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Great Bend Borough Turns 150
Save a spot on your summer calendar for the 3rd weekend in July. Great Bend Borough is having a birthday, its 150th.
The history of civilization at the Great Bend of the Susquehanna River in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania is a little confusing, since what is now Hallstead was called Great Bend Village until 1874. The neighboring boroughs, divided only by a river, were carved out of Great Bend Township, which was incorporated much earlier, in 1791, but called Willingborough until 1814. What is now Great Bend Borough was called Lodersville until it was incorporated in 1860 (or 1861, depending on your source). That’s what the little town will be celebrating this summer, under the leadership of the Great Bend Hose Company, the local fire company that has a long and distinguished history of its own.
Ruth Loucks, one of the new members of the Great Bend Borough Council, represents the fire company’s effort to spark some interest in the event, to coincide with the town’s annual parade and fireworks also sponsored by the fire company. For what is being referred to as “Great Bend Days,” the fire company is planning things like sidewalk sales by local businesses, food, and anything else that can be thought up to make that Saturday memorable for this historic occasion.
At the new council’s first regular session on January 7, 3 days after organizing itself, Ms. Loucks urged council - and all residents and businesses - to participate in a once-in-150-years event to honor their hometown. Anyone interested in working to make it a great day in Great Bend’s continuing history, can contact the fire company, or any fireman.
The business meeting actually began with a change of leadership. Out of power for 3 days, Rick Franks was voted back onto Council to fill an empty seat until the next municipal election 2 years hence. And when Pat Thatcher eagerly relinquished her post as council President to the returning incumbent, the coup was complete and business returned to normal.
Normal in Great Bend Borough includes consideration of “water on Washington Street,” a cause for which councilman Jerry MacConnell is becoming famous. He refuses to accept the state designation of the sluice under the Interstate as a “cold-water fishery,” and vows to pursue a remedy for the miniscule waterway that deluged the town during the flood of June 2006. He said that during the flood, most of the damage in the town was caused by runoff from under the highway through this sluice, and he wants the state to fix it so the next flood doesn’t do the same thing.
Councilman Joe Collins presented a sheaf of papers representing research into the definition of where the responsibility of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s (PennDOT) responsibility lies with respect to drainage grates at the intersection of Main Street and Randolph Road, both state thoroughfares. His information seems to imply that the grates - which need repair or replacement - are the responsibility of the borough, even though they seem to be in the state right of way.
Council is also facing a brick wall with regard to emergency access from U.S. Route 11 to the Welcome Center on the Interstate. The location is actually in Great Bend Township, but during the 2006 flood, the borough was cut off by high water. At the time, the state created a temporary ramp over the curb at the Welcome Center to let residents escape; the ramp was quickly removed when the waters receded. Council has been trying to get a locked gate entrance installed just in case such a thing happens again. Because the Interstate is a federal highway, PennDOT is relying on federal regulations to deny the request (even though the Welcome Center is a PennDOT facility). Yet Great Bend fire and ambulance services are closest, and, as it is, they must get on the Interstate, travel north to the state line, and then back again to reach the Welcome Center in case of emergency, an extra five miles over the direct route to the back door up Main Street. Legislators have been asked to help out, with no useful result so far.
The consensus seems to be that PennDOT won’t do anything to help out with anything, or take responsibility for anything, unless it is somehow forced to.
Code enforcement official, councilman Bret Jennings reported on a number of cases outstanding. The borough received $100 from a fine imposed on one disorderly property. Others are still pending with the District Justice. And nobody can figure out where the burning was happening. Maybe it has stopped, so it was removed from the agenda.
Borough Solicitor Frank O’Connor reported on continued wrangling over the pension fund and former police chief Charlie Martell’s claim on it. It seems that, since Great Bend Borough was the last municipality to pull out of the consortium that operated the now-defunct police department, some authorities consider the borough to be responsible for everything that happens to the fund (which is thought to contain well over $100,000 now), even though it was turned over to a state-mandated manager some years back. Mr. O’Connor recommended letting the issue lie for the time being.
