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A major mining operation in New Milford Township has some township residents as well as their neighbors in New Milford Borough concerned about how the project will impact on their communities when it begins full-scale production on a mountain peak off Sutton Road.
Fred Ehmann, a township resident, pleaded for help from the Board of County Commissioners last Wednesday. In the process, he unveiled some startling statistics relating to the plans that B.S. Quarries have for mining on the site. “As we look at the approved plans,” said Ehmann, “this is not bluestone mining. This is gravel mining of the biggest circumstance.” He said it will be done on a permanent site of 405 acres, and that 350,000 tons of gravel will be processed yearly and will necessitate the use of about 45,000 gallons of water a day.
“No one has begun to consider the consequences of such a project,” he continued. “Unfortunately, the Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Mines has been consistently lax on how to deal with these types of projects. In our view, this is disastrous for the county.”
Ehmann said increased truck traffic is tearing up State Route 848, while dirt and dust kicked up by the large trucks is preventing residents from opening doors or windows in their homes. He added that a large number of halogen lights turned on nightly give the mountaintop the appearance of a large shopping center, while in the daylight, travelers get a look at what appears to be a huge, rotten tooth.
Ehmann said some residents who filed complaints with various agencies were told that DEP would look into the issues and then never heard from the agency again.
“The Fish and Game Commission was the only one to come forward and strongly recommend that the project be rejected,” Ehmann said. “Every other government facility remained silent on it.”
Ehmann also expressed concern about two New Milford Borough wells located in the vicinity of the mining project; the possibility that the use of so much water could affect the wetlands and, more importantly, that as the operation grows, it could depreciate residential values.
“We understand that you do not have jurisdiction,” Ehmann told the commissioners, “but we ask that you request that studies be made to protect the communities. There needs to be detailed analyses of the blasting, water consumption, degradation of our streams, the possibility of creating flooding problems in New Milford and Great Bend, and a comprehensive traffic study and road plan. We do not believe DEP will protect us.”
“A lot of people feel the same way you do,” Roberta Kelly, chair of the Board of Commissioners, told Ehmann and Bill Burchell who also addressed the subject. “We have heard complaints and concerns. What you bring to us is a serious issue with environmental threats and a number of infrastructure issues. I do not have answers today, but I agree with you that we need studies and a public hearing. Everything boils down to the local government and we are as disappointed as you are. We will help to initiate action.”
Personnel matters taken care of by the commissioners filled the following positions:
John Curran of Brackney and Eric Leigh of New Milford to open, fulltime positions as 911 dispatcher trainees at $8.50 an hour with benefits per the residual bargaining unit contract.
Named Charlene Moser as fulltime operations/training officer in 911 and EMA as per recommendations from Art Donato, 911 coordinator, and Mark Wood, EMA coordinator, at a starting salary of $25,000. Earlier in the meeting the commissioners accepted Moser’s resignation as a clerk/typist in 911 and EMA.
Accepted the retirement of John Bronchella, director of Veteran’s Affairs after 44 years of service with the county. The commissioners indicated they will have an appropriate retirement ceremony in the near future.
In a related matter, the Salary Board agreed to set the salary for Bronchella’s replacement at $25,500 per year for a 32 1/2 hour work week, and a benefit package.
The June 25 meeting of the Mountain View School District included a large visitor contingent of unhappy parents and staff. The visitors aired their griefs to each other while waiting for the meeting to begin in the hallway, and broached several subjects before the board itself once inside. Several of the questions were aimed at Dr. Andrew Chichura, whose employment as superintendent was to be voted upon that night. Answers were given to some of their complaints, and assurances given of measures to be taken for district improvement.
The first woman to speak inquired as to the process the board underwent in filling the superintendent position. She asked when advertising had been done, how many interviews were held, and who screened the applications. It was responded that the position had been advertised three times – once in August, once in October, and once in January. Three candidates were interviewed after the first posting, but none deemed acceptable. Dr. Chichura was appointed acting superintendent after this. In October and January, no applications were received as a result of the postings. One application had been submitted for general administrative positions, but the candidate did not have the experience they desired.
Another woman brought up Mountain Views' ranking on a paper's school grading report scorecard, which she brought with her to the meeting. Mountain View scored a 5 out of 18, which she expressed shame at seeing. She asked Dr. Chichura what he wanted to do to change this. He responded that he would seek further staff development, work on the curriculum, and make the staff follow the curriculum.
Another stood and stressed the importance of community involvement in the district. When Dr. Chambers was superintendent, she related, community meetings had been scheduled and held out in the community. She felt it was vital to have community interaction. When Dr. Chambers left, he charged her to ensure the continuance of these meetings. It was answered that there would be parental advisory meetings, but the matter of outside community meetings was not fully settled.
One mother expressed her concerns about district staffing problems. Her children, she said as her voice became emotional, have only been at Mountain View for a year. Her daughter had one English educator for the first two quarters, another for the third, and another for the fourth. She wondered why a substitute could not have been found for the whole year after the first one left, stating that the board should see the number of students who failed that class at the end of the year. Her children, she declared, were not attending summer school at Mountain View.
The question was raised as to whether or not the board was aware of the labor grievances filed in the past year, and subsequently the lawyer fees for these grievances. There were no grievances, it was stated, under past administrations.
In response to a visitor's question, it was estimated that about 20 students pursue alternate schooling options, including Fell Charter school, cyber schooling, and home schooling. What, it was queried, does this say about the state of the district, when this many students choose alternate education? The district pays around $9,000/month for 14 students to attend the Fell Charter School.
