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Meshoppen Wants Jake Brakes Banned in Borough

 

 By D.C. Koviack

 At Monday’s regular meeting of Meshoppen Borough Council, a resident complained about the graffiti on the signs at the borough’s boat launch. The resident told borough council that his young granddaughters, visiting for the weekend, saw the signs with the obscenities. This upset the resident enough to come and complain to council. Council replied that they would remove the graffiti immediately. That same resident also asked council if the borough could pass an ordinance forbidding “jake brakes” within the borough. He said that the noise and disruption from trucks using these loud engine brakes is destroying his family’s quality of life. The resident also noted that several other small municipalities in the area have ordinances restricting the use of these noisy brakes, and asked council to enact such an ordinance.

Although Mayor Bruce Marshall told council that he had had similar requests from some borough residents, Council President John Bunnell seemed to be less concerned by the problem. “It’s just a few trucks,” Bunnell said, despite the fact that others claimed that many dozens of trucks go up and down their roads each day. Bunnell then said that not all truck drivers use the noisy brakes and that it wasn’t the trucks associated with the gas drilling industry as much as it was people driving big pickups with oversized exhaust systems “who floor it when they go by my house,” Bunnell said.

Despite Bunnell’s apparent lack of interest in the subject, a motion was made by Councilperson Mike Voorhees and seconded by Councilperson Jack Vaow to contact the borough’s attorney, Jonathan Foster, and instruct him to draft an ordinance prohibiting the use of engine brakes in the borough.

In other business, council passed all bills against the borough and the water company. A grant for housing rehab shared jointly between Meshoppen Borough and Mehoopany Township was also discussed. This grant, amounting in total to $350,000, has to be used and thus far the county’s Redevelopment Authority, who is administering the grant only has a few applications. The grant is a blend of state and federal monies and comes through the HOME program.

Council was informed by the PA Fish and Boat Commission that it is terminating its agreement with the borough for the boat access. The feeling on council seemed to be that the commission has done very little for the boat access other than provide the sign, and no one on council seemed to be upset. “We’ll still have our boat access, right?” queried Borough Police Chief John Krieg. The answer was affirmative. “Then there’s no difference,” Krieg announced. Council stressed that it will still maintain and control the boat access, including having more signs and better directions to the parking area.

Council debated briefly about selling some leftover sewer pumps. There are 20 pumps available for sale; an asking price of $2,000 was determined. Council hopes to be able to sell the pumps to another municipality in the state. Similar pumps retail for about $3,000 so the asking price will reflect a considerable savings to the buyer, while recouping the money paid for the pumps by the borough.

Councilperson Bruce Priestner told council that the report from Milnes Engineering on the former pizza building, still owned by the borough, quoted a price of $250,000 to bring the building up to code. A number of structural elements need attention, including the roof of the old brick building. The building was built between 1910 and 1930; the bank building, which is adjacent, was built in 1929. The building has been through at least one fire. Council has wanted to get the building attended to because it lies fallow and brings no tax revenue to the borough. Additionally, it is a dangerous structure. The engineering report suggested demolition because of the high cost of repair and renovation. The estimate on demolition was $50,000. Council has been looking for a buyer for this building for several years, but now appears to have given up that idea. No decision was taken on what to do with the building. The possibility of obtaining a grant to fund the demolition was also discussed. The topic will be re-visited at the August meeting.

Another satisfactory month for the Police Department was reported. The new police car is performing well.

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