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Much of the March 2 Montrose Borough meeting was taken up in a review of the borough's insurance policy, through DGK. Other business was conducted, however, and a few decisions made.
It was suggested that the borough had to either start moving on the renovation of the building next door, to make it into new borough offices, or tear it down and sell the lot. Toward this end, Mr. Yeager had investigated architects and obtained a few quotes, including one from John Puzo. Mr. Puzo's being the low quote, and those at the meeting respecting his work, it was decided that he would be hired to move ahead.
Alice Walsh, hired in the recent past as a police secretary, brought to the meeting a draft of a proposed police policy manual. Council members present expressed admiration of, and appreciation for, Ms. Walsh's work, and it is to be further discussed at the first meeting in April. With the policy, it was said, the department is able to move further toward achieving accreditation in the future, which would open up more grant opportunities and help with insurance.
Mr. Darrow, the borough's new code enforcement officer, spoke about codes regarding gas and oil lines through the borough. Apparently the gas and oil companies are beginning to inquire as to this, and the questions raised regarding what permits might be required, who should be contacted, and how much would be charged. The borough secretary was to check with PSAB to further investigate the situation.
Along the same lines, it was stated that a copy of the proposed contract with Cabot had been sent to that company. Nothing had been heard in response as of the meeting, but the council would be made aware when something was.
A few purchases were approved at the meeting. The police department, after much research and some discussion, was granted permission to purchase a Watch Guard camera for inside the police car. Permission was also given for the streets department to purchase a backhoe thumb, in order to more efficiently serve the community.
April 11 was approved as a date for the Price Chopper Easter Egg hunt. The event is slated to begin at 11:00 a.m. Also, the mayor agreed to provide a speech at the Memorial Day Parade.
Great Bend Borough is inside a large bight of the Susquehanna River. That’s why it’s called Great Bend, after all. Some of the town’s parks, which are on the bank of the river, can expect flooding every Spring. The rest of the town isn’t far out of the flood plain, at the base of some hills that drain into that river. So water has always been an issue in one way or another.
And so it was at the meeting of the borough council on a relatively balmy night in early March on the 5th. “Water on Washington Street” has been on the agenda for as long as anyone can remember. And now council wants to do something about excess water at a location on Franklin Street that seems to be backing up into a resident’s basement. The cost of that may affect everything else they might want to do for the Borough’s streets this year.
Then there is the derelict property that appears to be occupied, but that hasn’t been supplied with town water for some time. Council is at odds what to do about such a situation. Is it a health hazard? And if so, to whom?
Presumably, whatever water might be used in the house would end up in the sewer system, even though the resident is not known to pay either for water or for sewer service. It might be hard to find out for sure as long as the borough is without a representative at the sewer authority. The borough’s seat was recently vacated by Maureen Crook, and council is accepting applications from volunteers.
Gas drilling in the area will need a lot of water, and council member Jerry MacConnell reported that he was contacted by a representative of Chesapeake Energy scouting for access to the river. It has been reported that Chesapeake has a permit to draw up to a million gallons per day from the river. What everyone wants to know is, how will their trucks get to the river to drink? It’s not likely that the borough would offer the use of their riverside parks, no matter how much money was offered.
On the other hand, Borough Secretary Sheila Guinan, who also happens to be a supervisor of surrounding Great Bend Township, said that one of the energy companies is preparing a site off old Route 11 in the township, north of the borough. She said that her township is contracting to have all of its roads posted so that, should any unusual damage result from the operations, the township can go to the gas companies for money to fix them.
Water makes grass grow, of course. And the grass overgrowing the sidewalks along Main Street have been a nagging concern of Mr. MacConnell for some time. Council President Rick Franks reported some conversations about the topic, and asked council to thrash it out once and for all. The debate got a mite warm for a while, with Mr. MacConnell and councilman Mike Wasko insisting that, since council had voted last summer to have the sidewalks on Main Street edged and cleaned up, they expected it to be done.
