Please visit our kind sponsors
About 20 people gathered in the borough building in Great Bend on the evening of November 23 to consider options for getting better police service in the Great Bend/Hallstead area. They represented the communities of Great Bend Borough, Great Bend Township, Hallstead Borough, Susquehanna Borough, Oakland Township and Oakland Borough, and they were following up on a similar meeting on October 29.
The de facto leader of the informal session was Dave Scales, a member of the Susquehanna Borough Council and former Susquehanna policeman. Great Bend Borough Secretary Sheila Guinan took notes - as well as active participation, wearing her other hat as a Great Bend Township Supervisor.
The meeting opened with a brief presentation by Lance Penzone, Assistant Chief of the Susquehanna Borough Police Department, who helped to initiate these discussions a few months ago when the state legislature looked like it was about to levy a fee for state police service on communities without their own police services. Mr. Penzone has repeatedly - and patiently - revised his proposals in response to reaction and input from the municipalities he has worked with. This version was a contract for services to be rendered by the Susquehanna department and assumed the participation of Great Bend Borough, Great Bend Township and Hallstead Borough.
The contract would cost the 3 municipalities together nearly $7,000 per month, still far short of what the fee would be for state police service as defined in proposed state legislation. However, Mr. Penzone recommended instead the formation of a regional commission of some sort. He said that the state is encouraging local governments to cooperate through “multi-municipal” pacts for services of this sort by making more grant money available to such arrangements. In fact, the contract he read to the meeting allowed for the creation of a regional police force with no penalty to the participating municipalities. He also said that whatever is decided, the municipalities could expect to have all collected fines returned to the boroughs or townships where incidents occur that result in fines.
Susquehanna Borough Mayor Denise Reddon also attended the meeting. Both she and Mr. Scales said that Susquehanna would willingly join a regional commission, and would not expect a custodial role. They said that Susquehanna’s current police force could readily become the foundation for a new regional police structure. They also expressed a hope that Oakland Borough and Lanesboro might be encouraged to join as well; each of them employs its own police already. The Susquehanna police force now employs 5 part-time police officers. Ms. Reddon said that salary costs are about $44,000 per year. Mr. Scales said that a full-time force would involve a benefits package, but he didn’t think a regional police force covering 5 municipalities should cost too much more than the $80,000 Susquehanna now budgets for the service, at least at the start.
Most of those attending the meeting seemed to support the notion of a regional police commission of some sort, and agreed to meet again after discussing it with their local councils and boards. Two representatives of Hallstead Borough would not commit to anything, and were especially apprehensive about adding to their residents’ tax burdens; yet they too seemed positive about the proposals being discussed. All seemed to support the idea of well-advertised local forums for residents to offer input and air concerns. Mr. Scales was confident that there was enough talent and intelligence among those in the room to come up with a structure for such a commission in a few months time.
Everyone agreed to meet again on Wednesday, January 13, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the borough building in Great Bend. They hope that each municipality will send at least 2 official representatives.
The Mountain View school board plans on holding its public reorganization meeting for Monday December 7. It will be the only meeting that evening, and is for reorganization purposes only. It typically runs less than an hour. Mrs. Jesse and Mr. Beeman were acknowledged publicly with gratitude for their service, as the November 23 meeting, it was said, was likely their last as board members.
Mr. Beeman was additionally recognized at the meeting. He was presented with a certificate of appreciation for his 12 years of service, on behalf of the PSBA. Those present applauded him.
Andrea Beeman once again attended to present to those in attendance the events of the student body. These included the student government association assisting with a poetry out loud competition and holiday door decorating contest, the honors society assisting with an elementary craft fair and Operation Christmas Child, and the drama club putting on the Awesome 80's Prom on November 13 and 14. The ski club, it was reported, is rostering trips, the winter concert is scheduled for December 17 at 7 p.m., and the new Chesty mascot has been sited.
Mountain View did receive Classrooms for the Future money after all, $25,000 worth for a coach. The information had been received the Thursday prior to the meeting, and the board was asked for permission to go ahead with appointment of a coach. The plan is for coaching to cover grades 5 to 12 this time, rather than 7 to 12 as was the habit in the past. He or she will be chosen from the current staff; in the past it had been Ty Yost.
The decision was made to increase the training funded by the Safe and Drug Free Schools funds, to five out of ten lessons. This instruction occurs at the elementary level.
The board scheduled an executive session for gas lease review. Not much more was said on that subject.