Jim Riecke, the town’s persistently positive mayor, thanked the fire company for installing the holiday decorations along Main Street.
And the Veterans of Foreign Wars, with the fire company, one of the town’s greatest supporters, is offering the use of its new electronic sign for public-spirited purposes. How about something boosting Great Bend Days, 3rd Saturday in July? Keep that in mind on these snowy days of winter.
New Milford Budget Revisited
The New Milford Borough Council held its reorganization meeting on Monday, January 4, welcoming two new members, Ken Carey and Penny Scarborough, who took the places of Scott Smith and Chris Allen, who did not seek re-election.
Incumbent, Teri Gulick, also took oath of office with the two newbies administered by Mayor Joseph Taylor, thus completing the members of the 2010 New Milford Borough Council.
The swimming pool was the main topic of the meeting, with Teri Gulick requesting the re-visitation of the proposed 2010 Budget again. Gulick made it clear that the pool was desired by residents, some “who would rather have the pool, than the police,” she informed a hesitant Jim Carr.
Gulick was adamant about the Council covering the total payment for two lifeguards, as had been “the Borough’s commitment, back as far as 1989. We owe that to the residents and those who attend the pool.”
Jim Carr was not as smitten with the idea and wanted to keep the millage down.
Vicki Drake, of the Parks and Recreation Committee, was on hand with facts and figures depicting the short future of the pool's open hours without the previous lifeguard salaries which have always been covered by the Borough Council. (Almost one half of the lifeguard funds have been cut by the current new budget).
Drake estimated that the “pool may only be able to run for three, possibly four weeks, with stretching the current allotments, fund raisers and utilizations of any way we can to keep the costs down.” The pool usually runs from mid June to mid-end August, open 12-7 week days and Saturday from 12-5.
The pool is the only open pool in Susquehanna County, although it is primarily used by New Milford area residents and children, but Mayor Joe Taylor reminded Council, “if we don’t have the pool, I am sure some of the kids using the pool will be back on the streets, (looking for trouble).”
New Member, Ken Carey, who is also President of The Parks and Recreation Committee, added that numerous kids are just “dropped off for a babysitting service.” Carey intimated that sometimes when he volunteered for life guarding, he had paid the one dollar per day per child cost, “some of these kids’ families are hard pressed to even come up with the dollar amount, it wouldn’t be right to raise the amount. The pool is there for the kids and the community,” Carey added.
Carey also said that he would take time to lifeguard and was aware that some other qualified people would do the same to try and cut some corners in that department.
After much discussion and a little bit of heat, it was determined and motioned that the 2010 budget would be re-visited and advertised, and scheduled for final adoption at the February 4 meeting.
The motion to re-open the budget for raising the pool amount back to usual, was accepted four to two, with new comer Penny Scarborough abstaining, in order to examine the matter to make a rational/fair decision. “I would like to examine the pool facts and information along with the budget closer, before I make a choice which concerns such an important matter as this,” Scarborough told The Transcript.
Reorganizing included Carr’s re-election to President and Jane Zick as Vice President; Amy Hine remains Secretary/Treasurer and Joe Taylor, Mayor. The Borough Solicitor will remain to be Attorney Jodi Cordner.
Meeting time remains the same, the first Thursday of each month at 7 p.m., at the New Milford Borough Building with work sessions the third Thursdays.
The vacancy Board will be chaired by Phil Hari, who also was chosen for a five year term on the Municipal Authority.
Gerry Bevan and Karen Worden were appointed to the Zoning Hearing Board for three year terms apiece, and Melisa VanZandt and Jackie Ferenczi accepted appointment to The Planning Commission for four year terms.
The Emergency Management Agency Co-coordinator for the borough will be James Carpenetti.
Various other council committees were decided and business continued, with the Burn Ban Ordinance again being dubbed “too restricted” for New Milford Borough.