Council member Joe Collins, who supervises the maintenance of the streets and parks, told his colleagues last Fall that the job was too big for borough employees alone. He also thinks that edging sidewalks, like shoveling snow from them, should be the responsibility of the homeowners; the borough, after all, does not own the sidewalks. Others were concerned that doing such work on Main Street would lead residents elsewhere in the borough to expect the same service.
Many residents not only don’t edge their sidewalks, they don’t clear the snow from them either, despite an ordinance requiring it. The ordinance has never been enforced. Nevertheless, Mr. MacConnell reminded council that the sidewalks were installed by the borough at a cost of about $30,000 (mostly paid by a grant) at the time the sewer was put in. He is concerned that the vegetation will eventually ruin the concrete walks and imperil that investment.
In the end, Mr. MacConnell dropped his demand for the edging. But then, when the annual Spring street sweeping came up for discussion, it occurred to Mr. Franks that the borough has paid to have all the streets in the borough swept, except Main Street. Last year, council experimented with a collaborative community effort to get the gravel accumulated over the winter collected and disposed of, with mixed results.
Most of this is an effort to spruce up the little town, make it look better, especially for travelers passing through… along Main Street. Council is still considering ideas for replacing welcome signs at both ends of town, and hopes to get better pricing on some nice signs similar to those at Kirkwood, up the road in New York, which are said to have cost about $1,000 apiece.
The rest of the signs in the borough will probably have to be replaced over the next few years, at a cost the borough will be strained to afford. Federal regulations adopted by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 2006 require all street signs be larger and more reflective. Stop signs also need higher reflectivity. Replacing all these signs by the January, 2012 deadline could cost the borough more than $5,000.
But where to put the stop signs? There is some dispute about the placement of stop signs at one intersection on Washington Street, which all agreed would probably be ignored anyway. Some say that the corner is a safety hazard, yet Mr. Collins said he observed the intersection on several occasions, at different times of day over a period of several days, and saw no traffic to speak of. He said that placing new stop signs can require a formal survey, which the borough is ill able to afford.
If they had more – or more reflective – stop signs, who would enforce them? Mr. Collins asked council if a letter might be sent to the Montrose Police, asking them to reconsider their decision not to lease some of their officers for patrol in Great Bend. Last month, a representative of New Milford Borough, which uses Montrose police occasionally, attended a Great Bend council meeting and said that reports of questionable patrolling practices in New Milford were unfounded. Mr. MacConnell said that from what he was still hearing, “That’s not straight skinny.”
Council did decide to build a salt storage shed near the borough garage this summer. Salt for use on town streets can be hard to come by, and bagged salt is expensive. A storage shed would allow the borough to purchase in bulk; but the shed has to be built to rigorous specifications so that the salt doesn’t leach into the ground water. There it is again.
And council voted to adopt the recommendation of Tony Conarton, to purchase a defibrillator unit for the borough building, which doubles as the Blue Ridge Senior Center.
Spring will be nigh – and the river will be high – by the time the Great Bend Borough Council meets again, on Thursday, April 2, beginning at 7:00 p.m.
The Great Bend Township Supervisors made note at their March 2 meeting that the office had received inquiries about the process for entering into lease agreements with gas companies looking to find access to the river to obtain water for their drilling operations. While the drilling operations and water extraction are both regulated by the government, property owners are free to enter into such agreements. However, the supervisors strongly urged that anyone approached about leasing their land get their own attorney to draw up a lease agreement.
In other business, the Roadmaster Walt Galloway reported that the crew has been busy with typical winter maintenance, trying to keep the roads open and the ditches cleaned out.
The supervisors had looked into purchasing salt through the state purchase program, with the intent of using that as a backup. But, through the program, the township would have to commit to purchasing 60% of their stated needs; up to 140% of that amount could be supplied. There was some discussion about whether to join in the state program, or to stay with the current supplier. It was agreed to stay with the current supplier, who has notified the township that they will be able to meet the township’s needs.