Mr. Mirabelli spoke briefly, when the question was raised, regarding the district's plans for dealing with the pending pension crisis. He said that he had received the numbers that day, and they were not pretty. The contribution could double in the space of a year, and could spike at 20 percent. He stated that the district did have a bit of a fund balance, so could hedge that a little bit, but would not be able to sustain it long term without trouble. Districts, he said, have been paying artificially low rates for years. He felt that Mountain View might be able to better handle it than some districts, due to the money it has. He summed up the current plan for dealing with the crisis as fiscal accountability.
A few sports matters were dealt with. The track committee requested permission to move forward with a survey, desiring to get it in before the snow flies. Three solid bids for this could be secured. Permission was granted. The basketball cheerleading coaches came back before the board to check on the status of their request for a jv cheerleading squad. Mr. Doster said that Mr. Borgia's concern was with a lack of uniforms. Currently some cheerleaders cheer for the jv team, and then all cheer for the varsity. It was asked if the new squad would be at all allowed to cheer at all at the varsity games; they would be allowed to sit and do bench cheers but not the other cheers. The 15 current varsity cheerleaders, it was stated, would not be adversely affected by the creation of the new squad. Further discussion with Mr. Borgia, etc. was recommended.
Perhaps the largest topic of discussion that evening was the matter of facility use. Mr. Phillips spoke up, complaining that the elementary travel basketball teams have had trouble getting time in the gym due, in part, to an AAU volleyball program which has no Mountain View students on it (though, it was argued, some community members act as coaches). This opened up the old school facilities use issue; Mr. Doster claimed deja vu due to the talks similarity to one the year previous. The gym, Mr. Phillips said, sometimes gets double booked, and he felt that Mountain View students should get preference over any outside groups. Elementary and secondary facilities are scheduled separately. It was explained that policy states that the PIAA sports receive first dibs on all facilities, after which school programs and then outside groups can lay claim to them. Biddy basketball, it was said, is considered an outside group even if it has Mountain View kids in it. (Though someone clarified that this discussion was not about the biddy basketball, but about the elementary travel team.) It was pointed out that the basketball program didn't schedule its facility use until November while the volleyball program did so months ago. If it scheduled earlier, only varsity events or the PIAA could bump it in precedence. Someone suggested that all facility use should be scheduled way in advance, but Mr. Doster pointed out that PIAA schedules do not come out until summer, which would be prohibitive. Mr. Wescott suggested that the volleyball program might practice at night, even every night, but should do so after all the others. Mr. Beamish suggested that, if the board was upset by this, it had two options. Either approve the roster of use, or require board approval of all outside groups. The schedule itself, simply by looking at it, does not state whether or not a given team has Mountain View students on it.
Mrs. Yarrish spoke up regarding sports cancellations being messed up on the call-in system. She said that Mr. Borgia does not return phone calls. Mr. Doster said that the school is at the mercy of other schools when it travels, for cancellations, field changes, etc.
The H1N1 situation was discussed. The absentee rate has gone down, it was said, to be within normal limits. The district does not, it was reported, have a date when it will receive the vaccine.
Several local business owners were present at the November 24 Susquehanna Boro Council meeting with concerns about a recent outbreak of vandalism. The incidents have been occurring during hours when there are no boro police officers on duty and have ranged from destruction of property to an attack on an employee. One even stated that she had heard rumors that the police department would be dissolved at the end of the year, and brought a petition with signatures of those opposed to that happening. Mayor Reddon and council assured that the police department is not being dissolved; she added that it has been customary at this time of year to cut back on patrol hours once summer is over. She also said that in response to the recent incidents, there would be some changes to the patrol schedule. Later in the meeting, a motion carried to transfer $4,500 from several (2009) budget line items to police salaries, to provide additional coverage. The mayor also asked that if anyone should see suspicious activity, they make note of the license plate numbers of any vehicles involved and give the information to the police.
Another item of concern was “the wall” that has been erected in the Shops Plaza parking lot. There was concern that it is a hazard, as it hampers sight distance for drivers entering or exiting the business adjacent to the plaza; there have been children playing on top of the wall, and the wall itself appears to be leaning over. Council said that as the site in question is not in the boro right-of-way, but on private property, they are limited in what they can do. The Codes Enforcement Officer will be asked to look into the matter of its tipping, provided an official complaint was made; it was.
In other business, a motion carried to transfer funds from several budget line items to be used to pay off the loan for the Charger purchased for the police department.
