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Roberta Kelly, chair of the Susquehanna County Board of Commissioners, said she will make public information relative to the problems at Barnes-Kasson Hospital when it is legally permissible to do so.
Reading from a prepared statement at last week’s meeting of the county commissioners, Kelly said confidentiality clauses (in the bond issue underwritten by the county) prohibit the disclosure of specific findings without placing the county in jeopardy.
“Within a few weeks,” Kelly said, “when the county can legally share the positive steps that have been taken to correct the current situation, at that point I hope we can put a stop to the fear and negative allegations.”
Kelly said she was concerned about the information made public by Fred Baker II, a frequent critic of the hospital’s finances and its staff.
“I do have to wonder and have some concerns where Mr. Baker got his original information. In any event, I do apologize to Mr. Baker for my outburst at the last commissioners’ meeting. I should have done it sooner. I have always felt it is best to find a solution to a problem rather than finger pointing and rebel rousing. I understand that Mr. Baker is not now and has never been informed of all the facts so vital to this situation.”
Kelly said the hospital has been struggling for a number of years. She said that long before Mr. Baker started his “smear campaign against the hospital and myself, steps had already been taken to address and correct this serious situation.” She said audits had been requested, deadlines had been established and meetings including members of Peoples National Bank were taking place.
“This process must follow very specific steps that include time-line factors,” Kelly said. “The guidelines and deadlines have been followed to the letter of the law.”
Baker challenged Kelly’s use of the word smear and said it implies that the information he disseminated is not factual. He said everything he referred to is public information and none of it was meant as a smear but rather to point out the serious problem at Barnes-Kasson Hospital.
Commissioner Jeff Loomis, who first began circulating information about the financial problems at Barnes-Kasson after a commissioners’ meeting a couple of months ago, said the information in Baker’s letters to editors of area newspapers, was public under the Right to Know Act and that Baker purchased a copy of the hospital’s bond issue from the county courthouse.
“He (Baker) went to Sylvia’s office (Chief Clerk Sylvia Beamer) and paid to have copies of this bond issue,” Loomis said. “Fred has every right to question a public bond issue when there is a default. This is a public bond issue and there has been no litigation yet.”
In another matter, the commissioners yielded to public pressure and reduced the cost of obtaining voter registrations lists from two cents for the name of each registered voter in the county or a municipality to $20 for a disc containing the names of all registered voters in the county and 25 cents a page for lists of voters in individual municipalities.
The price change came on the heels of much criticism of the $500-plus cost the commissioners originally had placed for a disc of all registered voters in the county.
The commissioners rejected a request from Magisterial District Judge Jeff Hollister to promote a clerk/typist in his office to assistant office manager. Hollister said the employee, Becky Wall-Barry, has been employed by him since February and she is doing a fantastic job.
Commissioner Jeff Loomis pointed out that Mrs. Wall-Barry is in the union and the county cannot arbitrarily dish out pay raises to union members. Loomis also pointed out that Mrs. Wall-Barry will automatically qualify for a pay raise in January according to the union contract.
Hollister initially asked that Mrs. Wall-Barry be given a raise of one dollar an hour and then asked that the Salary Board create the fulltime position of assistant office manager. The board pointed out that the union rate for such a position is $10.85 an hour and that would mean a pay increase of $3.10 an hour for an employee who has worked for the county less than one year.
Motions approved by the commissioners-
-ratified the hiring of Amy Miller of New Milford to the part-time union position of voter registration clerk for 21 hours per week effective September 25, 2006. The Salary Board set her rate at $7.75 an hour and no benefits.
-ratified the hiring of Joan Brush of Susquehanna to the part-time clerk/typist position in the Drug & Alcohol Department. The Salary Board set her hourly rate at $7.75 with benefits as per union contract.
-ratified the hiring of LuAnn Myers of South Montrose to a fulltime position as a fulltime clerk/typist in the Planning Department per recommendation of Robert Templeton, director of Planning and Development. Ms Myers will work 35 hours a week at $7.75 per hour plus benefits.
