Main News
County Living
Church Announcements
Dated Events
Military News
Subscribe to the Transcript

Our Annual Fall Car Care

Special Is Running

October 31st Call Today To Place Your Ad

Please visit our kind sponsors

Issue Home October 10, 2007 Site Home

New Milford Seeks Information
Sweet Evening In Montrose

Great Bend Borough Considers Tax Increase
Great Bend Talks Roads
Courthouse Report
Snake Creek Fire Co. Receives FEMA Grant
Starrucca Council Meeting Minutes

New Milford Seeks Information
By Carole M. Canfield

New Milford Borough officials discussed several topics in which they are seeking more information before acting upon the items. Included in that Borough Council meeting, held October 4, were questions about B&S Quarries, investigation into a police protection possibility and information from PA Senator Roger A. Madigan.

According to the letter to Fred Ehmann from Sen. Madigan’s office, “It is my understanding that the initial application calls for a 400-acre mining operation, in which 182 acres would actually be mined. Currently, DEP is awaiting response from the quarry that would address deficiencies found in this initial application. If a response is received by deadline, the application process will continue for several more weeks at least. If a response is not received, the quarry will have a chance to withdraw the application or a decision will be made by DEP based on the material submitted initially.

“I have been assured that the concerns spelled out in your letter to me will be addressed throughout the extensive application process, and were taken heed of by the Department when they were expressed at the public meeting held at Blue Ridge High School. I have also been informed that DEP welcomes knowledge of additional public concerns that arise... Any complaints regarding blasts, dust, runoff, and noise should be directed there (Pottsville District Mining Office) for consideration and investigation.”

The letter further acknowledges that “It has been indicated that B&S Quarry did indeed work outside the realm of their small mining permits, but have taken action to rectify the situation and are currently working within the realm of their permits. Further action from my office regarding your concerns surrounding the proposed permit is pending the determination of the non-coal surface mining application.”

Fred Ehmann, New Milford RESCUE, reported concerns with the B&S mining and future effects the blasting, etc. could have on the Lyndcott landfill and the groundwater and the contamination it could cause.

Ehmann stated that one testing and monitoring well (#7) tested with elevated levels of arsenic. He also reported that four others showed excessive amounts of magnesium. The question here relates to where the ground water may be running off to allegedly if it runs in the wrong direction. It could contaminate areas of New Milford Borough.

The concern of the borough officials was raised with a statement that DEP is overlooking some of the problems at B&S and not doing their job.

Borough President, Scott Smith stated that the borough was concerned with traffic, noise, runoff, and dust.

Ehmann added that New Milford RESCUE was concerned with a statement regarding how the B&S operations could affect Lyndcott Landfill. The statement was related to the effect as being no effect on the landfill.

Allegedly, it was stated that “DEP is running like rats, with no funds to carry out obligations!”

One main point of contention is that this application is proposed as 400 acres, a non-coal mining operation, which means that although they are currently only mining approximately 180 acres, they have the ability to mine all 400 acres in the future, which would amount to 10 times the size of the operation currently in progress.

This could have huge consequences on the neighboring areas, including but not limited to traffic, where overloaded triple axel trucks are traveling over township and borough roads, breaking them up and allegedly traveling at unsafe speeds.

In addition to the road conditions, actually having such huge vehicles loaded heavily with stone and the like traveling at excessive speeds, puts residents, particularly those children who live on Route 848 and Sutton road, at risk.

One audience member stated that she was privy to information that “one of the triple axel trucks was observed by a resident as traveling at 60 miles per hour, then having to skid to stop within feet of hitting a school bus full of children.” A parent of one of the children was waiting and hoping the truck would be able to stop. Another such incident was also reported.

The traffic and danger has increased “with just the use of 180 acres,” let alone what will happen in the future if all 400 acres are mined.

In another situation, council member Jim Carr corrected a statement he had heard: “It was reported that New Milford Borough Council stands 100% behind New Milford RESCUE; I would like to mention that is not a correct statement. Not all of the council members are in total agreement with the RESCUE stand.”

Councilman Rick Ainey added, “That doesn’t mean we aren’t 6-1, as one council member works for B&S Quarry and has abstained, but it does not mean all of council think the (same).”

Council agreed they had many of the same concerns as New Milford RESCUE and will keep abreast of the application process.

In other business, council moved to further investigate the financial aspects of forming some type of police protection, whether they go out on their own, join with COG or other options. They agreed to have more information at the next meeting.