After more discussion, Mayor Taylor offered to take the ordinance and “amend it to keep businesses and residents covered and safe to burn or ‘cook’ in their own residences, yet covering the ban of burning things which are not ‘natural.’” Taylor assured Council that he would bring the “new ordinance” before Council and that the solicitor should have no problems with accepting Taylor's reconstructed ordinance.
Council agreed to Taylor’s offer.
There is a problem on Smith Street in the Borough which “could turn into a much bigger problem, if something isn’t done soon, with the catch basin,“ Mayor Taylor informed the group. It was motioned to take care of it before spring, when it will become disastrous to some occupants of that area.
Zoning problems with the former Kerr property on Main Street were discussed resulting in a lot of paperwork which needs to be done to correct a “typo” mistake figure given for the flood plane before Five Jay Trucking can place a trailer on the property, to be used for its home base.
DEP will also have to be involved due to the mistake, probably adding more time to the already waiting trucking company.
Gulick reported that Montrose Police Chief Dale Smith advised her that the 2009 Police Report is underway, and should be ready for the February meeting. There have been many good reports and welcoming of the Police Department to the Borough. The police coverage will remain at the same cost as 2009 and staggers coverage to try and administer in the best capacity to adequately cover the Borough.
The dog barking problem on Johnson Street will be turned over to the Dog Warden, along with the list of dates and times the dogs have barked and disturbed neighbors.
The Emergency Operation Plan Resolution was adopted as Resolution 01-04-10.
The Borough’s January 21 work session will include 2010 Budget discussion.
It was reported that on February 25 and 26, there will be 2010 Census Training at 7 p.m. both evenings. This training is offered by the U.S. 2010 Census Team and has positions of Census Takers, Crew Leaders, Crew Leader Assistants, Recruiting Assistants and Census Clerks available for employment opportunity.
The Census offers good weekly pay, flexible hours, paid training, reimbursement for authorized mileage and other work related expenses. For more information call the toll free jobs line at 1-866-861-2010, or go to www.2010censusjobs.gov.
The next meeting of New Milford Borough will be at 7 p.m. on February 4.
Sharon L. Warren to Craig A. and Kathleen T. Purdum, in New Milford Township for $90,840.00.
Michael and Susan Konesky to Michael and Susan Konesky, in Springville Township for one dollar.
John S. Lemon (estate) to Christine and Nichole Chalako, Michele Miles, Theresa Vandenboschmolina, Judith Siverson and Kathleen Daniels, in Little Meadows Borough for one dollar.
John S. Lemon (estate) to Christine and Nichole Chalako, Michele Miles, Theresa Vandenboschmolina, Judith Siverson and Kathleen Daniels, in Little Meadows Borough for one dollar.
Jim T. Oritz to Michael E. and Jennifer K. Fifth, in Gibson Township for $61,148.47.
Shirley D. Sheridan (by sheriff) to Peoples State Bank of Wyalusing, in New Milford Borough for $9,038.55.
Bank of American (by POA) to Christopher J. Wodock, in Lenox Township for $35,000.00.
William R. and Ellen M. Ashworth to Peter Quigg and Therese Stukas-Quigg, in Bridgewater and Franklin Townships for $375,000.00.
Fannie Mae (AKA) Federal National Mortgage Assoc. (by atty) to James and Vesta Adriance, in Susquehanna for $28,000.00.
Eugene A. and Christine Hermanski to Mark and Grace Deno, in Forest Lake Township for $25,000.00.
Lillian M. Genute to Genute Trust, in Choconut Township for one dollar.
Wayne R. and Anne Adams to Stephen W. Adams, in Harford Township for one dollar.
Richard and Mary Lewis to Mark Susquehanna Associates LP, in Bridgewater Township for $200,000.00.
Robert E., Jr. and Beverly B. Lee to Robert E., Jr. and Beverly B. Lee, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.
Richard and Dana L. Rossman to Wilkerson Family Limited Partnership, in Silver Lake Township for $450,000.00.
