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In an obvious effort to reaffirm her position regarding Barnes-Kasson Hospital, Roberta Kelly, chair of the Susquehanna County Board of Commissioners, left little doubt about her intention to do all she can to save the hospital.
Mrs. Kelly opened last week’s meeting of the county commissioners with a brief but very pronounced statement that stopped just short of advising her critics that she will not be intimidated by them.
“I have been on the job for two and one half years,” she said, “and I can assure you that I don’t run and hide from tough issues. Whether that issue be a bomb threat, natural disaster or handling the current situation with Barnes-Kasson Hospital.
“All you need to know is the county has implemented the necessary steps to help save the largest employer in the county, and that it is being done in a professional and proper manner.”
While Sara Iveson, executive director of the hospital, could not be reached for comment, reports that the hospital will close were traced by The Transcript to unfounded rumors.
The Transcript did learn that the county has engaged the services of Peter Carlucci of Harrisburg, a finance attorney, to protect its interest in the Barnes-Kasson Hospital matter.
Mrs. Kelly confirmed the hiring and said because bond issues are involved the county felt it should have special counsel to handle it.
“There are areas that have to be dealt with,” Mrs. Kelly said. “It’s not a big issue, just a common sense move.”
In another matter, Al Aronowitz, a member of the county’s Tourist Committee, asked the commissioners to pursue payment of room taxes owed to the county by Robert Wert, owner of The Rosemont Bed and Breakfast on Lake Avenue in Montrose.
Aronowitz said The Rosemont has not paid the required room tax since it opened over a year ago.
“There is a tremendous amount of money involved here,” Aronowitz said. He suggested that the county pursue a “cease and desist” order that would prevent The Rosemont from doing business until the room tax is paid.
“We are a paper tiger,” Aronowitz said. “If we are not going to collect from him, I will tell the others to stop paying the tax.”
The commissioners said they would look into the issue.
Motions passed by the commissioners completed the following business:
– Supported the proposal to designate portions of Route 92 in Lenox Township, Routes 171 and 1009 in Lanesboro as a Pennsylvania Scenic Byway.
– Amended the county’s subdivision ordinance.
– Ratified the fixed bid from Mirabito Fuel for fuel oil at $2.65 a gallon and dyed kerosene at $3.12 a gallon.
– Ratified the hiring of Donald Stewart as new jail warden and Kandi Zapolski as deputy warden.
Meeting as the Salary Board, along with Treasurer Cathy Benedict, the commissioners approved recommended salaries for Donald Stewart at $40,000 and Kandi Zapolski at $28,000.
A Susquehanna County man will spend the next 3 1/2 to eight years in a state correctional facility to run concurrent with a sentence he received in New York, following his guilty pleas to charges of burglary and recklessly endangering another person.
Susquehanna County President Judge Kenneth W. Seamans also fined David Lee Ranck, 33, of Montrose $1,000 plus $250 DNA testing fees, ordered him to undergo drug and alcohol evaluation and not to possess, transport or consume alcoholic beverages. He must also make restitution to his victim.
State Police said Ranck committed a burglary in Franklin Township on June 29, 2005, and he was cited for recklessly endangering another person in Liberty Township also on June 29, 2005.
Judge Seamans also sentenced the following individuals:
Jonathan T. Serniak, 24, of South Gibson to 30 days to 11 months in the Susquehanna County Jail, $500 fine plus court costs for corruption of minors. He was also placed on probation for one year and fined $200 on a second charge of corruption of minors in Lenox Township on July 13, 2005.
Stanley A. Penny, 49, Montrose, three to six months in the county jail plus $1,000 fine and 25 hours community service for driving under the influence in Montrose on February 18, 2006.
David J. Meszaros, 41, of Starrucca, 48 hours to six months in the county jail, $750 fine and $300 Act 198 fee, for driving under the influence in Harmony Township o September 25, 2005. He must also attend safe driving school.
Daniel Lee Houck, 38, of Susquehanna, 48 hours to six months in the county jail, $1000 fine and $300 Act 198 fee, for driving under the influence in Susquehanna on September 2, 2005.
Joseph David Warner, 49, of New Milford, nine months probation, $150 fine for disorderly conduct. Also $100 fine, $50 restitution for criminal mischief in New Milford Township on November 19, 2005.