Another mother spoke about her two daughters, and how much she felt the district had gone downhill since her older daughter attended four years ago. She asked what the district would do to get their educators to stay. Children, she said, are now frequently coming from broken homes, and looking for a relationship. It was answered at one point, that if a staff member chooses to leave they cannot be made to stay.
Finally brought up was the issue of nourishment, though not the tangible kind. It was mentioned that debates are being set up for local candidates. In these debates they must answer questions, even though they are paid less than a superintendent and have less direct impact on children. In this spirit a woman spoke of the good times she had when she was in high school, and posed one question to Dr. Chichura: What is his vision for bringing the nourishing mother back to the district? He answered that he wanted to build a feeling of home, to keep the traditions and maintain the good things about the district. At the last meeting, he stated, an administrator was added, Ms. Voigt (appointed as a Director of Curriculum and Instruction/Federal Programs). She will work on curriculum and she, along with Dr. Chichura, will be more visible and in classes more.
In the end Dr. Chichura was appointed superintendent, with a vote of 6 in favor, 2 opposed, and 1 absent. His contract was then approved through June 2012, with a vote of 7 in favor, 1 opposed, and 1 absent. In his comments, Dr. Chichura thanked the School Board for its support, and said that he was looking forward to devoting himself full-time to the position.
Once this was done the rest of the meeting progressed rather quickly. A tentative approval of a dual enrollment grant was announced. This program would allow juniors and seniors to take college courses at area schools. The classes must be taken on the college campus, and the students are responsible for their own transportation. Tuition, books, registration fees, parking passes, etc. would be covered by the grant, however. Thirty-five students expressed interest at Mountain View in the program, and letters were slated to go out to district students at other schools as well (Fell Charter, home schools, etc.). Participants can schedule classes whenever they are offered, on days, nights, or weekends. If it is a daytime class, release time from Mountain View will be granted to accommodate the course. The program was designed in order to get students not currently planning on attending college to take a course, and maybe be encouraged to change their minds.
Several staff matters were addressed as well. Mr. Andrew Doster was officially welcomed as the secondary school Assistant Principal. Ms. Katherine Sekely was appointed to a secondary Special Education position. Mrs. Judy Michaels was commended for 33 years of service, and lauded as a “phenomenal asset” to the district. Her last day was the 25th, due to retirement. Ms. Karen Voigt, who already works in the district, will begin her new position July 1. Approval was given to authorize advertisement for substitutes and a long-term reading specialist position.
Also approved at the meeting was the General Fund Budget, set at $16,132,689. A discussion was held regarding the request of tax collectors to be paid an additional $1.50/installment to cover the cost of collecting the two extra installments allowed under the Act 1 payment plan. The three-installment plan is only available to qualified homesteaders and farmsteaders, and those choosing it do not receive the deduction. Approximately 2,000 out of the 6,000 bill payers qualify for this option, though not all may choose it. If the district agreed to the supplement for the 7 tax collectors and all those qualified chose the payment plan, this could amount to approximately $8,000 worth of cost for the district. Before being elected, a tax collector's pay rate must be established. Thus it is not mandated that extra compensation be given, as the prior rate is locked in. Act 1 allows for a change, however, at the district's discretion. One board member asked if it would be possible to put the cost on the resident choosing the payment plan, and add an extra $1.50 to their payment. The secretary said that she would see what other districts are doing, and have research available before the next meeting.
On several occasions, the Susquehanna County Office of Emergency Management has reached out to municipal leaders and homeowners to generate interest and participation in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) under the November 2006 disaster declaration. So far, response and interest in the HMGP has been very slow and small. This is the last chance to submit an eligible property for acquisition and demotion under the program. The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) has set August 31 as the cut-off date for submitting HMGP applications.
Again, only homes that served as the primary residence for an individual or family that were “substantially damaged” or destroyed in either the June or the November 2006 floods are eligible for a federal grant. Under the HMGP’s regulations, PEMA establishes the priorities for the grant program, and PEMA has said only applications proposing the acquisition and demolition, or “buyout” of flood-damaged properties will be funded. Again, a “substantially damaged” property has sustained damage equal to 50 percent of more of the pre-flood, fair market value of the property in a single flood event. Under the November disaster declaration, only $3 or $4 million in HMGP funds will be available for mitigation projects – about half the amount of money available following the June, 2006 flood. Already, PEMA has between $9 and $11 million, approximately, in proposed acquisition and demolition projects, about three times the estimated amount of money available. Each time the Commonwealth receives a major presidential disaster declaration, a new pool of HMGP funds is generated for projects that will reduce or eliminate the impacts of hazards that threaten a particular jurisdiction.
The Susquehanna County Emergency Management Agency has received numerous calls and messages from distraught homeowners pleading for assistance in response to soil erosion on their properties. Unfortunately, the priorities established by PEMA for this program do not include soil erosion. It is imperative homeowners understand the HMGP is not the correct program for their properties, and if homeowners are being directed to this program, they are being fed incorrect and misleading information. “To refer a homeowner, already devastated by the condition of their home and property, towards this program is cruel and irresponsible,” said Donna Erat, disaster recovery specialist for Susquehanna County. “If someone’s property is being eroded and swallowed by a creek, the last thing she or he wants to hear is that their property is not eligible under this program. It kills me to explain to a homeowner why this program cannot help them. I detest that part of my work, but to provide false information – and build false hope – is unconscionable. We all want to help, but even with the best of intentions, it is inexcusable to mislead a disaster victim.”