The Blue Ridge School Board was scheduled for a workshop on September 25. Instead, the newly empanelled Tax Study Commission organized itself and adjourned for study in preparation for a series of meetings that should culminate in recommendations to the school board in December. Several board members attended as observers.
Karen Hettinger, Barbara Stone, Terry Rafferty, Keith Brant, and Alan Hall make up the commission, mandated by the new Act 1 of 2006. Mr. Hall was elected chairman. Mr. Rafferty will be vice chair, to preside in Mr. Hall's absence. And Ms. Hettinger accepted the position of secretary; she will be responsible for minutes of the commissions meetings, which will be prepared from verbatim tape recordings by the district office. Blue Ridge Superintendent Robert McNamara, and Business Manager Loren Small were available as "resources."
Mr. Small distributed fat notebooks to each commission member, and Mr. Hall introduced the members to its contents: a copy of the full text of Act 1 of 2006, a brochure prepared by a legal firm outlining the commission's responsibilities under the Act, two pages of bylaws (drawn up by the district's solicitors in a "general format to be used throughout the state," and which the commission adopted by voice vote), and a healthy dose of statistical information. More data is yet to come.
The commission's objective is to come up with recommendations for "reforming" the tax structure for the district. According to Mr. Hall, the legislature couldn't decide on tax reform on its own, so it punted the ball out to the districts.
Members of the commission will be expected to absorb a heavy dose of numerical and tabular data about where the money comes from to finance Blue Ridge's now $15 million budget, including property and various other "nuisance" taxes and fees, as well as state and federal subsidies. They will then have an opportunity to decide whether or not to shift some of the property tax burden onto the employed through an earned income tax (EIT), or onto everybody through a personal income tax (PIT), or maybe both.
Some of the issues at stake:
* The EIT and PIT won't bring in as much revenue as they might in a more urban district; moreover, wages earned in nearby New York state will complicate the picture.
* The EIT would sit more heavily on younger, employed persons since a large part of the population of the district are retired senior citizens.
* According to Mr. Hall, about 22% of the tax bills issued in the district are mailed to addresses outside of the district. Would property tax relief affect those properties, many of them second and vacation homes?
* However few of them there are in the district, Act 1 does not affect corporations.
The recommendations of the commission are to be put in the form of a ballot measure at the primary election next Spring. They would have no effect until voters have a say, and, as Mr. Hall remarked, the outcome will "depend on who votes."
Tax rates have not risen for Blue Ridge property owners in five years. One reason for that happy situation is the series of shifts in the Clean & Green law that first took money away from the school districts, and then gave it back – along with a reappraisal of Clean & Green properties. There are also rumors that Montrose is considering a county-wide reassessment soon.
But shifting the tax burden to income taxes may not help much, since the idea is that the final result should be "revenue neutral," that is, the school district should get no less money – and no more – out of a realigned tax structure. Because average earned income in Susquehanna County is only about $25,000, the minimal 1% EIT that the law allows won't offset much property tax money.
On the other hand, a PIT might bring in more money, but would hit senior citizens hardest, especially those who do not own property. Mr. Rafferty noted, "I never worried much about senior citizens until I became one." He was recruited for the commission by Mr. Hall to represent our older citizens.
Mr. Hall will clearly lead this new panel with the same well-informed hand that he uses as president of the school board. And the other members seem well satisfied to let him do it. Without demur, they agreed on his proposed schedule of meetings – all on Monday evenings beginning at 7:30 p.m. – on October 23, a public hearing on November 6, and a final meeting on November 20. The commission's charter expires on December 15.
A Montrose man was sentenced to a state correctional facility for two-and-one-half to five years on a charge of burglary in Susquehanna Depot on January 28, 2006. Susquehanna County President Judge Kenneth W. Seamans also fined 21-year-old Darren N. Hall $750, ordered him to do 75 hours of community service, and placed him on five years probation when his jail term is completed.
Judged Seamans further sentenced Hall to additional jail time on other charges to run concurrent with the first jail term. He was also fined an additional $1.100, ordered to pay $250 for DNA testing, prosecution costs, make restitution to his victims and to receive drug and alcohol evaluation.