A bid package for road materials was put together and will be advertised to be opened at the next meeting.
A daycare facility has requested that “school bus stop ahead” signs be put up. Such requests have to be approved by the school district; the township has contacted them about the matter but had not yet heard a response.
Correspondence included a notice that the county EMA office would be offering a pipeline awareness course on March 10, and a search and rescue awareness course on April 4; the DCNR open application period for all project types closes April 22; and, NEP Data Vision is increasing basic service rate from $18 to $20.50, effective April 1.
With winter just about over, the supervisors will resume checking on violations of the nuisance ordinance in the spring.
And, in closing, it was noted that municipalities can expect to see a reduction of liquid fuels funds for next year by about 3.6%.
The next meeting will be on Monday, April 6, 7 p.m. in the township building.
Sophia Jean Knosky to Thomas Knosky, in Middletown and Rush Townships for one dollar.
John J. (Revocable Trust) and Cheryl C. (Revocable Trust) Hart to Ronald S. and Charlotte Sherwood, in New Milford Township for $4,000.00.
Devona M. Lindsay to Barbara M. Kuhnel, in Liberty Township for $143,000.00.
Duane R. Powers (Estate) to Randy D. Powers, Sr., in Forest Lake Township for one dollar.
Oakland Borough to Susquehanna County Housing Development, in Oakland Borough for $8,000.00.
Laidily MacBride to E. L. Rose Conservancy of Susquehanna County, Inc., in Dimock Township for one dollar.
Virginia A. Naylor (Est) to James Howard Naylor, in Springville Township for one dollar.
Ronald A., Diane M. and Irene W. Brooks to Ronald A. and Diane M. Brooks, in Rush Township for one dollar.
Fannie Mae (AKA) Federal National Mortgage Association to James and Vesta Adriance, in Oakland Borough for $20,000.00.
James and Vesta Adriance to Ronald and Rita L. Viteritto, in Oakland Borough for $30,000.00.
Mark Joseph Stella (Estate) to A. Alexander Stella, in Susquehanna for one dollar.
US Bank to Robert A. and Laura B. Sedlak, in Clifford Township for $255,000.00.
Walter J. and Carol S. Kropa to Chad M. and Tiffany Benedict, in New Milford Township for $138,000.00.
Robert W. Hawk to Robert W., Bonnie and Wayne Robert Hawk, in Rush Township for one dollar.
William H., Jr. and Katie F. Guild to Robin Ellen Wiseman, in Harford Township for $58,000.00.
Francis J., Francis J., Jr. and Michael J. (By POA) Pinkowski to Kimberly L. Grace, in Bridgewater Township for $160,000.00.
John Pizzileo and Karin Jacobsen to John Pizzileo and Karin Jacobsen, in Apolacon Township for one dollar.
John Pizzileo and Karin Jacobsen to Luigi and Pasqualina Cassetta, in Apolacon Township for $170,000.00.
William J. Dingethal, Jr. and Nicola Jones to Jodi Lynn Brown, in Gibson Township for $250,000.00.
John M. Troup, Jr. (FDBA), David A. (FDBA) and Diane L. (FDBA) Medlar and Valley Electronics to Kirk S. and Barbara A. Hinkley, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.
Irma M. Brown to Pamela J. Brown, in Thompson Township and Thomson Borough for one dollar.
Burton M. (AKA) Burton M., III and Mary T. (AKA) Mary P. Shermer to Burton M., III and Mary P. Shermer, in Jessup Township for one dollar.
James H. and Madonna C. Murray to Madonna C. Murray, in Auburn Township for one dollar.
Millington H. Delia (Family Trust by Trustee) to Millington H. Delia, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Harry L. and Sandra A. Hunter to Harry L. and Sandra A. Hunter, in Auburn Township for one dollar.