Russell and Ruth Leichliter to Gerald E. and Gail Burke, in Auburn Township for $270,000.00.
Richard and Faye Banker to Donald Keith and Diana Birchard, in Franklin Township for one dollar.
Michael S. and Anna L. Peranich to Michael D. and Jacqueline L. Adams, in Silver Lake Township for one dollar.
Jeffers Farms, Inc. to William R. Hagenbuch, in Harford Township for $75,000.00.
Thomas Trynoski to Trehab, in Susquehanna for $5,000.00.
Charles and Lisa Guyer to Dunn Lake LLC, in Ararat Township for $275,000.00.
James J. and Timothy A. Holbert, Richard P., Sr. and Richard P., Jr. Larnerd, Robert Kurosky, Stanley Griffis and John (AKA) Jack Foster to Camp Look Out 1, in Forest Lake Township for one dollar.
Norman (by atty) and Tammy L. Norton to Gary D. Loke, Jr., in New Milford Township for $150,000.00.
Paul H. Ehrenberg (by sheriff) to Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, in Hallstead Borough for $1,772.13.
Clarence E. and Gleanda Gail Marbaker to CE & G LLC, in Auburn Township for one dollar.
Bruce J. and Sherry L. Bonnie to Bonnice Enterprises LLC, in Jessup Township for $389,644.00.
Alfred F. and Faith A. Rotelle to Wayne A., Deborah S., Craig J. and Jill P. Rotelle, in Ararat Township for one dollar.
Laurence D. Fraser to Laurence D. and Julie L. Fraser, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
Donald K. and Ruthann V. Pelino to Arthur W., IV and Linda M. MacNew, in Brooklyn Township for $30,502.14.
Gerald E. and Emily N. Hollenbach to Distant Ventures Limited Partnership, in Franklin Township for $335,000.00.
Priscilla Heller to Saugerties One LLC, in Harmony Township for $150,000.00.
William T. and Terri Johnson to Jason S. Saverslak and Alexandra K. Rewiski, in Thompson Borough for $63,000.00.
William and Elizabeth Smith to William A. and William J. Smith, in Jessup Township for one dollar.
Harold E. and Carolyn McFall to Francis W. and Kim A. Fruehan, in Silver Lake Township for $239,000.00.
Donald C. Gilbert to Donald C., Elmer C., Jr., Gregory A., Randy A. and Jamie S. Gilbert, in Clifford Township for one dollar.
Dunn Lake LLC to Daniel J. and Patricia A. Maisano, in Ararat Township for one dollar.
Kevin M. and Robin A. George to Kevin M. George, in Great Bend Township for one dollar.
Bremer Hof Owners, Inc. to Roy B. Alley, Jr., in Herrick Township for $100.00.
Raymond L. and Mary Rodriguez to John P. LaJesse, in Uniondale Borough for $75,000.00.
Debra A. Kelly to Keith Meagley and Dawn Carpenter, in Harmony Township for $350,000.00.
Donna C. and Robert A. Coleman to Virginia V. Coleman, in Susquehanna for one dollar.
Keith N. Meagley to Ziad Abbud and Anne McBain, in Harmony Township for $347,500.00.
William J. Ivens to William J. and Karen Ivens, in Dimock Township for $10.00.
Beneficial Consumer Discount Co. (DBA) Beneficial Mortgage Co. of PA to James and Dorothy Ayers, in Silver Lake Township for $50,000.00.
Denis Klein vs. Karen R. Klein, both of Springville, married 1984.
Dale J. Perry vs. Tammy M. Perry, both of Union Dale, married 2006.
Jerry P. Kelly vs. Kristen Kelly, both of Great Bend, married 2002.
Sheila Freebes vs. Daniel A. Freebes, both of Forest City, married 2008.
The Susquehanna County Domestic Relations Section has bench warrants for the following individuals as of 10:45 a.m. on January 8, 2010.