Any property acquired under the HMGP, by law, must be cleared of all structures, and a deed restriction requiring the lot be maintained as open space in perpetuity is placed against the property. No new structures may be built upon the land, and no disaster assistance can ever be sought for the property again. Immediately following the acquisition of the property from the homeowner, FEMA turns the title for the land over to the local unit of government, which becomes responsible for maintaining the land, including enforcing the deed restriction and open space requirement.
This is the last time the County Emergency Management Agency will be submitting an HMGP application on behalf of all homeowners countywide. In the future, municipalities will be responsible for applying mitigation funds and implementing mitigation projects for their communities, including homeowners and businesses and public infrastructure within their geographic boundaries.
For more information about the HMGP, or to add a property to the County’s grant application, please contact Mark Wood, Susquehanna County Emergency Management Coordinator, at 278-4600, ext 257.
Ronald W. Howell, Leanne Simmons to Leanne M. Simmons, RR1, Springville Township, in Springville Township for one dollar.
Betty Glemboski to David M. Glemboski, RD1, Springville, in Lathrop Township for one dollar.
Thomas M. Moffitt, Catherine H. Moffitt to Patricia Pearsall, Carbondale, Catherine Sisson, in Clifford Township for one dollar.
Gerald D. Cromer (est) to William Cromer, Jackson, NJ, in Franklin Township for one dollar.
Victor Cappucci, Jr., Mildred Cappucci, Richard Place, Charlotte Place, Cappucci Trust (by trustee) to Dale Severcool, RR5, Montrose, Debra Jo Severcool, in Dimock Township for $61,000.
Robert J. Nanius to Daniel P. Hollios, Union Dale, Krista A. Hollis, in Herrick Township for $1,000.
Daniel P. Hollis, Krista A. Hollis to Daniel P. Hollis, Union Dale, Krista A. Hollis, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Kim Marie Chernesky (nka) Kim Marie Ezman, Tony Ezman to Kim Marie Ezman, RR2, Union Dale, in Herrick Township for one dollar.
Stephen Duick to Joseph Mikloiche, South Gibson, Cheryl Mikloiche, in Gibson Township for $25,000.
Michael S. Waters, Roxanne Waters to Gerard Gantert, RR1, New Milford, in New Milford Township for $183,000.
Gail H. Zellers to Francis P. Boyle, Brackney, Sheryl L. Boyle, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar (corrective deed).
Francis B. Marrer, Elizabeth C. Marrer to George R. Marrer, Hatfield, James F. Marrer, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Eric N. Jordan, Joseph J. Gentile, Jr., to Daniel Hernandez, Union Dale, Joelle A. Hernandez, in Herrick Township for $340,000.
Dale J. Ross, Patricia A. Ross to Mary E. Snyder, Susquehanna, Charles H . Snyder, in Ararat Township for $67,000.
Susan E. Fitch (by sheriff) to PJ Morgan Chase Bank, Mendota Heights, MN, Truman Capital, in Thompson Borough for $2,808.
Ernest W. Hausmann, Helen H. Hausmann to David Poliacik, Bedminster, NJ, in Forest Lake Township for $100,000.
Chester F. Grover (trust by trustee) to Aimee J. Randall, RR1, New Milford, Joan B. Grover, in New Milford Township for one dollar.
Michael W. Smith, Kim M. Smith to Allen L. Shepardson, Endwell, NY, in Middletown Township for $11,500.
Eugene E. Smith to Eugene E. Smith (rev trust), Lehighton, in Jackson Township for one dollar.
John E. Freitag to Jennifer Krisiak, RR4, Susquehanna, in Jackson Township for $205,166.
Craig R. Spencer to Raymond G. Sheridan, Jr., Lenoxville, in Forest Lake Township for $58,000.
Betty Glemboski to John J. Crane, Stafford, VA, Jennifer L. Crane, in Lathrop Township for $180,000.
Anne Grasso Jentsch, Lars Alexander Jentsch, Tracy M. Feller to Andrew J. Zosh, RR1, Meshoppen, in Forest Lake Township for $35,000.
Robert J. Rychlicki, Rosalee M . Rychlicki to Wilton Vought, RR1, Montrose, Sarah MacMillen, in Bridgewater Township for $40,000.
Geraldine Johnson to Geraldine Johnson, RR1, Montrose, in Franklin Township for one dollar.
Julia Padaletti (by guardian) to Joseph Gentile, Woodside, NY, Aida Gentile, in Thompson Borough for $115,000.
Joseph Cicco, Mary C. Cicco to Joseph Cicco, 59 Elkview Dr., Forest City, in Clifford Township for one dollar.
Joseph Cicco, Mary C. Cicco to Joseph Cicco, 59 Elkview Dr., Forest City, in Clifford Township for $75,000.
Ronald S. Woodcock, Veronica E. Woodcock to Sean M. Bonnice, RR6, Montrose, in Bridgewater and Jessup townships for $227,500.
Joseph F. Cremona, Barbara A. Cremona to Joseph F. Cremona, Randolph, NJ, Barbara A. Cremona in Ararat Township for one dollar.
Thomas A. Calvo, Stacey G. Calvo to Michael F. Ciaravino, Staten Island, NY, in Jackson Township for $37,500.