The additional charges against Hall included simple assault, also in Susquehanna Depot on January 28, 2006; fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer in Susquehanna Depot on January 28, 2006; and, simple assault in Montrose on June 13, 2006.
Other sentences handed down by Judge Seamans included:
Frances Lee Muchanic, 23 of Montrose, four to 12 months in the Susquehanna County Jail followed by four years probation, $500 fine and 50 hours of community service for forgery in Susquehanna on April 18.
Valentene Frances Mazzella, 28, of New Milford, 10 months probation, restitution, for theft by unlawful taking in New Milford on July 19, 2005.
Lyle John Hugaboom, 23, of Union Dale, four and one-half months to 12 months in the Susquehanna County Jail followed by three years probation and 25 hours of community service for theft by unlawful taking in Ararat Township on November 9, 2005.
Mark David Stewart, 52, of Tunkhannock, one year probation, $500 fine, 25 hours of community service for simple assault in Auburn Township on July 16, 2005.
Michael Barry Felton, 24, of Dalton, nine months probation, $100 fine, 25 hours of community service for selling or furnishing liquor or malt or brewed beverages to minors in Forest City on October 2, 2004.
William Dominick Zeluff, 23, of South Montrose, one month to six months in the county jail for criminal trespass in Dimock Township on April 11, 2006.
William P. Fisher, 42, of Hallstead, $300 Act 198 fee, $2,500 fine, 11 1/2 months to 23 1/2 months supervision, six months in county jail and 5 1/2 months in home confinement for driving under the influence in New Milford Township on May 5, 2006.
Ryan Gary Millard, 29, of Hallstead, 30 days to six months in the county jail, $750 fine, $100 CAT fee, $100 Act 198 fee, for driving under the influence in Hallstead on September 10, 2005.
Raymond E. Harvey, 49, of Friendsville, one month to 15 months in the county jail, 50 hours community service, $350 fine for recklessly endangering another person in Middletown Township on July 2, 2005.
Davis M. Strohl, 45, of Montrose, seven months to 23 1/2 months in county jail, $300 fine for recklessly endangering another person in Montrose on February 6, 2006. He also received 11 months to 23 1/2 months in the county jail to run concurrent with the first sentence, for accident involving death or personal injury in Montrose on February 6, 2006, $1,000 fine, $250 DNA testing fee.
Brian Johndrow, 28, of Factoryville, five days to six months in the county jail on weekends, $300 fine, $300 Act 198 fee, $100 CAT, for driving under the influence in New Milford on May 28, 2005.
Shane Christopher Nelson, of Hallstead, one year probation, $340 fine, 25 hours community service for bad checks in Silver Lake Township on November 6, 2005.
Anthony James Baker, 19, of Binghamton, 24 months probation, no contact with any female under age 18, 50 hours of community service, $500 fine for corruption of minors in New Milford on September 28, 2005.
Daniel V. Kehoe, Norma R. Kehoe to Jason Henke, RR1, Kingsley, Christine Henke, in Jackson Township for $10,000.
Cynthia J. Wenzinger, Ronald Wenzinger, Leesa M. Levy, Jeffrey Levy, Wendy L. Sivers, Ronald Sivers, Steven J. Puterbaugh, Twyla Puterbaugh, Matthew P. Puterbaugh to Peter L. Puterbaugh, RR1, Friendsville, Joanne W. Puterbaugh, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Robert J. Nemec, Helena C. Nemec to David L. Wright, RR1, Laceyville, Joann L. Wright, in Auburn Township for $96,000.
Stephen Kaminsky, Stanley Kaminsky to Duane P. Kropff, RR1, Susquehanna, in Jackson Township for $280,000.
James Harold Butler to Robert F. Butler, RR2, Brackney, in Apolacon Township for one dollar.
Earl K. Carter (est), Squier Living Trust (by trustee) to Earl Carter, c/o Charlotte Place, RR1, Laceyville, in Auburn Township for one dollar.