Antonio L. Alcantara, Duane Aldrich, David P. Atherholt, Jr., Erika L. Back, William D. Barton, Keith B. Beach, Harold R. Bensley, David Shawn Blaisure, Lisa D. Bollard, Joseph Bonavita, Howard A. Burns, III, Robert B. Carrier, Beverly A. Carvin, Darryl M. Chaffee, Christopher J. Clark, Jeanine A. Consla, Deborah L. Drish, Christina Elmy, Jonathan Fathi, David J. Fischer, Ryan M. Forder, Kelly Fox, Racheal L. Frisbie, Deborah E. Gould, George Graham, David Haines, Jr., John J. Hall, Suzanne R. Hansen, Amanda L. Henderickson, William N. Hendrickson, Erik E. Krisovitch, Lee Labor, Joshua Lee, Charlie J. Legere, Carlos L. Leiser, Jason Lindquist, Patricia J. Marrero, Bradley W. Megivern, Joseph Mershon, Kimberly L. Mershon, David N. Miller, Joseph C. Moore, Robert A. Muzzy, Steven Nannie, Shane Nelson, Anthony Neri, Sheri Pabon, Amberly D. Payne, Jesse R. Rhinebeck, Jr., Ryan A. Rhoads, Timothy W. Rogers, Robert A. Ryman, Richard D. Shoemaker, Darin Sink, Duane Spencer, Donald Louis Stocks, Garrett M. Thomas, Keith W. Vroman, John Wansacz, Jr., Donald L. Welch, Jamie L. Williams, Kenneth L. Wilmot, Jr., Kenneth L. Wilmot, Jr., Patrick L. Yachymiak, Karl David Zantowsky.
Please contact the Domestic Relations Section at 570-278-4600 ext. 170 with any information on the location of these individuals.
Great Bend Borough Organizes
It took a few minutes to determine the lineup, but less than a half hour to organize the Great Bend Borough Council for 2010. The annual meeting on January 4 started an hour earlier than usual because Borough Secretary Sheila Guinan had to attend another organizational meeting for Great Bend Township, where she is a Supervisor.
Borough solicitor Frank O’Connor guided Council through the formalities, and administered the oath of office to the 4 newly-elected officers of the town. Mike VanGorden and Ruth Loucks will be the new faces at the table, replacing long-serving members Mike Wasko and Bea Alesky; Pat Thatcher was elected to a new term, as was Mayor Jim Riecke. Mr. O’Connor also swore in the new tax collector, Lori Zawiski.
There is still one vacancy on the Borough Council, because Shane Rumage, who was elected to two offices in November, chose to take a seat on the Blue Ridge School Board, where he won’t make as much money, but will be able to spend a lot more. Borough Council members can make as much as $12 per month for their service.
Ms. Thatcher was elected Council President, and reluctantly accepted on condition that her tenure would be very short. Former President Rick Franks told Council that he would accept appointment to the remaining vacant seat, and was willing to resume the chair, which he will presumably do at Council’s next regular meeting, on January 7, leaving him out of office for a full 3 days.
The rest of the annual organizational business was done in short order: Jerry MacConnell will be Council Vice President; Sheila Guinan will continue as Secretary/Treasurer appropriately bonded; Joe Collins will remain as Roadmaster; the Borough will continue with the county Council of Governments for codes enforcement; mileage reimbursement will be 55¢ per mile; H & R Block will continue as the Borough’s external auditor; and Frank O’Connor will begin his 34th year as Borough solicitor at a fee of $95 per hour.
Great Bend Borough will continue its long tradition of meeting on the first Thursday of each month, beginning at 7:00 p.m., at the Borough Building at Franklin and Elizabeth Streets.
Addressing Still Hot In Clifford
In Clifford Township, a lengthy reorganization and regular business meeting was held on January 4. Dennis Knowlton was elected chairman of the board of supervisors. John Regan was also retained on the board, with Barry Searle, newly elected, chosen vice chairman and acting police commissioner.