Melissa Traver (nbm) Melissa Ryall, Matthew Carl Ryall, to David S. Traver, Apalachin, NY, in Choconut Township for one dollar.
Kevin C. Pierson, Sandi Pierson to Kevin C. Pierson, RR4, Montrose, in Rush Township for one dollar.
Scott D. Johnson, Marybeth Johnson to R. Spencer Clark, RR1, Meshoppen, in Auburn Township for $65,000.
Carol J. Potter to Fairfield Farm Management Co. LLC., Lansdale, in Thompson Township for $17,000 (corrected from June 27 edition).
Drew Nathaniel Lucas, Philadelphia and Patricia Jo Tenhoeve, Hallstead.
Brandon John Rombach and Mendy Sue O'Rourke, both of Montrose.
Thadd Wayne Taylor and Kimberly A. Goss, both of Montrose.
Richard A. Fabrizi and Jennifer M. Czysrusz, both of Binghamton, NY.
Michael Raymond Bullock, Mehoopany and Sarah Jane Curley, Montrose.
Eric Allen VanTassell and Rachael Arianna Ely, both of Binghamton, NY.
Calvin Henry Moffitt and Anianda Jo Bower, both of Auburn, NY.
Tai M. David and Katie May Covert, both of RR2, Susquehanna.
David E. Baltzley vs. Tonya Baltzley both of RR4, Montrose. Married in 2002.
Kevin W. Dougherty, Brackney vs. Penelope Dougherty, New Rochelle, NY. Married in 1980.
Richard A. Fanucci, Jessup vs. Sherry N. Fanucci, Scranton. Married in 1992.
Alayne Kiper, RR5, Montrose vs. Michael E. Kiper, Meshoppen.
Angela Morley Kuhr vs. Jeffrey James Kuhr, both of Little Meadows. Married in 1999.
Christine Holgash, Vestal, NY, vs. Stephen E. Holgash, Brackney. Married in 1979.
The Endless Mountains Health System’s Campaign to Build a New Healthcare Facility has received a huge push from early campaign pledges from the Health System “family,” which includes the employees, medical staff, and members of its Board of Directors.
The building campaign for the new hospital and clinic facility, to be constructed east of Montrose on Route 706, will begin seeking public support some time this coming fall. Campaign planning and seeking early commitments of support from the EMHS “family” is currently underway. A total of $401,257 has already been pledged by the “family” of EMHS, with more to come.
Since May of this year, 77 hospital and clinic employees have pledged a total of $62,257 to the building project. Most commitments are pledges that would be paid through voluntary payroll deduction over periods of three to five years. Most pledges range between $130 and over $6,000 each during the three-to-five year period. In fact, two dozen EMHS employees have already pledged $1,000 or more each. The employee gifts division was chaired voluntarily by three EMHS staff members – Marilyn Bell, Connie Kiefer and Amanda Rozell.
The key medical staff members with whom EMHS contracts for healthcare services have also made very significant pledges. Five of the primary medical physicians at EMHS, led by Dr. Joseph Speicher, have now pledged a total of $120,000. The hospital board and campaign leadership is thrilled to see such important buy-in from the physicians themselves. This provides very strong endorsement for donors from other sources.
In addition, current and former members of the EMHS Board of Directors and the EMHS Medical Care Foundation, all of whom serve completely as volunteers with no pay, have pledged major support to the campaign. Those pledges range from $1,000 to $100,000 each, and now total $219,000. The volunteer leaders seeking those board pledges include Board Chairman Ray Wilmarth, Jr.; Board Vice Chairman Allyn Hinds; Secretary-Treasurer Chris Caterson, and Medical Care Foundation Chairman Larry Kelly.
Chris Caterson has agreed to serve as the General Campaign Chair for the Building Fund. He is now recruiting various leaders from throughout Susquehanna County to serve in specific leadership roles with Lead Gifts, Major Gifts, Business Gifts, Community Gifts, etc. who will form the Campaign Executive Committee and launch the public campaign in the fall.
Among those who have already been recruited to serve in one of those roles on the campaign executive committee are Jack Ord as Lead Gifts Chair; Pennsylvania Representative Hon. Sandra Major and EMHS Board Chairman Ray Wilmarth, Jr., as Government Gifts Chairs; and Bob Bartron as the Campaign Treasurer.
The Building Campaign office has opened three days per week (Tuesday through Thursday) in the Medical Care Foundation’s meeting room at 78 Grow Avenue in Montrose. The building campaign is being managed by Richard MacIntyre, with Tara Bergman as campaign office manager. The phone number to become involved with the building campaign is (570) 278-4310.
The Hallstead Boro Council was to have met for their regular meeting on June 21, but due to lack of a quorum, the meeting had to be rescheduled to June 25.
Two residents were present on June 25; one, to bring copies of variances for a deck and a pool that had been put in at his property, and permit paperwork for a fence that he was in the process of erecting. He asked council to reconsider their affiliation with COG, which issues the boro’s permits. He said that the fees involved (for property owners) are exorbitant. “They can set and administer any fee amount they want. It is illegal to do work in your house. You can’t do anything without a permit.” Council pointed out that COG was willing to work with the resident; when work on the fence was begun without a permit, COG could have made the owner take it down and didn’t, they were only interested in seeing that the paperwork was complete. Council also pointed out that the state mandates that any building must be inspected by a certified inspector, which is one of the services COG provides to the boro. The resident insisted that COG is too expensive, and that the boro could find another inspector. Council said they would take his comments into consideration.