New Milford Borough also recognized two community residents with “The Good Neighbor Award” to New Milford Postmaster Roger Stonier and Commissioner Mary Ann Warren. Both were present to accept the awards.

The next borough meting will be held on November 8 at 7 p.m.

Back to Top


Sweet Evening In Montrose
By Melinda Darrow

It was a gorgeous Fall evening when the Montrose Borough Council last held their official monthly meeting. Not only was it a beautiful night, it was the first night in October. The bright leaves outside matched the sometimes jovial mood inside, though at times the temper of the meeting adopted a more serious bent.

Tom Follert of the deliciously named Sweet Spot chocolate shop attended in order to provide more information about the wine and chocolate festival discussed last month. At the time, the council had been loathe to approve anything, having no one present to answer some serious concerns. Many, if not all, of these were addressed on this night.

The festival is designed to promote and assist local businesses, Mr. Follert said. Last month the council had expressed concerns over the method of alcohol moderation, and the consequent risk of drunken behavior. Mr. Follert explained that the plan is to rope off Public Avenue from the movie theater up, creating an over-21 area. To enter this part of the festival, adults would have to pay a fee. The winery representatives would be inside, and for their entrance fee patrons would receive a commemorative glass and tickets for 10 2 oz. samples of wine. Signs and security would be present in an attempt to ensure that purchased wine bottles were not opened on the street, so as to promote responsible behavior and not violate the open container law. Patrons would be encouraged, however, to take their purchases to a local restaurant where it could be opened over a meal. From the theater down, other vendors would be located, similar to other local festivals. Area businesses would be encouraged to set up their own tents in front of their stores, so as not to be crowded by outside merchants. There is a strong desire, he said, to keep this a classy event. The council responded that it sounded reasonable. The organizers are still looking into insurance matters.

Speaking of sweets, yearly Halloween decisions and events were also discussed and decided upon at the meeting. It was announced that the Halloween parade will be on Saturday, October 27 this year, at 2 p.m. It was thought that more kids might attend on a Saturday, and that this would help to allay fear of the dark. The official trick-or-treat time was set for Wednesday, October 31, between 5 and 8 p.m. An “off the streets” curfew was established for 9 that night.

Two ladies from the Montrose Restoration Committee were also in attendance, seeking support and assistance for a parking plan. It is their mission to erect parking signs around the borough, which would direct the public to municipal parking lots. The women asked if the street department might, at its convenience, be able to assist them with the actual placement of the signs. This, it was responded, could likely be done.

The other visitors at the meeting had more weighty matters on their minds than chocolate and free parking. One man brought before the council difficulties he was having with his rental property. Armed with pictures as illustration, he spoke of the deplorable conditions he and his family face in their apartment, and the unwillingness of their landlord to fix them. He and another couple present spoke of black mold, lights which did not work, difficulty opening windows, lack of fire extinguishers, and a stove which expelled flames. A repairman had been sent to the property once, he said, but had not been let in due to a lack of prior warning about his arrival. The couple had broken their lease eventually, to get out of their apartment. The man and his family still lived in theirs. He had already contacted the attorney general, the Board of Health, and Sandra Major.

Joel Maxey explained to the gentleman that the borough would only do what it had the legal right to do, which is not much. Currently, it only has a zoning authority and UCC codes by which to scrutinize such matters. The zoning authority is only involved with the exterior of the building and with setbacks. The UCC code only deals with properties of 1000 square feet or greater, and smaller buildings which are part of a larger unit still count individually. Even if it adopted the PA State Property Maintenance Code, either permission or a warrant would be required to enter the property. It was recommended that the man contact the Department of Agriculture to test the mold, and noted that he had already contacted those with more power than the borough had in this matter.

The discussion did, however, resurrect the idea of a renter's ordinance, which had been previously debated for months. Such an ordinance could mandate yearly rental property visits in order to enforce a suitable standard or code of living conditions. It was decided that the ordinance might bear reconsideration. It is still, however, not something which would occur quickly. It would need to be advertised, a public hearing would need to be held, etc.

Finally, Dale Smith was appointed, as the result of an executive session, to the position of chief of police. This involves, currently, a 90-day probationary period, and the salary will remain the same.

