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There is no official, council-sanctioned, summer program in the Montrose park. The potential confusion regarding this matter was the cause of extensive discussion at the August 4 Montrose Borough Council meeting. At the June meeting, local resident and face painter Ilona Scroggins had broached with the council her desire to see a summer park program resurrected. She also explained that she sat at the park for a few hours, twice a week and made art supplies available for children wanting to use them. The council had received the idea well, and left with the understanding that more information should be sought. In the intervening month, apparently, an intern at another publication had written an article which the council and their solicitor felt could have been misconstrued to state that such a program already existed, with Ms. Scroggins as a sanctioned borough volunteer. (A reporter present stated that when she polled park patrons, however, many had not had this interpretation.) Two letters were sent, one to the newspaper and one to Ms. Scroggins, and a clarification printed.
Ms. Scroggins attended the July meeting as well, stating she felt that the matter might have been handled differently. She understood, she said, why the letter was written but she had not sought out the interview, nor had she called her art an official program. She said she was doing nothing differently than she had the year previous, and reminded council president Joel Maxey that he encouraged her, in June, to continue what she was doing. She wished that the park could be a positive thing, and spoke of behavior she had witnessed there, with adolescents and urinating on the slides and setting a fire.
From the council's side, council members and Ms. O'Malley explained that the letters had to be written for liability reasons. Mr. Maxey suggested, and no one disagreed, that the council was fine with residents volunteering their time to do something nice for borough children, as Ms. Scroggins had been, so long as it was understood the action was not under the auspices of the borough. Near the end of the discussion, an apology was made by a council member to Ms. Scroggins.
It was suggested that the article and subsequent clarification, despite its negative repercussions, might have actually been a positive thing for the borough. It brought attention to the park, and other groups have either come there for their own work, or expressed a desire to do so since the publication. Ms. Scroggins’ sister reported having received positive feedback about the unofficial art program from area residents.
Once the article mess was cleared up, the borough was able to actually discuss the park program possibility, which council was not discounting entirely. Borough secretary Annette Rogers had contacted the borough's insurance company, and learned that the cost of a program would be around $1,500 per year. Staff of the program would need to be CPR certified and have criminal background checks. Some programs would need to have a stipulated number of supervisors per child, and the insurance company would prefer a registration system over a drop-in setup. There was some discussion as to how staff would be managed at a proper ratio when attendance could vacillate between 60 children one day and 10 the next. A cap on the number of children was suggested, as well as banning children whose parents repeatedly failed to pick them up on time (to avoid the problem of children remaining unsupervised at the park when the program ended). A fee was also discussed; it was reported that East Hanover's program stipulates one fee for residents and another for those outside the area. Mr. Maxey asked if ordinances regarding the matter might be looked into, and Ms. Scroggins may return at a later date to present her research. She asked if there were ordinances related to profanity, graffiti, etc., which are current problems of the park.
Mr. Maxey also reported on recent discussions regarding another topic from last month's meeting – the selling of water from sewage treatment plants. He said that there were issues with getting water from the sewer authority, as concerns existed regarding bacteria in the water. Instead, three gas companies, Cabot, Chesapeake, and Alta, had arranged to acquire their water another way. The Susquehanna River Basin Commission gave the Pennsylvania American Water Company permission to take 550,000 gallons of water per day out of Montrose Lake (this presumably being a safe amount). On average, 250,000 gallons per day is currently used. Therefore the Pennsylvania Water Authority has given the three companies permission to take some of the unused allotment for their own purposes (at fixed amounts, which may change according to water level, etc.). The companies also have permission to drive down to the lake. Cabot, however, has stated that they do not wish to rumble through town. They suggested getting water from a hydrant, but the alternative was proposed of tapping an existing water line. This could, it was said, have various benefits. It would keep the trucks on the outskirts of town, and might allow the borough to acquire some income through the leasing of the land.