Pamela Jane Leiger, 36, of South Montrose, 10 months to 23 1/2 months in the county jail with credit for time served, four years probation, $250 fine and $250 DNA test, for incest in Susquehanna Borough on May 25, 2005.
Duane Robert Chase, 41, of New Milford, six months to 23 1/2 months in the county jail with credit for time served, $1,500 fine, for driving under the influence in New Milford Township on January 29, 2006.
The Blue Ridge School District’s battle with two of its tax collectors returned to court this morning (Wednesday, August 30) over the district’s emergency petition asking the court to compel them to collect the school taxes at 60 cents per tax bill.
The matter was scheduled before Wyoming County President Judge Brendan Vanston in Tunkhannock. Judge Vanston replaced Susquehanna County President Judge Kenneth W. Seamans, who recused himself because he resides in the Blue Ridge School District.
Tax Collectors Vicki Drake of New Milford Borough and Miriam Page of Jackson Township are the defendants in today’s court battle. Both of them have refused to collect the taxes at 60 cents per bill and also did not sign exonerations that would have allowed the school district to collect the taxes in their communities.
And in a related development, Laura Conarton, president of the Susquehanna County Collectors Association and a tax collector in the Blue Ridge School District, said she will resign her position before she will collect the school taxes at 60 cents per bill.
“I will not do it for 60 cents,” Mrs. Conarton said. “As far as I am concerned what the school district spent in litigation so far would have paid us our rate.”
Mrs. Conarton, who is in her ninth year as tax collector in Great Bend Borough, said she has not been contacted by the school district. She said if the bills are to go out soon, they need to be printed showing who is collecting the taxes and the time and place to pay them.
Robert McNamara, superintendent at Blue Ridge, said the tax bills have not been printed and are pending the results of today’s court hearing. He said three of the tax collectors, Mrs. Conarton, Peggy Woosman of New Milford Borough, and Roberta Gulick of New Milford Township, signed exonerations prompting the Board of Education to appoint Sharon Warren, district assistant business manager, to collect the taxes from those municipalities. He said Margo Merritt of Great Bend Township agreed to collect the taxes at 60 cents per bill.
In his response to today’s scheduled hearing, Michael Giangrieco, attorney for Mrs. Drake and Mrs. Page, said the school district is not entitled to the relief requested in the emergency petition because the district acted in bad faith from the beginning of the events that led to court action.
“This cause,” Giangrieco said, “comes about as a result of the plaintiffs’ decision to drastically reduce the compensation of the tax collectors by 80 percent in violation of well settled Pennsylvania case law. This decision to reduce the rate of compensation was made in an arbitrary, capricious manner and was wholly unreasonable and in bad faith.”
Giangrieco further states that, because the district acted in selective enforcement, the complaint is legally insufficient.
“Interestingly,” Giangrieco said, “even the School Board President, Alan Hall, indicated at a public meeting that if his salary was reduced by 80 percent, he would quit.”
Rebecca Ann Sorber to Rebecca Ann Sorber, RR1, Lawton, Noel Sorber, in Rush Township for one dollar.
Steven D. Crabtree to Anne Marie Meyerhoffer, New Britain, CT, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
Roger Sherman (by sheriff), Elizabeth A. Sherman (by sheriff) to Novastar Mortgage Inc., Kansas City, MO, in Springville Township for $3,238.
Joseph Barry, Becky L. Wall-Barry to Joseph M. Barry, RR2, Montrose, Becky L. Barry, in Forest Lake Township for one dollar.
Peter Fraone, Christine C. Fraone to Wayne C. Baker, RR3, Meshoppen, Linda K. Baker, in Auburn Township for $148.900.
Gerald E. Gorski, Kathleen Gorski to David Tretter, Philadelphia, in New Milford Township for $170,000.
Mary Ann Matuszewski to John Paul Kozlosky, New Hope, Mary Ann Matuszewski, in Lathrop Township for one dollar.
William C. Zitzow, Barbara A. Zitzow to Dennis H. Phelan, Bordentown, NJ, in New Milford Township for $130,000.
Anastasia Gurdock Zabielski, Joseph C. Zabielski III to Edgar S. French, Phyllis L. French, in Susquehanna for $76,000.
Edith W. Dodge (aka) Edith Anne Dodge (by attorney) to David E. Dodge, Tunkhannock, in Auburn Township for one dollar.
