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For the first time in many months, the Great Bend Borough Council skated right over “Water on Washington Street” and the proposed police department at its December meeting on the 2nd.
Actually, the pipe for the Washington Street project is on site; Council member Joe Collins said that the work may commence very soon. The purpose is to keep water from under the Interstate from flooding the town like it did in the summer of 2006, and has long been a preoccupation of Council member Jerry MacConnell.
Mr. MacConnell also spearheads the effort to establish another police department for the little town. The Borough recently purchased a car from Port Dickinson, New York, but will have to wait for paperwork and bureaucracy before a real department can become a reality.
In the meantime, as he does every year at this time, B.J. Giangiulio of H.A. Thompson, insurance brokers, attended the meeting to review the Borough’s coverage, and one of the items to be added, of course, will be for the police department. Mr. Giangiulio said that for four part-time officers with a salary budget of about $20,000 per year, coverage would probably cost just over $4,000 annually, including personnel liability, liability and collision on the car, and workmens compensation insurance. He said that all Borough employees are automatically covered anyway, but the premium changes when a police “class code” is added. Other insurance coverage won’t change much next year, and, except for the added police coverage, premiums may actually decline slightly because of the age and diminished value of some of the Borough’s equipment.
A lively discussion was sparked by the attendance of David Derrick, representing the fire company. He was interested to know if the Borough was, in fact, serious about enforcing its ordinance on false alarms. Assured that the Borough was, in fact, serious about false alarms, he reported that, so far this year, the fire company had responded to 8 alarms from the Kime Apartments, of which 6 were considered “unjustified.”
Council members hastened to say that they don’t want to single out the Kime Apartments unnecessarily. However, Mr. Derrick said that “it’s the age of the system” in the building that apparently causes many of the false alarms, referring to the automatic alarm system installed when the building was constructed in the 1980’s. He said that more than half a dozen other properties in the Borough (and more in the surrounding township and in Hallstead) have automatic alarm systems, but the fire company very rarely has to respond to them.
Borough Secretary Sheila Guinan said that the Kime operators should be sent a letter informing them of the ordinance and of the situation the alarm system there is causing. The ordinance allows the Borough to impose a fine for more than 3 false alarms on a property in a single year. Ms. Guinan thought that the count should begin when the Kime receives such a warning.
In fact, however, the ordinance has been on the books since 2001, and the Kime was sent a letter last month informing them of the situation. And Mr. MacConnell thinks that’s enough warning. (There is apparently some evidence that the Kime operators may be working on the system already.) There wasn’t any motion on the matter, but Council seemed to decide to impose the fine for 2010 at year end and let the Kime respond.
Ms. Guinan also reported that a more formal estimate indicates that the materials for the new roof on the Borough building will cost more than $4,000 ($4,850, in fact), and will therefore have to be put out for bid. The Borough had a representative of Erie Materials survey the roof and offer an opinion on how to proceed. Council then proposed to purchase the materials and hire a contractor to install the roof. A contractor appeared at a prior meeting to suggest that it might be best to have the materials purchased by the contractor hired to do the work. Given recent information, Council decided to advertise for bids for the roof, specifying the materials to be used as recommended.
And last but certainly not least, Council formally adopted a budget for 2011. Unchanged from the budget proposed in November, it calls for no increase in tax rates, estimating expenditures to be the same as for 2010, $146,700. Mr. MacConnell recalled that Council in the past agreed to “adjust” tax rates modestly on a regular basis, in order to keep up with increased costs, and to be able to “do the business of the Borough.” But he said that in these tough economic times, he was willing to forego an increase this year. Until last year the Borough had gone nearly 13 years without a property tax increase. Rates were increased by 1 mill last year (to 12.88 mills, plus 0.75 mill for the fire company) to pay for starting up a police department. There has been mention of the possibility of imposing an earned income tax (EIT), but nothing has come of that so far.
Oh, and of course, as is his wont, Mayor Jim Riecke found somebody to thank, this time the fire company - again - for putting up the holiday lights along main street. Council member Mike VanGorden, a fire company member, noted that it was a “good team effort,” with the help of a backhoe from Hallstead.
The Great Bend Borough Council meets on the first Thursday of each month, beginning at 7:00 p.m., at the Borough Building at Elizabeth and Franklin Streets.
