Please visit our kind sponsors
A Susquehanna County man will serve five to 10 years in a state correctional facility for threatening to shoot a Forest City woman last year.
Susquehanna County President Judge Kenneth W. Seamans tacked on an additional one to two years in the state facility on a second charge of simple assault filed against 42-year-old Timothy Kowalski who was also a Forest City resident when the offense occurred.
In addition, Judge Seamans fined Kowalski a total of $1,000 plus $250 for DNA testing and ordered the defendant not to possess or consume alcoholic beverages and not to possess any firearms.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, on September 27, 2006, Forest City police officers, Michael D. Galinsky and Robert Bastek responded to a call at 12 Railroad Street in Forest City. They were greeted by Tina Rotherforth who told them that her ex-boyfriend, Timothy Kowalski, came to the house and the two had a conversation. The report states that a short time later, Tina Rotherforth left the house and left her children in Kowalski’s care.
When she returned, she observed an empty wine bottle and Kowalski was intoxicated. An argument ensued and Timothy Kowalski’s son, Thomas Kleinbauer grabbed a telephone and attempted to call the police. At that point, Kowalski produced a handgun, pointed it at his son and threatened to shoot him if he did not hang up the phone.
The APC states that Mrs. Rotherforth asked Kleinbauer for the phone and Kowalski turned the weapon on her and threatened to shoot her. She dialed Ptl. Bastek at his home and he and Ptl. Glinsky responded. Before police arrived, Kowalski left but not before he told Mrs. Rotherforth he would return and put a bullet in her head.
Authorities filed charges against Kowalski and he has been in the Susquehanna County Jail since his arrest. He pleaded guilty to the charges lodged against him.
Other sentences handed down by Judge Seamans included:
George S. Stone, 38, of Montrose, four months to 12 months in the Susquehanna County Correctional Facility for providing law enforcement officers with false identification in Silver Lake Township on July 28, 2006. Stone also received second jail term of six months to 23 1/2 months to run concurrent with the first term for recklessly endangering another person in Bridgewater Township on September 20, 2006; and, a third concurrent jail term of 8 months to 23 1/2 months for forgery in Montrose on September 15, 2006 along with fines totaling $1,300 and 75 hours of community service.
John Robert Wood, 21, of Hallstead, a total of 27 months probation, $450 fine and 50 hours of community service on charges of receiving stolen property on September 17, 2006, and possession of paraphernalia in Franklin Township on September 28, 2006.
Terry Glen Jeralds, Sr., 44, of Friendsville, three months to 15 months in the county jail, $300 fine plus court costs for simple assault in Forest Lake Township on September 22, 2006. Jeralds was also given a concurrent jail term of one month to 12 months, $200 fine for criminal mischief in Forest Lake Township on September 22, 2006.
Anita C. Jennings, 45, of White Haven, four months to 23 1/2 months in the county jail, $500 fine and court costs for endangering the welfare of children in Lenox Township on August 1, 2004.
Kaleb Joshua Williams, 29, of Susquehanna, 11 1/2 months to 24 months minus one day in the county jail followed by three years probation for aggravated assault in Great Bend Township on April 21, 2006. The defendant also received a $300 fine plus court costs and must do 100 hours of community service. In addition, he was fined $300 and court costs for criminal mischief in Great Bend Township on April 21, 2006.
Dylan Wojtkowski, 19, of New Milford, three months to 18 months in the county jail plus $500 fine and cost of prosecution for unlawful contact with a minor in New Milford Township on November 7, 2005.
Jason William Penny, 22, of Susquehanna, 12 months probation, $200 fine for loitering and prowling at night in Susquehanna on April 30, 2005. Penny was also fined $300 and related costs for liability for conduct of another; and, delivery of a controlled substance in Susquehanna on February 18, 2006.
Steven R. Cole, 27, of Rushville, 21 months probation, $250 fine plus court costs, and 25 hours of community service for false reports to law enforcement authorities in Choconut Township on March 4, 2006. He also received 15 months probation to run concurrent with first sentence and must do 25 hours of community service for accident involving death or personal injury while not properly licensed, on March 4, 2006 in Choconut Township.
Rexford L. Gregory, 53, of Montrose, 90 days to 15 months in the county jail (45 days incarcerated and 45 days home confinement), $1,500 fine plus related costs for driving under the influence in Bridgewater Township on October 1, 2006.
