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The turnout for the Harford Township Supervisors' meeting on March 18 was about the same as at the end of February, that is to say, the little office was nearly full. And, like last time, most of the people were there to witness the final episodes of the years-long saga of the Odd Fellows Hall.
The Supervisors have decided to sell the old building in the middle of Harford village, pretty much along the lines proposed in the offer Bronson Pinchot made last month to buy the place. They can't just sell it to him, however, so they will be staging a public auction – on April 8 – to accept bids, with details to be announced later.
According to Supervisor Rick Pisasik, the auction will sell the entire property: two properties and the building. The township will reserve the right to withdraw from the sale up to the time of the first bid, and to reject any and all bids.
The sale will be made with some additional conditions. For one, the buyer must remove the old building within six 6 months (allowance will be made for extensions, if necessary). The buyer is also asked to allow historical materials to be removed from the building before demolition. The township will remove the two existing sewer basins at its own cost. The deed will carry new covenants that will require that the lot remain open space.
It's clear that sentiment favors a sale to Mr. Pinchot, particularly since the terms seem to match his proposal point for point, and residents attending these latest meetings have been uniformly appreciative of what Mr. Pinchot has done for the town already.
The only item remaining is what the township might get for the property. The Supervisors got two appraisals on it; the appraisal values have not been released. Mr. Pisasik refused to say what reserve price might be put on the property at auction. He said that it was probably not in the interest of the township to reveal that at this time. He indicated that it might be announced at the next township meeting, on March 28, but then it might not.
The supervisors are still working out the details with the township's solicitor. Mr. Pisasik said that they are determined to move this ahead as quickly as possible. While the April 8 date was announced, he left room for changing that also, if necessary.
In the meantime, mud season has attacked the township's 47 miles of roads with a vengeance. "The roads are terrible, not just in Harford, but everywhere," said Mr. Pisasik, adding that he thought "other townships are worse." One resident of Upper Podunk, after commending the township road crew on their efforts, asked what could be done about large logging and quarry trucks tearing up the roads, particularly at this time of year. Mr. Pisasik promised to study the problem, perhaps to post lower weight limits during mud season.
The same resident also complained about accumulations of junk on some properties. Mr. Pisasik said that the township's solicitor has had some unfortunate experiences trying to enforce so-called "junk ordinances." He said that zoning might be the only way to control such things, and he himself considers zoning "too restrictive of our personal rights."
You won't be reading this until after the next meeting that will determine the next phase of the Odd Fellows story, but mark your calendars for Saturday, April 8. Come make a bid on history!
Great Bend Township Supervisors Bob Squier and Sheila Guinan met with a full house present at their March 20 regular meeting.
Mr. Squier commented that the format being used for the treasurer’s report for the last 18 months is easy to read and understand. Any (financial) question would be easily answered.
A resident asked if the supervisors had considered some additional outside enhancements to complement the new building, such as a sign; if the township were to provide the materials perhaps the art class at the high school could provide the design and make one. The supervisors agreed that this would be an idea worth pursuing, and added that putting a stone plaque and perhaps a flagpole had been discussed. Once the ground has thawed this spring definite plans would be made.
Roadmaster Terry Mroz gave a rundown of planned projects and those already addressed. The F350 is back in use after repairs. He will be keeping an eye on a major runoff problem on Penny Hill after grading to smooth it off and crown it. He has been in contact with other municipalities to see what methods they have used to address sink holes, such as the ones on Downs Rd.
The road crew was scheduled for state training sessions on March 28 and April 9 in Montrose. Information from those sessions should prove helpful in addressing water problems like the ones on Emerson.
And, the grader and mower are ready for spring work; roadside brush will be cleared and the old airport road will be graded to fix some dangerous potholes.
A motion carried to advertise for (road) materials, to be opened on April 17. There is a possibility that they will not be available from the source where the township usually gets them. And, the state highway funds auditor believes that, based on a three-year average of usage, the township is getting as good or better a price on salt as could be obtained through state purchasing programs. So, it was agreed to stay with the current salt supplier.
