Financial constraints within the Borough of Nesquehoning caused some debates and disagreements at Wednesday night's monthly meeting.
Drawing the most attention was the ongoing issue of the hauling of the borough's garbage. Presently the borough dumps its garbage at Hegins.
Councilman Mark Stromelo presented figures that he compiled showing the costs for hauling refuse to Hegins during 2011 vs. the costs that would be incurred if hauled to Tamaqua Transfer, which while closer, charged more per ton than Hegins.
Dissatisfied with the numbers that were given to them, council voted to haul garbage to Tamaqua Transfer for the months of February, March and April and compare all associated costs with the charges involved for hauling to Hegins for the same months in 2011.
Essential street repairs will be made while others will have to be put off. Slated to be completed this year will be to finish the project that was started last year on West Mill Street, which will include School Street from Catawissa to Elm and also Ratcliff Street from Catawissa to Mill.
Specifications will be drawn up for Mermon Avenue from Catawissa Street to the bridge, and Angelini Avenue from the bridge to Columbus Avenue and East Mill Street from Almond Street to Hazard Street. CDBG funds will pay for the first block of West Railroad Street and West Center Street. The specifications should be ready to go out to bid by the next council meeting.
Requests for pepper spray and baton training, as well as for the purchase of a door ram made by Mayor Tony Walck on behalf of the police department were declined due to fund shortages. Council did vote to approve a request to purchase a shield, mace and a cleaning kit for use inside of the police station at a cost of $230 for the protection of the officers.
Chief Sean Smith will be asked to provide a list of the officer's certifications and recertification dates, as well as any other mandatory training required along with associated costs to facilitate necessary training while staying within budget.
It was also noted that the borough's new police officer, Chad McGowan, was doing very well on the job and would be set up for firearms qualifications and tasers.
Council then voted to turn one police officer position into the position of detective, who will handle investigations while permitting the other officers to be on the road. Details regarding qualifications and duties will be discussed. The creation of this position will be at no additional cost to the borough. It was recommended that officer Tim Wuttke be offered the position.
The sewer committee received approval to open up a $150,000 line of credit with Jim Thorpe National Bank that would be used only if necessary. The committee will also look into the possibility of seeking a matching gaming grant to be used to repair units 1 and 2.
Fire Chief John McArdle announced to council that the fire department was awarded a $617,500 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) program. The funds received will be used to purchase a new Aerial truck. He estimates that the cost of the truck will be more than the grant amount and possibly as much as $850,000.
After some discussion, council voted to back the fire department for any additional charges relating to the truck purchase. The fire department is under a strict timetable and must have the truck built and delivered before Jan. 3, 2013.
McArdle also read a letter from Carbon County Emergency Management Agency Coordinator Mark Nalesnik praising council vice-president Robert Marouchoc for the 94 hours of emergency training he received.
McArdle added that he "hopes other council members will follow."
Borough superintendent Louis Paul gave his monthly report and said that as per council president Frank Jacobs directive, scrap metal that has been sitting on borough property is being cleaned up and sold with $1,166.89 received so far "for the good of the borough."
Paul also said that he is still using last year's salt inventory and has not had to purchase any salt this winter.