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The Forest City Borough Council last week postponed the introduction of an ordinance regulating residential rental units after some members said they had questions regarding the measure and one landlord cited some concerns about it.
Mayor Nick Cost, the chief sponsor of the ordinance, remained adamant and urged council to pass it.
“I am proposing this ordinance,” the mayor said, “and I hope council will adopt it and help clean up the town. That is what I am trying to do. Some people are going to suffer.”
Duane Nolan, owner of Village Hardware on Main Street, said he would support any ordinance that would help to clean up the borough. However, he said the proposed ordinance appears to be penalizing landlords who have owned rental units in the borough for years and always try to get good tenants.
“In my opinion,” Nolan said, “what you are trying to do here is more of a nuisance problem. There’s no question here whether there are violations. The question is how do you enforce them?
“From what I heard here tonight, you cannot enforce the existing ordinances. If you start enforcing the ordinances you already have, you will not have enough time to read the new ordinances.”
Councilwoman Mary Twilley told Nolan she agrees with all that he said and that the borough has a book of ordinances that aren't being enforced.
“These are not isolated cases,” Councilman Robert Trusky said of the problems in the community. “There are 15 or 20 in town and I am not willing to live like that.”
Nolan, who is also a landlord with two rental units above his store, said council might be better off putting teeth in the laws already in the books rather than pass new ordinances.
“You have to have the will to enforce any ordinance that is passed,” Nolan said. “You cannot even get anyone to cut their grass.”
Council agreed to review the ordinance and return for a special public meeting on September 19 when any changes will be made prior to advertising it for a public hearing. The public is welcome to the special meeting on the subject.
Among the provisions of the ordinance, the proposed law provides for an annual inspection and the issuance of an occupancy permit if the premise passes it. The license fee will be $50 of which $25 will be refunded if the rental unit is approved for occupancy.
The ordinance also requires landlords to submit the names of tenants occupying a rental unit. The owner of a rental unit must provide the borough with information relative to the rental and any change in the occupant of it. The owner must also keep and maintain the rental unit in compliance with applicable codes and keep the property in good and safe condition.
In another matter, a delegation of residents from Upper Main Street asked council for action on their street The heavy rains in late June washed away some of the bank that separates their street from route 171 and caused some of their street to be washed away.
“The street is awfully narrow now,” said Fran Beers. “I don’t think a snowplow will get through there.”
Jim Lowry, council president, said the borough has been promised some financial help to repair damage caused by the record rainfall but it may be a long time before the money gets here. He said the initial estimate of $430,000 to repair it, including a retention wall to avoid additional landslides, will never materialize and that the borough may get $30,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and is waiting to see if the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) will also kick in some money for the project.
Councilman Paul J. Amadio suggested the borough write to the Department of Environmental Protection and ask for an audience with the department head in an effort to push along any appropriation before the snow flies. He further suggested that letters be forwarded to State Senator Charles Lemmond and Representative John Wansacz. Council accepted Amadio’s recommendation.
Mayor Cost said he will instruct the police department to issue citations to motorists who fail to stop for pedestrians as required by local law. The mayor said he has observed senior citizens and youngsters at the crosswalks and traffic keeps moving.
Council agreed to install piping to resolve a water problem that has been troublesome to users of the Rails to Trails route through the borough.
What do Myspace, barking dogs, crosswalks and drunk drivers have in common? All were issues discussed at the September 5 Montrose Borough Council meeting, within the context of making Montrose a safer and more peaceful place to live.
One might wonder how popular internet site Myspace.com figures into this equation. The board approved a request on behalf of the police chief to order an informational DVD about this phenomenon. The DVD details the experiences of a police sergeant who joined Myspace.com as a school resource officer, and discusses how the site can be of use in police work. It includes a description of the site and an online tutorial for setting up a page. The council approved this purchase for potential use as a police training tool, and a resource for parental inquiries.