Nancy E. Button to Nancy E. Button, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Jerome Norman (By Sheriff) to Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, in Great Bend Borough for $2,568.26.
Lasalle Bank (By POA) to James P. and Jill M. White, in Susquehanna for $12,500.00.
Cynthia and Joseph A. Oruska to Cynthia D. and Joseph A. Oruska, in Dimock Township for one dollar.
Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation to Michael A. and Lindsay A. Strohl, in Forest Lake Township for $69,000.00.
The Susquehanna County Domestic Relations Section has Bench Warrants for the following individuals as of 10:00 a.m. on March 6, 2009.
David P. Atherholt, Jr., Erika L. Back, David S. Blaisure, Joseph Bonavita, Michael P. Bradley, Jr., David M. Brant, Kenneth G. Burgess, Joshua D. Calby, Darryl M. Chaffee, Tony R. Clark, Mark T. Conklin, Jeffrey A. Craig, Mary Dallasta, John J. Deakin, Paul H. Donovan, Deborah L. Drish, Jonathan Fathi, Kristoffer B. Fazzi, David J. Fischer, Thomas Fisher, Nesbitt W. Fitch, Jr., Ryan M. Forder, Kelly Fox, Dominick M. Franklin, Yvette Glover, Rickey T. Godshall, Deborah E. Gould, Angela M. Grecco, David Haines, Jr., Suzanne R. Hansen, Keith G. Harms, William N. Hendrickson, Ann Hightower, Holly N. Holbrook, Timothy M. Holmes, Jeffrey J. Horrocks, Sr., Roy M. Huntley, Carl M. Kelder, Kevin D. Klein, Erik E. Krisovitch, James R. Lee, Joshua S. Lee, Charlie J. Legere, Carlos L. Leiser, Howard J. Linder, Debra J. London, George D. Lowery, Joseph Malloy, Jr, Tanika Marazzani, Patricia J. Marrero, Jason Marshall, Fred C. Materese, Zada A. McDonald, Joseph C. Moore, Anthony Neri, Todd M. O'Hara, Ivy U. Oropallo, Harriet Pabst, Donald Palmer, Gary Perico, Jonathan R. Powers, James E. Purse, Jeffrey A. Ransom, Kim Read, Nathan Rosene, Neil D. Shaffer, Amy M. Squier, Earl H. Thompson, Jr., Christopher Trayes, Anthony M. Vaow, Keith W. Vroman, Robert C. Walter, II, Joseph Watkins, Glynn Wildoner, III, Jamie L. Williams, Patrick L. Yachymiak, Karl D. Zantowsky.
Please contact the Domestic Relations Section at 570-278-4600 ext. 170 with any information on the location of these individuals.
Following are the Starrucca Borough Council meeting minutes for February 4, as submitted.
The Starrucca Borough Council met for their regular monthly meeting on February 4 at the Community Hall in Starrucca. President (Kirk) Rhone, Mr. Arthur Kopp, Mr. Donald Haynes, Mr. Fred Rhone, Mr. Peter Frank, Mr. Anthony Palonis, Mr. Robert Buck and Mayor (MaryAnn) DeBalko were present.
President Rhone called the meeting to order, and the pledge was given.
The minutes from the previous meeting were read. Mayor DeBalko asked for the following correction with regard to the Wind Mill Committee. She stated they (the committee) could not agree on the setbacks only. They did, however agree on the noise levels. Motion carried to approve the minutes with the correction.
The Treasurer’s report was given and motion to approve, carried.
The bills were presented and the motion to approve payment carried.
The following correspondence was received:
A notice of grants available through the H20 Pa Act was received from Representative Sandra Major’s office. The grants, however, start at $500,000.00 and require matching funds.
A notice of a “GAP grants uniform program” was received from Sands Associates, the offer includes the preparation of grant applications for a yearly fee starting at $1,000.00 and ending at $10,000.00, depending on the borough’s size and population.