The other resident asked for council’s help with a situation she had encountered, where a piece of property she owns had been deeded to the boro in 1959, and subsequently was returned to its then-owner in 1986. This transaction had never been recorded, and council was asked to have a corrective deed issued. Council said that ownership of the parcel in question would have to be determined, and they would get back to her after the solicitor had been consulted.
The fire company had been asked to conduct a controlled burn of the wood debris at the two parks on Route 11. However, apparently someone took exception to the burning and contacted DEP. DEP, in turn, notified the boro that a controlled burn could be conducted, but the state must first be notified and permission obtained.
Three bids for paving Dayton Ave. were received; low bid was from Contour , at $38,771. A motion carried to accept; council will ask if the milled material removed during the process could be used on the road at the park.
Broome Bituminous, which had been one of the bidders, also submitted a price for a smaller job on Pine Hill. Council will contact them to see if the price still holds, or if it was contingent on awarding of the Dayton Ave. job.
Another resident was to have been present regarding a property he bought that would not be feasible to hook into the sewer system. The existing structure at the site is not a residence; presumably it will be used for a commercial purpose. There is an existing 500-gallon tank, which he plans to replace with a 1,000 gallon tank. All work would be inspected by the SEO. As the owner was not present, no action was taken.
The boro has been notified that a $2,100 grant application has been approved, from the Pennsylvania American Water Co. The funds will be used for planting trees and topsoil at the park. 90% of the funds will be paid up front, and the remaining 10% paid when the work is complete.
Council had been considering purchase of a portable scoreboard for the girls’ field at the ballpark. Blue Ridge School has also been considering purchasing a permanent one, which would be more expensive. After a short discussion, it was agreed that the boro would contribute what would have been spent on the portable one, towards the purchase of a permanent one.
Every year, the Tim Fancher Memorial Walk contributes to the boro, with the funds to be used for recreational purposes. The boro has accumulated $5,000 from the donations, and there was discussion about how to spend it. One suggestion was to use it for dugouts at the ballfield; another was to put in a walking trail at the ballpark. The Fancher family will be contacted for their input before a decision is made.
And, due to devastating damage from last year’s flood, the Hallstead American Legion Post was unable to make their customary donation to the Fancher walk this year; it was thought that others might be in a similar position and unable to donate. A motion carried to donate $100 to the walk on behalf of the boro.
The next meeting will be on Thursday, July 19, 7 p.m. in the boro building.
With engineering almost complete, the Harford Township Supervisors now confront the cost of replacing a bridge on Pennay Hill Road and a sluice under Stearns Road. At their meeting on June 26, the Supervisors considered a bill of fare for the Stearns Road project that would replace a sluice pipe at the outlet of Tingley Lake.
According to engineering estimates, the entire project could cost over $200,000, a lot more than anyone had anticipated. The pipe itself – corrugated steel, 11 feet 7 inches by 7 feet 5 inches – could cost over $50,000. The engineers also estimated the cost of aluminum head walls at over $36,000.
The township recently took out a loan for $500,000 to help finance both projects until the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) come through with reimbursement for the Pennay Hill Road bridge over Butler Creek, which was severely damaged in the flooding just over a year ago.
The Stearns Road project so far is the responsibility entirely of Harford Township, and the Supervisors clearly weren't prepared for such a big bill. They will try to consider having the work done somewhat more cheaply, even if the method doesn't quite measure up to what the engineering study recommended.
Replacing the sluice at the outlet of Tingley Lake is a "mitigation" project; that is, the new pipe should help to keep the flooding at the lake from happening again. It is only one of several areas in the township described in Harford's section of the county-wide "hazard mitigation plan" being prepared in Montrose. A very big binder issued to each participating municipality details everything the county emergency preparedness office has determined to be worth considering. According to Rick Pisasik, who has attended county-wide meetings on the subject, the various identified projects would be prioritized for the purpose of dividing available funds. The township hopes that the Stearns Road project will be eligible for some outside funding, perhaps as a result of this hazard mitigation planning.
Roadmaster (and Supervisor) Terry VanGorden reported that the application of AEP oil on roads around the township has met with some success, and great appreciation on the part of residents who are plagued with dust at this time of year. The bitumen-based product is certified by the state for use in dust control. Township crews try to have the material spread in the evenings – when traffic is lighter – because it should be allowed to dry undisturbed for a few hours after application. Due to the cost, the AEP oil is spread only in front of residences.
Mr. VanGorden and township Secretary (and Supervisor) Sue Furney reported that during "cleanup" week, crews handled 87 truckloads at 83 stops around the township. They picked up enough junk to fill six dumpsters, two of them with metal items only.
Ms. Furney also asked if something couldn't be done about household trash that is left at the sharp corner on Tingley Lake Road where it meets Plank Road near Sweets Chapel. Some of it is left for pickup days before the weekly pickup by the trash company, is often broken open and the trash scattered. Mr. Pisasik wondered if this was really a township issue; perhaps the owner of the property at the corner should take responsibility for the problem.
A discussion about the dispute over the triangle in the center of Harford village followed the official meeting's adjournment. The township has only an indirect interest in the matter: Market Street, bordering the triangle on one side, is a township road.
The Harford Township supervisors will meet next on Bastille Day, beginning at 10:00 a.m.
In our June 27 annual Graduation Issue, we inadvertently omitted the name of Joshua Wood from the Elk Lake High School list of graduates. Joshua was listed as the Class Treasurer, but was omitted from the regular list of graduates. We apologize for any inconvenience.