Another topic of police-related discussion centered on whether or not the borough would participate in a countywide DUI task force. It would be run on a more local level than one previously in existence, with the DA in charge of the program. Officers in a county car would patrol certain recommended areas at particular times, and deal only with DUI offenses. The program would be fully funded by the Attorney General’s office, with the DA in control of the funds. In order for the Montrose police department to contribute to the force, the borough would have to enact an ordinance allowing them to do so. This is due to a health care issue – while the officers would be compensated for their time by the outside funding, should they be injured they would have to be covered by borough insurance. It was decided that the police chief would look further into this matter, and it will be reviewed at the next meeting.
The borough solicitor brought forth a proposed noise ordinance, as discussed at the previous meeting. It dealt not only with barking dogs, but with other excessive noise. It was suggested that the inclusion of such “premises noise,” the necessity for a renter’s ordinance to control rowdy renter behavior might be eliminated. This would not, however, enforce the registration of people living in a given location, which was one of the primary purposes of the separate renters’ ordinance. The council queried whether or not there was any other way to acquire such information. How much the fine should be for an infraction of the noise ordinance was also discussed, with at least one member feeling that if it didn’t have “teeth” it wasn’t worth much as a rule. In the last four months the police have dealt with 15 complaints dealing with noise and/or dogs barking. It was decided that solicitor O’Malley would look into these two issues, renter registration and the particulars of the borough’s fining ability, for the next meeting.
The mayor had requested that the solicitor find a sample ordinance regarding a curfew for minors. One was presented at the meeting, and the general idea of such an ordinance discussed, as well as what would be the best times for a curfew. This too will be further examined before the next meeting.
The council returned to the issue of parking at this meeting as well. More specifically, a hearing was held regarding the proposed increase in parking violation fines. As no one showed up to contest the change, it was quickly approved. The new parking tickets will be lime green.
The removal of a crosswalk between the west side of Public Ave. and the east side of South Main St. was noted. This is something done by PennDOT, not the council, but was brought up for general knowledge purposes. This has proven to be a potentially dangerous crosswalk in the past.
The idea of an earned income tax is showing up in many meetings throughout the area. This was no exception, as Barbara Fairchild from Berkheimer gave a presentation attempting to convince the council to enact this tax with the assistance of her company. Montrose has not been collecting this tax, and was not interested when Berkheimer first approached them a year ago. Ms. Fairchild stated that this decision has been losing them money, especially as so many other areas have already enacted the tax. Part of the reason for this lies in the fact that the tax is collected by the area in which a person lives, unless the tax does not exist there. In this case, within the state of PA, if their location of employment does have the tax they get the money. Thus Montrose residents are still being taxed, the money just isn’t coming to Montrose. The borough is considering enacting this tax now due to consideration of the money lost by not having it, rising prices in other areas and Act 1 of 2006, which prompts school districts to consider it for their own purposes. Ms. Fairchild stated various ways in which, should the borough go through her company, her company would work with residents and businesses to make the process easier. The council decided to have a special meeting later in the month take a closer look at the issue.
Finally, a resignation was regretfully accepted. Mike Dopko resigned as the Code Enforcement Officer. At least for the present, his position is going to be filled by other staff.
A minority of the Great Bend Borough Council met on September 7 and decided not to meet again until October. With only Bea Alesky, Ron Cranage and Rick Franks reporting for duty, they were one shy of a quorum. Secretary Sheila Guinan told Council President Alesky that there was nothing on the agenda that couldn't wait, so they didn't reschedule the September meeting.
They did learn, however, that the memorial event for Lee Wiegand that will officially rename Memorial Park after him, will be put off again, until next Spring. Wiegand was killed in Iraq in September of 2005. The family asked for the postponement. Organizers may try to arrange it for next Memorial Day.
If they can gather a quorum, the Great Bend Borough Council will next meet in public session on Thursday, October 5, beginning at 7:00 p.m., at the Borough Building at Franklin and Elizabeth Streets.
Compiled By P. Jay Amadio
Ararat Ridge Runners to Shawn P. Sparks, RR2, Thompson, in Ararat Township for $77,000.