The fire department's annual protection fee for 2010 was received, it will be $22,144.
There was some discussion about a request from Police Chief Dominick Andidora. Due to his work schedule he requested a reduction in rank to Assistant Chief, and that Assistant Chief Lance Penzone then be raised to the rank of chief. The discussion centered on whether or not to honor the request, as the letter he sent to council was not signed. After discussion, the request was tabled until the next meeting.
Motions carried to advertise for part-time, on-call streets help beginning January 1, at minimum wage, and for on-call snow plow drivers.
Council will hold a reorganizational meeting on Monday, January 4, at 7:00 p.m.
The Susquehanna Community Development Association will be hosting their annual Christmas tree lighting on Friday, December 4, at 7 p.m. at the tree in the Shops Plaza, followed by refreshments and entertainment at the American Legion hall. The SCDA will also be hosting their free annual children's breakfast with Santa on Saturday, December 5, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at St. John's Parish Center.
A motion carried to approve the 2010 budget, which will be voted on at the December 15 meeting (rescheduled from December 22). A motion also carried to adopt Tax Levy Ordinance 460, relating to the budget, which sets the tax rate for 2010 at the same rate as 2009. The vote did have one dissenting vote, from Bill Perry.
The county Housing and Redevelopment Authority, which has administered the grant funding for the sidewalk replacement, has some of the funds left after completion of the project and has been looking into replacing the retaining wall and steps at the intersection of West Main St. and Depot St. Since the area is in PennDOT's right-of-way, any work needs their approval. It was given, with the provision that if the boro fixes the wall, they will also have to take responsibility for it and its maintenance. Council had some concerns about who would be doing the work and how it would be done, and will ask a representative from the housing authority to attend a meeting.
Depue Irrevocable Grantor Trust (by trustees) to David W., Jr. (trust) and Rebecca S. (trust) Reed, in Silver Lake Township for $18,500.00.
Beulah M. (estate) and Harold A., Jr. (estate) Gowe to David L. Gowe, in Lathrop Township for one dollar.
Jean Marie Allard and Clarence H. Rogers and Ethel M. Allard to Lee Allard, in Liberty Township for one dollar.
Clifton H. and Pearl M. Birchard to Clifton H., Jr. and Marsha S. Birchard, in Forest Lake Township for $130,000.00.
Stephen K. and Heather Duseau to Joseph O. Duseau, III, in Bridgewater Township for $50,000.00.
Geraldine C. Depaul (estate) to Debra L. Curtis, in Forest City for one dollar.
John B. Eidenier to Joan B. Eidenier, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.
Duane S. and Laurie L. Nolan to Jennifer Sutton and Erich Portz, in Clifford Township for $136,000.00.
Geoffrey F. and Ann Marie Lay to Distant Ventures, in Rush Township for $248,000.00.
Scott Carl and Eileen Louise Snyder (NBM) Eileen Louise Dalton to Distant Ventures, in Auburn Township for $220,000.00.
US Bank (by POA) to April Ramos, in Thompson Borough for $77,700.00.
Lois R. Jones to Roy Lynn Pooler, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Philip and Emily Marie Traversi to Philip and Emily Marie Traversi, in Ararat Township for one dollar.
Joseph L. and Evelyn K. Thomas to J&E Thomas Family Limited Partnership, in Rush Township for one dollar.
Samuel Desist to Antonio and Maria Forestiero, in Clifford Township for $48,500.00.
Buridano P. and Rosa Carbone to Carbone Reality, Inc., in Middletown Township for $27,846.00.
McCarthy Gardens LLC to John E. McNamara, in Silver Lake Township for $82,000.00.
Willard S. and Alice M. Docktor to Diane M. and Frank J. Licata, in Auburn Township for one dollar.
Eric and Mary Catherine Wheaton to Charles W. Mann, in Bridgewater Township for $117,500.00.
Waneta Rose Barber to James H. Barber, in Hop Bottom Borough for one dollar.
Shawn Avery to Shawn, Maxwell and Emily Marshall, in New Milford Township for $10,000.00.
Richard and Dorothy F. Arrowsmith to Chad A. and Rachel R. Weaver, in Bridgewater Township for $185,000.00.
Richard C. (trust by trustee) and Betty Jean (trust by trustee) White to R-Whiteway Farm LLC, in Auburn Township for one dollar.