The Santa in the Park event was spoken of positively early in the December 2 New Milford Borough meeting. It was stated that though it was cold, Santa had a blast and wished to do it again. Estimates of child attendance ran around one hundred. Eleanor Lempke and her husband were thanked for a candy donation. The men's club provided lunch.
An update was given on the Richardson property/Peck Hill situation. There is no fifth apartment, it is storage only, as of a codes enforcement officer visit.
A response was received regarding a grant application submitted to the Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau for the gazebo. The amount awarded was $2500, which was not to be used for the electrical. Barb James expressed her desire that the colors be correct period colors.
An update was given regarding the bridge by the library. The bridge will at no time be closed entirely, it was said. At one point there will likely be one lane traffic controlled by a traffic light. There is to be sidewalk passage at all times as well, on one side or the other. The project is estimated to last three months.
PHFA received an application for the low-income elderly housing potential project. The council had, it was said, the opportunity to submit comments regarding it during the next 30 days. Jim Carr expressed his opinion that he felt it would be a good idea to send something in favor of the project. The county, it was explained, is looking to tear down the foundry and rebuild it as senior citizen housing. The grant is for the acquisition and demolition of the building; it has not been purchased as of yet. Terri Gulick stated, however, that it looked like it would really happen.
The council was asked to pass a resolution in support of the Growing Greener II initiative. The request came from the Endless Mountains Heritage Region. The resolution was motioned and passed.
New FEMA flood plain maps were to come out, another letter stated, and at that time the council would be able to make their changes to them. This had been discussed the month prior, where there were questions regarding the fact that it only listed the township. The map does encompass the borough however, Amy Hine the secretary clarified.
The piece of concrete was removed from the property at the corner of Maple and Church, it was reported by Mayor Joe Taylor during his report. The lawn was reseeded and looked nice, he continued. The chunk near Vogels' property hadn't been moved yet, but it was to be.
During the planning commission report, Terri Gulick presented what she hoped was the final draft for the open burning ordinance. The concern had been that they would hurt the commercial properties, not wanting to make it so that they could not cook outdoors. This draft of the ordinance was created to ensure they could continue to do so. A visitor asked if residents could have bonfires, and it was responded that these were allowable so long as they were contained. The setback for roads was dropped because some people burn leaves in their driveways. The setback is now five feet from Main Street. Fires will need to be contained. Fines could be not less than $100 and not more for $1000 for each offense.
Ms. James asked if what is burned inside could be regulated. Various council members said, however, that this would be difficult to regulate, though it might be possible. In the end the motion was made to advertise it right at that meeting.
A brake retarder ordinance was discussed, due to the loud brakes of the heavy truck traffic through town. The commission took the time to talk to the truck drivers, as this is their livelihood. The retarders make it safer and easier to stop, and are necessary. Some of the town's intersections are very busy. They suggested, though, that perhaps a time limit could be put on it, perhaps between ten p.m. and seven a.m. Because Routes 11, 848, and 492 are state roads, this has to be cleared with PennDOT first. Ms. Hine was to check this with PennDOT, as Montrose did. A reporter present pointed out that there are school buses on the road before seven a.m. however.
Everyone present at the planning meeting, it was reported, did not feel it to be necessary to have a yard sale ordinance. The recommendation was not made to pursue this action further then, though it had been discussed the month before.
An extension was given to the grant for the walking track and concession stands until August 2011. This was reported by Vicky Drake, who explained that it is stuck in engineering.
Sue Abbot, when speaking of the Personnel Committee, brought up an inconsistency with vacation and holiday time. Everyone is granted eight hour days for vacation time, regardless of how much they typically work in a day. This may have been, she said, part of why one worker went over hours in the past. The holiday hours, she suggested to leave at eight. One of the council members pointed out, however, that the advertised hours of the building do not equal forty, and thus the council should be careful with tax payer money. It was decided then that this would be changed to be based off the previous year's average hours worked. Holidays where people are actually working, however, were to still be paid on a time and a half scale.
The 2011 budget had been advertised, with no objections. The motion was made and approved, then, to adopt it. The total budget was $296,045 with no tax raise. The police budget was increased slightly, which, it was confirmed, could mean increased police coverage time.
The matter of a solicitor was brought up again. There had been a few inquiries, and they had not gotten back to them as of yet. This was to be resolved in the future.
The matter of a Christmas tree in the gazebo was broached, wondering if the borough wanted to put a tree in the gazebo this year. Council decided against this.