Back to Top


Great Bend Borough Considers Tax Increase
By Ted Brewster

For only the second time in about 15 years, the Great Bend Borough Council will be considering an increase in tax rates for their 2008 budget. According to some council members, last year's modest increase was the first in 13 or 14 years. The cash-strapped municipal government is hard pressed to provide expected services without more money. At the Council meeting on October 4, member Jerry MacConnell said the Borough needed "enough to meet the ongoing needs of the borough."

Borough Secretary Sheila Guinan will prepare a draft budget over the next month. She asked Council whether or not to consider a tax increase, and the nearly unanimous sentiment was to assume a one-mill increment, at least to begin with. Always reluctant to boost the tax burden of its small population, the borough Council struggles every year to meet the needs of the community within tight limits. Mr. MacConnell said the borough has to "worry about roofs, worry about roads. We gotta have money."

A visitor at the meeting suggested another potential claim on the Borough's meager resources. He noted the number of youngsters riding skateboards in the area, much of the time in dangerous places in the shopping plazas. He asked Council to consider building a skating area in little-used Greenwood Park. He proposed having the kids help design the facility, to give them a stake in helping to prevent vandalism.

Many municipalities are being forced to cut back on things like skating parks and swimming pools by prohibitive insurance rates, and that was the first worry of Council members who heard the suggestion. In the end, they asked that designs and funding be explored while the Borough solicits information from its insurance carrier.

As it is, pavilions in the parks need a lot of work, particularly the one in that same Greenwood Park. Council voted to request bids to refurbish the structures, including the replacement of roofs with steel.

Recreation Park, on the other hand, is getting substantial attention, thanks to last year's flooding and funds from the federal and state governments to fix the damage. The federal (FEMA) funds are available only through the end of this year, and Ron Cranage assured his colleagues on Council that all the work would be complete, probably by the end of October, including rebuilding the dugouts and fences.

Mr. Cranage made a point of commending the Borough's new employee, Dick Button, for his meticulous work. Mr. MacConnell seconded that, saying that Mr. Button was "doing a fantastic job." They especially remarked the long hours he has put in on the parks and along the riverbank.

The saga of Charlie Martel, retired chief of the now long-defunct police department continues. The department he headed was a cooperative venture of four municipalities, which all bowed out one by one as costs continued to rise. Mr. Martel was promised a pension and has for many years argued a case for a higher payment, or extension of benefits to his spouse in the event of his passing, among other things. One claim that went to court was turned aside.

Now it appears that an auditor is reporting that Mr. Martel's pension payments may have been too high all this time. The trouble is, there doesn't seem to be any documentation covering what he was promised, or why. The tangle itself is promised a longer future.

When the agenda arrived at consideration of a proposed ordinance to control "adult book stores," Borough attorney Frank O'Connor immediately asked for an executive session. Since there is no known litigation in progress on the issue, it's hard to understand the need for a private meeting. Mr. O'Connor would only say that he wanted to discuss something that was not yet public; and so it remains.

Ms. Guinan reminded her charges that an informational session on zoning would be held at the Blue Ridge school auditorium on October 22 at 7 p.m. She also asked if anyone wanted to serve on the board of something called the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Risk Management Association. There seemed to be an overwhelming lack of enthusiasm for either of these items.

On the other hand, Council did give its approval for the borough building to be used for a "Friends to Friends" Thanksgiving dinner, at the request of Donna Cosmello. Anyone interested in contributing or working on the project should contact Ms. Cosmello.

The Great Bend Borough Council meets on the first Thursday of every month, beginning at 7:00 p.m., in the Borough building on Elizabeth Street. Up next month: the budget.

Back to Top


Great Bend Talks Roads
By Barbara Whitehead

The Great Bend Township Supervisors’ meeting of October 1 began with requests from several residents for roadwork projects they would like the supervisors to consider. One request was to tar and chip McHugh Road, which had been slated for that work some time ago, until circumstances intervened. Another request was to do something about the horrendous dirt problem on Airport Road. Calcium has been applied twice this year, but the problem does not seem to be getting better. And, due to environmental concerns, it is no longer allowed to apply oil. A third request was to do something about a 1,000-foot section of Emerson Road. At one time it had been blacktopped, but dirt was applied over that (by the state), presumably to fill in potholes. The supervisors promised to keep all three requests in mind when the 2008 budget is prepared.

The roadmaster’s report included the news that Scott Tiffany had resigned from the road crew, effective September 28. LTAP would be holding a tractor and mowing safety class on October 16. PennDOT has released general information, available to the public, regarding bridge inspection; frequently asked questions are available, as is a list of the terminology PennDOT uses when the reports are presented.