The elaborately complex Act 1 tax-shift law was once again a prominent conversation topic at the February 20 meeting of the Elk Lake School District and Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center school board. At the previous month's meeting, a question had been proposed, regarding the conversion of the District's earned income tax (EIT) to a personal income tax (PIT). This proposed question was advertised for three weeks, and a public hearing held just before the February 20 meeting. During the regular meeting, the questions were approved 5-3 for inclusion on the ballot, with minor alterations in numbers from the original proposition. (There were two questions- one for Susquehanna County and one for Wyoming County, with Wyoming County showing slightly smaller potential real-estate benefits.) The PIT mentioned in this question would be at a rate of 1.20%; the current EIT rate is .50%.
In first the hearing, and then the meeting and post meeting conversations, concerns were raised regarding this law and the public's interpretation of it. One board member summed up the overall concept of the matter in this manner: it is a tax-shift, designed to take the burden off of land owners and put it more on wage earners. The public might not fully understand how this is applied, however. For instance, it was mentioned that with the wording of the ballot question people might think that the tax-shift will mean they no longer need to pay an EIT at all. This is not true, as the District's tax-shift does not effect the township's collection of the EIT. The ballot question, however, has to be worded in the manner it is. People also may not realize that the money does not go to the district; rather it is used to give real-estate tax relief to those who qualify. Meanwhile, the District is responsible for the costs of collecting the tax. It is also possible for even those receiving the relief to lose money, as the amount they pay in the tax exceeds that which they save through the real-estate relief. The annual income level at which this might occur was estimated at around $48,000. In addition to this, there is a correlation between how many people qualify for the Homestead Act and the rate of the tax. If more than a certain number of people qualify, the tax will have to be increased to cover the reductions Finally, people might not know that if the shift is voted down by the public, there is a chance of eventually getting the real-estate reduction from gambling revenue, etc. anyway.
Taxes weren't the only things discussed at the meeting, however. Many positive developments were mentioned, in both the student and staff spheres. The sale of the first house, built through the Vo-Tech program, is complete save for red tape. The second house project is on hold for a time, until the weather breaks. The school's Wellness Policy was approved at the state level, pending two small changes which were approved at the meeting. Kindergarten registration has been scheduled for March 7, 8, and 9. Many students had perfect attendance, and students of the month were announced for the respective schools. Mr. Cuomo singled out one student who received this honor for attendance reasons, rather than academic or behavior reasons. When his friend failed to pick him up, he walked three miles through the snow to get to school.
Three educators were appointed, after being nominated by students, to the Outstanding American Teachers Honor Roll. At the secondary level, Mr. Eastman and Mrs. Warholic received the honor. At the elementary level Ms. Debbie Caines did.
A program, started last year within the French department only, has been approved for expansion. Through a dual enrollment agreement, Elk Lake has made an agreement with Lackawanna County Community College (LCCC) which allows students to earn college credits for certain courses they take in high school. Prior to granting credit, LCCC approves the secondary educator as an adjunct professor and examines the syllabus. The students must also take a test in order to get into the program. If they then pass the class with an 80% or higher, they can receive three college credits. These are credits valid at LCCC, but they may be transferable to other institutions. Many potential benefits to the program were mentioned, including its ability to challenge students to take upper-level courses and encourage them to continue on to college. Also, many colleges want to see an AP credit on a student's transcript, but two years of AP courses are standard before passing the AP test to get credit in this manner. The Dual Enrollment Program would allow students who only take one year of an AP course to still have that course on their transcript, and to get college credit. The full implications of this program on the AP program are not yet known. Two members of Elk Lake's faculty, Ms. Dymond and Mr. Brosious, are already adjunct professors at LCCC, making their classes perfect candidates for dual enrollment expansion. The intention, therefore, is to expand the program into the realms of Physical Science and AP English eleven.
The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that federal disaster aid has been made available for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to supplement Commonwealth and local recovery efforts in the area struck by severe storms and flooding during the period of November 16-17, 2006. President Bush has declared a major disaster for Pennsylvania, which triggers the release of federal funds to help communities recover.
FEMA Director David Paulison said federal funding is available to Commonwealth and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storms and flooding in the counties of Bradford, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wayne, and Wyoming.
Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.
Paulison named Thomas P. Davies as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area. Davies said additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the Commonwealth and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
Following is a summary of key federal disaster aid programs that can be made available as needed and warranted under President Bush’s major disaster declaration issued for Pennsylvania.
Assistance for the state and affected local governments can include as required:
Payment of not less than 75 percent of the eligible costs for repairing or replacing damaged public facilities, such as roads, bridges, utilities, buildings, schools, recreational areas and similar publicly owned property, as well as certain private non-profit organizations engaged in community service activities.
Payment of not less than 75 percent of the eligible costs for removing debris from public areas and for emergency measures taken to save lives and protect property and public health.
Payment of not more than 75 percent of the approved costs for hazard mitigation projects undertaken by state and local governments to prevent or reduce long-term risk to life and property from natural or technological disasters.
