No decision by Coaldale Council on restoring full-time police officers in borough
Coaldale council still hasn't made a decision on whether or not to restore any full-time police officer positions, but did put out a fire during a meeting Tuesday.
Council voted unanimously to write a check to make up the amount, about $5,000, it shorted the Coaldale Fire Department in 2013. Borough secretary and treasurer Andrea Davis said she'd make an exact calculation and hand over a check after the meeting.
Annually, the borough designates $20,000 from tax millage to go to the fire department. During a meeting in January, fire company officials said they were owed several thousand dollars. During Tuesday's meeting, Chief Rich Marek said the fire company was down to about $13 in its checking account.
During the meeting, citizens, council members and Mayor Richard Kellner all raised the topic of the police force. First to voice an opinion was Dave Yelito, a former member of council who had headed its police committee. Yelito stood and approached the board to make his comments. He referred to recent actions by council, which had reopened the borough's $1.7 million budget in January, and revamped the spending plan for the year.
"Why was money only moved to the police when you have the rest of the town to take care of?" he asked. "We (the former council) passed a quality budget."
The mayor told Yelito that the former council had "taken away the protection for our town."
Later in the meeting, during his report, Kellner asked council about its plans for the police force.
"Did you come to a decision about bringing back any of our police back?" he asked. "We really do need our police. Just because you don't hear or see a crime, doesn't mean it's not taking place."
In response, council scheduled a meeting for 6 p.m. Feb. 18 for its police committee, which is headed by Councilman Harry Hontz.
Councilman Thomas Keerans made a motion, with a second by Michael Doerr, that council get a referendum for the May elections asking for citizens' opinion on whether or not to restore the full-time officer positions. Hontz, Krapf, Brenda Hosler and Linda Miller voted against the idea, with Doerr and Keerans voting in favor of it, so the measure failed.
Krapf's husband, Keith Krapf, is one of the officers furloughed in April 2012. Coaldale presently has one full-time police position, held by Chief Tim Delany, and numerous part-time police officers. Prior to April 2012, the borough employed Delaney and three full-time officers.
After the meeting, Krapf gave her reason for voting against the referendum.
"I had been coming to meetings (before getting on council)," she said. "I have listened and I already know how people feel."
In other action, council:
• Appointed John Surma as superintendent of the Water Authority.
• Decided to return Coal Street to two-way traffic. The street has been one-way for about four years. Solicitor Mike Greek said the change will have to be accomplished by ordinance.
• Directed Davis to take the necessary steps so that water and sewer bills can be paid on line. Council also discussed raising the late-fee charges.
• Discussed purchasing a new plow truck instead of making needed repairs to its 1999 Ford F350 plow truck. Last year, parts and repairs on the truck cost the borough about $10,000.
• Directed Greek to complete the paperwork to disprove the repository sale for $900 of a property at 223 East Ridge St. A property can be sold at repository sale, with all liens removed, if it fails to sell at Sheriff's or Tax sales. Greek advised council to disprove the sale because the information about the potential buyer did not include contact information.
• Discussed developing an ordinance to help borough officials take action when citizens or private contractors do things that interfere with efficient snow removal in the borough.