A resident had visited the borough building to question why there were only lights on Main Street and not Route 492. It was pointed out that they couldn't do that and not do other roads. In the end it was simply stated that money prohibits lighting other streets.
Some people had expressed a wish to have more salt on the roads in the winter. It was proposed that New Milford Township secretary be called, to see if the borough could purchase salt from them to try and fulfill this desire.
The Susquehanna Community School Board began their December 1 meeting with their annual reorganization. After nominations and votes were held, with Jason Chamberlain acting as president pro tem, incumbents President Steven Stanford and Vice President Clay Weaver were re-elected and sworn in.
During the regular meeting that followed, Superintendent Bronson Stone recognized bus contractor Ozzie Miller for his numerous contributions to the district, the latest being volunteering use of a skid steer to put up lights for the annual Sabers night game. Cabot Oil also donated lights for night practice, and there are talks to see if they will sponsor an additional night game next season. Coach Bagnall, the coaching staff and the Susquehanna Sabers were congratulated for a wonderful season.
The district is researching two options for the Keystone Exams. One is to count Keystone test scores as one-third of a student’s final grade. The other is to use a stand-alone option. Students would need to pass six out of ten exams once the Keystones are fully activated.
This year’s school newsletter, volume two, has been posted online and includes information about the Keystone exams and elementary activities as well as other information.
An increased number of high school students have achieved Honor Roll (Merit Roll) recognition. The elementary has been offering incentives to encourage students who have enrolled to attend the after-school tutoring program. Elementary parent-teacher conferences were well attended, and a program of rewarding positive behavior has been put in place.
The state legislature has made changes to the state education retirement plan (PSERs) regarding employee benefits after 2011, but school districts’ contributions are still expected to increase dramatically over the next four years.
The annual food service audit has been completed, with good results.
Items approved by the board included the following:
- The 2011 meeting schedule for regular meetings and information and deliberation sessions.
- The Taxpayer Relief Act resolution, which limits the amount districts can raise taxes and allows eligible property owners to receive a tax rebate from state gambling revenues.
- A one-year agreement with Allegheny Energy Supply (electricity) at 6.34 cents per kilowatt hour.
- Transfer of all transportation contracts from Slater Transportation to Ray and Nikki Swanson; the Swansons had purchased Slater Transportation several years ago, this action will consolidate the two entities.
- Designation of fund balances for fiscal year 2009-10 as follows: $1,500,000 for future PSERs payments; $1,174,042 for future early retirement incentives; $600,000 for future budget beginning cash positions; $100,000 for future capital improvement projects.
- District transportation contracts for the 2010-11 school year.
- Larry Todd for snow removal at the turnaround on Shehawken Road at a rate of $24 per occurrence.
- Homebound instruction for two students.
- Hiring of staff for the 2010-11 school year: Jami Hyndshaw and Lisa Carpenter, homebound instructors; Roland Salamon, fall drama director; Lori Zick, long term substitute (90 days); Robin Burdick, elementary personal aide; William Conklin, substitute bus driver; Casey Christianson, substitute van driver; Megan Garcia, timer/scorer/bookkeeper.
- Volunteers for the 2010-11 school year: Kim Burdick, junior high girls’ basketball; Brian Rhone, fifth and sixth grade girls’ basketball.
- Sabbaticals for the 2010-11 school year for John Seigle, 90 days and Karen Loscig, remainder of the school year.
- Converting Bridgette Stone from a 45-day long-term substitute to a one-year only substitute for the current school year.
- A new Surrogate Parent policy.
- A one-year pest control contract with Answer Pest Control at a cost of $65 per month for the high school and $60 per month for the elementary school.
- The usual list of activities and fundraisers.
One item was not approved, a request from an individual to continue purchasing health care coverage through the school district after the notified termination date of December 31, 2010.
The next meeting will be on Wednesday, January 19 at 7:00 p.m. in the administration offices in the elementary building.
On December 2 at 7 a.m., Jocelyn Pratt of Clifford was traveling south on SR 247 when she lost control of her vehicle on the ice. The Trailblazer subsequently exited the roadway and struck a stone sink and a building. Clifford fire responded to the scene; Kozlowski towed the vehicle. A seat belt was in use; the driver was not injured.
On November 22 Daniele Upright had, while incarcerated at the Susquehanna County Correctional Facility, numerous amounts of controlled substances in her possession which she concealed on her person and in her cell while incarcerated. Several Corrections Officers at the jail discovered the controlled substances that Upright had concealed. Charges were filed at District Court 34-3-01.