The supervisors reviewed amended plans for the Bridging Communities project. Great Bend Boro had requested that sidewalk replacement be moved to the opposite side of the street than what was included in the original plans, and Hallstead Boro’s scope of coverage was expanded somewhat from the area in the original plans.
Township Auditor Sandy Yarrosh resigned from a four-year position as of April 1 due to a pending relocation out of the area. The resignation was accepted with regret.
A subdivision plan for the Stanwood Snowman/Stephen Marshall property was approved, as it had already received favorable comment from the county Planning Commission and all relevant paperwork was in order.
A driveway permit for the Jason Auckland property was approved.
Also approved was a one-year fireworks permit for Mess’ Fireworks. Mr. Mess is a qualified trainer under new state regulations. It was noted that testing will only be done during good weather, and the permit requires a $500 bond, which is the highest amount permitted under law.
Correspondence reviewed included an invitation to the Susquehanna County Township Officials Association meeting on May 11 at the Montrose Bible Conference. A motion carried to approve the attendance of Mrs. Guinan and Mr. Squier, and to pay the annual membership dues of $60.
Under unfinished business, a newer, stricter nuisance ordinance was discussed. A draft ordinance had been obtained from the Pennsylvania State Association of Townships and had been made available for review. Mr. Squier commented that the new ordinance would undoubtedly make some people mad when they see it, but “we get mad when we see the mess they make.” Some of the ordinance’s highlights include an outline of just what is considered a nuisance, such as accumulation of waste, garbage, refuse, ashes, scrap or junk materials that can be seen from any road; burning of tires or garbage; any building in a dilapidated condition; permitting unchecked growth of grass or noxious weeds; uncovered cisterns; pushing snow into the road; dumping of excavation materials into the road; defacing public property. The ordinance outlines the steps that can be taken when a nuisance exists, how notice can be delivered, and the fines involved, which increase with each notice of violation up to and including $1,000 plus prosecution costs and imprisonment of ten days.
A resident asked if the section covering noise could be amended for later hours on weekends; it provides that unreasonably noisy activities be curtailed between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. Mrs. Guinan said that to set different standards for noise (weekends/weekdays) would necessitate frequent testing for decibels. Both Mrs. Guinan and Mr. Squier suggested that the individual in question be approached and politely asked to curtail the offending activities until a more reasonable hour.
A motion carried to proceed with enacting the ordinance.
There was discussion about whether trailers or box containers would be covered under the new ordinance. They would, if they are being used in an orderly manner, with no junk scattered around. And, as unsightly as they may be, at least if they are being used for storage there would be less junk to be seen.
Overall, the new ordinance was greeted with approval from all of those present. “It’s time the township’s 2,000 people are protected against the five or six who don’t keep up their end as far as property maintenance,” one resident said. “It’s a shame it has to come to this, but they brought it upon themselves.”
And, the supervisors will send a letter of appreciation to the owners of the former Armetta Slocum property, who have cleaned it up and greatly improved its appearance.
Under new business, a motion carried to approve Mr. Squier’s attendance at the state township officials convention on April 23.
Representing the Hallstead-Great Bend Ambulance, Del Austin was present to distribute booklets prepared by the company, giving an accounting of the past year’s activities
The next meeting will be on Monday, April 3, 7 p.m. in the township building.
Vivian J. Oakley (estate) to Larry Rood, Gibson, in Gibson Township for $81,500.
Shirley D. Sheridan to Trehab Center, Montrose, in Susquehanna for $57,000.
Raymond M. Wolf, September E. Wolf to Dennis Price, Anita Price, Susquehanna, in Oakland Borough for $80,000.
Squier Family Trust (by trustees) to Donald W. Squier, Carolyn Squier, RR1, Little Meadows, in Apolacon Township for one dollar.
Valentene F. Mazzella to Hawley & Strohl Properties, RR2, Montrose, in Franklin Township for $25,000.
Carlton R. Hawley, Nadene L. Hawley to Matthew C. Hawley, Amy M. Hawley, RR2, Montrose, in Forest Lake Township for one dollar.