At a previous meeting, the supervisors had been asked to look into posting a speed limit on Airport Road, to help cut down the amount of dust. Information indicated that the road meets the criteria to post a 35 mph limit; a motion carried to do so. It would not be permissible to post a limit lower than 35 mph without a traffic study, which must be done by a qualified individual.

COG will be contacted with some codes concerns that were discussed, such as oil tanks near the flood plain that are required to be anchored down, but are not.

Speed limit signs have been posted on Old Route 11. Supervisor Squier suggested that “no permanent marking” signs be posted at either end of the road to protect the township, as there is no line painted down the middle. Former supervisor George Haskins said that the supervisors had looked into doing that some time ago, and had determined that it was not needed.

A resident noted that speed limit signs had been requested some time ago for McHugh Road, and asked if it qualifies under the same criteria used for Airport Road; it would not, as there are not enough structures spaced less than a hundred feet apart.

A driveway permit was issued to Chester Kilmer (Towner Rd.).

Correspondence included an invitation to a zoning program being held at the Blue Ridge High School on October 22. Mr. Squier cautioned that it would take a municipality that does not have it, three to four years to put zoning in place.

The township is still in need of an emergency management coordinator; the county will be holding classes in October.

Ralph Reynolds was present to keep the supervisors up to date about his property. He has a ministry that refurbishes old computers and provides them at no cost to those in need. During the flood last year, the building where the computers are stored did get some water in it. He plans to take the computers out of the building, sort out which ones are damaged and which are salvageable, and temporarily store the salvageable ones on skids. He estimated that it would take about two weeks.

Joan Long has requested an extension of her codes violation case; there will be a hearing on October 11.

Public comment included a request to have a ditch on Emerson Road taken care of as soon as possible, a request to take a look at the crown of Airport Road (it is too high), and the road crew was commended for a job well done.

The next meeting will be on Monday, November 5, 7 p.m. in the township building.

Back to Top


Courthouse Report
Compiled By Lauren P. Ficarro


Joseph A. and Linda M. Dughi to Guiseppe and Mario Fasullo, in Middletown Township for $251,000.00.

Thomas F., Sr. and Mary Evans to George J. Evans, in Forest Lake Township for one dollar.

David E. and Debby A. Jahnke to Jeffrey L. and Barbara Hollister, in Bridgewater Township for $235,000.00.

Catherine French to Catherine French and Julie A. Funk, in Lanesboro Borough for one dollar.

David Hwa S. and Nancy Hsu to Anna H. Su, in Forest Lake Township for one dollar.

Genevieve J. Guiton to Paul J. Guiton, Jr., in Forest Lake and Middletown Townships for one dollar.

Genevieve J. Guiton to Suzanne T. Tereska, in Forest Lake Township for one dollar.

Genevieve J. Guiton to Pamela M. Birch, in Forest Lake and Middletown Townships for one dollar.

Genevieve J. Guiton to Mary Anna Marbaker, in Middletown Township for one dollar.

Joseph V. and Rhonda J. Russo to David and Cathleen Forker, in Oakland Township for $89,900.00.

Michael Patrick (By Sheriff) and Bonnie Hurlburt (By Sheriff) to Equity One Inc., in Lanesboro Borough for $2,971.37.

Sherry Sparks to Curt Allen and Susan Sparks, in Gibson Township for one dollar.

James J. Rowlands to Elaine Rowlands, in Forest City for $93,500.00.

Teresa A. (By Sheriff) and Lauren C., Jr. Hertzler (By Sheriff) to GMAC Mortgage LLC, in Forest Lake Township for $1,129.06.

Lincoln Jacoby Warner, Jr. (Estate AKA) Lincoln J. Warner, Jr. (Estate) to Mary Jo Warner, in New Milford Township for one dollar.

John D. and Jennifer L. Gregory to Michael E. and Barbara J. Dovin, in Silver Lake Township for $40,000.00.

David, Jr. (By Sheriff) and Jane L. Grosel (By Sheriff AKA) Jane L. Carite to Franklin Credit Management Corporation, in Forest City for $5,155.62.

Philip L. and Linnie R. Donahue to Glenn C. Horvath and Jeannette M. Tynan, in Bridgewater Township for $300,000.00.

Richard A. and Elizabeth J. Melton (AKA) Elizabeth Jane Melton (By Atty) to Michael A. and Debra L. Rosencrance, in Silver Lake Township for $207,000.00.