On December 1 Arthur Rosencrants of Montrose was traveling south on SR 0011 when, while driving through running water on the roadway, he lost control. The vehicle struck a storage unit that was positioned along the roadway. Rosencrants was utilizing a seat belt; he was not injured.
On November 30 at 1:!0 p.m. William Robinson of Hop Bottom was traveling south on Creek Rd. after just having turned left from Bailey Road. He apparently either misjudged the narrow roadway width or slid from the muddy roadway surface into a ditch. Subsequently, his S1900 vehicle became stuck in the mud filled ditch. Robinson was not utilizing a seatbelt; he was transported to Tyler Hospital after a complaint of pain in his hip and back, sustaining minor injury. The vehicle was pulled back onto the roadway form the ditch and was driven from the scene.
Between November 26 and 28, Alice Tinklepaugh-Clink of Springville discovered someone purposely scratched the hood and sides of her vehicle while it was parked. The investigation was ongoing as of the time of report.
HIT AND RUN
On November 29 at 8:12 p.m. an unknown driver was traveling south on SR 3013 in an unknown vehicle when he or she didn't clear the power lines and ripped them down from the poles. The driver then continued south on SR 3013 tearing the lines down the highway. As the perpetrator kept traveling two poles were ripped down and power meters were ripped out of three homes located on the roadside. He or she continued to flee south on that road. Witnesses observed a large truck that possibly may be similar to water trucks that frequent the area. Anyone with any information is asked to contact PSP Gibson at (570) 465-3154.
On November 29 at 8:15 a.m. Ali Unur of Ithaca, NY was traveling northbound in the right travel lane of SR 0081 when a deer ran into his path from the west berm and was struck in the right lane. The Hyundai Sonata was driven approximately 100' north of the impact point and brought to a controlled stop. The vehicle was removed from the scene by Vogel's Towing.
On November 28 at 9:20 p.m. Corey Brewer of Hop Bottom was traveling west on SR 0029 in Bridgewater Township at the same time that Elizabeth Hill of Montrose was traveling east. Brewer made a left turn into the path of Hill, causing both units to impact. Both drivers were utilizing seatbelts; neither was injured.
On November 28 at 2:50 Marie Oliver-Tackett of Montrose was traveling west on SR 3029 in Bridgewater Twp. at the same time that Deanna Wildoner of Springville was traveling north on SR 0029. Oliver-Tacket pulled out onto that road in the path of Wildoner, causing a collision. Both drivers were utilizing seatbelts; neither was injured.
FATAL TRAFFIC CRASH
On November 27 at 4:55 a.m. a 32 year old man from Cortland, NY was traveling north on SR 0081 in Lenox Township when his vehicle veered left, traveling off the roadway and into the grass median. It then veered right coming back onto the northbound lanes where it started to flip onto its left side. The Dodge Caliber then continued to roll an unknown number of times before coming to rest in an upright position on the east berm facing east. The man was utilizing a seat belt; he was declared deceased at the scene. Anyone with information regarding this crash is asked to call PSP Gibson at (570) 465-3154.
On November 25 at 2:48 a.m. James Snell, Jr. of Montrose engaged in a verbal dispute at the Pump and Pantry on SR 706 in Bridgewater Township. After said verbal dispute, Snell entered his vehicle and pursued the unknown perpetrator south on SR 29 to approximately 1/10 of a mile south of the Ellsworth Road intersection in Bridgewater Twp., whereat he passed the man and exited his vehicle onto the roadway. The other man then stopped his vehicle, backed away from Snell, and drove forward striking him. Snell was transported to Endless Mountains Health Systems for medical treatment. The other man was last seen driving south on SR 20 accompanied by two other white males. At the time of the incident he was driving a silver/gray colored sedan. The investigation was ongoing as of the time of report. Anyone with information is asked to please contact PSP Gibson and reference the above incident.
HIT AND RUN
On November 22 at 5:40 p.m. an unknown driver was traveling northbound on SR 858 in Little Meadows Borough. Patricia Jochum of Warren Center was traveling southbound on that road at that time. As the vehicles passed each other the unknown driver's mirror struck Jochum's mirror. Jochum pulled to the side of the road but the other driver did not stop and continued northbound, fleeing the scene. Damage to Jochum's vehicle included a smashed driver door mirror and a scratch to the driver door. She was wearing a seat belt and was not injured.