Lasalle Bank (fka) Lasalle National Bank (by atty) to Christina McCreary-Kane, Montrose, in Montrose for $92,000.
John Ward (aka) John J. Ward, Pamela L. Ward to John J. Ward, Pamela L. Ward, New Milford, in New Milford Township for one dollar.
John J. Ward, Pamela L. Ward to John J. Ward, Pamela L. Ward, New Milford, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
John J. Ward, Pamela L. Ward to John J. Ward, Pamela L. Ward, New Milford, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Donna M. Brink, James L. Brink to Frederick Seamans, RR3, New Milford, Sandra Johnson, in New Milford Township for $135,000.
Charles Arrowsmith, June Arrowsmith to Kimberly Parsons, Forest City, Leslie Rupp, Reese Arrowsmith, in Forest City for $1.
Beverly Nolan, Edward C. Nolan, Karen L. Malkemes, James C. Malkemes to Beverly Nolan, Edward C. Nolan, RR1, New Milford, in New Milford Township for one dollar.
Beverly Nolan, Edward C. Nolan, Karen L. Malkemes, James C. Malkemes to Beverly Nolan, RR1, New Milford, Edward C. Nolan, Karen L. Malkemes, James C. Malkemes, in New Milford Township for one dollar.
David Lucas, Virginia Lucas to Zachary Lucas, Forest City, in Forest City for one dollar.
Thomas Mott to Alvin W. Thomas, Cambria Heights, NY, Robin R. Thomas, in Oakland Borough for $50,000.
Leroy Cottrell Jr., Marsha Cottrell to Wayne Richard Kozloski, Lincoln Park, NJ, in Ararat Township for $65,000.
Lisa G. McKimmey, Lisa G. Cross (fka) Stephen T. Cross to Stephen T. Cross, RR1, Friendsville, in Forest Lake Township for one dollar.
Theodore Tasso, Susan Tasso to Lon R. Kessler, Karen Cohen Kessler, Blue Bell, in Herrick Township for $294,000.
John L. Mulgrew to Manzek Land Co. Inc, RR5, Montrose, in Middletown Township for $22,000.
Domenick Vallario to Eugene J. Zawoiski, New York, NY, Susan Wagner, in Thompson Township for $72,000.
Harold D. Groover, III to Judy Strohl, RR4, Montrose, Larry Strohl, in Bridgewater Township for 90,000.
Russell D. Ely, Sharon D. Ely to John David Gilbert, Montrose, Sandra Gilbert, in Montrose for $156,880.
Jeffrey A. Page, Thomas A. Page, Lois E. Page to Jeffrey A. Page, RR1, Susquehanna, Darlene Page, in Jackson Township for $56,000.
At a joint meeting last week, Michael W. Morin, regional director of the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development, outlined benefits of a Main Street Revitalization Program to the Forest City Borough Council and Forest City Merchants Association. Also present were Karen Allen, executive director of the Susquehanna County Housing Redevelopment Authority and Bobbi Jo Turner, authority grant administrator.
Morin said two of the key benefits of the program is that it would preserve and strengthen retail business in the borough and make the downtown shopping district more attractive. He further stated it could increase employment opportunities and attract new businesses.
Morin said there is grant money available for a Main Street Program but he said the initial step is the completion of a plan that would include a “blueprint as to where the community wants to go.” He said the state might give the borough $25,000 to finance the plan but pointed out that the borough would also need to put some money into the program.
“There is much more financial help available today,” Morin said, “but you may need to raise about $90,000 locally.” He said the money could come from the borough and from donations.
“The plan should include a survey of what the community needs and what the people want, market studies and a parking plan,” he said. “We like to see communities have two or three public sessions to get sufficient input for a good plan. After the borough completes a plan, we would bring someone in from our regional office to do an appraisal of your downtown.” He also said the appraisal would look at the borough’s existing assets and determine if they could be strengthened.
John P. Kameen noted that the last time the borough had a Main Street Program it was not very successful.
Marin said the state has upgraded since the last time the borough was involved in a Main Street Program. He said the state now appropriates money for technical assistance, something that was not available during Forest City’s last Main Street Program.