Responsibility reared its head in various respects at the meeting. One council member questioned what ACT 9 meant for emergency services. This Act dictates, he reported, that a borough only be responsible for providing fire and emergency services within its boundaries, though he still felt that if called a borough should respond. (It was pointed out that Montrose has mutual aid agreements in place with various municipalities, regardless.) The question which was raised, and discussed briefly, was whether the various areas covered by the United Fire Company contribute fairly to that company's work.
Where state and borough responsibility for roads and drainage lay was also discussed. A representative of PennDOT had met with the borough secretary and the head of the borough street department. He told them that drainage on state roads was the responsibility of the borough. This led to a discussion of the phrase “waters of the commonwealth,” and if this meant all water belonged to the state. The council decided not to fix one drainage problem in particular, at least for now, as it is on a state road.
It was a soft and quiet evening in early August, and Great Bend Borough Council members were feeling especially good about their little town and the people who take care of it. Practically everyone had something good to say at the meeting on the 7th, and no one went away an hour or so later disappointed.
The Borough's maintenance employee, Dick Button, sat at the table and barely broke a smile when several of his employers took note of the work he does to keep the town's grounds and parks in top condition. They didn't hesitate, however, to add to the list that councilman Joe Collins keeps for Mr. Button to do. And they approved a motion to hire temporary help for him at $10.00 per hour.
Councilman Jerry MacConnell would like Mr. Button to edge the sidewalks along Main Street, for one thing. And Borough Secretary Sheila Guinan was asked to find out what it would cost to create new signs for each end of town, and where they can be had. It seems some are especially taken with the signs in Kirkwood, Great Bend's northern neighbor in New York. They are thought to cost about $1,000 each, and Mr. Button will presumably be the one to install them.
As usual, there was a lot of talk about water, on Washington Street as elsewhere. The recent work on Washington didn't go all the way up the hill, and can we do that next year? Ms. Guinan consulted with the newest PennDOT municipal representative about missing and broken drain grates on Main Street, U.S. Route 11.
His colleagues heard of councilman and codes enforcement officer Bret Jennings's efforts to get some recalcitrant property owners to clean up their act. In at least two case, letters sent to owners were never claimed. So the borough will pay the local Constable to try to deliver the demand letters in person.
The promise of police presence in the borough, by renting the services of the Lanesboro police department, has come to naught so far. The Mayor of that town is concerned about the rising cost of fuel for his officers' patrol cars, and how to balance that against the prices that were quoted for making the service available some 15 miles away in Great Bend. A recent report indicated that New Milford may soon be renting police service from Montrose. Perhaps Great Bend could piggyback on that?
The Borough Building, which also serves as the Blue Ridge Senior Center, has been outfitted with two new – round – tables, courtesy of the seniors themselves. The borough will augment those with two more round ones, and four, eight-foot rectangular tables, to replace the aging furniture in the heavily-used building.
Council will soon present a plaque to the Great Bend Hose Company for the services they provide to the town and its citizens. And Jerry MacConnell got approval to do the same for the Hallstead-Great Bend Ambulance Company, whose members resuscitated the nearly moribund volunteer organization a few years ago, and who provide a much-appreciated but too-little-recognized service to the community.
And finally, the town's lofty mayor, Jim Riecke, always on the lookout for the best among his neighbors, characterized the recent Tim Fancher Memorial 10K race the best ever. He said there were over 200 runners, including one 74-year-old former Olympian.
Council, too, does the best it can with the means available to keep the town a pleasant and attractive place to live. Come see for yourself on the first Thursday of each month, beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the Borough Building at Franklin and Elizabeth Streets.
The Director of Assessments and the Susquehanna County Board of Assessment Appeals wish to make it known that the permitting of stone quarries or the drilling of gas wells on lands enrolled in the Clean and Green program are considered violations under the Act. Any such violations will subject the enrolled land to the roll-back provisions contained in the Act. Landowners must provide thirty days’ notice of the intended change in use. All remaining lands not used for quarry or gas well purposes may be eligible to be re-enrolled in the program.
If your land is not in the Clean and Green program and you are considering enrolling land that may have a gas well or quarry on it in the future, you should consult a lawyer. Copies of the Clean and Green Law are available for review at the Tax Assessment Office.