John Raum, Brenda Hill Dull (nbm) Brenda Raum to Tim Porter, Chinchilla, in Auburn Township for $215,000.
Carlton Farrell, Peggy Farrell to Susan Bey, Burlington, NC, in Dimock Township for one dollar.
Susan Bey to Gary J. Johnson, Dimock, Linda C. Johnson, in Dimock Township for $145,000.
James D. Tyler to Steven M. Letting, Sanatoga, Helen E. Letting, in Rush Township for $147,500.
Jake A. Romain, Tonya L. Romain to Daniel N. Reissig, Brackney, Katherine MCK Reissig, in Silver Lake Township for $183,820.
Frank F. Mittman, Anne L. Mittman to Philip A. Martino, Jr., Lawrenceville, NJ, Katherine A. Martino, in Franklin Township for $89,000.
Charles T. Kilgore (by sheriff) to Goldman Sachs Mortgage Co., Houston, TX, in Hop Bottom Borough for $4,216.
Thomas E. George, Cheryl L. George to Jeffrey A. Cohen, Blue Bell, in Herrick Township for $425,000.
Stanley Anderson, Diana Anderson to Stanley A. Anderson, Jr., Brackney, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Gerald L. Arthur, Lynne J. Arthur to Gerald L. Arthur. RR2, Great Bend, in Hallstead Borough for one dollar.
Gerald L. Arthur, Lynne J. Arthur to Lynne J. Arthur, RR2, Susquehanna, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.
Patricia L. Ward to Robin D. Conrad, RR3, Hallstead, Angelica Conrad, in Great Bend Township for $89,000.
Ross J. Doolin, Margaret K. Doolin to Renee Lepre, Cathedral City, CA, in Lenox Township for $405,000.
Hal K. Crisman, Mary Louise Ruiz, Charlie G. Ruiz to Eric D. Depue, South Montrose, Mariah L. Palmatier, in Bridgewater Township for $122,500.
Geneva Neal to James S. Barber, Iselin, NJ, in Jackson Township for $35,000.
Thomas M. Petroski, Sr., Lisa M. Petroski to Andrew J. Sudylo, Basking Ridge, NJ, Julia Sudylo, in Jackson Township for $25,000.
David L. Slater (estate), Jean M. Slater to Raymond E. Swanson, RR2, Susquehanna, Nicole L. Swanson, in Lanesboro Borough for $4,000.
James E. Jones, Joan C. Jones to Harold Houghton, RD3, Susquehanna, Carol Houghton, in Jackson Township for $10,000.
Debra J. Marvin, Jerry A. Marvin, Lloyd W. Marvin, Floyd C. Marvin to Debra J. Marvin, RR1, Susquehanna, in Jackson Township for one dollar.
Debra J. Marvin, Jerry A. Marvin, Lloyd W. Marvin, Floyd C. Marvin to Debra J. Marvin, RR1, Susquehanna, in Jackson Township for one dollar.
Rural Investments LLC to Rural Investments LLC, RR1, Union Dale, in Ararat Township for one dollar.
Anthony Sharp (estate) to Paul Ehrenberg, Inwood WV, in Hallstead Borough for $40,500.
Robert Lopatofsky, Laurie L. Lopatofsky to Tracy Hodges, Forest City, in Forest City for $14,750.
Jeffrey Burkett, Nancy Ann Burkett to Brett S. Grover, Elaine C. Grover, in Great Bend Borough for $115,050.
Kurt Schultz, Sandy Hum-Schultz to Gordon Speights Young, Alexandria, VA, Maryann Spellman Young, in Herrick Township for $318,000.
Craig A. Sautner, Julie I. Sautner to Edward G. Schirra, Montrose, Concetta M. Schirra, in Dimock Township for $255,000.
Earl K. Carter (estate), Squier Living Trust (by trustees) to John W. Carter, Wyalusing, Virginia L. Carter, in Auburn Township for one dollar.
Hugh F. Coombs, Margaret E. Coombs to Jeffrey O. Burkett, RR1, Hallstead, Nancy A. Burkett, in Great Bend Township for $215,000.
Barbara A. Robinson, Keith D. Robinson to Keith D. Robinson, Great Bend, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.
Ronald Chalker to Tammy Hadlick, RR1, Hallstead, in Franklin Township for $20,000.