How to Apply for Assistance:
Application procedures for local governments will be explained at a series of federal/state applicant briefings with locations to be announced in the affected area by recovery officials. Approved public repair projects are paid through the state from funding provided by FEMA and other participating federal agencies.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident, initiates mitigation activities and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA works closely with state and local emergency managers, law enforcement personnel, firefighters and other first responders. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.
Douglas Mudge, Charlotte Mudge to Shawn Mudge, RR1, Union Dale, in Clifford Township for one dollar.
Walter V. Noble (aka) Walter Noble to Mary Ann Nowalk (trustee), RR1, Springville, Elizabeth A. Smith (trustee), in Dimock Township for one dollar.
Beverly J. Frost to Brenda J. Frost, Wilmington, DE, in Thompson Township for one dollar.
Kevin Nagle (estate) aka Kevin J. Nagle (estate) to Robert P. Heinis, West Caldwell, NJ, Kathleen A. Heinis, in Jackson Township for $125,000.
Charles J. Bockius, Jr. (estate), Virginia E. Bockius to Samuel G. Calderone, Jr., RR2, New Milford, Jean Ann Calderone, in New Milford Township for $62,000.
Jacquelyn Eastwood (estate) aka Jacquelyn C. Eastwood (estate) to Robert J. Eastwood, Hallstead, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.
Peter Kane aka Peter E. Kane to Peter E. Kane, RR2, Montrose, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
Richard H. Nelson, Jr., Susan Nelson to Keith R. Lord, RR1, Hallstead, Sandra J. Lord, in Liberty Township for $150,000.
Francis R. McKeon, Helen A. McKeon to Francis R. McKeon, Jr., RR1, Springville, in Springville Township for one dollar.
Tracy Gumaer to Kenneth J. Gumaer, RR2, New Milford, in New Milford Township for one dollar.
Kenneth J. Gumaer to David M. Shanton, Brooklyn, NY, in New Milford Township for $72,000.
Lewis E. Price, Lillian A., Price, Edward L. Price, Sue M. Price to Edward L. Price, RR3, Union Dale, Sue M. Price, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Federal National Mortgage Association (aka) FannieMae, to Scott P. Baldwin, RR1, Kingsley, Deborah Baldwin, Kayla Baldwin, in New Milford Township for $22,000.
James R. Barry to Angela Gottschalk-Preziuso, Forest City, Barbara Borgese, in Forest City for $54,500.
Kirby W. Beard, Kathryn T. Beard, Norma E. Beard to Rebecca Groover Jenson, RR2, Montrose, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
Brad Michael Jenson, Rebecca Groover Jenson to Rebecca Groover Jenson, RR2, Montrose, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
Shawn A. Roy and Susan Marie Petriello, both of Susquehanna.
Jose A. Rios and Audrey M. Cronin, both of Springville.
Tom Calcaine and Lydia Maureen Manley, both of Montrose.
Anthony B. Pascoe and Stephanie Streeter Pritchard, both of Pittsfield.
David Dean Boeset, Klemme, IA and Dnaie Joy Stone, Susquehanna.
Frederick T. Pittack and Shannon L. Pinkhollow, both of Tunkhannock.
Kelly Hibbard, RR 3, Montrose vs. Anthony Hibbard, RR5, Montrose. Married in 1989.
Jessica Dibble vs. Joshua Dibble, both of Meshoppen. Married in 1999.
Kelly B. Teel vs. Brian William Teel, both of Meshoppen. Married in 2005.
Scott Cokely vs. Lynn M. Cokely, both of RR2, Nicholson.
The Borough of Thompson has filed a notice of judgment in Susquehanna County Court against Susan E. Fitch of Thompson for an overdue sewer bill amounting to $1,088.
The Lackawanna River Basin Sewer Authority has filed a municipal lien against Donald George of Forest City for an overdue sewer bill amounting to $593.
Act 1, what it entails, its role in the upcoming primary election, and what the school board’s responsibilities are were the main topics of the February 21 Susquehanna Community School board meeting.
The board approved a resolution, authorizing the May 15, 2007 primary ballot question: “Do you favor the Susquehanna Community School District imposing an earned income tax at 1%? The revenue generated from the tax will be used to reduce school district taxes on qualified residential properties by an estimated $287.00.”