Allen B. Clark, Laura A. Clark to James E. Resue, RR5, Nicholson, in Lenox Township for $104,420.
Neda B. Wenger to Benjamin A. Tuttle, RR1, New Milford, Katherine Wenger Tuttle, in Harford Township for one dollar.
William F. Yachymiak, Natalie Yachymiak to William F. Yachymiak, Brooklyn Township, Natalie Yachymiak, in Brooklyn Township for one dollar.
Group W. Furniture Inc. to Edmund M. Zack, Union Dale, Kathleen Zack, in Ararat Township for $75,000.
Scott M. Darling (aka) Scott Darling, Mary Darling to Scott M. Darling, RR1, Susquehanna, in Oakland Borough for one dollar.
Asa Stevens, Kimberly Stevens, Laurie Sponza-Kocinski to Laurie Sponza-Kocinski, Smithtown, NY, in Springville Township for one dollar.
Michael W. McHale to John W. Traver, RR1, Friendsville, in Choconut Township for $42,000.
Antoinette Graytock, Andrew Graytock to Brenda Kitchner, RR2, New Milford, in New Milford Township for $78,200.
Robert E. Malandri, Denise Churchill-Malandri to Daniel S. Dilmore, RR1, Springville, James R. Dilmore, in Springville Township for $170,000.
Robert A. Hobard to Jerry P. Kelly Sr., RR1, Great Bend, in Great Bend Township for $119,900.
Rose DeGroat (estate) to Jack Braunstein, Gibson, in Montrose for $79,000.
William J. Bishop to William J. Bishop, RR2, Kingsley, in Brooklyn Township for one dollar.
Gary B. Kline, Maureen Kline to Gary B. Kline, RR1, Brackney, Maureen Kline, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Rural Investments LLC to Rural Investments LLC, RR1, Union Dale, in Ararat Township for one dollar.
Wayne C. Baker, Linda K. Baker to Wayne C. Baker, RR3, Meshoppen, Linda K. Baker, in Auburn Township for one dollar (re-recording).
Daniel Olivo to Deborah Edwards, Factoryville, in Lathrop Township for $27,000.
Teresa Marbaker (aka) Teresa VanWinkle (by sheriff) to Christina Bank & Trust Co., Eureka, CA, Sequoia Funding Trust, in Auburn Township for $4,657.
George W. Berg, Amy Swan Berg to Joseph P. Slattery Jr., Plainview, NY, Patricia A. Slattery, Melissa Marie Slattery, in Liberty Township for $110,000.
Diane A. Powers to David M. Powers, RR1, Susquehanna, in Jackson Township for one dollar.
Amber E. Snyder to Jeffrey Robert Snyder, Clifford, Donald Eric Snyder, Carol Anne Mynyk, in Clifford Township for one dollar.
Anthony J. Cerretani, Michele Cerretani, Laurie Cerretani to Michael F. Longo, York, in Silver Lake township for $146,000.
Peterson Family Trust (by trustee) to Bremer Hof Owners Inc., Union Dale, in Herrick Township for $100.
Anthony A. Wnorowski, Gail A. Wnorowski to Dominick A. Barile, RR3, New Milford, Kari L. Barile, in New Milford Township for $125,000.
Dominick A. Barile, Kari L. Barile to Augustus G. Wilber, RR1, Hallstead, in Great Bend Borough for $80,000.
Doris B. Morrison, Charles Morrison to Janet L. Winemiller, Carlisle, Jeffrey C. Winemiller, in Harford Township for $384,840.
Melba Watkins to Gary Jerauld, RR7, Montrose, Nancy Jerauld, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
Dennis Nagy, Geraldine Nagy to Steven H. Demarest, RR2, Montrose, Brenda Demarest in Forest Lake Township for $50,000.
Dale A. Rumage (est) aka Dale Alan Rumage (est) to Courtney L. Erceg, Hallstead, Guy A. Erceg II, in Hallstead Borough and Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
Morgan Turner to Patrick W. Hora, Winfield, NJ, Janet L. Hora, in Brooklyn Township for $76,000.
