Contract awarded for erection of fire company pole building
Lansford council started their regular public meeting Tuesday by hiring Wood Originals to build a pole building for American Fire Company No. 1 at a a cost of $189,570.
The building will be built at the site of the former fire station, at 26 E. Patterson St. The old building was deteriorating, and was demolished early this summer.
Council also reluctantly accepted the resignation of police Officer Jeffrey Ohl.
"We will be losing a great police officer, and will be hard pressed to find another one who protects this community like he has," President Rose Mary Cannon said.
Council moved to accept his resignation and send him a letter of appreciation.
Councilwoman Samantha Yasson also acknowledged and commended the efforts of Officer Joshua Tom for single-handedly apprehending the perpetrators of a robbery at the Lansford Turkey Hill.
"I just want to acknowledge that the police department is doing a great job." she said.
In other matters, council agreed to apply for a $352,000 state gaming grant to help pay for a project that would spruce up the business section of town.
Lansford Alive President Chris Ondrus requested that council apply for the Pennsylvania gaming local share grant that would allow the borough to fund the community improvement organization's plan to revitalize the business district from Ridge Street to Tunnel and Coal streets. Council moved to adopt a resolution to accept the grant and start the project.
According to Ondrus, the renovation efforts would include, but not be limited to, replacing sidewalks, adding brick pavers, replacing street lights with period lighting, and installing waste receptacles, benches, and parking meters.
Ondrus said that they would need to apply for a $352,000 non-matching grant to facilitate the first phase of the project. Council will submit the application and a comprehensive plan before Sept. 30.
Also on Wednesday, Ondrus, also a borough police officer, said that the police department's computers were obsolete and malfunctioning so much that they couldn't be cost effectively repaired. Based on his recommendation, the board moved to replace one of the old computers with a brand new one.
"We need to get the computers back online. They don't have any of them working and they at least need to get the power system fixed on one of them. The technology they have is obsolete, and it will cost more to repair than it will to replace. We got an estimate, and I guess it just didn't make it in the last meeting," Ondrus told the board.
Councilwoman Mary Soberick said she was unaware that there was a problem, and questioned Ondrus on the issue.
"I had no idea this was going on, that is why I am asking." she said.
"We only have four desktop computers, three of which are quite old and one of which isn't working because of a problem with the power supply," Ondrus said. "The power supply would be more expensive to fix than purchasing a new computer."
Council also welcomed new secretary-treasurer Mary Alberti, who started in August, and moved to facilitate the annual Lansford fall cleanup by providing the funds to purchase the necessary materials.
In other matters, council discussed correspondence from Joseph Clewell, who wrote a letter suggesting that they notify owners and leasers on the 200 block of Spring Street that they are to remove or trim trees and bushes for safety and to allow access of emergency vehicles. According to the letter, the stretch of overgrowth extends well behind various buildings.
Both Councilman Tommy Vadyak and Soberick said they have noticed the area has gotten unsightly and unsafe because of the overgrowth, and Clewell wrote that the truck that delivers his natural gas had been scratched by branches. Council agreed to notify the property owners that the brush needs to be trimmed or removed.
In other business, council unanimously rejected a property donation from Wells Fargo.
According to Vadyak, the cost of renovating and refurbishing the building, at 235 W. Abbott St., would not be worth it. Solicitor Michael Greek suggested that because of the dilapidated state of the property and the code violations, it would need to either be restored or auctioned as it sits. He implied that it may not be worth the cost to restore it and that there may not be any buyers for it otherwise.
Council also moved to have an auction for a building at 816 East Patterson St., and to include a resolution to announce the building's code violations to ensure that people knew what they were paying for.
Also on Wednesday, it was announced that, according to a letter from the state Department of Labor and Industry, the state will contact council within 30 days to schedule an audit of borough payroll records for the period of Oct. 1, 2012 to Oct. 1, 2013.
Also, council moved to donate three old plaques from the former Lansford High School, which currently sit idly in the borough hall, to the Lansford Historical Society.
Also on Wednesday, council moved to install window screening on the police department windows for a cost of $900.
Also, because of recent payroll errors, the board passed a motion to terminate the contract with the payroll company America Coast to Coast and start a contract with Automatic Data Processing Incorporated.
According to Alberti, the switch would mean fewer mistakes at a cheaper rate. Soberick opposed the motion, and expressed her concern that changing to a new payroll company before the end of the financial quarter may cause more problems than it fixes and even suggested returning to an in-house payroll system.
Alberti objected to Soberick's latter suggestion because she was not prepared to take on the additional responsibility of filling out payroll.
Cannon supported the motion outwardly before voting.
"I don't think we should be stuck with America Coast to Coast a minute longer than have to. Due to the errors, we need to take a step in the right direction. That is why I agree we should try another company and do it as soon as possible," she said.
Council also moved to place tax liens on properties that have outstanding or delinquent sanitation bills.
Council also approved a request by Blue Army to use the park on Oct. 12, and a request by Lansford Alive to use the public space between the borough hall and Spring Garden Street on Oct. 26.
Before going into executive session, Yasson commemorated the brave acts of rescue workers that were on duty during the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
"It is 9/11, and I would like to take a moment to thank and remember the rescue workers and the people we lost in the attacks on this date in 2001. I would just like to remind everyone to take the time to thank fire fighters and police officers that protect your community," she said.
The board adjourned after a brief executive session.