Jim Locker was elected road master. Though no longer serving as police chief, Don Carroll was elected “officer in charge of the police.” Phil Price and Jay Lynch will serve as emergency management coordinators, with Jay Lynch also serving as sewage enforcement officer. Larry Wilson was elected vacancy board chairman. Renee Reynolds was retained as secretary and treasurer, and Joe McGraw was retained as solicitor.
Salaries and fees will remain the same within the township. Clifford Township residents should note that planning commission meetings and regular business meetings will now occur on the second Monday of each month, with the times remaining 6:30 and 7 p.m., respectively.
During the regular business meeting, Searle was asked if he was aware of the allegations concerning Carroll. When Searle responded that he was not, it was suggested that he could not, then, make an educated decision about whether to elect Carroll as a township official. Later in the meeting, another township resident asserted, “Concerning Officer Carroll: Innocent until proven guilty; it’s America.”
At the suggestion of Searle, the supervisors voted to hold an experimental township advisory committee meeting so that township groups, organizations and societies can share their ideas and opinions with the board. The committee will have no legislative power. The public is invited to attend the meeting, which will be held on Sunday, January 17 at 2 p.m. in the township building.
On January 16 and 23, Searle will attend a supervisor training workshop in Wayne County.
There was a suggestion that the board of supervisors be expanded to include more members, since Clifford Township has one of the smallest boards around. McGraw will research the pros and cons for the next meeting.
Another resident suggested that the township be surveyed; the matter is to be discussed at the advisory committee meeting.
Calls to the Clifford Volunteer Fire Company totaled 50 for December, which, according to fire chief Trent Turner, was “one of the busiest months on record.”
Reflective house number signs for 911 addressing are available at the Clifford Fire Station from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Mondays, or by appointment. Stating, “911 addressing is only as good as the residents make it,” Turner encouraged all residents to purchase a reflective sign.
Private drives need street signs, too, it was pointed out. Some residents in attendance remarked that state roads named during addressing have not been posted. Turner stated that 911 addressing is “worth the aggravation, [but requires] time and patience [to] eventually work itself out.”
A related matter involves the frequent theft of stop signs within Clifford Township. Locker stated that he replaced four stop signs, and two more were stolen. He added that he installed a sign one Friday, and it was gone by the next afternoon. “They must not feel like stopping there, I guess,” he quipped.
Roads will be up to specifications before occupancy permits are issued in Fern Hill Development.
Concerning the Damscov Variance, the Court of Common Pleas ruled in favor of Clifford Township. Fortuner will enforce the filling of the swimming pool hole.
Historical society displays for the township building are forthcoming.
Harford Organizes Quickly
State law requires boroughs and townships to organize themselves annually on the first Monday in January. Since they’re all doing it at the same time, it’s rare that one can attend more than one of these things each year. But they tend to be short and predictable, so sometimes it can be done.
At half an hour, Harford’s 2010 annual meeting didn’t set a speed record, but it was predictable, since nothing changed. Terry VanGorden will continue as chair of the Board of Supervisors as well as Roadmaster; Garry Foltz will still be vice-chair; and Sue Furney will still be township Secretary and Treasurer. Because Mr. VanGorden and Ms. Furney are both Supervisors as well as employees, their salaries as township employees would be set by the township’s auditors the following evening, on the recommendation of the supervisors - presumably including themselves.
The other township employees, Wayne Frederici and Hollis Adams, will have their wages adjusted following job description reviews, and made retroactive to January 1, 2010. They will get 7 paid holidays in 2010: Memorial Day (5/31), Independence Day (7/5), Labor Day (9/6), Thanksgiving and the day after (11/25-26), Christmas Eve (12/24), and New Year’s Eve (12/31).
The township will continue with the law firm of Kreder Brooks Hailstone, with Drew Hailstone as solicitor of record at $225 per hour. The township will continue to entrust all of its finances to Peoples National Bank. As treasurer, Ms. Furney will be bonded at $900,000; together with “infrastructure loan” funds, she said that would probably be the largest amount available in the township’s accounts at any one time during the year.