Mark S. and Donna D. Tewes (NBM) Donna D. Kintner to Mark S. and Donna D. Tewes, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.
Inez (AKA) Inez M. Brown to Glenda Marvin, in Hallstead Borough for one dollar.
Inez M. Brown to Georgia MacNeal, in Hallstead Borough for one dollar.
Virginia A. (by sheriff) and Robert J., Sr. (by sheriff) Robinson to Beneficial Consumer Discount Co. (DBA) Beneficial Mortgage Co. of PA, in Silver Lake Township for $2,876.55.
Anthony and Helen Critelli to Robert T. and Sally Ann Roche, in Herrick Township for $30,000.00.
Joseph MacKachinis and William J. Breslin to McCosar Minerals, Inc., in Harford Township for $10.00.
Kenneth W. Gumaer (estate) to William and Cindy Liepinis, in New Milford Township for $60,000.00.
Leroy and Judy Spadine to Jeffrey R. and Brenda L. Spadine, in Springville Township for one dollar.
William S. and Donna M. Gelatt to Kenneth D. Gelatt, in Gibson Township for one dollar.
William S. and Donna Marie (AKA) Donna M. Gelatt to Alan C. Gelatt, in Gibson Township for one dollar.
Daniel S. (by sheriff) and James R. (by sheriff) Dilmore to Deutsche Bank National Trust Company, in Springville Township for $1,601.93.
Warren C. Taylor to Gary L. and Jodi Lynn Cordner, in Harmony Township for $55,000.00.
Charles (estate), Catherine (estate) and Laura A. (estate) Powers, Ruth B. White (estate) and Marion Lagrange (estate) to William H. and Craig L. Pritchard, in Apolacon Township for one dollar.
Richard P. Larnerd to Russell and June Lukasiuk, in Rush and Forest Lake Townships for $175,000.00.
Paul A. Kelly to Paul A. and Pamela E. Kelly, in Middletown Township for one dollar.
Joann T. Telford to Andrew J. and Nicole Balderas, in Clifford Township for $75,000.00.
Norman Gerald, Victoria and Walter Richard Lewandowski and Patricia L. and Daniel Lysak to Gerald and Victoria Lewandowski, in Clifford Township for one dollar.
Norman Gerald, Victoria and Walter Richard Lewandowski and Patricia L. and Daniel Lysak to Walter Richard Lewandowski, in Clifford Township for one dollar.
Norman Gerald, Victoria and Walter Richard Lewandowski and Patricia L. and Daniel Lysak to Patricia L. and Daniel Lysak, in Clifford Township for one dollar.
Alan Scott and Tammy Sue Sciaretta to David J. and Amy A. Decker, in Harford Township for $50,000.00.
Frank (by tax claim) and Joyce (by tax claim) Vallone and Lackawanna County Tax Claim Bureau to Janum Management LLC, in Forest City for one dollar.
Kirk S., Jr. and Barbara Hinkley to Kirk S., Jr. and Barbara Hinkley, in Great Bend Borough for one dollar.
Kirk S., Jr. and Barbara Hinkley to Kirk S., III and Kathleen Hinkley, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.
Kevin R. Borove of New Milford and Amy E. Kasa of Nicholson.
Eric J. Griffith and Christi A. Callahan, both of Windsor, NY.
Roger James Radakovich and Sarah Lynn Grover, both of New Milford.
Frank Ambrose Mulligan of Montrose and Mary M. Cokely of Endwell, NY.
Kevin P. Noonan and Tami Henley, both of Binghamton, NY.
James A. Canfield, Jr. and Katherine Ruth Jacobs, both of Clifford.
Roger David Seamans, Jr. of Nicholson and Victoria L. Taylor of Kingsley.
Julio Eduardo Bartra Ugarelli of Lima, Peru and Liza Marie Gehres of Apalachin, NY.
Sean Eric Lewis and Marizel E. McAulliffe, both of Great Bend.
Edward Thomas Herd and Angela Marie Farley, both of Forest City.
Matthew S. Butts of Susquehanna vs. Julia I. Butts of Brooklyn, married 2007.
The Susquehanna County Domestic Relations Section has bench warrants for the following individuals as of 2:10 p.m. on November 25, 2009.