Following are the June 5, 2007 Lanesboro Council meeting minutes, as submitted.
Roll Call: Regina Dilello, Myles Limbert, Bob Mireider, Bill Roberts, Stan Rockwell, Colleen Wilkes. Also Present – Secretary/Treasurer Gail Hanrahan, Mayor Chris Maby. Absent – Dan Boughton.
Motion to accept minutes of previous meeting as presented.
Update on realignment work at end of Mountain Road by Harmony Township – Maby last corresponded with potential buyer of Selke property on 5/9. No change in status, awaiting return call from buyer.
Next Tri-boro sewer meeting is June 11, at 5:30. They have tentatively put the Lanesboro council or representative on the agenda as the first item. Maby suggests that all of the council attend, as it is their decision to pursue or not pursue the potential sale. Items that should be discussed include sale price, future sewer pricing (which by law should be the same as the other areas serviced by Tri-Boro), a possible seat on the board if the council wants one. If no one is going to attend, someone needs to contact Martha Stanford. After discussion, Regina, Colleen, and Myles volunteered to attend the meeting.
Maby received some information from the USDA indicating there may be funds available to help with rural sewer hookups, and asked if someone would take the lead in contacting them about it. Information was provided to Gail. After discussion, Bill Roberts volunteered to take the lead.
Public assistance workshop will be held on June 23 in Montrose from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Mayor has attended in the past, and suggested that the council also attend, as it will help in filling the ever-growing detailed paperwork that comes with FEMA projects. No movement on possible council representation.
Phone call from Larry Decker, who owns a quarry on Mountain Road in Harmony near the hunting camp, asking for a status on Depot St., and when tractor trailers (including low-boys) would have better access.
Truck still at Cleveland’s being repaired, should be done this week. When finished, it needs a place to be parked at, along with the snowplow that is currently in mayor’s yard. Mayor strongly suggests it be parked someplace other than behind the post office, as it has had mulch and garbage thrown on it several times while it was parked there. Need someone from council to coordinate the move, and get snowplow removed from yard ASAP. After discussion, Bob Mireider offered to house it at his property. Council agreed.
Interest from a local five-county arts group in possibly having an exhibit in the Community Center from mid-October to mid-November. Group is not-for-profit and is searching for someplace that could donate the facility. Maby has done some legwork, and there is interest in possibly doing an October-fest type thing with the local businesses, along with possibly having chicken BBQ sales on a couple of weekends for fundraisers for local youth groups and the fire department. If council finds this acceptable, Maby will write a letter to the group and express interest in hosting it. There is some competition in landing it, as it will bring people in from a five-county area. After discussion, council approved use of the Community Center. Colleen noted that the BPW was planning to take on the project and provide security.
Final paperwork for police car grant is in, and the $30,000 should be electronically deposited in the proper account in the near future. Someone needs to research and finalize paperwork associated with getting the car. After discussion, Bill Roberts asked to take the lead on this, with Bob Mireider offering to assist. Council agreed.
Streetscape project plans are being developed. A review copy will be provided to each councilperson, along with the Susquehanna County Housing / Redevelopment Authority, who is administering the project. Final plans are expected to be wrapped up in late June. All work will be done within state Right-of-Way, except for tree plantings and a new ditch that will be created along Viaduct St. to help ease the drainage problem associated with the raceway. Trees will be planted (free of charge to the property owner) outside of the Right-of-Way if the homeowners want them and are willing to sign an easement allowing the contractor access to the property. An exact construction date is not known, but expected to be sometime in the summer of 2008.
Maby has been contacted by the Central Bradford Progress Authority, which is the agency that is in charge of the recent Enterprise Zone Designation, of which a good chunk of Lanesboro is part of. They would like to arrange a meeting with the management of Rotorcast, and asked if Lanesboro could facilitate a meeting. Someone needs to be appointed to coordinate this. The contact at CBPA is Brian Driscoll. After discussion, Stan Rockwell stated that he would follow up with the owners of RotorCast.
Maby is attending a flood summit workshop in Towanda on Friday, and asked if anyone would like to attend with him. The meeting is being chaired by Congressman Carney, along with several other officials and agencies. No one responded – Maby to attend alone.
Need to appoint someone to coordinate activities on Jefferson St. to install new drainage. A new inlet needs to be installed at Enos White’s driveway, with a new pipe crossing Jefferson St. and inletting into the ditch behind Stan Rockwell’s. The ditch needs to be lined with stone. The inlet and pipe can both be plastic and come from Bradco or Jones Water in Binghamton. The pipe needs to have three feet of cover over the top of it so that it will not be crushed by the stone trucks. B&S will also have to be notified that the road will be closed. Maby suggests that Tim Tompkins do the work, as he has a good idea of what needs to be done, as long as the work can be done for less than the amount which requires bidding (approximately $4,000). After discussion, council appointed Stan Rockwell to handle. The money for the repairs can come out of the motor license fund.
The County Planning Commission approved the Scerenka subdivision without B&S having to do anything to Jefferson St. (per a conditional approval by the council last month), as they did not have a copy of the local ordinance that gave us final authorization. It was evidently not forwarded to them when it was developed back in the late 1990’s. Someone needs to look for it in the ordinance book and send a copy to the county. After discussion, council appointed Maby to send the necessary paperwork in.