A follow-up letter from Darl Haynes to the NEP Sno trails was read. He stated that on January 12 a meeting was held with club officials and Jack Downton. After lengthy discussions, it was his (Haynes’) understanding of Jack Downton’s position on the following issues:
Downton declined to send a letter to Douglas Brigandi (landowner) to arrange a meeting with members of the Starrucca Borough Cemetery Association to resolve the issue rather than sue the association in court. Downton indicated “No” when he was asked if he had compassion for his own aunt (Marie Swartz) when she was served (on behalf of the Cemetery Association) with a writ of summons to the Court of Common Pleas. Further, when member (Dan Schmucker) asked Downton to remove his name from the lawsuit against the Starrucca Borough officials and to resolve the issues through discussion, he again indicted “No”. Haynes went on to say that at least four times in the year 2008, Jack Downton and his affiliates used courts to commence legal action against individuals and/or organizations. He (Haynes) ended by saying that he didn’t feel that Jack Downton and his affiliates wished to resolve the issues without the use of attorneys or courts and therefore, due to liability issues, was not going to open his property to the trails at this time, but he did state that if Jack Downton and/or his affiliates change their minds, he (Haynes) stands ready to discuss the issues. Councilman Rhone added that he and the other officials are willing to sit down and discuss any issues to resolve them, without the use of attorneys or courts, he turned toward those in attendance and repeated, the council members invite the public to set down together to resolve any issues.
In Borough Reports:
A letter from Jeff Gogoliski (C.P.A.) was read. He stated that he was unable to perform the borough’s audit, as he did not possess the needed credits to do so. He will however, get his accreditation this year and be prepared next year to complete the audit. A second company (Cunningham and Saunders) prepared a proposal, which was read to the council. Mayor DeBalko took issue with the word “assist” the borough auditors. President Rhone and secretary Travis explained that Saunders told them separately that he would complete the actual audit and the elected auditors would review the information and sign the report that is forwarded to the DCED (Department of Community and Economic Development) and they may at that time, write an opinion letter if they wish to do so. She (Mayor DeBalko) was still unhappy with the term “assist” and it was agreed, if Mr. Saunders was hired, he will be asked to clarify the statement. Motion carried to have the secretary offer the first C.P.A. (Gogoliski) the option to prepare the report, as spelled out in the second proposal, and if he has no desire to do so, revert to the second offer from Cunningham and Saunders, so that the audit could be completed on time.
Building permits issued last month: 0
In Unfinished Business: There was none.
In New Business:
President Rhone reported that the Northern Wayne County C.O.G. would be bidding out pipe, dust control products, and road signs.
Motion carried to approve Harmony Township’s performance of the borough’s 2009 roadwork under the intergovernmental agreement with them.
Mr. Rhone also spoke of the Ballfield Committee’s need to solicit new ballfield signs. The letters for the existing signs will go out the end of February or early March. Mr. Palonis suggested the committee contact the youth associations to let them know the ballfield is available.
Quotes for stone products for the year will be gained this month.
In Public Participation:
Mr. Robert Martin asked of the status of the Wind Mill Committee. He was reminded that at last month’s meeting Mrs. Mroczka presented the draft ordinance and asked that the council wait until March to arrange a meeting. The same was repeated in the January minutes, that were read early this meeting.
Mr. Martin then told council they should apply the same setbacks to gas wells, as they will to the windmills. Mayor DeBalko stated they are two different issues, and that gas sites are regulated by the state and federal laws.
Mr. Martin then stated that a job description should be written as it pertains to the mowing of the ball field. Mr. Rhone agreed that was a good idea.
Mr. Downton asked of the status of the Stephano Bridge project; will the county be bidding out the project, and how much money does the borough have for the project? President Rhone stated he was unsure as the engineer, from what he understood, is still preparing the plans. Mr. (Darl) Haynes clarified that the engineer will have the plans completed and the project may be bid out this spring. The county will be bidding the project, and approximately $100,000.00 has been committed to the project.