“We found that three years was not sufficient time to do a program,” Marin said. “It has now been expanded to five years and the first year will be used for planning.” He said in the second year the borough could qualify for a $50,000 grant.
Marin said there are a number of Main Street Programs some of which require a main street manager. But he said there is a Main Street Affiliate Program that is also a five-year plan and no main street manager is required.
The meeting adjourned without a date set for another session but Marin suggested that another meeting be set and that he would bring someone from the regional office to further expand on the program and how to get it started.
A 35-year-old Susquehanna County man was sentenced to a state correctional facility last week for a term of four to eight years on a charge of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a minor.
Susquehanna County President Judge Kenneth W. Seamans also ordered that Scott Eric Finlaw of Montrose be placed on probation for five years after he completes the jail term. In addition, Finlaw was fined $2,500 and must perform 100 hours of community service and receive sexual abusers treatment and counseling.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, Finlaw touched a girl under the age of 18 on August 25, 2005. The affidavit alleges that the girl told her mother and that the suspect promised the mother he would never touch the girl again. The affidavit states that, on another occasion, the defendant again had sexual contact with the girl.
Judge Seamans also sentenced the following:
Georgia Birtch, 27, of Montrose, who was charged with several counts of theft by deception, was sentenced to serve one year to 18 months in the Susquehanna County Jail to run consecutive with a jail term she is currently serving for theft by deception.
In addition, Ms. Birtch was fined a total of $900 and must make restitution for additional charges of theft by deception and forgery.
Leon Grier, 34, of Binghamton, NY was given 30 months probation to run concurrent with his present sentence and must continue to participate in Binghamton Adult Drug Program for possession of a controlled substance in Great Bend Township on July 11, 2005. He was also fined $250.
Gerald Castle, 35, of Montrose, one to six months in the county jail and a $300 fine for drunk driving in Forest City on December 26, 2004. He also received a second jail term to run concurrent with the first sentence, 25 hours of community service and a $500 fine for attempting to elude a police office in Forest City on December 26, 2004. Lastly he was fined $200 for reckless driving in Forest City on December 26, 2004.
Walter Mercadante, 26, of Plymouth, five years probation and $500 fine for arson and related offenses in Lenox Township on May 29 , 2005.
Stephen Joseph Barry, 22, of Hallstead, 12 months to 36 months in a state correctional facility followed by five years probation for delivery of a controlled substance in New Milford Borough on September 8, 2005. The defendant was also fined $1,000 and cannot enter any establishment whose sole purpose is the sale of alcoholic beverages.
Jeffrey David Hilker, 19, of Great Bend, 48 hours to six months in the county jail for driving under the influence of alcoholic beverages in Susquehanna Borough on August 31, 2005. He was also fined $500 and must do 50 hours of community service.
Joel Thompson, 23, of New Milford, $250 fine, 25 hours of community service, continue with mental health treatment for loitering and prowling in Susquehanna on the night of August 9, 2005. He was also placed on state probation for 15 months. and fined $300 for resisting arrest in Susquehanna on August 9, 2005.
The full board met for both the Elk Lake School District and the Career & Technology Center on Monday, March 21.
President Arden Tewksbury opened the meeting with a pledge and prayer. Following was an announcement that the Sunshine Law requires time for visitors/public to speak. This opportunity will be at the beginning of the agenda from now on. The board may entertain further public comment later, at its pleasure as well. Tewksbury explained conduct rules for the public to follow. Also the board will rotate the order of the two board meetings. This evening the Career & Technology board was held first.
During public comment for the Tech Center, Janet Saravitz questioned the board’s possible plans to expand the cosmetology center/auto body facilities. Saravitz is “not happy that the public tax dollars will go there.” Saravitz wants the board to give serious thought to the expense to the public and to evaluate the needs of the community. Alice Davis, Director, noted that enrollment has increased and currently has about 300 students (up from 208 in 2003).
An Easter Buffet is scheduled for April 13 which will be prepared by the students.
Four Senior students gave brief presentations of their senior projects which are required for graduation. Four more are scheduled for the April board meeting.