Edmund J. and Florence Zydzik to Philip L. and Linnie R. Donahue, in New Milford Township for $395,000.00.

Robert F. and Patty L. Tiffany to Harold L. and Angel Palmer, in Bridgewater Township for $140,000.00.

Gerald M. Collum to Patricia L. Peltz, in Herrick Township for $106,000.00.

Geraldine R. Demarest (Trust AKA By Trustee) Geraldine Demarest (Trust By Trustee), Steven H. and Brenda J. Demarest to Edward Demarest, Jr., in Forest Lake Township for one dollar.

Geraldine R. Demarest (Trust AKA By Trustee) Geraldine Demarest (Trust By Trustee), Steven H. and Brenda J. Demarest to Steven H. and Brenda J. Demarest, in Forest Lake Township for one dollar.

David W. Fisher (Trust Agreement By Trustee), Harold W. Fisher (Trust Agreement By Trustee), David W. Fisher, Kay J. Britt (Trust Agreement By Trustee) and Kay J. Varlan Britt to Anthony J. and Julie Spataro, in Thompson Township for $155,000.00.

Jeffrey L. and Jody M. Millard to Roger A. and Kathleen T. Rinker, in Forest Lake Township for $130,000.00.

Jennie M. Brink to Joseph F. and Kethleen M. Brunt, in Lenox Township for $70,000.00.

Kimberly M. Arnold (NBM) Kimberly M. Harris and Jesse Kane Harris to Kimberly M. and Jesse Kane Harris, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.

William McEwen to James and Sally Peters, in Jackson Township for $40,000.00.

Rosemary A. Golenski to Tammy L. Norton, in Harford Township for $350,000.00.

Raymond and Sandy Kilmer to James J. Tancredo, in Ararat Township for $75,000.00.

Tim and Beth Raub to Earl D., Jr. and Lori Ann Raub, in Liberty Township for $936.50.

Young Soon Hwang to Donna C. Coleman, in Susquehanna for $84,000.00.

Donald S. and Jennifer M. James to Michael C. and Jane D. Brennan, in Herrick Township for $166,500.00.

Halper Family Trust (By Trustee) to Elaine G. Werner Penner, in Herrick Township for $6,000.00.

John J. and Pamela L. Ward to Charles A. and Jill M. Puntar, in Herrick Township for $55,000.00.

Bonnie Lee Read to Kaye E. and Frank Holtsmaster, in Gibson and Herrick Townships for one dollar.

Bonnie Lee Read to Veronica Kolibab, in Gibson and Herrick Townships for one dollar.

Kaye E. and Frank Holtsmaster to Kaye E. and Frank Holtsmaster in Gibson and Herrick Townships for one dollar.

David G. and Bessie Palmer to Kaye E. and Frank Holtsmaster, in Gibson and Herrick Townships for $100.00.


Joseph L. Deorio and Virginia M. Wojciechowicz, both of Freehold, NJ.

Nicholas Jubinski, Jr. and Charlotte A. Travis, both of Uniondale.

Jason S. Atkinson and Nichol M. Verdensky, both of New Milford.

Stephen Donald Proof and Sharon E. Sterling, both of New Milford.

Chadd G. Smith and Michelle Lynn Coleman, both of Lawton, PA.

Ronald G. Brown, Jr. and Christine M. Casey, both of Friendsville, PA.

Ronald William Roeder of Montrose and Debra L. Bailey of Hallstead.


Back to Top


Snake Creek Fire Co. Receives FEMA Grant

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) awarded $1,973,134 in Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) to fire departments in Pennsylvania. Nationally, the fiscal year (FY) 2007 AFG awards, which will be distributed in phases, will ultimately provide over $490 million to fire departments and nonaffiliated emergency medical service organizations throughout the country.

This round of grants amount to nearly $16.9 million distributed to departments throughout FEMA’s ten region offices. This latest round of FY 2007 fire grants is being awarded to 112 local fire departments and nonaffiliated emergency medical service organizations, with an additional 53 awards being distributed from the FY 2006 funding and 10 for FY 2006 Fire Prevention and Safety awards. FY 07 awards currently being made will continue into calendar year 2008.

Round 9 of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program includes the award of $147,250 to the Snake Creek Volunteer Fire Co., for vehicle acquisition.

Back to Top


Starrucca Council Meeting Minutes

Following are the approved Starrucca Borough Council minutes for their September 5 meeting, as submitted.