Superintendent Stone explained that the $287 is an estimated figure; there is no guarantee that if the earned income tax (EIT) is approved by the voters, that will be the amount of property tax reduction. There are several variables to be considered. For one, the collection rate is undetermined, as the district has never had an EIT, and therefore has no history to provide an accurate figure of what amount could be expected. In the first and second years of collecting an EIT, the collection rate could vary by 60-100%. He believes the third year of collecting an EIT could vary by 10-15%. The amount collected would depend on the number of approved homestead/farmstead exclusions. As of now, there are a number of out-of-district property owners, but there is the potential that this number could change, as properties could be converted to homesteads, or sold with the new owners residing on the properties. And, there is a somewhat backwards timeline involved. The district must submit the question that will appear on the ballot to the county by March 16, but the county does not have to provide the district with a definitive number of homestead/farmstead exemptions until May 1. Mr. Stone said that if the EIT is approved by the voters, the 1% combined income that is taxed could provide a reduction in taxes for some property owners, but some would end up paying more than they currently pay in property tax.
Another component of Act 1 says that the school district administration, in consultation with the school board, shall prepare and present to election officials a non-legal interpretative statement that shall accompany the referendum question in accordance with the Pennsylvania Election Code. Mr. Stone explained that this means that a plain English interpretation of the act must explicitly explain the ballot question, and must be posted at the polls to serve as a guide for voters, so that they may have a clear understanding of what they are voting for.
Act 1 also says that school district officials shall take any and all action necessary or appropriate to carry out the intent of this resolution. This means that if the question is approved by voters, the board is required to authorize it.
And, Act 1 says that, should a majority of electors voting on the May 15, 2007 referendum question vote in the affirmative, the school district shall take action to assess and levy the tax beginning on July 1, 2007. This tax shall be self-executing and shall continue in force on a fiscal year basis without annual reenactment, except in a year in which the rate of the tax is changed or the tax is repealed. Mr. Stone noted that, for those district residents who work in the state of New York, there is no requirement for New York State employers to withhold the tax; it would be up to those individuals to see that it is paid.
On the previous evening, a public information session had been held on Act 1. Mr. Stone said that four district residents attended. The district plans to issue a newsletter to fully explain the ballot question, and will contain as much information as possible so that voters can make an informed decision before the election.
In other business, the board received several items of correspondence, a letter from Ken Travis thanking them for the opportunity to coach fifth and sixth grade basketball, and several letters commending teacher Teresa Marino for the effort she put into hosting a successful District 9 Orchestra Fest.
The Standards for Success program was said to be very successful. Funded by Title I, there were approximately 40 elementary students and 20 high school students enrolled, with more than half showing a full level of improvement in PSSA test scores.
Smart boards and video projection systems have been put into fourth, fifth and sixth grade classrooms, funded through Title VI, and in-services were held for faculty to provide training on implementing them in the classroom.
PSSA testing in writing has been wrapped up, and testing in reading and math will be held March 13 – 15.
If the governor’s proposed budget is passed, the district expects to see a 2.64% increase in funding for basic and special education. Two members of the special ed faculty, Joni Miller and Tammy Stone, have been invited to make a presentation at a Dept. of Education conference in Harrisburg in March; their topics will include early intervention and pre-referral strategies their department utilizes.
Johnine Barnes was appointed to the Susquehanna Community School Board for remainder of the 2007 term.
Steven Stanford was appointed as the SCSD delegate to the NEIU #19 Board of directors.
The business office was granted permission to solicit bids for General, Maintenance, Industrial Arts, Sports and Computer Supplies for the 2007-2008 school year.
Mr. Stone was granted permission to file federal and state program applications for the 2007-2008 school year.
A lengthy list of policies was approved.
Hiring for a number of positions was approved, including Standards for Success - high school and elementary; boy’s junior high track coach; junior high boy’s baseball coach; boy’s volleyball game manager; girl’s junior high softball, Will Szili; and high school newspaper advisor, John Ord.
The following resignations were accepted: elementary aide, effective February 2; junior high girl’s assistant softball coach- effective January 18; and part-time RN Barbara Lake, effective February 16.
Three requests for homebound instruction were approved, as was a bus contract change for bus #25.
The customary list of workshops, activities and fund-raisers was approved.
The next meeting will be on Wednesday, March 21, 7 p.m. in the administration offices in the elementary building.
The Starrucca Borough Council met for their, regular, monthly meeting on January 3, 7:00 p.m. at the Community Hall in Starrucca. President Rhone, Mr. Lou Gurske, Mrs. Helen Haynes, Mr. Donald Haynes, Mr. Fred Rhone, Mr. Robert Buck, and Mayor Downton were present. (Mr. Anthony Palonis was absent).
President Rhone called the meeting to order, and immediately announced an executive session with Attorney Bugaj and FEMA agent Darl Haynes as requested by Mayor Downtown.
The meeting was reopened at 8:03 p.m.
