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Church donates $500 to Lansford

Published March 05. 2013 05:02PM

Lansford borough council at a special meeting Monday gratefully accepted a $500 check from Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church. The check, given to the borough as a thank you for the services it provides, will help pay bills as the borough awaits a tax-anticipation loan.

Efforts to reach the pastor of the church for comment were unsuccessful early Tuesday.

"It was something that they did back in 2009, called a PILOT (Payment In Lieu of Taxes) program," Cannon said. Then, the borough sent many letters to nonprofit organizations in the borough.

"I don't think we got five people who responded," she said.

Trinity Lutheran has been very consistent with doing it. So we're going to just send out letters again, asking for (contributions in lieu of property taxes). They are still getting borough services, but they are not paying anything because nonprofit charitable organizations are exempt," Cannon said. "Every little penny helps."

In other matters Monday, council agreed to seek bids for the job of repairing/replacing the roofs on buildings at the public swimming pool. Council also tabled a proposal to stop phone service to the zoning office phone. The office is no longer staffed, but council members who attended the meeting said they are concerned that the phone line may be needed in the future. Council expects to discuss the matter further when it meets again at 6:30 p.m. March 13.

Also on Monday, council agreed to ask the Lansford-Coaldale Joint Water Authority for permission to build a handicapped-accessible ramp on the front of the borough offices at 1 E. Ridge St. The building abuts the water authority's office, which already has a ramp.

Council also decided to keep a school bus stop at the former Panther Valley Middle School on East Bertsch Street. School district Business Manager Kenneth Marx Jr. had contacted the borough, asking if the bus stop should be moved in light of concerns about the safety of the building.

Council agreed that although the massive building is deteriorating, it presents no safety hazards.

The former school, built almost a century ago, is owned by former council president Adam Webber, who no longer lives in the area. The school district vacated the three-story, 16,176-square-foot building in 2007, when it built a new middle school along route 209 in Summit Hill. Webber bought the school for $150 in 2009, but subsequently lost his efforts to have the property tax levy reduced from $69,685.

Also, council added the 300 block of East Bertsch Street, and the swimming pool pump house, to a Community Development Block Grant application. The application already includes the 200 block of East Bertsch.

Council also expects to consider approval of specs for the rebuilding of the 107-year-old American Fire Company No. 1 building, at 26 East Patterson St., when it meets on April 10. The renovations would be paid for by a $265,000 government grant, for which the borough has already been approved.

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