Kenneth F. Collins (by sheriff), Stephanie M. Collins (by sheriff) United States of America, Department of the Treasury (by sheriff) to Peoples National Bank, Hallstead, in Hallstead Borough for $6,301.
Daniel Brizzolara, Diane Brizzolara to Daniel Brizzolara, RR2, Hallstead, in New Milford Township for one dollar.
Gerhard Otto Gareis III and Danielle Calhoun, both of Wynantskill, NY.
Todd Loren Strand and Laura J. Kornutiak, both of Forest City.
Terry Dunn and Frenzetta Smith, both of Syracuse, NY.
Andrew James Sheffler, Hallstead and Kristy Jo Furlin, Meshoppen.
Paul William Ward and Jennifer Alyne Pompey, both of Springville.
Gary Allen Goff and Nichole Ann Peck, both of Montrose.
Bradley Alan Janey and Oxana Belyaeva, both of Union Dale.
Raven Manocchio and Whitney Gray Wilkerson, both of Durham, NC.
Zebulon Stinson Fitch and Heather E. Abbott, both of Susquehanna.
Jacqueline Ruth Tyler, New Milford vs. Daniel P. Tyler, New Milford, Married Aug. 20, 1988.
Diane A. Powers, RR1, Thompson vs. David M. Powers, Columbia Falls, MT. Married May 11, 1991.
Teri A. Groover, RR2, Brackney vs. Robert L. Groover, Vestal, NY. Married Oct. 26, 1991.
Alan B. Hickock, Montrose, vs. Patricia A. Hickock, Valley Forge. Married June 29, 1968.
On August 22, the public portion of the Elk Lake School District and Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center board meeting quickly ran to talk of taxes. The creation of a tax commission, mandated as part of Act 1 of 2006, was one of the first major issues presented. This commission, made up of ten people with at least one representative from each section of the district, will be charged with studying the district's taxation system and history. It will then have a public hearing on its findings, and present to the board its non-binding recommendations – which the board can accept or reject. Act one is a part of Bill 39, the Pennsylvania Taxpayer Relief Act, which involves the decrease of property tax within a district if voters approve an increase in earned income tax, or the levy of a personal income tax. The board voted acceptance of the proposed 10 members, allowing the district to move ahead with the state's requirements, which have a December deadline. The commission had to be created at this meeting, due to a September 14 deadline.
Other tax talk involved a resolution regarding the real estate transfer tax. A .5% realty transfer tax has already been in place, part of which goes to the district and part to the municipality. Recently the district was contacted and told that their resolution was outdated, and it was recommended that they contact a solicitor. He sent back a resolution which would renew this, with an alteration. As the policy has stood, on the infrequent occasions when payments on the tax are delinquent, the state has had the ability to collect interest on the delinquency, whereas the school district could collect the delinquent tax, but not the interest. This resolution would give the district the right to collect the interest as well. It was voted upon and approved.
During a presentation to the board, the Community Foundation cited better scholarship organization and freedom from paperwork and liability as some of the benefits of affiliation with their organization. Their function is to serve as a middleman between donors, schools, and charity recipients. Rather than approaching a school district to establish, for instance, a scholarship fund, the donor would approach the Foundation. He or she would have complete control over their money, stipulating exactly where it was intended to go, and what it was to be used for. (Many times it is for scholarship purposes; sometimes, however it is for new athletic equipment or uniforms, etc.) The Foundation then has a master list of scholarship money, and ensures that the districts are aware of what scholarships are available to their students, both those open only to Elk Lake students and those available to multiple districts. A universal scholarship application is used in all the participating districts, simplifying the application process. Money which is donated is invested, with the goal of a 10% return. Of this, 5% would go to the scholarship, 1% to administrative costs, and 4% would be left to grow and compensate for the effects of inflation. The Foundation is a non-profit organization which states that its only purpose is the keeping of the county's charitable money within the county. What they were asking of the board was a letter, granting them permission to use the name “The Elk Lake Foundation” so that donors could put money specifically earmarked for Elk Lake within it. The board decided to discuss this further before responding. More information on the Community Foundation, scholarship information, and some memorials can be found on-line at www.community-foundation.org.