Maby stated that he has had numerous conversations with the residents of Jefferson St. who feel that Lanesboro has been more than patient with getting the road repaired by B&S, who agreed to make the repairs in September of 2004 during a meeting coordinated and chaired by Sandra Major. He asked that someone be appointed to setting up a meeting between council and B&S to determine when the road can be repaired. After discussion, council approved Bob Mireider as the facilitator.
Maby informed the council of recent activity regarding the Susquehanna Youth Soccer League. The Oakland Park field will be getting rebuilt this fall, through a grant secured by Oakland. This means the only current locations to play are the Lanesboro field, and possibly one in Starrucca, with the school as a possible backup. The SYSL would like to place topsoil to level the field. Maby asked if the town would be willing to donate use of the dump truck when finished, with Maby donating the gas. Council agreed, and had a question about insurance. Maby stated that the SYSL has insurance which covers the players and coaches, and is developing an agreement that will be provided to the council by the next meeting for review and signature.
Code Enforcement: (3) complaints, (2) general inspections, (1) building inspection, (1) violation issued
Community Center: (4) rentals for month, dance studio may be interested in renting the hall during the week. Council agreed.
Advertising the new building – tabled until appraisals come in on Potter property, and prevailing wage discussion is cleared up by the solicitor.
Potter property – appraisal ordered, as is one for the existing building.
Rental Ordinance – needs further review. Rockwell stated it discriminates against the landlord. Renters should have some responsibility to the dwelling. It was mentioned that the state has laws for tenants and landlords. Tabled until preexisting state laws are reviewed.
B-Mets baseball game Sunday, 6/24/07. Tickets have been donated. Youths must be a resident of Lanesboro. Adults to purchase own tickets. Travel will not be provided
Stan Rockwell asked on behalf of Endless Mountains, what can the business do in respect to the road (Depot St). A letter from the boro will be composed and sent. This is the same letter that was provided to the previous potential buyer two summers ago.
Colleen Wilkes suggested we follow the ordinance as to the mowing of properties. Shane will be advised. Complaint forms are available
Stan Lindow asked if something could be done with the dead tree next to the Howitzer, noting the flag was recently replaced and things were kind of getting spruced up around it. Stan Rockwell stated that he would remove the tree.
Dale Rockwell presented a petition that was circulated to the council, signed by those who felt the building was not necessarily needed with an assumed construction cost of $300,000 to $500,000, or too big, and also noting that several signees felt that a new building shouldn’t cost more than $100,000. After discussion and clarification of costs by the council, several residents removed their names from the petition. The proposed property must be appraised. State loan requirements must be met – proper forms must be submitted to the state as to the maximum borrowing limit. A second petition was provided stating the signees indicated the garbage/sewer fees should not be used to pay for a new building. Dale Rockwell noted that he was told a lawyer from Hallstead stated that this was illegal, but was not told name of the lawyer.
An estimate of repairs to the existing Boro Hall was submitted by Mireider from DL Richardson, in the amount of $54,000. Questions regarding the bid included if prevailing wage was used in developing the estimate, as is what exactly would be compliant with Labor & Industry codes regarding heating, insulation, windows, doors, etc., which did not appear to be addressed in the estimate. Also temporary housing for the borough offices and the post office would need to be added to this estimate to provide a full cost of what it would take to repair the building. This estimate did not address the cost of making the current building ADA compliant. When this issue was raised, Tim Tompkins noted, “Just put a fire escape on the back of the building and let the handicapped people look up the stairs.”
Paul Corse asked for an update on the Streetscape sidewalk project. A map was laid out, showing the limits of the sidewalk, which will extend from Kaiser’s Farm and Gene Perry’s residence down North Main, extending into Luciana Park along the way, and then up Viaduct St. all the way to the northern end of Depot St., ending at the bridge near Dembo’s (the former Marion Klym residence). Mrs. Skasko asked if the project would affect her front porch – Maby explained that there were areas where the new sidewalk would be brought closer to the road to avoid impacting trees and houses. Paul Corse asked about the drainage in the area near his house. Maby explained the exact layout was not yet done, but would involve draining to an underground infiltration system, with the roadway being reconstructed and raised a few feet near his driveway to eliminate the ongoing flooding problems that occur.
A visitor asked what was the status of Jail Hill. Maby explained that PennDOT has completed two designs, based on whether or not the Jail is historic. The historic question is an ongoing one with no decision coming from the State Historical Agency, and one is not expected in the near future (next year or two). Maby asked for and received permission from the council to seek a return of the $20,000 that Lanesboro invested in the design fee (paid to PennDOT) in 1998.
A visitor asked for a list of phone numbers for the borough. The numbers, including the Codes Enforcement Officer, will be posted on the door.
Someone asked why the minutes were not published. After discussion, council noted that all minutes are available if asked for, and would also publish on the website (www.lanesboropa.com) and post at the borough building upon approval.
Adjournment – motion unanimous, so carried.
Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) have introduced a new dairy bill, identified as the Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act of 2007.
The proposed dairy bill was originally written by Arden Tewksbury, Manager of the Progressive Agriculture Organization (Pro Ag) and Gerald Carlin, a dairy farmer from Meshoppen, PA.
Pro Ag developed the bill in conjunction with the National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC) in Washington, DC. Pro Ag is a member of the coalition.
Both Senator Specter and Senator Casey have been strong proponents of having the dairy farmers’ cost of production brought into the formula that prices milk to dairy farmers.
The proposed dairy bill would price all milk in the United States based on the national average cost of producing milk.