The minutes from the previous meeting were read, and Mr. Gurske requested the details of the copy of the petition read were included in the minutes. Mayor Downton wanted the details of the question he asked about Stephen Knash’s bill, stating that twenty years from now the minutes should be understood. The secretary pointed out everything is part of an audit trail. The question refers to the bill, which can be researched. The attorney explained the minutes do not have to, nor can include everything that happened. A motion to approve the minutes carried. Mr. Gurske was opposed.
The Treasurer’s report was given and a motion to approve carried.
The bills were presented for payment. A motion to approve carried.
The following Correspondence was read:
Solicitor Bugaj recommended adopting the delinquent RTT Tax resolution as read at the previous meeting.
An offer of advertisement was read from the Weekly Almanac newspaper.
A small non-coal mining permit has been issued per a notice from the DEP.
In Borough Reports:
Mr. Darl Haynes, FEMA Agent reported a meeting to be held on January 11, at the Baptist Social Rooms to discuss the repair of the Community Hall floor. He stated that FEMA would require the Borough to obtain flood insurance coverage before they will pay out any funds towards the repair.
President Rhone reported at the last meeting of the Northern Wayne County COG (Council of Governments), that although BIU (Building Inspection Underwriters) hasn’t increased the fees charged for inspections, the COG decided to lower the percentage amount the municipalities pay over from the fees charged. A motion was passed to lower the amount from 15% to 10%.
In Other Business:
A motion to accept the specifications as drawn up by Stephen Knash for the Stephano Bridge carried.
A motion carried to rescind the motion to borrow the $15,000 at a five-year term for General Purposes.
A motion carried to approve a continued “Intergovernmental Agreement” with Harmony Township for the 2007 Road maintenance, utilizing the same rates as the previous year, not to exceed $8,000 with the Borough purchasing the materials. Mr. Gurske was opposed.
A 2007 fee rate agreement from the Law Offices of Bugaj/Fischer was read and a motion carried to retain the law service. Mr. Gurske was opposed.
A motion carried to transfer $11,214.78 from the FEMA account to the General Fund. Mr. Gurske opposed.
Mayor Downton questioned the money that “has to go back” to FEMA. Mr. (Darl) Haynes reported that there is more money coming in.
A motion carried to adopt the ordinance to borrow the funds ($70,000, at the rate of 4.64%) for the repair or replacement of the Buck Bridge. Mr. Gurske took issue with the word “replace” as he explained it left an “open-end” for the Borough to “spend even more money in the future.” Mr. Gurske was opposed.
A “NIMS” (National Management System) resolution must be adopted and filed with the state in order for the borough to be eligible for future funding in the event of a disaster. The majority of council has met the certification requirements by the September, 2006 deadline. The resolution cannot be adopted until the local EMC (Emergency Management Coordinator) has the four certifications required as well. Mr. Paul D’Agati (local EMC) said he wasn’t aware of the certifications, but also did not attend the last meeting given by the Wayne County Coordinator. President Rhone informed him the classes and testing could be gained on-line. The Resolution was tabled until Mr. D’Agati meets the certification requirements.
Mr. Gurske again asked the Council to remove Mr. Anthony Palonis, stating he has shown a lack of interest. He questioned how many meetings he (Palonis) has missed. Solicitor Bugaj recommended that Mr. Palonis be contacted, and President Rhone offered to do so.
The secretary explained an audit finding earlier in the year prompted a $5,054.15 transfer from General Funds to Liquids Fuels Funds. She told of the check written never clearing the bank, and explained how she worked with the bank officials to rectify the problem. As of this meeting she told the situation has been resolved.
Prior to “Public Participation” Attorney Bugaj made the following statement:
“Public Participation gives the public a chance to address the board in a polite and respectful manner. It is a constructive purpose with a reasonable time to address issues. There shouldn’t be duplications of issues, and if it becomes unruly, the president will ask the offending persons to leave, or the board will have no choice but to adjourn the meeting.”
Mr. Paul Everett addressed his questions “directly to the treasurer.” He spoke of the check (652) that the secretary had reported of earlier. He continually referred to bank statements from the Pennstar Bank, which he held in his hands. He spoke of another check (678) that replaced check (640) and read from the memo on the copy of the check he had, as per the statement. He questioned the treasurer’s reports from the meetings that reflected a different amount than “Pennstar’s figures of December 30, 2006.” The secretary attempted to explain that once the check was written, it was treated as if it were gone from the General account and reflected in the State funds, as it is treated in a cash basis accounting, and again was working with the bank personnel to rectify the problem. It would have been a confusion to add it back in and subtract the figures each month as the bank had promised several times they would make the transfer. The issue has now been resolved, and PennDOT has been kept abreast of the situation the whole time. He stated, “ There are discrepancies here that need to be addressed.” Mr. Buck commented that the situation has been addressed and rectified.