Other money decisions were made in order to make easier the lives of Elk Lake and SCCTC staff. The board approved an increased raise in the wages of non-CDL drivers for the district. This was prompted by the planned increases of the minimum wage, scheduled to occur in January and again in July, which might result in these drivers being at or below the new level. It was proposed that the district make this change now, rather than having to deal with it in the middle of the year. One board member queried why such a raise should be made, if the normal raise (2 or 3% for these drivers) could still keep them at or above the new minimum wage. The answer was that many of these drivers had been loyal to the district for years, and if the minimum wage level goes up they should not be deprived of getting this new salary plus the raise which they would have normally earned anyway. In addition to this, the new minimum wage will raise the starting wage of new drivers. The district appreciates the current drivers' loyalty and work, especially when it can be hard to keep drivers due to the uncertainty and scarcity of hours which can accompany the job. The new raises were approved for the next two school years, to start in September of this year. A district employee who approached Dr. Bush was responsible for another staff related board decision, this one about tuition costs for children of staff. The board approved a 50% reduction of tuition for employees' children, both current and future. The parents will be responsible for transportation.
Overall the district was declared, with positive reports of good things which have been accomplished or set in motion, ready for the opening of the school year. School repairs are on schedule. A new playground grant has been awarded. All roads save one are open for travel, and a detour is already worked out for that one. Athletics programs have begun. A parent spoke up in appreciation of the youth apprenticeship program, which her son participated in. The Youth Advocate Outreach Program will run again this year, with a crisis counselor working with at-risk students (as well as being available to all students). SCCTC was again given money by the United Way to help provide supplies and tools for students in need. There are hopes that the house project will be ready to go on the market in a month and the cosmetology project, while the facilities may not be open until next school year, is progressing. There is much to look forward to within the District.
That the residents of Great Bend Twp. are still dealing with the aftermath of the June flooding was quite evident at the August 21 supervisors’ meeting. It was standing room only, as a number of residents came to ask questions about what was being done, what could be done, and how to do it.
Some relatively minor concerns were quickly addressed; some potholes would be filled with modified for the time being, and a dusting of calcium could be spread in areas where dust has been a problem. The fixes were temporary, as they are on roads that have been slated for extensive repair work. Bids had been put out for that work and will be opened at the September 5 meeting. The roads bid out include Old Route 11, Tarzan Road, Grants Crossing, Church Road, Locust Hill, and Nova Road. Preliminary information indicated that at least two bids will be coming in, and the work will be done as soon as possible. The road crew has been clearing clogged sluice pipes and replacing where necessary, and a course of action has been determined for Bogart St.
Mr. Squier said that FEMA did another walking inspection of Dubois Creek, and he estimated that it would cost from $600,000 to $700,00 to clean it out. Mr. Sienko added that the creek will be submitted to the Emergency Watershed Protection Program, through which repairs will be done to a section of Trowbridge Creek. Although receiving funding is not a definite, the supervisors have been looking into any avenues available to fix the problem.
In the meantime, a resident asked, “What can we do?” Mr. Squier suggested that residents in the affected area circulate petitions and keep contacting legislators for help. “It’s been approved to be cleaned out,” he said, “but someone has to come up with the money.” He suggested that the residents also contact TV stations to keep attention focused on the problem.
A resident asked about paperwork for emergency permits the township had received from Commissioner Kelly. Mr. Squier said that the township did receive it, but the township does not have the means of paying for cleaning the creek.
Supervisor Sheila Guinan clarified that the landowners have to get the permits; at one point Commissioner Kelly thought that FEMA would cover the costs, but they will not. “Their position is that it is the landowners’ responsibility.”
One resident estimated that if 20 of the affected families were to combine resources, it would cost about $50,000 for each of them to get the creek cleaned out. “How can we do that?” she asked.
Mrs. Guinan said that DEP would be in the township the following day; emergency permits could be obtained at no cost. She suggested that everyone in the area get a permit, and hire a contractor as a group; maybe a better estimate could be obtained to do the work as one, large project, rather than piecemeal, smaller projects. She stressed that the creek can be put back to its original state, but could not be changed in any way, such as putting in higher walls than had originally been there, and dredged material could be used to fill in wash outs. Another resident pointed out that there were many, many downed trees in the creek that need to be removed and disposed of.
The supervisors reiterated that media attention should be sought, as well as contacting legislators, such as Senators Santorum and Madigan, Congressman Sherwood, and State Rep. Sandra Major and DEP as well. Mr. Squier said, “The county commissioners want us to go ahead. We can’t, we don’t have the money.” Resident Del Austin had a suggestion; the families in the affected area could put together a video presentation of the damage and their present conditions, have copies made, and distribute them to legislators and TV stations.