The only slight difference in 2010 is that Supervisors’ meetings will be scheduled only once a month, on the 2nd Tuesday, beginning at 7:00 p.m. When there is urgent business, special meetings will be announced as necessary. All meetings are held at the Township Building on Route 547 just south of Interstate 81. The next one will be on Tuesday, January 12.
The Montrose Borough Council held its reorganization meeting on Monday the 4th, along with many municipalities required to do so in the first week of January. Prior to the appointment of officers, the three returning council members (Craid Reimel, Todd Chamberlain, and Jack Yeager) were sworn in, along with the sole new member (Sean Granahan). When the time came to elect officers, each position had only a sole nominee, and all votes were unanimous. Todd Chamberlain accepted another term as council president, and Mary Anne Waddington the role of vice president. Randy Schuster was appointed co-chairperson, the successor of the president pro tempore.
The Act 98 (Fire Escrow) Ordinance was discussed again, dealing with the implications of the borough having difficulty making contact and settling with insurance companies after a building is burnt. The Ordinance is simply an amendment to the existing ordinance, which changes the numbers from 1,000 for each 20,000 to 2,000 for every 15 thousand. Someone asked how an insurance notification could be tied in, as it was proposed that perhaps the borough could get a list of all the insurance companies people use. Apparently this would have been addressed by the renters' ordinance which was written by Alice Walsh when she was on the council, but this was never passed. It was said that they didn't think it could be done in the way originally proposed, that a new way would need to be found. The amendment was slated for a February adoption.
The Cabot water station was mentioned. The borough's solicitor was asked if she had heard from Cabot, and had responded to the negative.
The meeting schedule for the coming year was established, with meetings remaining on the first Monday of the month except in the incidence of Labor Day weekend, the 5th of July, and Memorial Day. The recessed meetings were moved to the third Monday of the month at 7:30, with the option to cancel this when not needed.
A Penelec representative came to the borough to make certain that they did want the removal of the lights on Public Avenue, it was related. If Penelec were to take them out, it was said, they would not put them back in. One person asked if they could just turn them off, not take them out, but it was answered that Penelec had declined to do so. The representative had said that they were getting out of the streetlight business. It was decided that the borough might contact the company again prior to any real action for further discussion.
It was reported that the new building was progressing well. Waiting for an inspector before continuing work inside, the garage had been the current project as of the time of the report. The project's architect outlined some issues that had been encountered, and brought to the council's attention the impact too many visitors was having on the speed of construction, according to the workers.
At the end of the meeting an executive session was held. Salaries were increased 2% across the board.
The Great Bend Township Supervisors began their January 4 meeting with an annual reorganization. Election of officers was held, with chairman Joe Gaughan, vice chairman Walt Galloway and secretary/treasurer Sheila Guinan all retaining their respective positions. Curt Blewett was reappointed roadmaster, as was Ed Eckenrod, chairman of the Vacancy Board.
Appointment of an assessor and of a (township) auditor was tabled due to the lack of interested candidates.
The pay scale for supervisors employed for road work, mileage reimbursement, pay scale for supervisor employed as secretary/treasurer, and the amount of the treasurer’s bond all remain at their current level.
Reappointments of the following were approved: legal counsel, Michael Giangrieco; township engineers, Hawk Engineering; COG Sewage, sewage enforcement; auditing firm, Joseph Collura CPA; Peoples National Bank, Pennstar Bank, PLGIT and M&T Bank, depositories for township funds; Sheila Guinan, chief administrative officer for the pension plan; Walt Galloway, representative for COG and Joe Gaughan, alternate.
Meetings will continue to be held on the first Monday of the month at 7:00 p.m., the following Tuesday if that Monday is a legal holiday.
During the regular meeting that followed, the roadmaster’s report was given and consisted mainly of winter road and equipment maintenance. It was agreed to advertise for part-time, on call help (CDL required).