Mr. Everett then gave his remaining time to ex-secretary/treasurer Ms. Pat Schneyer, who asked the Board if perhaps they overpaid Delta Engineering, continuing to refer to the bank statements and the treasurer’s reports, stating the reports show the same State check (#120) in the amount of $5,000 has been reported twice. The secretary explained that the report’s dates overlapped, the check with the same number and same date was not written twice, and the ending balances would reflect the correct amount.
Mr. Darl Haynes questioned the attorney how “citizens” could obtain bank account information, including check numbers and year-end balances, without going through the proper channels of council, nor their knowledge of the same. He asked council members if their permission had been given to obtain this information. No one stated that they had. He turned directly to Mr. Everett and asked him if he obtained this information illegally(?). Mr. Everett stated, “That is not relevant.” Mr. Haynes repeated his question and Mr. Everett responded, “I’ll give you the same answer you’ve given me so many times, no comment.”
There was a question concerning Mr. (Darl) Haynes serving as both borough auditor and FEMA agent. Attorney Bugaj stated there is no conflict, but will research the issue.
Mr. Weldy questioned Mr. (Darl) Haynes presenting details of FEMA related roadwork as requested at last meeting. Mr. Haynes told he had already reported the work and addressed the same issue last meeting, and that the copies of the paperwork could be requested by contacting the secretary.
There was a discussion concerning “logging” on the Leech Creek Road. The board was questioned to set requirements such as loading from a landing on the property and not from the road, as well as making sure the erosion and sediment controls are in place. Attorney Bugaj commented, “Good points have been made.” The road committee will look into it.
The board was questioned about the $70,000 loan for the repair or replacement of the Buck Bridge. It was answered it (the loan) has a ten-year term.
Ms. Schneyer spoke of a bill she received for the copies she requested, and demanded the papers be sorted and an alternate bill be produced. The current secretary told her that is why she wished she had heeded council’s request to view the documents before the copies were produced, which she took issue at last meeting. Ms. Schneyer claimed a misunderstanding of her request. The secretary again referred to the request to view the documents first. “Last meeting,” Secretary Travis said, “when I explained to you, the size of the Shadigee Creek Wall Project file alone, and offered you, as a courtesy to pick the documents first, you stated you didn’t have time to review the documents, you wanted them.” Mayor Downton reminded Ms. Schneyer that he viewed that file, and easements as an example, repeated themselves each time changes were requested. She stated that she didn’t want the “easements” and they could be removed and a revised bill be produced. Attorney Bugaj stated “No. You, Ms. Schneyer will pay for what you requested; if there was a misunderstanding, you were given an opportunity to clarify it. You refused; this is nonsense and the board should not be subjected to it. The copies have been made and you will pay for them, or I personally will file charges against you with the magistrate and recommend to the council you be sued.”
Mrs. Everett questioned the inter-governmental agreement with Harmony Township, and asked if the capital improvements on the Penn Hill Road included extending the road, and will that extension be added to the “road amounts”? The Council responded the road was not extended.
Mr. Weldy asked, “Why the survey?“ referring to an agreement the board entered into to have some of the borough roads surveyed. Members answered, to establish where the roads are located.
No further business to come before the board, a motion to adjourn carried.
Ron Stern, from the Governor’s Center for Local Government addressed the February 20 meeting of COG, to continue discussion on a shared police services feasibility study. Municipalities interested in participating in the study have submitted letters of intent. The next step to be involved is for those municipalities to sign articles of agreement. The Center is completing the study at no cost to the municipalities, and is also covering the cost to have a peer consultant put the study together. Data will be gathered from the State Police and the DA’s office. DA Jason Legg, also present at the meeting, will be actively involved in the process.
Once the study is presented, each municipality can decide whether or not to continue, and open discussion on whether or not to start up a police department.
Because the municipalities interested (so far) are in clusters spread over a large area, two separate studies will be completed. One will cover the area between Little Meadows and Great Bend, and the other will cover the Thompson – Herrick Center area. If there are any municipalities who have not yet opted to participate, there will be a 30-day window, beginning as of this date, during which they may join in.
Once each municipality receives their copy of the study, they may decide what “tweaking” will need to be done to meet their individual needs. Mr. Stern cautioned that there may be some “sticker shock” for municipalities who are not currently paying for police services.
Mr. Legg spoke of the advantages of a municipal police force. Using the boro of Montrose as an example, he noted that their police have a higher rate of DUI arrests in the county than the State Police do, mostly because they are able to patrol their municipalities. While the State Police do respond to calls, they are not always able to patrol, as they cover such a large area.