Mrs. Guinan said that the state Dept. of Agriculture is aware of the problem, but they have no more money allotted now that could be used, but once Congress gets back into session they may be able to allocate funds. She suggested that the Dept. of Agriculture be added to the list of officials to be contacted.
Someone asked, “Why can’t we get DEP here, to a meeting?” The supervisors’ consensus was that that was improbable.
The Bridging Communities committee is in the process of applying for a DCNR grant to fund the remaining $10,000 needed to complete the sidewalk replacement project.
Auditor Virginia Austin tendered her resignation, effective August 31. She gave thanks for the opportunity to serve the community. A motion carried to accept, with regret.
Permits were approved for a land development plan for Jason and Amy Auckland, and for a driveway permit for Robert Starr, Jr.
Correspondence reviewed included an update on the New York Regional Interconnect power line project; the New York Dept. of Public Service has sent a procedural ruling for the NYRI application for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need. Mr. Squier speculated that New York communities have been so opposed to the line going through their communities, it may well end up coming through Susquehanna County.
House Bill 248 has been signed into law; funding for the turnback program has been increased from $2,500/mile to $4,000; about 1.35 miles in the township qualify.
A motion carried to approve an advertisement in the Township Officials Association fall convention magazine, the same as last year’s.
A motion carried to enact Ordinance 57, which deals with realty transfer tax; interest charged will be equivalent to what the Commonwealth of PA charges.
Under unfinished business, Randolph Road resident Ralph Reynolds was present in response to a letter he had received from the supervisors (violation of the nuisance ordinance). Mr. Reynolds said that there had been about 15 inches of water in the three apartments on his property from the flood; materials from inside had been placed outside while reconstruction had been started and could not be put back inside until the work is done. He disputed that material came from other places, except for two vehicles he is holding for a former neighbor. He requested more time than the remaining 15 days he had been given to clean up. Mr. Squier estimated that it had been 55 days since the flood; how much more time would Mr. Reynolds need? He asked for a couple of months. Mr. Squier suggested that he get a storage trailer to use in the meantime; Mr. Reynolds said that he could not because it would be a financial hardship, as he does not have rent coming in from the damaged apartments.
After a short discussion, Mr. Sienko suggested that a 30 day extension be given, then see how much progress has been made. The other supervisors agreed.
Mr. Reynolds was also admonished to stop burning; he said that immediately after the flood, “everyone was burning,” but he had stopped after receiving the supervisors’ letter.
A letter was sent to a Harmony Road property owner, regarding the number of vehicles on his/her property.
Joan Long was present, also in response to a letter she had received from the supervisors. She said that DEP and Conservation approved of where she was dumping (dirt/gravel). Mr. Squier said that DEP said it would have to be removed. Ms. Long responded, “I did do what they wanted. I have a letter to that effect.” Mr. Squier noted that the township did not receive a copy of the letter, but if one were supplied, “We’ll take it into consideration.”
There was discussion about several piles of debris on Harmony Rd., presumably flood damaged material. Mr. Squier was not in favor of having the township’s road crew pick it up; he said that there had been a dumpster available at the township building for residents’ use. “We should not be responsible for picking up someone’s garbage.” Mrs. Guinan disagreed; she said that she would rather get it picked up while the dumpster was still there; the hauler would be coming for it within a few days.
During public comment, a resident asked about regulations for putting in mobile homes; it seemed that trailers were being brought in from out-of-state, and put in without following regulations. Mrs. Guinan said that, possibly some leeway had been given because the trailers were replacing ones that had already been there, but had been damaged by the flood.
And, Del Austin, a neighbor of Mr. Reynolds, disagreed with Mr. Reynolds’ assertion that the debris on his property is from the flood. He said that the condition had existed for at least two years, and that there would be evidence of that in the township’s meeting minutes. He said that the burning had been going on over an extended period of time, and was not just flood debris, but garbage. Other neighbors had been so disturbed by the odor that they had to leave their home and stay in a hotel. He also said that there was a video tape of Mr. Reynolds burning during the county’s burn ban. “Personally,” he
said, “my heart goes out to those who suffered damage, but that stuff has been there over a year. It is ludicrous to make it sound like it was from the flood. You put a blight on this community.”
