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Forest City Borough President, Robert Trusky, opened a borough meeting held March 1 by praising the public works department for doing an “outstanding job [plowing] under extremely difficult conditions.”
The borough has received a $132,474 Recycling Development and Implementation Grant to be used exclusively for purchasing a hybrid recycling truck. The borough will match up to $14,720 toward the cost of the truck. Trusky will meet with the president of Vandling Borough to discuss plans for the old recycling truck, which was also purchased with grant money.
Trusky announced that Penn DOT will likely pay the borough to take over Hudson Street from the Lackawanna County line to Route 247; an inspection will occur when the weather improves.
Council approved a recycling program at William Penn apartments; bins and collections still must be resolved.
Central to the meeting was a presentation by Taylor Consulting and Contracting, an energy management company, which the borough had invited to discuss strategies for reducing electricity costs. A representative from Taylor Consulting explained that by grouping Forest City with other businesses, the borough could get a better electric rate on metered systems, and most significantly, for street lights.
Following questions from Trusky and other council members, the representative stated that Taylor Consulting currently serves only one municipality in Pennsylvania but represents the city of Boston. Additionally, the firm represents over 600 businesses including The Scranton Cultural Center, The Mohegan Sun Casino and Dunkin’ Donuts.
The representative stated that the services will be paid for by the electric supplier and will come at no direct cost to Forest City. A cost comparison estimate will be available prior to the signing of a contract.
Along with Forest City Regional, the borough will enter another goose control contract with the USDA at the same cost as last year. The USDA will handle all goose harassment in Kennedy Park.
Also concerning Kennedy Park, in an effort to save tax money, council voted to eliminate two part time park maintenance employees.
Council will file with the magistrate concerning a Susquehanna Street building with a hole in the roof and a leaning chimney. Additionally, council discussed an ongoing trash problem in a Delaware Street yard. Council has already been to the magistrate twice concerning the matter and will continue to pursue the matter as needed.
Another problem facing the borough is delinquent wastewater accounts. Although borough secretary Susan Coleman acknowledged that some such accounts will be paid, she stated that there is a significant problem with individuals skipping town or otherwise deliberately not paying their sewer bill. Coleman stated that there has been “a couple thousand dollars worth of these accounts in our first year and a half of collecting this fee.” Coleman will contact the Pennsylvania Association of Boroughs and other companies for collection assistance. Water shut-offs for individuals with delinquent wastewater accounts will begin in April. Council will not shut off water until three notices have been given.
The borough submitted a request to Congressman Carney’s office for $1M in funding for the sewer replacement project. On behalf of the borough, the Central Bradford Progress Authority submitted a $2.2M appropriations request, and the Northern Tier Planning Commission submitted a grant application for sewer funding to the Appalachian Regional Commission.
“Water on Washington Street,” “Emergency gate and the rest area,” “Grates on Randolph St. and Rt. 11.” Those items have been on the agenda for the Great Bend Borough Council for months, and all involve disagreements with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) over jurisdiction and responsibility, not to mention money. According to Council President Rick Franks and member Jerry MacConnell at the Council meeting on March 4, PennDOT may finally be coming around. They report that conversations with PennDOT officials have each of these issues “moving along.” That’s not to say resolved, but there appears to be progress.
Ever since the flood of the summer of 2006, Mr. MacConnell has been trying to get PennDOT to take some responsibility for excess water coming through a sluice under the Interstate and down Washington. Former Council member Mike Wasko has been pressing PennDOT to consider creating an exit onto U.S. Route 11, the town’s Main Street, from the rest area on the Interstate, also a consequence of the flood of 2006 when that was the only way out of the isolated town. Up to now, PennDOT has also declined interest in some drainage grates in the pavement at the intersection of U.S. 11 and Randolph Road, both state thoroughfares, where the pavement is deteriorating. With Spring on the way, the little town in the great bend of the Susquehanna River is hoping for some help with its water problems.
