Coaldale Borough Council at a special meeting on Thursday agreed to use $17,000 contributed by St. Luke's Hospital Network to buy a police car.
The move drew criticism from Councilwoman-elect Linda Miller and from borough fire chief and former Councilman Richard Marek.
Councilman David Yelito, who lost his bid for another term in office, moved that the money be spent on the cruiser.
Miller suggested the action was rooted in ulterior motives.
"I am in hopes that this council is not a vindictive council and leaves the remaining money in the accounts for the incoming council. I see that this statement is a little late, because it is clear that you are indeed vindictive people," Miller said.
Marek has harsh words for the decision.
"As far as taking the $17,000 and putting it on a police car, that was low and dirty, because I am of the understanding that the police car was on deferred payment and it could be paid using a regular payment plan as former councils have done. With no tax dollars coming in, and money being tight, taking $17,000 out of the budget and putting it on a police car is downright despicable," he said.
After the meeting, Yelito and Councilman Michael Doer said the money had already been allocated for the police department, and was spent accordingly.
In other matters, council sold an East Water Street property to Peter J Radocha and Sons for $2,500. The property, between Third and Fourth streets, was auctioned on Dec. 12. Council President Susan Solt said bidding began at $100.
Councilman Joseph Hnat cast the sole opposing vote.
"I feel that it was very low. That is a lot of property down there, and that property should have sold for at least $10,000," he said.
After the public meeting, Miller and Mayor-elect Richard Kellner spoke with the TIMES NEWS concerning the 2014 budget, which was adopted Dec. 10. Kellner said he hopes the new council members, who take office Jan. 1, will open the spending plan.
Council also discussed residents' winter weather responsibilities.
Hnat recommended the borough issue warnings and fines to people who fail to clear their sidewalks of snow and ice. An ordinance was adopted in the summer that authorized police to issue warnings and tickets.
He said that unless something was done there would be a considerable risk of injury to the residents, and suggested that it should be put on the agenda for January.
Secretary Andrea Davis suggested compiling a list of volunteers to help the elderly and the disabled with shoveling snow.
Hnat also said that a sign for Coaldale was taking too long to be finished, and advised that someone follow up with sign maker Wayne Figner, who was commissioned to work on the sign for $3,000.
He also suggested moving equipment in the upstairs room of the police station into the basement. Marek said the room is used for the interrogation of criminals, and that the equipment Hnat suggested moving was vital to the process of obtaining and recording testimony. It also monitors all the cameras in town, Marek said.