have a burn ban, at least 50% of the County Fire Chief's must make the request. Wood said that there are eighteen fire companies in Susquehanna County, twelve of those Fire Chief's made the request. Even with rain in the forecast we have had an easy winter and the ground is dry. The fire companies are looking out for the safety of the residence in their communities.
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