Advertisements will also be placed for an emergency management coordinator and for a representative to the sewer authority. Two representatives are needed for the sewer authority, and a motion carried to reappoint Norm Darrow to continue as one.
A motion carried to approve Ordinance 63, which will give the township the ability to post the roads.
Laser Midstream has requested a meeting with the supervisors to discuss placing of gas pipelines; it was agreed to try to set something up for later this week.
A resolution to adopt the county and municipal emergency operations plan was approved; it is required to do so annually.
And, a motion carried to advertise the ordinance setting the tax rate for 2010.
Oakland Boro Council met for their reorganization and regular meeting on January 7. Mayor Randy Glover presided over the reorganization, during which reelected members Ron Beavan, Brian Rhone and Dave Dibble were sworn in, President Ron Beavan was reelected to that position, and Brian Rhone was elected vice president.
During the regular meeting, Codes Enforcement Officer Shane Lewis gave his monthly activity report, which was followed by a lengthy discussion of the firm the boro contracts with for residential building inspections. There was some dissatisfaction with the firm’s lack of communication when contacted. During the discussion it was noted that the firm does offer lower inspection fees than other options available to the boro, but council wondered if COG might be a better choice. COG’s inspectors are in the county on a more regular basis and do respond to inquiries in a timely manner. Council’s only “but” was that there is a membership fee to join COG as well as yearly dues. Since the 2010 budget has been adopted without any consideration for payment of those fees, it was decided to contact COG for information to keep in mind for next year.
This discussion was followed by an in-depth review of the procedures for following through on codes violations. The biggest consideration is the cost involved, which include enforcement costs, but legal fees, court fees, etc. Some time ago, council had agreed on a priority list of situations, with unsafe structures to take priority.
Mr. Lewis also updated council on the joint codes support program that the boro and Lanesboro have been a part of for the last year. He said that the committee’s main focus is to help property owners facing violation citations to find the appropriate resources that offer solutions for particular problems. He said the committee is also focusing on getting the boroughs’ residents to comply with 911 readdressing, as many residents still have not posted their new address numbers. Notices were sent to the residents of both boros.
In other business, Dave Dibble had been appointed to fill the seat left vacant by the resignation of Rob Presley, but had been elected to fill another seat, which left the remaining two years of Mr. Presley’s term vacant again. A motion carried to appoint Gary Boughton to the remainder of the term, and he was sworn in by Mayor Glover.
Council had received two offers for demolition of the old trailer on the property adjacent to the park, which the boro has purchased. One of the offers was subsequently withdrawn; a motion carried to accept the offer from Ozzie Miller. The necessary paperwork for the demolition permit was signed. The purchase of the property was funded through the sale of the lower lot next to where the old boro building used to be. It was agreed to use the remainder of the funds to pay for demolition of the trailer.
Council has discussed whether or not to keep the boro’s old white truck, and had agreed to keep an eye on the expenses involved in keeping it running. A motion carried to require that any repairs for it that amount to more than $500 must be approved by council.
Oakland Rec. held their annual holiday home decorating contest. First prize went to the French family, who donated the prize money back to Oakland Rec. Second prize went to the McDonald family, and third to an unnamed family on Boyden St. Honorable mention went to the Gall and Smith families, and this year, the first Redneck Award was given to the Stark family for their decorated pickup truck.
Council reviewed a list of (other) elected and appointed positions and committee members.
A motion carried to appoint Tom Kubus as president pro tem; he will preside over meetings in the event that both Mr. Beavan and Mr. Rhone are not present.
The secretary’s report included an invitation from the PA State Association of Boros to purchase an ad in the annual PSAB yearbook. Council declined.
Also discussed was an offer from a property owner, relayed through a third party, to gift the boro with a small parcel of land. Since accepting the gift would take the property off of the boro’s tax rolls, it was agreed to look into the potential income the boro could receive from the property and determine whether or not it would offset the loss of the tax revenue before any action is taken.
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