A few more substitute teachers where approved.
Approval was given to obtain bids for cosmetology kits and supplies. The tuition for adult education was voted upon and held at $6000.
The career technology curriculum was approved.
Superintendent Dr. Bill Bush explained that the teacher interview committee needs two teachers and two administrators. A list of teachers was presented. Two teachers were approved to be on the committee. They are Donna Evans and Lisa Smith. Bush then asked to have permission to select other teachers not on the list if approved teachers are unavailable. A board member asked if a subject matter teacher should be on the committee as well. Bush acknowledged that ideally, yes.
Kevin Pierson, board member noted the house built by the students is nice. Then he questioned the plan for selling that house and the construction of the second house. Davis clarified that the first house will be sold and the second house is to have the foundation finished before school starts this fall. The school calendar was reviewed and will be voted upon at the next meeting.
The District board meeting was held immediately following.
Several resignations and leave of absences were requested. All requests were approved.
During the public comment for the District, Janet Saravitz requested the board consider purchasing new uniforms for the girls softball team. She also inquired as to what the policy is or if there is one as to the procedure on replacing uniforms and obtaining equipment. Brian Mallery explained that the coaches submit the budget and a wish list and make recommendations. The Athletic Director prepares a budget, reviews it and submits it to the central office. Saravitz was reassured by the board that uniforms will be ordered as needed. Saravitz also requested the board to consider having an emergency phone available for coaches during after school activities.
Saravitz also asked if the board would consider creating a school newspaper. Bush has done research on this issue and strongly believes it is possible to create a program, maybe by next year. Journalism classes could be used to build the paper staff. One board member stated that he felt there is not a lot of journalism opportunities in the area and appeared not too supportive of such an effort.
Several housekeeping issues were addressed such as the late bus run, staff handing out Maalox or Tums medicines to students, a wonderful talent show and a productive Citizens Advisory Council.
This reporter questioned the board as to the hiring/firing policy of coaches in particular and staff in general. As an example, the personal character traits of basketball Coach Al Smith were outlined in detail. Smith has many redeeming qualities that are worthy of emulation and therefore he serves as not just an athletic trainer but as role model children. Tewksbury stated that Smith has not been fired. Later in the meeting Bush added a motion to the agenda, which was approved, that from now on all open positions will be posted and advertised. As the two year contracts expire, the current contract holder and anyone else wanting to apply will have to interview and go before the board for approval.
The board briefly explained that the student identification number goes with the student if relocation occurs.
The principals gave their reports. The item receiving attention was the cost of the sixth grade trip to Gettysburg, PA. After a brief discussion the board voted to hold the cost the same as last year ($21.00) and the district will pick-up the increase in cost so as to be fair to the families.
The Wellness policy under review is to be voted upon before July.
Thursday, April 20 at 7:00 p.m. is the Spring legislative meeting at the Montrose High School library. Bush informed the board that he was approached by a vendor that school photography jobs should be put out to bid and opened to other vendors. A motion was made and approved to have open bids for photography packages.
Substitute teachers and lifeguards were approved. The teacher interview committee members were also approved.
One budget item was thoroughly discussed. That was the dental/vision fees for the 2006/2007 year. There will not be an increase in the dental. The district will pay more of the vision fund for full family coverage which is an increase from $65 to $85 (from $30 to $40 for single). The self funded medical benefit was increased from $65,000 to the $80,000 stop-loss level. The premiums will be lower with a higher deductible. But the cost to the school will be a 13% to 16% increase. The board approved taking one mil of funds from the reserves to pay for this increase.(new cost: $820 for family and $360 for single)
Dr. Khalil from Endless Mountain Health Services will continue to provide health screenings at no cost.
Two year copier contracts were approved. The cost of copies and the high consumption levels were discussed.
A list of coaching posts was approved for payment for services.
Mr. Place inquired if the board is intending to add an Athletic Trainer in the budget. Bush stated yes.
A Pool Safety Policy is being reviewed by the board for later vote as per an insurance requirement.