As Spring approaches, maintenance supervisor and Council member Joe Collins is still reviewing materials to present to Council next month regarding purchase of a new mower. With prices ranging from $5,000 to $10,000, he said he has about 10 bids already. The biggest question seems to be conventional deck mower, or a zero-turn model. Then there is the question of what the borough can afford.
The approach of Spring also has Council considering how to purchase 25 new American flags for display along Main Street. Ron Hall, leader of the local Sea Scouts, has offered flags for the discounted price of $25 a piece. Council member Mike VanGorden said that all of the flags need to be replaced, but most of the poles are okay for now.
The borough has been trying to find grant money to pay for playground equipment for Greenwood Park. Borough Secretary Sheila Guinan attended a grant workshop where she learned that grant applications to the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) now are submitted on-line. She also learned that a grant for park equipment would have to be somewhat larger than anticipated. The borough hoped for a matching grant just to purchase equipment, from a supplier they have already been working with. It turns out, however, that DCNR grants must be for parks that meet federal requirements, including provision for parking and other accessibility requirements under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Ms. Guinan guessed that would push the application up to $50,000 or more, of which the borough would have to pony up half. Much of Greenwood Park would not meet accessibility guidelines without extensive enhancements.
Ms. Guinan also had herself appointed borough Codes Enforcement Officer by acclamation. Since no one else was available, she offered to do the job in extra hours at her current rate as borough Secretary, plus mileage. She does a lot of the paperwork already anyway, she said. The Codes Enforcement Officer investigates complaints about problem properties, takes photographs, sends demand letters, and occasionally visits the District Justice to file formal actions.
Parking isn’t a codes enforcement responsibility, but it has become a problem on Williams Street, where rental tenants and a business have been parking vehicles on sidewalks and blocking traffic, particularly during snowstorms when parked vehicles can impede the progress of the town’s plow. It was thought that the borough had long ago issued an ordinance prohibiting parking on one side of Williams Street; but no one could find it. Those responsible for the vehicles so far haven’t been responsive to requests to keep the street clear. And it isn’t clear who would enforce such an ordinance if there was one.
Bret Jennings, the borough’s representative on the board of the Great Bend-Hallstead Joint Sewer Authority, reported that action to collect arrearages from the New Milford Municipal Authority may soon “get serious.” Under the contract with the Sewer Authority, the New Milford Authority has been paying a discounted rate for service, but increases demanded by the Sewer Authority have been ignored. New Milford’s failure to pay bills issued by the Sewer Authority will create a large hole in the sewer system budget, and, according to Mr. Jennings, the New Milford Authority doesn’t seem to understand the issue, which transfers the burden of the sewer system onto residents and businesses in the other municipalities to make up the shortfall.
The Susquehanna County Commissioners are soliciting contributions to an update to the county’s history. The county Bi-Centennial Committee is asking anyone with photographs or other materials focusing on the last 50 years of county history to make them available.
Great Bend Borough is struggling to celebrate its own 150th birthday this summer. Council member Ruth Loucks is chairing a committee that is organizing the event. The committee’s last meeting was cancelled due to the recent heavy weather. It has been rescheduled for March 25, beginning at 7:00 p.m. at the fire hall.
At least one person, whose initials are E.J.M., is happy with the way things are going. Council received a card of effusive thanks for hard work and dedication, for which all at the table are grateful.
And that’s the way it is in Great Bend this March of 2010. See what’s in store next month, on April Fool’s Day, beginning at 7:00 p.m. at the Borough Building at Elizabeth and Franklin Streets.
Nicole L. Stook (by sheriff) to US Bank and Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, in Forest City for $1,561.17.
Franklyn W. and Roberta Gulick to Teri Gulick, in New Milford Borough for $48,000.00.
Robert F. and Maryann Hrifko Oakley to Robert F. and Maryann Hrifko Oakley, in Harford Township for one dollar.
Joseph Paterno (estate) to Peter and Nancy Blair, in Clifford Township for $72,000.00.
Anthony S. and Maureen A. Boyle Orefice to Stanley William Ezman, in Uniondale Borough for $80,000.00.
Timothy D. and Cynthia Fisher to Timothy D. Fisher, in Harford Township for one dollar.