Mr. Legg also spoke about the county’s new DUI task force, which also has a large area to cover. “I know what’s out there,” he said. The information his office is getting on DUIs is astronomical, with most of them involving kids. Deterrence of crime, he said, is the primary focus of law enforcement. He volunteered to send letters out to the municipalities who have not joined in on the study, and to do whatever he could to urge them to get involved.
In other business, correspondence included an invitation from the county literacy program to enter a team in a scrabble tournament, to be held May 6, and a letter regarding the Leadership 2020 program, asking if COG would be interested in being a sponsor or to provide facilities for their meetings. A motion carried to allow use of the COG facilities for meetings, providing there are no conflicts with COG activities.
In accordance with COG’s bylaws, elections for vice chairs for each of COG’s three committees were held, with no change from the current slate of officers. After nominations, Charles Fahringer was reelected as COG’s vice chair, Rudy Mattes as the Sewage committee chair, and Chuck Mead as the Codes chair.
The building committee is still working on finding a new site for COG’s offices. One parcel they had looked at was said to be too expensive. But, the parcel was quite large and it was agreed to make an offer on part of it, as the owner is reportedly open to subdividing. In the meantime, they will keep looking for a suitable property.
After extensive and exhaustive work, the new employee policies and procedures were ready. It encompasses employees’ benefits, what they can expect from their employment by COG, job classifications, workplace behavior, and many other important points. Chuck Mead, one of the committee members who had put it together, suggested a six-month review by the executive committee after it is in place, to ensure that it works, and to recommend any changes. He also suggested that a committee be put together to look into health care costs. A motion carried to accept the policy, and to implement it as of this date.
At their last meeting, Friendsville Boro and its membership in COG had been discussed. Friendsville had not passed the ordinance required to reestablish membership, and their 2007 dues had not been paid. A letter had been sent to the boro, giving 45 days’ notice that as of February 12, they would no longer be considered a member, and COG would not perform any inspections, etc. for the boro. On February 8, Friendsville sent a check for their membership, but no documentation was provided that the ordinance had been enacted. It was noted that the boro has several new council members and a new secretary, and are possibly unaware that the ordinance is needed. It was agreed to return the check, and the boro’s secretary will be invited to visit the COG office to go over relevant information.
A grant application has been submitted through NTRDPC for office equipment, and indications are that it has a good chance of being approved.
A visitor at the meeting brought up a subject that chair Ted Plevinsky had intended to open discussion on. The guest came in response to a newspaper report about the Dubois Creek situation in Hallstead; the report said that two state agencies had noted violations in floodplain management practices in Susquehanna County, which could have “dire consequences” in the future.
Municipal representatives had recently met with DCED and FEMA, and went over current flood plain maps and flood ordinances; the feeling was that municipalities would be put in a position to enforce county rules and regulations, or the municipalities could lose federal emergency aid if any future emergencies should occur. The maps are in the process of being updated, and municipalities can present evidence of recent flood damage, such as high water marks, to have areas designated as floodplains that had not previously been designated as such. With streams and creeks changing their courses over the years, there are many areas seeing flooding now that had not before.
Most municipalities’ floodplain ordinances date from 1976. Mr. Plevinsky had done some research and recommended that COG put together an updated ordinance and offer it to members, and non-members as well, in a gesture of good will.
COG has been in touch with DCED, to arrange holding a zoning hearing board workshop in the local area. A date of April 10 was tentatively set, at the COG offices. Although elected municipal officials cannot serve on a zoning hearing board, it was felt that they should be aware of what is involved, and what the board’s responsibilities are. Current zoning hearing board members and those who might be interested in serving on one would be welcome to attend.
And, in response to a situation that had recently arisen, chairman Eliot Ross had copies of a form that his municipality uses, to outline the procedures that must be followed before a case is brought before a zoning hearing board. It outlines what must be addressed prior to an application for a building permit, and serves as a form of centralized information to alleviate problems that may arise before a hearing is called for.
At previous meetings, the ten-acre exemption had been discussed. Cog has encountered problems when a non-standard system had been installed, and there was no paper trail to show that. Law requires that such systems be recorded on a deed when the property is sold, but there have been instances where a period of time elapsed between installation of such systems and sale of the property and recording it was overlooked. COG has encountered problems in such situations, and it was recommended that a policy be adopted that such non-standard systems be recorded when they are put in. A motion carried to adopt the policy, which will only affect such systems that are put in as of this date. A permit would not be issued unless the system is recorded on the deed, and a copy of the deed would be required before a permit is issued.
The sewage committee has met with the solicitor to discuss some ongoing cases. Harvey Rosencrantz, committee chair, said that the meeting had been very productive.
COG’s next meeting will be on Tuesday, March 20, 7 p.m. in their offices in New Milford.