The Starrucca Borough Council met for their regular, monthly meeting on September 5 at the Community Hall in Starrucca. President Rhone, Mr. Lou Gurske, Mr. Donald Haynes, Mr. Robert Buck, Mrs. Helen Haynes, Mr. Fred Rhone, Mr. Anthony Palonis and Mayor Downton were present.

President Rhone called the meeting to order and the minutes from the previous meeting were read. Motion to approve carried.

The Treasurer’s report was given and motion to approve carried. Mr. Gurske was opposed.

The bills were presented for payment. Motion to approve payment carried. Mr. Gurske was opposed and stated he was “opposed only to the bills of Dennis Whitmore, Attorney Bugaj and the State and FEMA bills.”

The following correspondence was received:

A notice of a meeting sponsored by the Wayne County Department of Planning (September 11).

A report from PennDOT concerning their bridge inspections.

An upcoming training session for Emergency Management Coordinators (copy provided to Mr. Palonis).

A copy of a letter from Solicitor Bugaj requesting the hard drives of Paul Everett’s computers.

In Borough Reports:

The Depositions Committee reported their first set of preliminary findings as follows:

Laura Travis: Serving as a FEMA agent for another municipality, she testified that at the “kick-off” meetings, hosted by FEMA/PEMA, given after every disaster, representatives inform attendees that private property is not eligible for funding through the governing body. The committee also found that the borough suffered no loss because a deposit from one account to the other was not made in a timely manner. The actual cause of the lost deposit was not known, but occurred shortly before Louis Gurske started obtaining and sharing bank statements. The committee found there was no wrongdoing by Laura Travis.

(Former secretary) Pat Schneyer: The committee, through her testimony and introduced evidence, found that she knew private property was not eligible for funding through FEMA/PEMA for the Shadigee Creek Wall Project. She never informed council even after Renee Warden’s deed was presented (June 05). She willingly entered (by signing) the borough into a contract with Ken Rausch Excavating (Nov 05) with no permits or funding in place, therefore potentially creating a liability for the borough. As a private citizen she viewed the borough’s bank statements, including individuals’ private banking information, after being summoned to do so by Paul Everett. This action created a possible civil suit upon herself and others. During her tenure, she received a pay raise that was not made by a legal vote of council. The committee found her actions potentially bound the borough to an agreement creating a potential liability to both herself and Starrucca Borough.

Louis Gurske: Through his testimony and introduced evidence, the committee determined that he requested bank statements to look for what he called improprieties. He testified that he shared this information, including private banking information of every person and business that the borough had written checks to, with others and without authorization from council. He further was aware that private property was not eligible for the FEMA funding, that a GP 11 permit was required by the DEP for the project and wasn’t gained, and that the borough was notified the wall was on private property and the project was eligible through the NRCS. As president of council, he failed to properly instruct the procedure for signing Ken Rausch’s contract. He further failed to disclose his ownership interest in the Shadigee Creek Wall project site.

Paul Everett: (partial) The committee was able to determine through his testimony and introduced evidence that he was the borough’s FEMA agent during Hurricane Ivan (04) and the April 05 flooding. He verified all eligible damage. He stated that he decided engineering was not necessary for the Wall Project. He never made a request to the NRCS to obtain the eligible funding for the project, nor did he inform FEMA/PEMA of its private status, once he was made aware of it, thereby negating its eligibility. Several letters from the borough’s solicitor to clear up these matters went unanswered, thereby stonewalling the borough investigation. He allowed a design and build bid, knowing that it was above the FEMA “scope of work” and knowing FEMA will not pay for projects above the “scope of work,” and never made provisions for the additional funding. He ignored his own information that he presented to council and steered the project toward FEMA and Ken Rausch Excavating. When awarded, the bid was well above the amount of money projected (that wasn’t eligible), including additional contingencies. The bid was not awarded to the lowest responsible bidder, as provided for by Code. He further, as a council member, failed to inform anyone of the proper signing of the contract, creating a potential liability for the borough. The committee further found, that as a private citizen, Paul Everett aided and abetted in public dissemination of private checks in an unauthorized manner. Therefore he breached his fiduciary responsibilities with respect to his position on council, as FEMA agent and as an individual citizen.

Full copies can be obtained by contacting the borough. Mr. (Darl) Haynes stated the committee would have more results once additional transcripts are received, and will report to the council at future meetings.

Mr. Rhone presented Mayor Downton with a subpoena to take his deposition.