Edwin Richard Carpenter to Jon D. Carpenter, RR1, Susquehanna, Abbey M. Carpenter, in Oakland Borough for $50,000.
Peter A. Peterson, Karen R. Peterson to Bremer Hof Owners Inc., Union Dale, in Herrick Township for $100.
Ronald J. Cosklo, Gail Cosklo to Eleanor Kenny, Clifford Township, in Clifford Township for $15,000.
Reddon's Drug Company Inc. to B&B Bluestone Inc., RR2, Susquehanna, in Jackson Township for $30,000.
Kirk D. Adams, Catherine Adams to Kirk D. Adams (trust), RR2, Friendsville, Catherine Adams (trust) in Middletown Township for one dollar.
Alan B. Hickok Sr., Patricia A. Hickok to Alan B. Hickok Sr., RR1, Montrose, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
Michael R. Danatos, Cathleen A. Danatos to Michael R. Danatos, East Brunswick, NJ, in Jackson Township for one dollar.
Arlene A. Motter (by sheriff), Thomas W. Motter (by sheriff) to Community Bank & Trust Co., Clarks Summit, in Lathrop Township for $143,101.
Monica M. Degnan to Joseph L. Bodnar, Maplewood, NJ, Mary Bodnar in New Milford Township for $90,000.
Adam M. Rauch and Rebekah Ellen Jones, both of Jermyn.
Jerome Norman, Great Bend and Lisa J. Goyette Luciano, Ithaca, NY.
William J. Detweiler and Deborah E. Fava, both of RR2, New Milford.
Edward M. Aswad II and Nicole A. Cerretani, both of Ithaca, NY.
Robert Bruzek and Lyrme Bollinger, both of Montrose.
Lucas Mayer Whittaker and Lisa Ann Fisher, both of Susquehanna.
Stanley Kevin Moser and Dianna R. Kernan, both of Susquehanna.
Donald R. Burchell vs. Heather L. Burchell, both of Stroudsburg. Married July 26, 2003.
Nichole Perry, New Milford vs. Chad D. Perry, Lewisburg. Married August 14, 2004.
Earl Forwood, Hop Bottom vs. Charlotte Marlin, Great Bend Township. Married July 30, 2003.
On 9/24/06 there was a two-car accident on South Route 11, in front of McDonald’s in Great Bend. A minor driving a Chevrolet Cavalier was stopped in the Southbound lane, with her turn signal on, waiting for the Northbound lane to clear enough for her to turn into the parking lot. Marci Wheeler of Hallstead, driving a Mazda 626, struck her while in this position. The latter was taken to Barnes-Kasson Hospital for treatment of moderate injuries and cited for following too closely.
CRIMINAL ATTEMPT AGGRAVATED ASSAULT
On 9/22/06, between 4 and 5 a.m., an incident occurred at the Dennis Hayes residence in Forest Lake Township. It began when Terry Jeralds arrived at this location wielding a baseball bat and using it to break the house’s windows. Dawn Jeralds then got a .357 pistol and shot it first into the floor of the residence and afterwards out a window in the direction of Terry Jeralds, striking his vehicle. Terry Jeralds was taken into custody at the Forest Lake Inn and charged with criminal trespass, simple assault, and criminal mischief. He was arraigned before District Justice Hollister and committed to the Susquehanna County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail. A warrant for criminal attempt aggravated assault and recklessly endangering another person was issued for Dawn Jeralds.
Sometime between 7/30/06 and 09/25/06 an antique bar stool was stolen from outside the Green Gables restaurant. The stool is valued at approximately $250.00.
On 9/24/06 on Pennay Hill Road in Lenox Township, George Clifford was traveling South when he lost control of his Arctic Cat ATV. The vehicle flipped, ejecting him and causing him to be life-flighted to CMC hospital. He was not wearing a helmet.
A vial containing an unknown brown liquid was found on the property of Mountain View School District at noon on 09/26/06. The substance was sent to the State Police lab to determine its identity.