The closing discussion with lots of input from the board and public is the idea of uniforms for the students. Many parents do want the students in uniform and stated that cost is a big reason. Another reason for wanting uniforms is that time for enforcing dress code would be reduced and student bullying is said to decrease as well, according to surveys some cited. A few parents and one board member said they believe it is less expensive for students to wear street clothes.
A lot of ground was covered in this meeting as the school year draws to a close.
Susquehanna County’s Scrap Tire Program will be held in May, according to action taken by the county commissioners at last week’s meeting.
Eric Hamby, county recycling coordinator, set the following dates and drop-off points: Tires up to 16-inch only, May 6, Forest City Recycling Center, Route 247; May 13, Susquehanna Community School; and, May 20, Silver Lake Township Municipal Building. All drop-offs will be open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The cost is $1.50 per tire.
Hamby said on June 3, all tires including car, truck and tractor can be dropped off at the county recycling center in South Montrose from 8 a.m. until Noon. The fees for tires up to 16 inch will be $1.50 each and 10 cents a pound for automobile, truck and tractor tires over 16 inch in size.
Pre-registration forms can be printed off the recycling internet link – susquehannarecycle.com – and sent to the recycling center along with a check to cover the cost of the tires being dropped off. The forms can also be requested by calling the recycling center at 278-3589 or 278-3509, or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In another matter, the commissioners disposed of some personnel matters including the termination of Katie Bartels who was hired recently as occupation clerk in the assessment office. Ratification of her dismissal will take place at the next commissioners’ meeting but a county official said she no longer works for the county.
The commissioners hired Brenda Landes of Kingsley to the open position of intake officer in the Domestic Relations Department and Christine Jones of New Milford as secretary/planner in the Planning Department.
At its meeting that followed the commissioners‚ session, the salary board set the pay for Landes at $8.20 an hour and for Jones at $9.70 an hour. The board also set the pay for Jolene Kelly, caseworker II in Children and Youth at $13.73, effective April 14.
The commissioners accepted, with regret, the retirement of Peggy Farrell, deputy prothonotary, effective March 31.
Two resolutions passed by the commissioners included a grant agreement with the state Department of Public Welfare and a joint resolution with Wayne County and the state that will appropriate a total of $1,564.501 in funds expected to be appropriated for the subsidized Child Care Program and the service purchase contract between the county and Northeastern Child Care Services.
Other motions approved by the commissioners included:
Adopting Proclamation 2006-03 proclaiming April 2-8 as “The Week of the Young Child” in Susquehanna County.
Adopting Proclamation 2006-04 proclaiming March 29 as Helen Philips CASUAL Day for colon cancer awareness.
Adopting Proclamation 2006-05 proclaiming April 9-15 as National Public Safety Telecommunications Week.
Adopting a resolution approving the 911 Plan for the years 2006 through 2008 and the continuation of the Public Safety Telephone Case (9-1-1) fee.
Approving the expenditure of $6,000 from the Room Tax Committee and the Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau for web site development for tourism-based business in the county.
The Susquehanna County Council of Governments (COG) received good news at their March 21 meeting; they will be highlighted in an article in an upcoming issue of the PA COG’s monthly publication. The magazine, which is distributed statewide, has contacted COG secretary Cheryl Wellman requesting information, which she sent to them. The article should be appearing in May or June.
Forest City is currently a member of COG, but it is uncertain they will continue their membership. Their council will be discussing the matter at their April 4 meeting.
And there is a question of whether or not Montrose will be joining; their council had advertised their intent to do so, but it was not known whether or not they will.
Discussion took place concerning the regional police feasibility study conducted by the Governor’s Center for Local Government. Some questionnaires that were returned to DCED did not reach the appropriate office, and Harmony Township was left off of a list of municipalities participating in the study. Harmony will be contacted to ascertain if they are continuing their participation, but if they have, in fact, withdrawn from the study, Oakland Township would also withdraw. Oakland’s supervisors feel that it would not be feasible to be part of a regional police if it were the only municipality in its area of the county to do so.
An invitation was extended by the Leadership 20/20 program for a COG representative to address a March 28 information session. Info is available at the COG office for any member who might like to attend.