Mayor Downton asked, “Who compiled these findings?” Answer – the Depositions Committee. He further verified that Mr. Darl Haynes serves as chairman of the committee. He then asked council for sixty days to obtain his own attorney. Mr. Rhone read a statement from council’s solicitor, that his own counsel is not required. Mr. Downton stated, “If a conflict of interest exists, I have the right, under the code, to hire my own attorney.” The council told the mayor that the date was set, and if he had a problem where he couldn’t attend, he needs to address that with the solicitor. Mr. Gurske defended by stating that Solicitor Bugaj can only give a recommendation. Mr. (Darl) Haynes stated the mayor does not need an attorney for the deposition, and no indication of a conflict exists, that Solicitor Bugaj told him that the day they were at his office. Mr. Downton asked for a motion to allow him sixty days to get counsel. No motion was made.

An intergovernmental agreement from Scott Township in the form of a resolution was presented. The nature of the resolution and agreement was for both governing bodies to agree on Scott Township’s boundary (South) and Starrucca Borough’s boundary (North) between the two entities, keeping consistent with Wayne County’s tax maps. Motion to accept the intergovernmental agreement and approve the resolution carried. Mr. Gurske was opposed.

Mrs. Loreeda Everett wanted it noted she objects to the resolution under the Sunshine Act.

A motion carried to prepare a similar agreement and present the same to Preston Township. Mr. Gurske opposed.

Mr. Gurske made a motion to conduct a thorough investigation of the property owned by Darl Haynes, as the prior owner “paid taxes in Scott Township.” The motion died for a lack of a second.

Mr. Rhone made a motion to apply for a DCED grant in the amount of $20,000.00 for the rehabilitation of the Stephano Bridge. Mr. Haynes seconded the motion, motion carried. Mr. Gurske was opposed and questioned how the $20,000.00 figure was determined. He stated, “You already have a grant for that project.”

The lump sum bids for the Buck’s Road bridge rehabilitation project were opened.

Four bids were received and are as follows:

R. DeVincentis Construction - $103,000.00

Pro Con Contracting - $ 88,000.00

Leeward Construction - $198,200.00

Timz Construction - $ 85,000.00

After review, Mr. Palonis made the motion to reject all bids and contact the engineers to change the specifications and re-bid the project at a later date. Mr. Rhone seconded the motion, motion carried. Mr. Gurske was opposed to the bids “completely” and asked if the bridge will be re-designed.

Mrs. (Barbara) Glover informed the board of garbage that had not been cleaned up at the ball diamond. Mr. Rhone promised it would get cleaned up.

No further business to come before the board, meeting adjourned.

Approved Minutes - September 18, 2007 Special Meeting

The Starrucca Borough Council met for a special meeting on September 18 at the Community Hall in Starrucca. President Rhone, Mr. Haynes, Mr. F. Rhone, Mr. Gurske, Mr. Buck, Mr. Palonis and Mayor Downton were present. Mrs. Haynes was absent.

The purpose of the meeting was the Buck’s Road Bridge Rehabilitation Project.

President Rhone called the meeting to order.

After the bids had been rejected at last meeting, Delta Engineers were contacted and the bid documents were revised. The gabion and approach work is noted “to be done by others.”

An amended contract with Delta Engineers was presented for $400.00 to complete the work and provide the borough with a copy they can use to provide to the contractors. Motion to approve the amended contract for $400.00 carried. Mr. Gurske was opposed and suggested the documents be put on public display.

Motion carried to re-bid the project with the changes as outlined by Delta Engineers and further to set the bid opening at a special meeting to be held on October 9. Mr. Gurske was opposed.

A heated discussion followed as Mayor Downton questioned PennDOT’s approval of $5,000.00 that had been previously paid to Delta Engineers. Both he and Mr. Gurske accused the board of creating a “back door” approach to the project, as they believe the project will be the same in the long run.

No further business to come before the board meeting adjourned.

Mayor Downton stated he wants a copy of the first set of bid documents. Mr. Palonis reminded there was a $50.00 non-refundable fee.

Mrs. Loreeda Everett objected to no public comment period.

Laura Travis, Secretary

Back to Top

News  |  Living  |  Sports  |  Schools  |  Churches  |  Ads  |  Events
Military  |  Columns  |  Ed/Op  |  Obits  | Archive  |  Subscribe

© 2006 Susquehanna County Transcript. All Rights Reserved