Fodor Zoltan to Jesus Disciples Inc., Hamilton, NJ, in Thompson Township for one dollar.
Stephen J. Majeski to William Rombauts, Jr., Dorothy Rambauts, East Islip, NY, in Herrick Township for $500.
William Rombauts, Jr., Dorothy Rombauts to William Rombauts, Jr., Dorothy Rombauts, East Islip, NY, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
William Rombauts, Jr., Dorothy Rombauts to Stephen J. Majeski, RR2, Union Dale, in Herrick Township for $500.
Stephen J. Majeski to Stephen J. Majeski, RR2, Union Dale, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
William Rombauts, Dorothy Rombauts to William Rombauts, Dorothy Rambauts, East Islip, NY, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Edward Stephen Monahan, Jacqueline Monahan to Larry E. Rockhill, Katherine L. Rockhill, Union Dale, in Herrick and Clifford townships for $20,000.
Philip J. Pass, Jr., Lauri Pass to Donald S. James, RR2, Union Dale, Jennifer M. James, in Herrick Township for $40,000.
David C. Palmer, Bessie Palmer to Elissa Tara Palmer, RR1, Union Dale, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Lynne P. Sherman (nka) Lynne P. Trautwein, Lawrence R. Sherman (by trustee), Angela Sherman, Christopher L. Sherman to Lynne P. Trautwein, Odenton, MD, Angela L. Sherman, Christopher L. Sherman, in Herrick Township for zero dollars.
Bremer Hof Owners Inc. to Jeanne R. Evers, Union Dale, Mark W. Evers, in Herrick Township for $500.
Bremer Hof Owners Inc. to Debra A. Doleniak (living trust), Union Dale, Rosemarie Whalen (living trust), in Herrick Township for $100.
James K. Smith to Stephanie K. Smith, Endicott, NY, Timothy K. Smith, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
William C. Booth, Mildred W. Booth to Aaron C. Booth, RR2, Montrose, Lesa B. Booth, in Franklin Township for one dollar.
Helma Neri (by agent) to John L. Hargrave, RR2, Nicholson, Cynthia J. Hargrave, in Lathrop Township for $14,400.
Carol A. Anderson (by sheriff) to ATL Holdings LLC, Portland, ME, in Susquehanna for $5,952.
Mae M. Darling to Roy Darling, Mehoopany, Peggy Lynne, Connie Richie, in Rush township for one dollar.
Uta Kaergel (fka) Uta Froland to Garrett Newfield, White Lake, NY, in Gibson Township for one dollar.
Robert E. Lee, Jr., Beverly B. Lee to Darsey L. Vogel, Hallstead, in Great Bend Township for $30,000.
Ellen E. Forsyth to Robert R. Starr, Jr., Chenango Forks, NY, in Great Bend township for one dollar.
Louise S. Maxwell (estate) to Dorothy Fowlkes, Jersey City, NJ, in Thompson Township for one dollar.
Terry L. Ruhf, Luella F. Ruhf to Luella F. Ruhf, Meshoppen, in Auburn Township for one dollar.
Allen Jackson, Janice Jackson to Terence Edwards Haddonfield, NJ, Jean Edwards, in Thompson township for $475,000.
James F. Knehr (by sheriff), Christina Knehr (by sheriff) to PNC Bank, Milwaukee, WI, in Forest City for $1,195.
William M. Conboy to Gerald M. Conboy, RR5, Montrose, in Middletown Township for one dollar.
United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to Kathleen Susan Galazin, Meshoppen, in Auburn Township for $40,800.
Scott R. Shelp to Amy E. Shelp, Susquehanna, in Susquehanna for one dollar.
Nathan Place to Timothy L. Williams, Springville, in Springville Township for $84,558.
James P. Franceski, Dorothy R. Franceski to James B. Franceski, Carol Franceski, Moscow, in Forest City for one dollar.
Mark G. Tims to Lisa M. Tims, Brackney, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Lisa M. Tims to Mark G. Tims, Brackney, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Luigi Riccio to Thomas Riccio, Jr., Center Valley, for one dollar.