Roger J. and Sharon Stockholm to Charles and Bonnie Suchocki, in Liberty Township for $42,000.00.
Manuel Diaz (Estate AKA) Manuel Diaz, Sr. (Estate) to Diaz Family Trust, in Brooklyn, Harford, Lathrop and Springville Townships for one dollar.
Celia R. Ivory (By Sheriff) to Homesales, Inc., in Susquehanna for $2,497.12.
Mary Wescott to Michael R. Wescott, in Oakland Township for one dollar.
John Organisciak to Janet and Darroll L. Hall, in Franklin Township for one dollar.
Genevieve Kurosky (Estate) to Thomas P. and David L. Kurosky and Helen E. Walsh, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
Herbert, Marilyn C., Barry and Nikki T. Berkowitz to Herbert and Barry Berkowitz, in Bridgewater and Forest Lake Townships for one dollar.
Bremer Hof Owners, Inc. to Earl R. Leaser, in Herrick Township for $2,495.00.
Bremer Hof Owners, Inc. to Janette Family Trust (By Trustees), in Herrick Township for $2,495.00.
Coleen A. Graham (Estate) to Kevin and Robin Mann, in Lenox Township for $50,000.00.
Michael R. Wescott vs. Mary L. Wescott, both of Susquehanna, married 1986.
Following is the Silver Lake Township Police report for July, 2008, as submitted.
On July 2, Judith Hewes of Silver Lake Township reported Visa credit card fraud with charges for purchases she did not make.
On July 7, Mr. Collin Stuart reported that his 16-ft. Coleman canoe, orange and red in color, had been taken from his property on Laurel Lake. This incident is still under investigation.
On July 19, Lisa Fike reported that someone had shot her cat with a gun. Investigation and an examination by a veterinarian showed that the cat was injured by undetermined means.
On July 19, loud music and illegally parked vehicles were reported late Saturday night on Kennedy Road. The situation was quickly rectified without any further incident.
On July 22, a routine traffic stop for tail light violations resulted in multiple arrests. Two juveniles, already on probation, will be charged with drug and drug paraphernalia possession as well as alcohol violations. The driver of the vehicle, Robert Wayne Simpson, was charged with several vehicle violations and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Any information or questions for the Silver Lake Township Police, call (570) 278-6818 or e-mail at email@example.com. All information will be held strictly confidential.
The August 4 meeting of the Great Bend Township Supervisors began with the roadmaster’s report. Potholes have been filled and building maintenance has been completed. Work has been completed on Baptist Hill, Sienko Road and Graham Hollow Road. Major ditch work has been completed, most of it repairing of damage caused by the flood of 2006.
One quote for salt was received, at $54.50 per ton. Last year’s price, from a different supplier, was $46.87. Accepting the bid was tabled until the next meeting, so that additional price quotes could be obtained.
The audit of the 2006 liquid fuels accounts has been completed. One item of note, the township cannot pay for diesel fuel out of the liquid fuels funds unless a detailed report is provided, documenting how much fuel is used by each vehicle.
Permits issued during the previous month included an assessment permit to David Skube, a driveway permit to Wayne Culp, and a bluestone permit to Mark Walworth for the Hickory Grove Quarry.
The township officials’ annual convention will be held at the Montrose Bible Conference in October. The supervisors approved a half-page ad in the informational book put out each year.
Mark Wood, county EMA Coordinator send correspondence regarding the fact that the township is presently without a Municipal Emergency Management Coordinator. The supervisors will make inquiries to see if any of the township’s residents are interested; in the interim, the supervisors can act as EMC if an emergency situation should arise. The supervisors would prefer to have someone serve in the capacity of EMC, though, because in the event of an emergency there is already quite a lot for them to do.
Supervisors Galloway and Gaughan had recently attended a meeting regarding hazard mitigation. Both expressed their appreciation for all the work supervisor/secretary Sheila Guinan had done in the aftermath of the flood of 2006. Until the meeting, they said, they hadn’t realized what a tremendous undertaking it had been. The township had seen roughly $800,000 in damage, and Mrs. Guinan put in countless, unpaid hours dealing with it.