Sometime between 09/21/06 and 09/22/06 the seasonal residence of Michael Maganelli of NJ was broken into, and several items stolen. The identity of the perpetrator(s) is still unknown.
In Bridgewater Township on 09/20/06 a line of vehicles was stopped for a school-bus. A minor from Springville failed to stop in time to avoid crashing into them, affecting two other vehicles also driven by minors. There were no injuries.
Three meat coolers were damaged while sitting outside of the New Milford Market between 09/01/06 and 09/22/06. The coolers’ glass panels were smashed.
ACCESS DEVICE FRAUD
On August 20/06 someone used the credit card of Walter Olszewski (Montrose) to take out $360.00 from an ATM in Atlantic City, NJ. Olszewski has his credit card in his possession, and does not know how the offender acquired his number.
On 09/14/06, Robert Smith of Montrose reported that his entire check book was stolen. The investigation is ongoing.
HIT AND RUN
On 09/16/06 damage was done to the property of Michael Doloway of Brackney when an unknown driver veered off the road and struck first a tree stump and then a truck parked in the driveway. He or she then proceeded to flee the scene in an unknown direction at an unknown time.
The residence of Mary Moriarity of Brooklyn was recently entered and burglarized. Ms. Moriarity lives in the Gibbs Trailer Park. The investigation is ongoing.
On 09/16/06 Albert Aurda of Susquehanna was driving north on Route 2073 in Gibson Township when his vehicle exited the roadway to the east, traveled 150 feet and struck a utility pole. Robert Hughes of Lynch Burg, VA was traveling South on the same road with two passengers, aged 11 and 9, when his vehicle was truck by the downed pole. The children were transported to CMC Scranton for treatment of injuries. Aurda exhibited signs of intoxication and was transported to Barnes-Kasson for BAC testing. Any charges are pending the results of this testing.
HIT AND RUN
On 09/15/06 at 4:20 p.m. an unknown tractor trailer struck and damaged a separate trailer portion legally parked at the Flying J. in Gibson. The latter sustained damage from the impact.
TWO CAR CRASH
On 09/18/05 at about 3:25 p.m. Danny Gordon of Hallstead made a last minute turn off of Route 11 in Hallstead into Maloney’s parking lot. He was attempting to cut through the parking lot to reach old Route 11, rather than driving around the restaurant on the road. He was traveling too fast to successfully accomplish this and slammed into an unattended 2004 Dodge Ram. This vehicle, which sustained moderate damage, in turn crashed into the restaurant. Gordon was taken to the hospital for treatment though there were no lasting injuries.
*Please contact the Gibson Police Barracks at (570) 465-3154 if you have information on any of these notices.
It wasn't on the agenda, but Election Judge Maureen Warren faithfully attends Harford Township Supervisors’ meetings, so, at the one on September 26, she reminded the Supervisors that the status of the local polling place is still unsettled.
The township office, it seems, is too small to accommodate new equipment the state requires at polling places for handicapped voters. So the Supervisors asked the county election board to find another location. Besides, the elections disrupt operations in the tiny office at least twice a year.
The Harford Volunteer Fire Company earlier turned aside a suggestion that their new facility might fit the bill, arguing that, among other things, it would complicate their insurance coverage, and perhaps deprive the fire company of revenue from renting the building for another purpose.
The Harford Congregational Church offered the use of the lecture hall, but would not provide any support for setup. Apparently the election board isn't happy with this idea, since the bathrooms in the church lecture hall are not handicapped accessible.
The election board itself doesn't seem too eager to help out. Supervisor and township Secretary Sue Furney said that she has had some difficulty getting a response from the county on the issue. Supervisor Terry VanGorden said, "I don't think [the election board in Montrose] tried to do anything about it."
Mr. VanGorden, an active member of the fire company, also said that he had heard "grumbling in the town" about the fire company turning down the honor of hosting elections. He said he planned to bring it again before the fire company's board of directors.