Mr. Reynolds thanked Mr. Austin for sharing his opinion and added, “You are totally wrong.”
The next meeting will be on Tuesday, September 5, 7 p.m. in the township building.
A large group of parents and kids addressed the Susquehanna Boro Council at their August 22 meeting, and asked council to consider allowing a skateboard park somewhere in the boro. The parents told council that these are “good kids,” who are good students; many also have jobs and are involved in sports. A park would keep them out of trouble by giving them a designated place for skateboarding; some had had their boards confiscated by the boro police, and the school no longer allows skateboarding on campus.
President Tom Kelly’s first concern was the cost of liability insurance. Mr. Matis added that there has also been damage to the relatively new curbing on Main St., and there have been complaints about kids riding their boards on the streets.
The parents said that they had obtained information on building a skateboard park. They would be willing to arrange fund-raisers, and many would be willing to volunteer their time and talents to build it. They were not looking for anything extravagant, just a place where kids could go. The children are aware that there will be rules if a park is built. No one would be allowed to skate without a helmet, and the parents of kids who use the park would be required to sign insurance waivers. But, they need a place to put a park.
Mr. Kelly suggested that a good starting point would be to go to a Parks and Rec. meeting. Mr. Matis added that he would be more supportive of the effort if a formal committee were to be formed.
Mayor Reddon said that information was available from the Tony Hawk Foundation, but there was no dollar amount given for liability costs. She said that she had spoken with Susquehanna Community School Superintendent Bronson Stone, who said that the skateboard riding had gotten to the point where there was damage to the sidewalks, and benches turned over. He was concerned with liability, and had banned skateboarding on school property.
If there were an area, the mayor said, parents could sign a (liability) waiver, but that would necessitate having someone on hand to monitor, to ensure that it is only accessible to kids whose parents have signed a waiver.
Mr. Kelly said that it would be nice to provide a place, but people should understand the financial aspects involved. “We will work on it, and do the best we can, but no promises.”
A resident in the audience noted that Perkasie has a skateboard park, but they charge $5 per hour for use. It is gated, and there are rules to follow. She also wanted council to know that she had recently had occasion to call the boro police in regard to an incident, and was pleased that the matter was taken care of right away.
Another resident asked about potholes at the top of Jackson Ave., and at the end of Erie to the boro line. Mr. Matis said that FEMA funding will take care of some of it.
Under old business, Mr. Matis said that FEMA damage reports are in progress. A meeting was held earlier in the week with a FEMA rep.; work has been approved, council was in the process of getting pricing. The work would not have to be bid out, as it is comprised of a number of small projects.
Mr. Kelly reported that the Parks and Rec. committee recommends holding on to the bridge that had been removed from the Drinker Creek Park; it could be re-placed there, or used at the riverfront park.
Mayor Reddon had met with a representative from DEP to look into complaints that quarry operations were adding to normal water problems. Indications are that not all of the problems were caused by the quarries, but there are some problems that the boro and DEP need to look at and get resolved.
A request from Roy Williams to attend a UCC seminar was tabled for the time being, until Mr. Williams was present at a meeting to discuss it.
A motion carried for secretary Ann Stewart to attend a grant writing seminar.
A resolution was approved to file a grant application on behalf of the SCDA through the Clean and Green program, for a $34,700 community revitalization project for Main Street Beautification/Educations project. As it concerns the Shops Plaza retaining wall, council stipulated that the property owner must approve.
Good news, a CDBG grant has been obtained with the help of the county Housing and Redevelopment Authority; a request for storm sewer improvements in the amount of $54,340 has been approved by the commissioners and the state. The Housing Authority will be administering the project and will contact the boro in the near future regarding details.
Mayor Reddon relayed complaints from a Fourth Ave. resident about water problems. One thing that would help is curbing; the boro had purchased forms some time ago. “We need to work on curbing,” she said.
And, Mr. Matis had heard that Oakland Boro needs a place to store salt as their shed had been destroyed in the flooding; he suggested that Susquehanna offer temporary storage if Oakland buys their own. Council approved.
The meeting adjourned to an executive session; after reconvening motions carried to appoint Al Christianson as the boro’s new Codes Enforcement Officer, and to advertise for a line of credit to cover flood repair expenses until compensation for same is received from FEMA.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday, September 12, 7 p.m. in the boro building.
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