The Susquehanna Boro Council met on February 20; their meeting of the 13th had been rescheduled due to inclement weather and an expected lack of a quorum.
Dick Hennessey, on behalf of the Parks and Rec. committee asked for council’s approval of a request from the Tri Boro Little League to put up a storage shed at the Prospect St. park. Parks and Rec. had drawn up an agreement, which the Little League had signed; it calls for sixty days’ notice if the boro wishes for the shed to be removed, relieves the boro from any responsibility for the shed or its contents, requires the Little League to maintain the shed and the area around it, and designates the Parks and Rec. committee as contact for any issues that may arise concerning the shed. The area chosen to site the shed is in the lower parking lot, in full view of the street, which hopefully will deter anyone intent on vandalizing it. Mr. Hennessey said that the shed had already been installed and asked for council’s approval of the shed and the agreement pertaining to it; approval was given.
As soon as the weather allows, the Parks and Rec. committee will be purchasing/installing a new picnic table and a new piece of playground equipment at the park. Funds are available in their budget.
And, Mr. Hennessey has been doing research on a skateboard park. He said that the area needed would be bigger than any space available at the Prospect St. park, and the cost for a small one would be in the neighborhood of $75,000. Insurance costs for a would be an additional $500 to $1,000 per year. Boro secretary Ann Stewart has also been researching the subject, as well as grant funding
The secretary’s report included information about a scholarship opportunity from the PA State Association of Boros, to one student from each of the association’s districts. The scholarship is for $1,000, for students entering their freshman year at college. The deadline for applications is May 14, applications are available at the boro office.
Boro residents were commended for complying with snow regulations and, for the most part, removing their vehicles from the street after the recent storm. A list of individuals/organizations were also thanked for their help in getting the streets cleared.
In a related subject, council discussed several options for removing excess snow from key areas, and heard from a resident who told of the difficulty he had exiting the street of his residence, due to snow piles causing limited sight distance.
During public comment, resident Glenn Collier expressed interest in serving as the boro’s codes enforcer. He said that he has a flexible schedule, and has submitted an application.
Hiring of two part-time officers, Matt Zenker and Richard Malone was approved, as was promoting officer Laura Watson to the position of Sergeant. Ms. Watson has satisfactorily completed her six-month probationary period.
The meeting adjourned to an executive session to discuss legal and personnel issues.
Following is the Silver Lake Police report as submitted.
RECKLESS DRIVING (ROAD RAGE)
On Sunday January 7, while on patrol in Silver Lake Township, multiple motorists alerted Silver Lake Police that a racing-style motorcycle was traveling at high speed and doing wheelies on the main roadways in Choconut and Silver Lake Townships. Silver Lake Police did observe what appeared to be the same crotch rocket vehicle traveling in the Township at high speed. Positive identification was not made and the vehicle was not seen again.
On January 9, at approximately 3:40 p.m., Nicole Goldsmith of Montrose lost control of her 1997 Ford SW while traveling north and trying to negotiate a curve on SR167, .2 miles north of Quinn Road. Her vehicle went into the northbound lane ditch and then crossed over the roadway and flipped over on its roof and came to rest on the southbound lane shoulder. Fortunately no one was seriously injured in this accident.
MVA (ATV Violations)
On January 12, at approximately 11:30 p.m., three individuals were seen by Silver Lake Police riding ATVs on SR4002. Subsequently, two failed to stop for officers and began eluding apprehension. Unfortunately, one individual lost control of his ATV and crashed at the intersection of SR4002 and SR4001, Brady’s Beach. Mr. John Finch of Conklin, NY refused medical attention and was eventually released. All three individuals were subsequently charged with ATV motor vehicle violations.
HARASSMENT BY COMMUNICATION
On January 29, Angela Richards and Lisa Balascsak of Montrose, reported that each was being harassed by the other. This incident is still under investigation.
ALERT: On February 7, at approximately 10:00 a.m., an individual attempted to enter a residence in the Hawleyton Road area by first pushing on the front door with his shoulder several times, and then trying to enter a side attached garage door by utilizing a screw driver or similar tool. The individual left, but came back a short time later, but apparently was driven away by the appearance of a dog in the house. A witness was able to get a description of the actor and vehicle. The actor was a black man with long black hair with a blonde streak, very tall and thin. The vehicle was a small red vehicle with many dents and scratches; possibly NY tags. Anyone with information on this incident please call Silver Lake Township Police.
Any information or questions for the Silver Lake Township Police, please call (570) 278–6818 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. All information will be held strictly confidential.
News | Living | Sports | Schools | Churches | Ads | Events
Military | Columns | Ed/Op | Obits | Archive | Subscribe