Lynn H. Stark to Craig L. Stark, in Springville Township for one dollar.
First Baptist Church of Susquehanna (by trustee) to Amelia L. Heath, in Susquehanna for $63,000.00.
Tracy Bennett to Charles Floyd Bennett, in Dimock Township for $8,000.00.
Charles Floyd Bennett to Tracy W. Bennett, in Middletown Township for $382,000.00.
Adam Wilber and David and Susan Eddleston to Susan Wilber, in Great Bend Township for $50,000.00.
Newton M. and Joy H. Richards to Newton M. and Joy H. Richards, in Choconut Township for one dollar.
Loren A. and Ruth Salsman to Loren A. and Ruth A. Salsman, in Dimock Township for one dollar.
Reba J. Loomis to Carl and Tanya Loomis, in Auburn Township for one dollar.
Trehab to Kevin Joseph and Paula Marie McKee, in Susquehanna for $2,500.00.
The Susquehanna County Domestic Relations Section has bench warrants for the following individuals as of 10:07 a.m. on March 5, 2010.
Antonio L. Alcantara, Duane Aldrich, Erika L. Back, David Shawn Blaisure, Joseph Bonavita, Shane Bonavita, Howard A. Burns, III, Darryl M. Chaffee, James W. Donahue, III, Deborah L. Drish, David J. Fischer, Racheal L. Frisbie, Deborah E. Gould, George Graham, David Haines, Jr., John J. Hall, Dirk Heiser, Amanda L. Hendrickson, Erik E. Krisovitch, Lee Labor, Charlie J. Legere, Carlos L. Leiser, Jason Lindquist, Patricia J. Marrero, Bradley W. Megivern, Joseph Mershon, Kimberly L. Mershon, Ronald N. Mitchell, Joseph C. Moore, Robert A. Muzzy, Shane Nelson, Anthony Neri, Sheri Pabon, James E. Purse, Jesse R. Rhinebeck, Jr., Timothy W. Rogers, Robert A. Ryman, Richard D. Shoemaker, Darin Sink, Duane Spencer, Donald Louis Stocks, Christina L. Trayes, Keith W. Vroman, Steven G. Warner, Donald L. Welch, Jamie L. Williams, Kenneth L. Wilmot, Jr.
Please contact the Domestic Relations Section at 570-278-4600 ext. 170 with any information on the location of these individuals.
Several residents present at the March 1 meeting of the Great Bend Township Supervisors had some questions about the progress of the regional police meetings. The supervisors responded that the last meeting was held in January, and that another should be scheduled soon. The group is also expecting a presentation from a representative from DCED, most likely the same person who has been working on a feasibility study for COG. The presentation is expected to cover information on what would be required to set up a regional department. At least two of the supervisors have been attending the meetings, and have given updates afterwards and will continue to do so. They added that there has been coverage of the matter in the County Transcript. There is no word on the progress of the state bill(s) that would require municipalities to have police coverage, but the consensus was that one of the bills will eventually be passed.
In other business, the roadmaster’s report covered ongoing repairs, especially washouts. Much of the crew’s time had been spent on plowing and cindering.
The Bridging Communities sidewalk project is set to begin as soon as the weather allows.
Permits issued during the month included a UCC permit for David Thomas; a land use questionnaire from Rock Ridge Stone for the Sienko property; a peddler’s permit issued to Keystone Novelties LLC; notice of application for a GP-3 permit from Rodney Luce to fix his bank on Trowbridge Creek; and a subdivision plan for Eugene and Jennie Paumgardhen, which the supervisors approved.
Correspondence included notice that the Conservation District will be hosting a heavy equipment workshop on March 17; the township’s pension portfolio for the year ending December 31, 2009 for review; notice that there will be an EMA quarterly training on March 2; an invitation to attend a Susquehanna Greenway Symposium on March 18 at Bucknell University; and notice that the county commissioners are creating a book based on the last 50 years of the county in recognition of the county’s upcoming bicentennial and are accepting photos, articles and historical information.