On November 20 at 11:40 p.m. Robby Clark of Nicholson was traveling southbound on T398 in Lathrop Twp. when he lost control of his vehicle as the left side of left the roadway off the east berm. Clark attempted to correct and the vehicle entered a counterclockwise spin. Once in the spin, it traveled approximately 150' before exiting from the east berm, traveling approximately 10', striking a tree with the right front fender and continuing approximately another 20' before coming to a rest facing in a northeasterly direction. As a result of the crash investigation, Clark was arrested for Driving under the Influence. Charges were to be filed with District Court 34-3-03 as of the time of report.
On November 22, William Gilbo of Binghamton, NY arrived at Blue Ridge Motors to discover that the business had been broken into. A safe and some cash from an envelope located on a desk were removed. Anyone with any information is asked to contact PSP Gibson at (800) 506-0372 and reference the incident.
THEFT - MOTOR VEHICLE
On November 20 at 12:54 a.m. Patricia Reo of Uniondale returned home from work to find that her 1999 white Dodge truck, bearing PA #YNN1648 was stolen from her property. Anyone with information regarding this theft is asked to contact PSP Gibson at (800) 506-0372 and reference the incident.
Sometime between the 12th and 21st of November, approximately 200' of copper electrical wire, which was coiled up in the victim's front yard, was stolen from the property of Ruth Roman in New Milford Township. Anyone with information is asked to call PSP Gibson.
If you have information regarding any of these incidents please call police at (570) 465-3154.
Robert E., Jr. and Beverly B. Lee to Robert E., Jr. and Beverly B. Lee, in New Milford Township for one dollar.
John R. and Jane W. Upham to Richard E. and Lisa M. Upham in Middletown Township for one dollar.
Richard E. and Lisa M. Upham to Upham Brothers Family Limited Partnership, in Middletown Township for one dollar.
Danny G. and Judy Knight to Jason D. Knight, in Bridgewater Township for one dollar.
Judy (AKA) Judith A. Svecz, Judith A. and James D. Reynolds to Robert and Antoinette Goldate, in Herrick Township for $7,500.00.
Judith A. Svecz, Judith A. and James D. Reynolds to Robert and Antoinette Goldate, in Herrick Township for $7,500.50.
Edward J., Catherine and Mary Jeanette Bryk to Edward J. and Catherine Bryk, in Springville Township for one dollar.
Amy E. (by sheriff) and Scott R. (by sheriff) Shelp to Citi Mortgage, Inc., in Susquehanna for $5,856.73.
Judy (by sheriff) and Larry (by sheriff) Strohl to Deutsche Bank National Trust Co., in Bridgewater Township for $2,728.09.
John E. and Barbara M. Romano to John E., Barbara M. and John C. Romano and Kimberly A. Hughes, in Liberty Township for one dollar.
Dorothy Ziemba to Jean M. Barrett, Linda R. Becker and Kathleen A. Carman, in Thompson Township for one dollar.
James N. and Joan Slocum to Charles O. and Barbara J. Slocum, in Harmony Township for one dollar.
Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (by trustee) to Daniel V. Snee and Sarah L. Conaty, in Hallstead Borough for $81,500.00.
The Susquehanna County Domestic Relations Section has bench warrants for the following individuals as of December 3, 2010 at 9:45 a.m.
Erika L. Back, Keith Bryant Beach, Harold R. Bensley, David Shawn Blaisure, Ryan T. Brooks, Douglas Buckman, Bryan S. Burnett, Howard A. Burns, III, Jeremy Travis Degraw, Jonathan Fathi, David J. Fischer, Thomas Fisher, Jeremy J. Grick, David Haines, Jr., Keith G. Harms, Gerald C. Hundley, Jason R. James, Erik E. Krisovitch, Casey J. Lawton, Charlie J. Legere, Carlos L. Leiser, Derrick Lezinsky, Jason Lindquist, Jennifer M. Miller, Shane Nelson, Anthony E. Olszewski, Brian T. Phillips, Jeremy Presson, Arthur D. Quick, Michael S. Rieman, Matthew J. Setzer, David J. Shiner, Richard D. Shoemaker, Sinon C. Smith, Sr., Matthew A. Taylor, Justin Thompson, Robert J. Twilley, Roderic R. Williams, Steven G. Wormuth, Karl D. Zantowsky.
Please contact the Domestic Relations Section at 570-278-4600 ext. 170 with any information on the location of these individuals.
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