Antonio L. Alcantara, Duane Aldrich, David P. Atherholt, Jr., Erika L. Back, John W. Barber, Sr., Harold R. Bensley, David Shawn Blaisure, Joseph Bonavita, Howard A. Burns, III, Robert B. Carrier, Beverly A. Carvin, Darryl M. Chaffee, Christopher J. Clark, Tony R. Clark, Benedict Diaz, Edward J. Dickson, Jr., Deborah L. Drish, David J. Fischer, Ryan M. Forder, Kelly Fox, Racheal L. Frisbie, Deborah E. Gould, David Haines, Jr., Suzanne R. Hansen, Amanda L. Henderickson, William N. Hendrickson, Mark J. Jarocha, Kenneth M. Kintner, Erik E. Krisovitch, Lee Labor, Joshua Lee, Charlie J. Legere, Carlos L. Leiser, Patricia J. Marrero, Nancy McGillis, Bradley W. Megivern, Joseph Mershon, Kimberly L. Mershon, David N. Miller, Joseph C. Moore, Shane Nelson, Anthony Neri, Benjamin Newell, Gary Perico, Ryan A. Rhoads, Timothy W. Rogers, Robert A. Ryman, Michelle L. Shepard, David J. Shiner, Richard D. Shoemaker, Darin Sink, Duane Spencer, Robert J. Sterling, Donald Louis Stocks, Garrett M. Thomas, Tamara Tyler, Keith W. Vroman, Steve A. Welch, Jamie L. Williams, Roderic R. Williams, Kenneth L. Wilmot, Jr., Patrick L. Yachymiak.
Please contact the Domestic Relations Section at 570-278-4600 ext. 170 with any information on the location of these individuals.
For one reason or another, the Harford Township Supervisors skipped an entire month without meeting… and then made up for it with two in a row. Squeezed for time, they have to give taxpayers at least 20 days to consider a new budget before final approval in December, so they’ll have one in place when the new year begins January 1.
So they met on November 24 with a single item on the agenda: the budget for 2010.
The township budget is actually prepared in 3 parts. One part, and by far the largest, is the township budget per se; that is, the part that is paid for mostly from local sources, including property and earned income taxes. Another part, allocated exclusively for road maintenance, is paid for from receipt of funds from the state from liquid fuel taxes, and smaller amounts called “turn-back” funds covering maintenance of roads turned over to the township from the state. The revenue for this “state” budget is not under local control. The third part of the budget covers the sewer system, which is actually a separate authority whose controlling body also happens to be the township board of supervisors. The sewer budget is covered by fees assessed to the subscribers on the sewer system.
For 2010, all three parts of the Harford budget will be borrowing against accumulated surpluses, or “fund balances.” In fact, the township budget will require a 1 mill increase in property tax rates, and still require an additional $21,100 from cash on hand at the end of this year.
The state budget, for the roads, will expend $10,500 more next year than budgeted in 2009 to pay off a loan for the grader (which will be paid off about half way through 2012). Moreover, revenue from the liquid fuel subsidy will be down by almost $5,000. Overall, the state budget will increase about $7,800, or 4%.
The sewer budget, which got an infusion last year with an increase in the sewer fee, anticipates spending $3,000 more than was budgeted last year for removal of sludge from the sewage plant. In addition, with the sewer system now nearly 15 years old, the pumps at individual residences can be expected to fail at a higher rate. So another $8,000 was added to that line. Overall, the sewer budget will rise by over $14,000, or 12%.
The biggest single increase in the township budget is an additional $7,500 for major equipment, for which nothing was budgeted in 2009. Employee wages are actually anticipated to fall somewhat from last year’s budget, since the township now has 1 less employee. Employee health insurance increases were kept to a minimum by increasing co-pay amounts and adding a $500 deductible. Nevertheless, expenses are expected to rise more than $8,000 overall, or about 2.5%.
Since the supervisors chose not to increase tax rates for 2009, the township budget for the current year anticipated a shortfall of more than $37,000, all of which was taken from the fund balance reserve. With fund balances at historic lows, the supervisors this time decided to add a mill to property tax rates to make up some of the operating deficit.
The new property tax rate for Harford Township will be 4.13 mills. The fire tax (to support the fire company) remains at 1 mill. No increase is expected in sewer fees. The earned income tax that the township shares with the Mountain View School District is capped at the legal limit.
Residents will have until the 2nd meeting in December, on Tuesday, the 22nd, to review the budget. The next scheduled meeting will be on Tuesday, December 8, beginning at 7:00 p.m. at the township office.
News | Living | Sports | Schools | Churches | Ads | Events
Military | Columns | Ed/Op | Obits | Archive | Subscribe