The township is still in need of a representative for the sewer authority board and an emergency management coordinator.
The next meeting will be held on Monday, April 5 at 7 p.m.
In classes, the ubiquitous “they” will tell you that a good journalist avoids clichés. At the March 1 meeting of the Montrose borough council, however, there really was no avoiding the elephant in the room. While no one on the council outright mentioned the recent dismissal and arrest of the former borough secretary officially, various steps taken that evening were obvious reactions to this incident.
Fiscally, it was decided, some changes were going to be made. Dawn Augenti was appointed as the acting borough secretary until a borough clerk position could be filled. A power of attorney was approved for Joanne Mayerzak, allowing her to complete and reconcile payroll accounts. When someone asked about how a particular expense related to the budget, Mr. Granahan said that a 2009 set of books would need to be created before they could be compared to the budget. Alterations to the boroughs financial system, at least in some ways, were described in terms of a major overhaul. The backup procedure, it was stated, would be different than before, more thorough, starting with a whole new series of checks. New visa cardholders and limits were set. Cards would be assigned to the police chief, the street department, and the office staff, with a $2000 limit on each. It was felt that this amount would not be enough to allow room for a major problem to arise with misuse, but would allow enough leeway for a lack of funds not to be a problem. The new borough clerk, when the position was fully established, would have no check signing or stamping ability. The gas card situation, it was said, was sorted out, and the door codes altered.
The meeting ran slightly long because a series of speakers attended (and summarily left as soon as their presentation was made). Brian Baker, a transportation planner for Northern Tier Regional Planning, updated those present on the 706 project. Preliminary engineering has been done at corners and the final design worked on, he said. This is the final stage before the construction stage, and, if all goes according to plan, it may go to let about a year from now (as a potential estimate only). Repercussions for Montrose, he said, could include a left turning lane near Tom Kerr's, and a change at the 706/29 intersection, where a red light is being planned. Originally, apparently, PennDOT had desired to put a traffic circle near the Country Club, but the planners had fought this. Mr. Schuster asked about who the council would have to speak with to place stop signs up on Lake Ave., to slow drivers who would then attempt to skirt the light. It was answered that this would be something the state would need to be approached about. Mr. Baker encouraged the council to be diligent in communicating with the state about the project in general, to invite them to a meeting to ensure that they were apprised of the project's ramifications and progress. He said that the purpose of the project, which has been in the works for around eleven years, is to make things safer. The total cost could be 8.5 to 9 million dollars, at a minimum.
Doug Holmes from Dawson Geophysical was the next speaker, with a request. His company had been doing a job south of town, an its expansion was desired. This would require cables to be lain across the borough roads, and geophones brought within its boundaries. Permission had already been obtained from some private landowners, but the boroughs permission was required for the roadways. It was stated that street foreman Ken DiPhillips' only concern was the street sweepers, but Mr. Holmes said that he viewed this situation in the same light he viewed the problem of snowplows - either his workers would move their cables out of the street or have them destroyed. He did state that there would be no shot holes within the borough, and that they would only need to be in the borough perhaps two to three weeks. Mr. Schuster asked what kind of fee the company would give the borough. Mr. Homes in turn asked what kind of fees were required, if permits were needed. The counsel stated that they would have to get back in touch with him, after looking further into this subject. Prior to his departure, Mr. Holmes did comment that he found it strange that he had been told he would not need permission, but only to give the council notice, only to attend the meeting and be told that they may need to pay to cross the streets.
Jeff Gregory from DGK insurance made his annual visit to discuss the borough's insurance policy and coverage. If a building and structure is not listed, he told council, it is not insured. He reviewed the policy, discussed coverage of the new building next door, and brought to the attention of council their right to legally bill covered communities for their share of the right insurance for emergency services.
Mr. Reimel apprised council of a conversation he had with a member of the cemetery association board, who had approached him after last month's article. No one had approached the board recently, apparently, though the topic of a water pipe on cemetery grounds had been broached with them at one point, perhaps above ground. It was reportedly affirmed, however, that at this time there was no intention of placing a pipe either above or below the ground.
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