Also, the bill calls for the US Secretary of Agriculture to adjust milk prices four times a year based on the dairy farmers’ cost of production.
Tewksbury said, “This formula would take the roller coaster ride out of milk prices. The ups and downs in milk prices have been extremely painful to dairy farmers and very confusing for consumers.”
The proposed dairy bill also contains a supply management program which would not allow unnecessary buildup of milk supplies.
Both Senators Specter and Casey acknowledge that their proposed bill will be completely funded by dairy farmers, and there will be no direct cost to United States taxpayers.
Kathy Ozer, Executive Director of the NFFC, said, “I am really grateful that our organization has developed this dairy proposal that will benefit dairy farmers and the American consumers.”
Tewksbury concluded by saying, “There are several other dairy proposals being introduced, but the Specter-Casey dairy bill is the only bill that allows the dairy farmers’ costs to be brought directly into the pricing formula, and the Specter-Casey bill is the only proposed dairy bill that eliminates any necessary payments of any kind to dairy farmers.”
Pro Ag can be reached at 833-5776.
Susquehanna Boro Council has received a number of complaints regarding ATVs, and, in response, was set to enact an ordinance regulating them within the boro. The ordinance mandates that they have mufflers, that they not be used on the boro streets, and that they only be used on private property with the permission of any neighbors within 1500 feet. The boro solicitor did review the proposed ordinance, and council was ready to act on it. But, at the June 26 meeting council member Bill Perry raised some questions. Wasn’t 1500 feet too much? If you considered just how much area that encompasses, it would require that a number of neighbors would need to give permission. How would that affect those who were using their vehicles responsibly? Wasn’t that getting too many people involved, he asked? After discussion it was agreed to reduce the distance to 750 feet, which would only affect the more immediate neighbors.
Secretary Ann Stewart did some research into phone service for the boro building. Other companies that service the area would want to lease a new phone system; the current system lease with Frontier is up, with a $1 buyout. And, the lines themselves are through Frontier, no matter what other company might be contracted for the system. Frontier offered a five-year contract to continue the current service, at no increase in cost. A motion carried to approve.
Mayor Reddon reported that the Susquehanna Community School District will be adopting a LERTA ordinance, but the district requires start and end dates, so their ordinance will cover September 1, 2007 to June 30, 2010. Mayor Reddon said that the county commissioners and the assessment board have approved the ordinance.
Municipalities’ emergency operations plans are required to be updated every two years; however, municipalities can opt into the county plan, which would eliminate the need for individual municipal updates. A motion carried to adopt the county plan.
Mr. Williams and Mr. Matis attended a flood mitigation meeting held the previous week. One item of note that had been discussed was that state and federal emergency management agencies are not in favor of dredging creeks (for flood prevention), as that is a perpetual maintenance issue. Instead, they recommend that municipalities have a maintenance schedule to remove debris from waterways, or those municipalities will be ineligible for emergency funding. The boro would also need to provide documentation of maintenance, and any efforts made to keep the water flowing, such as debris removal. The maintenance is the property owners’ responsibility, but it is up to the boro to see that it is done. A program of maintenance must be conducted twice a year, to see that downed trees and debris (tires, etc.) are removed, and the effort must be documented. It can be a volunteer effort, much like the one that has taken place at the riverfront park, so long as it is documented.
With Wednesday, July 4 a holiday, the regularly scheduled committee meeting will be held on Thursday, July 5.
Council was provided with copies of an ordinance to review, dealing with vacant homes. Discussion will begin at the next meeting.
No action was taken on a fee schedule from Code Inspections, Inc. Council wanted to thoroughly review it first and discuss some questions at the committee meeting.
After discussion, it was agreed to refurbish the 1997 truck. A new, unused bed is available at a price of $1,200; a motion carried to purchase it. While the old one is off, the chassis will be cleaned. Council stressed the need for a preventive maintenance program, to get the best life expectancy from the equipment. The bed was in need of replacing because it had not been cleaned of salt after the winter plowing season. And, the plow itself needs to be replaced; bids will be advertised for a new one.
With paving work set to begin on Center Lane on July 9, council found themselves in a bit of a quandary. A price had been received for drainage work, but at higher than the allowable limit where the job would need to be bid out. A second price had been received some time later, a lower one, but this contractor was not as familiar with the project and council had been unable to contact him to discuss particulars. After discussion, it was agreed to contact the first contractor to see if he would be willing to lower his price, and to contact the second to see if he would be willing to do other work on Laurel St.
A motion carried to have parking space lines painted on Main St. and in the boro building parking lot.
The Tri-Boro Municipal Authority had been requested to have a representative at the meeting to discuss complaints about the odor emanating from the sewage treatment plant downtown. The representative was unable to attend the meeting, but did send a letter of explanation. It said that in the spring, supernatant (water that rises to the top in the holding tanks) is taken off the aeration tank, which leaves only sludge in the tank. The odor comes from the tank, since this is a concentration of solid waste. Air is added to the sludge, which causes the odor to escape. The mixture is then hauled to the permitted fields.
The meeting adjourned to an executive session.
After reconvening, a motion carried to hire Michael Rosemellia part-time to the police department, subject to the usual probational requirements.
Motions also carried to hire Andrew Crawford part-time to the streets department, and to interview Sean Murphy for the streets at the July 5 committee meeting.
And, a motion carried to hire Steve’s Electric to do work at the Drinker Creek Park.
The next meeting will be on Tuesday, July 10, 7 p.m. in the boro building.
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