In other business on a brief agenda, the Supervisors renewed the township's agreement with the fire company. This annual ritual serves to cement the relationship between the township and its fire company. In the agreement, the township agrees to collect tax support (currently 0.75 mills) for the fire company, and to provide workmen's compensation insurance. (In return, the fire company presumably agrees to put out fires in the township.) The Harford volunteers have similar agreements covering parts of Lenox and Gibson townships.
Local tax collectors have asked for the authority to impose extra fees for certain functions that seem to them to be beyond the call of normal duty for a tax collector. Providing the authority to collect fees for things like bounced checks and duplicate tax bills requires an ordinance. The Supervisors found two models for such an ordinance and will continue to study them before taking any action. At least one provision in one of the samples – to impose a fee to provide a 15-day notice of potential delinquency – Ms. Furney thought might be excessive; she said she thought such notices should be part of the normal job of a tax collector.
The township finally did entertain a visit by an engineer to inspect the Stearns Road outlet from Tingley Lake. Some local property owners want the sluice there replaced with something larger that might prevent the kind of flooding experienced in late June, when several houses around the lake were inundated.
According to Ms. Furney, an engineering study must be completed before the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will issue a permit for construction. What they're waiting for now is an estimate from the first engineer as to what such an engineering study might cost.
The next public meeting of the Harford Township Supervisors will be on Saturday, October 14, beginning at 10:00 a.m., at the township building on Route 547.
Susquehanna Boro Council received some good news at their September 26 meeting. As a result of a truck accident in the boro on September 2, PennDOT has determined that the downgrade on Franklin Ave., which leads into Main St., merits warning signs for trucks with a gross weight of over 21,000 pounds. PennDOT will install signs with red flags at several locations approaching the hill, warning that the speed limit for those vehicles is 15 mph. Council was happy to hear this, especially since the installation of signs by PennDOT will give PennDOT a specific reason to monitor the area on a routine basis.
In other business, a motion carried to adopt Ordinance, 441, an update of the boro’s real estate transfer tax ordinance.
Roy Williams had some facts and figures pertaining to the boro’s rental ordinance. It would appear that this year, 32 landlords did not respond to letters reminding them that permits and inspections are required each year. Mr. Williams said that 14 landlords did respond, along with the required permit fee, and so far, six inspections have been conducted. The boro’s new CEO is still learning the procedures, and Mr. Williams said that he would go over the rental ordinance procedure with him.
Mr. Williams reported that he had received several complaints from Jackson Ave. residents, regarding a contractor that the PA American Water Co. is using. The complains centered on safety issues, and poor interaction with the public. He requested written statements from those residents, and invited them to a meeting set for the following Friday with PAWC and the contractor. Mayor Reddon and Mike Matis also planned to attend. At that meeting, paving on Jackson Ave. will also be discussed.
Mr. Williams reported that new drain work on Jackson Ave. should begin by October 9, and should take five or six working days to complete. Eight new drains are slated for the area between Laurel and Grand Streets, and six between Laurel and Maple Streets.
Mr. Williams was not happy with an inlet that had been put in the previous day; the way it was, he said, it would not catch water that was running onto a number of properties. With council’s approval, he wanted to have it taken out and put in again, the right way. Between materials, labor and fuels costs, he estimated that it had cost over $1,000 and felt that an expense of that kind justified having it work correctly. Council agreed that it should be re-installed.
A motion carried to approve Resolution 092606, entering the boro in an Enterprise Zone, which is intended to promote new business in the area.
Council will be applying for a 2007 CDBG grant, which, if approved, will be used for drainage and streets improvement, with Prospect St. being targeted.
A motion carried to approve new bylaws for the Endless Mts. Heritage Region, of which the boro is a member municipality.
With the intent of allowing time to work on next year’s budget, council meetings will begin at 6 p.m., until further notice.
Council filled out a survey from the county recycling center, which is looking at purchasing equipment through grant funding; the survey results will be used to determine if municipalities have any interest in having recycling stations set up within their municipalities.
Mayor Reddon, Mr. Williams, Mr. Matis and Mr. Lewis have obtained their NIMS certifications.