No further business to come before the board, motion carried to adjourn.
The meeting of The New Milford Borough Council was held March 5, at the New Milford Borough Building.
Present at the meeting was Mrs. Eleanor Lempke, who reported that her brother, Richard Christy, and Cooper Van Cott had met regarding the planting of trees within New Milford Borough in memory of Mrs. Lempke’s son, Bobby, who passed away a number of months ago.
Mrs. Lempke told council that there will be 13-15 trees planted and that all landowners contacted were honored to have a tree. The trees will be flowing pears on one side of the street and maple trees on the other.
Van Cott will be planting the trees and reportedly hoped they would be completed by Memorial Day.
In addition to the trees, a bluestone memorial base will be placed in front of the borough building for Bobby Lempke.
Mrs. Lempke brought a very nice photograph of Bobby to the meeting, so that council members could put a face with the memorials.
Mrs. Lempke concluded, stating that Mr. Van Cott was very generous in helping with the memorial project.
Christy, being Bobby Lempke’s uncle and Mrs. Lempke’s brother had previously requested if the borough would allow him to do something in remembrance of his nephew.
The subject of the non-compliance of Cosmello’s Junkyard was again at the top of the list.
Discussion was held to decide what action to take regarding the noncompliance.
A letter from Sam Cosmello asked the council if they would give him an extension, due to the weather and the frozen ground.
Council had already discussed the matter of turning over the problem to their lawyer, then possibly to the District Justice. Information from Atty. Cordner revealed that a notice had to be given to Cosmello before referring the matter over to the District Justice. The 30 days would be up March 16.
Mayor Joe Taylor reported that two things have to be done before the yard is in compliance, one being fix the chain link and wood fence, and secondly make it opaque.
Council decided to ask Cosmello to send another letter asking how much time was needed before they decide to either grant him an extension or just turn the matter to the District Justice Janicelli on March 16.
Cosmello was notified of the non-compliance approximately eight months prior, and initially he was given until December 31, 2008 to get the fencing up correctly to meet the specifications.
In other matters, the property owner at 91 Main Street will be contacted regarding a no permit violation.
Reports of improperly parked trucks and trailers were discussed to determine what action to take.
Council President and several other members agreed to turn the matter over to the police force to handle.
Contractor Joe Bennett was awarded the repairing of the roof.
A sink hole near The Queen of Harts Restaurant was discussed, and the matter will be the responsibility of the Municipal Authority.
COG has asked for different windows and a new door for their office. Council will look into the matter and get prices, but concern was voiced regarding the 90-day rental agreement with COG. Councilman Chris Allen questioned spending a large sum of money to handle the items, when COG could be moving out. Bids will be sought for the matter, in case the work should be agreed upon.
Fencing around the tennis courts will be set at eight feet, with a galvanized chain link fence. Delong will complete this project.
Two hearing impaired signs will be ordered, to be placed near the home of a hearing impaired child. “Hearing impaired signs were chosen instead of just children at play signs, to better inform drivers that the child can not hear like regular children,” Councilwoman Jane Zick explained.
Councilwoman Teri Gulick reported that all is well with the police department.
Council agreed to sponsor the Bi-Centennial parade in August, as their part in helping with the festivities.
Jane Zick also reported that DVD’s of the Historical Blue Book will be available for purchase. This DVD has historical information up to 1960. There will be DVD’s available from 1960 to the current time, after the Bi-Centennial is over, as the festivities will be included in that new DVD.
The next meeting of the New Milford Borough Council will be held April 2, at 7 p.m.
In our issue of March 4, we inadvertently stated that Christina Whitney, new Blue Ridge School Board member, operates a daycare business. Ms. Whitney, in fact has sold that business. We apologize for any inconvenience.
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