Hallstead and Great Bend residents have been notified of their new 911 addresses.
A motion carried to make a $100 donation to the Leadership 2020 program, and a survey on radon gas from the American Lung Association will be sent on to COG for completion, as it requires information from a building code official.
A Dubois Street resident asked the supervisors what could be done about a stone shop operating near her property, which, she said, was causing water runoff onto her property. The supervisors said that the procedure in a situation where there is a complaint of this nature is to first try and work something out with the property owner; she said that she did try, and it was not possible. The second step, the supervisors said, is to contact DEP, especially since this situation involves not just water, but “gray water” and stone dust. The third step would be to file a written complaint with the township, which should include an outline of what the problem is as well as what problems are being caused.
During public comment, the road crew was complimented on the work they had done filling in potholes.
Ralph Reynolds, who had offered to give the supervisors a presentation on the Endless Mountains Technology Center, said that the EMTC is on hold for the present, until some legal issues could be looked into.
The first Monday in September is the Labor Day holiday, so the next meeting will be on Tuesday, the 2nd, 7 p.m. in the township building.
Funding is available to help municipal governments save time and money by working together to deliver local services. The grants are provided through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s Shared Municipal Services Program.
Municipal governments are encouraged to cooperatively apply for grant funds to help defray up to fifty percent of the costs associated with sharing a municipal function. Example projects include: combined police records administration, shared technology initiatives, municipal insurance pooling, shared public works operations, regional recreation activities, shared code enforcement operations, and shared motorized equipment. However, the purchase, renovation, or construction of buildings is not eligible.
Also, Intermunicipal Organization Start-Up Grants are available to help newly formed Councils of Governments or similar organizations defray the cost of initial administrative expenses.
The Northern Tier Regional Planning and Development Commission’s services are available to help municipalities in Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, and Wyoming Counties with grant writing. Contact Tom Schill, Community Development Program Manager toll free at 888-868-8800 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. To view the grant guidelines, visit our website at www.northerntier.org.
Following are the July 2 meeting minutes of the Starrucca Borough Council, as submitted.
The Starrucca Borough Council met for their regular monthly meeting on July 2 at the Community Hall. President (Kirk) Rhone, Mr. Arthur Kopp, Mr. Donald Haynes, Mr. Fred Rhone, Mr. Anthony Palonis, Mr. Robert Buck and Mayor (MaryAnn) DeBalko were present. (Mrs. Barbara Glover was on vacation.)
President Rhone opened the meeting.
The minutes from the previous meeting were read. Motion to approve carried.
The Treasurer’s report was given and the motion to approve carried.
The bills were presented for payment. Motion carried to approve payment.
The following correspondence was received:
A thank you from Brian and Tara Kelly for the use of tables and chairs was read.
A notice from Moody and Associates on behalf of Chesapeake Appalachia LLC concerning a SRBC application for water usage was read.
A request from B.I.U. (Building Inspection Underwriters) concerning their need to increase prices per square foot charged to make up for rising fuel costs. Motion carried to support the increase.
A notice of an upcoming quarterly training session from the Wayne County Emergency Management Agency was read.
A letter from Summit Risk Services concerning the Ken Rauch claim was read. Motion carried to have a copy sent to the borough’s solicitor.
In borough reports:
The auditors had nothing to report (Paul D’Agati).
The FEMA agent had nothing to report (Darl Haynes).
Mr. (Darl) Haynes, on behalf of the Depositions Committee reported that the committee and the borough solicitor met with representatives from the Auditor General’s office and compiled a list of documents to be sent. It was his understanding, the Auditor General’s office reported that their investigation stemmed from allegations as testified to by Paul Everett in December, ‘06 or January, ‘07 before the Depositions Committee was ever formed. Another meeting to present the documentation will be held.
In unfinished business:
Mayor DeBalko stated she and Mr. Rhone compiled the report requested by Wayne County concerning the problem areas within the borough, and included photos, which the county said would be extremely helpful.