COG members are also invited to attend an Economic Update luncheon hosted by Peoples National Bank on April 18. Guest speaker will be the managing director of securities firm, RBC Dain Rauscher. Members may notify any branch office if they are interested in attending.
Street and road signs are almost done, with just three for Oakland Township to be completed.
There was discussion concerning notification from Commissioner Jeff Loomis indicating that one municipality’s voting area is not handicap accessible. The question was, what is the proper wording for the door sign that is supposed to be posted with notification that a poll is handicap accessible? It was thought that a sign comes with the voting package that municipalities receive for their voting places. It was suggested to check with the courthouse; if the sign is not provided, then contact COG.
The building committee has been investigating possible sites for location of a new COG building. Several have been found that are worth considering. The committee will meet to discuss particulars.
SEO Duane Wood reported that he had been contacted by an individual requesting that COG sponsor his SEO certification. With a sponsor, he would receive a discount in his costs for certification. Sponsorship would not require any financial costs for COG, or that COG commit to hiring, it would only be a commitment to consider him for future employment. It was agreed that it would be worth talking to him. And, COG has sponsored other candidates in the past.
Otherwise, sewage activities are somewhat slow this time of year. An eye is being kept on a ongoing situation regarding a stream discharge system for an individual residential lot. Plans for the system have been on hold, as no fees have been paid. But, if an escrow account is required (to ensure maintenance of the system), this would set a precedent. So, how to proceed? Other COGs will be contacted for information on similar situations, and what direction was taken.
Labor & Industry (L & I) has been in the area, conducting inspections of new commercial buildings. L & I is checking to see that handicap accessibility has been met, and to ensure that building inspectors are properly inspecting for accessibility. Any wrongs are considered a reflection on the inspector, and warnings are issued if they are found; the final outcome of too many warnings can result in de-certification of that inspector.
On Sunday, April 23 the Pennsylvania Construction Codes Academy will be hosting a class focusing on the ins and outs of the UCC. Secretary Karen Trynoski said that she had attended one and found it well worth attending and an excellent opportunity to learn. And, she joked, no test is required.
At prior meetings, and in other venues, House Bill 881 has been discussed; it allows any certified UCC inspector to conduct inspections in any municipality, expense of appeal being the responsibility of the municipality, and not requiring building plans for one, two or three story buildings. Most of the discussion had centered on how the bill affects COG, and consensus was a negative opinion of the bill. Codes chair Ted Plevinsky had been quoted in a local publication with negative comments about the bill. After publication, he had been contacted by State Rep. Tina Pickett, who is a sponsor of the bill, to discuss the bill and his comments about it. Rep. Picket said that the intent of the bill is to address areas that are not running smoothly and indicated that its passage is doubtful.
The ordinance to reestablish membership in COG will be advertised as soon as pertinent information as to member municipalities’ meeting times, locations and dates are verified.
Labor & Industry inspections were discussed; L & I only conducts inspections in response to complaints, and two were received about buildings in Montrose. The main focus of those inspections concern handicap accessibility or fire panic safety issues, especially in buildings where there are both commercial and residential usages. In buildings built before 1929, some exceptions can be made, but only L & I can do so; third party or independent inspectors cannot make accessibility exceptions. But, even then, not many waivers are being given, and, those only to solely commercial buildings. A certificate of occupancy issued prior to enactment of the UCC would still be good if there has not been a change of usage, but many financial institutions and insurance companies require a certificate of occupancy before securing financing or issuing insurance policies, which could really impact small businesses.
President Eliot Ross noted that he had had an interesting meeting with a Wyoming County official, who is interested in pursuing grant money to purchase sign making equipment. Wyoming is also pursing readdressing. Mr. Ross supplied information for both.
And, a question was asked about the road signs; some municipalities who have opted for readdressing have also been using different colored signs, to indicate whether the roads are public or private. Mr. Ross said that he would be happy to look at any information available on the topic.
The next meetings will be on Tuesday, April 18, 7 p.m. in the New Milford Boro building.
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