Stuart K. Feenstra, Catherine B. Feenstra to John M. Dougherty, Kings Park, NY, Dawn A. Dougherty, in Lenox township for $187,900.
John J. O’Donnell, Jr., Jean M. O’Donnell to O’Donnell Family Revocable Trust, Whippany, NJ, in Lenox Township for ten dollars.
Karyn L. Rickert, Carl V. Rickert to Mitchell Blackman, RR7, Montrose, Laura Blackman, in Bridgewater Township for $164,500.
Elnor M. Vanbuskirk to Karen Kumka, Monroe Twp., NJ, Jeffrey Kumka, in Franklin Township for one dollar.
Flo Wester-Simons to Mary J. Dallasta, RR1, Susquehanna, in Jackson and New Milford townships for $60,000.
Florence Esther Warrick to Robert R. Darrow, Little Meadows, in Apolacon Township for $47,700.
Michael L. Wallace, Stephanie R. Gray, Robert E. Gray, Jr. to Charles A. Balbi, Deer Park, NY, Cindy P. Balbi, in Liberty Township for $153,000.
Robert E. Dennis, Jr., Bruce D. Dennis, Howard E. Dennis to William A. Small III, Philadelphia, Diane L. Small, in Rush Township for $60,000.
Daniel J. Sweeney, Dianna Smyth-Sweeney to Daniel J. Sweeney, Annadale, NJ, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Mary Rivenburg to Kenneth L. Rivenberg, RR2, Kingsley, Marcella C. Rivenburg, in Brooklyn Township for $70,000.
Bryan David Fick, Christine Helene Fick to David G. Phillips, Jr., RR2, Lenoxville, Julie E. Brackeva-Phillips, in Lenox Township for $220,000.
Kenneth L. Bennett, Betty Lou Bennett to Brian Brainard, Harford, in Harford Township for $20,000.
Carol Brainard (aka) Carol T. Emmett to Carol T. Emmett, Galena, MD, in Clifford Township for one dollar.
Beth A. Aldrich (aka) Beth A. Alrich to Leonard D. Alrich, Medical Lake, WA, Susan E. Mincey, in Gibson Township for one dollar.
Daniel D. MacGeorge, Patricia MacGeorge to Daniel D. MacGeorge, RR1, Montrose, Patricia MacGeorge, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
Jacques C. Michot, Audrey J. Michot to Richard E. Clark, Kingsley, in Brooklyn Township for one dollar.
Southern Union Company to UGI Penn Natural Gas Inc., King of Prussia, in Auburn Township for one dollar.
Richard B. Smith, Carol V. Smith to William M. Fuhrey, RD 1, Springville, Barbara T. Fuhrey, in Springville Township for one dollar.
Raymond J. Bulvin (trust by trustee), Donna M. Bulvin (trust by trustee) to David W. Ingalls, Salisbury, MD, Melinda A. Ingalls, in Bridgewater Township for $230,000.
David L. Hughes to Ernest W. Benjamin III, RR1, Hallstead, Margo E. Benjamin, in Great Bend Township for $25,000.
Travis O'Brien to Travis O'Brien, Forest City, Melissa R. O'Brien, in Forest City for one dollar.
James Leland Harris and Amber Rose Cunningham, both of RR3, Montrose.
Kirk Stephen Hinkley IV, Hallstead and Danelle Marie Donmoyer, Fairburn, OH.
Ronald W. Gill II and Christine Andrea Kulikowski, both of RR2, Hallstead.
Sheila R. Hall, Hallstead vs. Jeremy W. Hall, Susquehanna. Married Sept. 4, 1999.
Donna M. Henry, New Milford vs. Gregory L. Henry, South Gibson. Married June 19, 2004.
Scott R. Shelp, RR2, Montrose, vs. Amy E. Shelp, Susquehanna. Married July 27, 1995.
Mark G. Tims, Brackney vs. Lisa M. Tims, Brackney. Married Dec. 13, 1997.
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