Mayor DeBalko also presented, on behalf of Ruth Mroczka, a sample Wind Turbine Generator Ordinance and she read a summary of the same as prepared by Mrs. Mroczka. Mr. Rhone stated he would like to have Mrs. Mroczka head up a committee on the subject. The board agreed to form a committee consisting of: Mayor DeBalko, Mr. Palonis, Mrs. Glover (will be asked when she returns). A thank you letter will be sent to Mrs. Mroczka and an invitation to chair the committee.
In new business:
Mr. Rhone announced a ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of the Buck’s Road bridge to be held on July 16 at 10:00 a.m. He invited the public and any interested parties to attend.
Mr. Kopp spoke of the Civic Committee's purchase of “Starrucca Borough” signs. As the committee awaits the purchase of the posts needed, he asked the landowners be asked permission for their placement. He will provide the secretary with a list of the affected landowners.
Mr. Rhone stated the Hall Committee would meet to ventilate the building after the July 4 holiday.
Mr. Palonis asked permission to use tables and chairs on July 26. Motion to grant permission carried.
In public participation:
Mr. Robert Martin asked when the ballfield would be mowed. Mr. Rhone answered, tomorrow. Mr. Martin then asked about the frequency of the mowing. Mr. Rhone will talk to Mr. Whitmore.
Motion carried to authorize the ballfield use to the Youth Soccer Association.
No further business to come before the board, motion carried to adjourn.
Although several important matters were discussed at Forest City Borough’s August 4 meeting, the most prominent was a request that council help find a permanent solution to erosion issues on the Rail-Trail pathway.
According to Lynn M. Conrad of the Rail-Trail Council, since 2006 storm water from a Forest City drainage pipe has caused erosion to the trail after every heavy rainfall. Conrad stated that because the Forest City drainage pipe is 15 feet above the trail surface, water shooting out creates a “geyser” effect, destroying a portion of the trail. “I have to rake [the trail] over two or three times after every storm,” Conrad added.
Conrad stated that further “blow-outs” of the trail are inevitable, unless the problem is resolved. She suggested lowering or extending the Forest City drainage pipe. “I want to work with the borough,” Conrad said, adding, “I want [council] to take some responsibility here.”
Solicitor Smith responded that the borough engineer has said that there is inadequate drainage beneath the trail at the problem site and also attributes the erosion to the removal of old pipes north of the problem site. Conrad replied that the old pipes had been replaced. Smith and other members of the council maintained that Forest City is not responsible, stating, “It’s really not our problem.”
However, Smith suggested that the Rail-Trail Council seek the opinion of another engineering firm in order to get a second opinion.
After being awakened at 2 a.m. by shouting in the street, Stephanie Reisch decided that Forest City needs a neighborhood watch program. Reisch told council that such a program would be a way to maintain peace in Forest City. Reisch agreed to research neighborhood watch programs but added that a successful program requires the support of the citizens, as well as the mayor, council and police department.
Jamie McNerney, whose family was evicted from an apartment at 1009 Upper North Street, requested that council look into providing assistance services for families in need of temporary shelter. The McNerneys were given two days to vacate their apartment when Code Inspections, Inc. of Dushore found that the foundation was not structurally sound and that there were serious wiring problems. McNerney described the event as “traumatic.” Council members expressed sympathy for the McNerneys but stated that aiding families is really a job for private organizations.
Council agreed to donate $500 to the Fallen Officers Remembered organization for supplying the borough with four bullet-proof police vests.
Council also agreed to advertise a burn ban ordinance, which will restrict fires and open burning within the borough.
The Public Works Department will repair a retaining wall behind the borough building. Additionally, the department expects to clear storm drains on Dundaff Street in order to prevent plugging.
Kelley Twilley reported that some residents have complained to her about a chemical odor around the 300 block of Railroad Street. Council will attempt to determine the cause of the odor.
Finally, Forest City residents should note that due to the Labor Day holiday, the next Forest City Borough Council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, September 3.
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