Ron Whitehead is no longer able to be the boro’s deputy emergency management coordinator; a motion carried to approve appointment of Mike Matis.
A motion carried to proceed with adoptions of mandatory updates to the boro’s UCC ordinances.
President Kelly, on the boro’s behalf, signed paperwork for the next step in applying for a Growing Greener grant for a boat launch at the riverfront property.
And, council gave approval for a group from the school district to remove burnable debris from the riverfront property, to be used for the homecoming bonfire on October 7.
The remainder of the meeting was to be spent working on the 2007 budget.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday, October 10, 6 p.m. in the boro building.
At the September 18 meeting of the Great Bend Township Supervisors, supervisor/secretary Sheila Guinan gave a summary of an informational hazard mitigation meeting she had recently attended at Blue Ridge School. NTRPDC is sponsoring a cleanup, funded by the state. Ten crews will be trained and dispatched to remove trees from waterways and cut them up for disposal. Areas hardest hit will be targeted first, Trowbridge, Salt Lick and Dubois creeks in the township among them. The program is expected to span a period of six months.
Ray Fletcher requested time on the agenda to thank the supervisors for the work they did on his road. He also had a question about a clogged sluice; it was scheduled to be cleaned the following day, weather permitting.
Township property owner Josh Taylor has requested inclusion in the Hazard Mitigation Buy-Out program. The program is administered through the county; if the application is accepted, the township will eventually become the owner of the property.
Mr. Squier gave a rundown of the road crew’s activities. Work was complete on Church Hill Road, in progress on Airport Road, and washouts on Old Route 11 had been filled in. An emergency sluice pipe had been put in on Locust Hill; the township’s inclination was to leave it there, especially after local residents requested that they do, but there were some questions about whether or not DEP would allow that. It seemed likely that DEP would require that a larger diameter pipe be put in.
The Bridging Communities committee has applied for additional grant funding in the amount of $17,000, to cover expenses not covered by the original grant/community contributions.
Growing Greener 2 grant funding is available, through municipalities, for projects such as Rail–Trails, recreation, recreation trails, or revitalization. Since an application would need to be sponsored by a municipality, the supervisors agreed that they would be willing to sponsor a group such as the American Legion if they were to apply for funding.
A motion carried to adopt a resolution identifying the Route 11 corridor as a new enterprise zone. Doing so will make that area eligible for DCED grant funding to provide resources to assist in economic growth, by providing potential resources to assist in economic progress. The request to adopt the resolution was at the request of the county commissioners.
Under unfinished business, the supervisors reviewed a letter from Ralph and Mary Reynolds regarding their property. Cleanup was underway, it said, with significant progress. Flood damaged materials were sorted, to determine what was salvageable and what had been destroyed. The Reynolds’ expected to have the cleanup completed by the September 30 deadline, after which they would be continuing work on the damage to rental units on their property.
Joan Long reported that she had been continuing cleanup of her property, although there had been a delay due to illness, but work would continue. The supervisors asked for some specific details, particularly about the area around her house. They reminded that she had twenty days from the time of receipt of a letter that had been sent in compliance with the township’s nuisance ordinance, after which further action would be to go to the magistrate. Mr. Squier commented, “We don’t like to do that, but we will… it (the property) needs to be cleaned up.”
Another letter has been sent to Ken Tingley in regards to his property, giving twenty days from receipt to clean up.
A motion carried to adopt Ordinance No. 57, an update of an existing ordinance regarding real estate transfer tax, authorizing the sate to collect that tax, and enforcing the tax, interest and penalties.
Public comment included thanks for the work done on Church Hill Road, a request that any leftover blacktop from other projects be used to fill in potholes on Bogart St., and a question as to when the flagpole that had been removed from in front of the township building during construction would be replaced. Mr. Squier said that its replacement would require equipment and manpower not presently available; Mrs. Guinan added that, of late, there were a number of other items that had taken precedence. Two residents in the audience volunteered to see to it.
At the next meeting on Monday, October 2, the supervisors planned to revisit the question of whether two meetings a month are necessary, or if one will suffice.
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