Budget Approved By Wyalusing Council
Future Repeal of Burn Ban for Leaves Discussed
By Rick Hiduk
While Wyalusing Borough’s 2012 budget plans were not discussed in detail, councilmembers voted to approve the $274,768 package for advertising at the Nov. 7 meeting. A $229,440 Municipal Authority budget was also approved for advertisement. Each plan is expected to be formally ratified at the next borough council meting, scheduled for Monday, Dec. 5.
Much discussion was given to drainage issues in the borough that preceded but were made worse by September flooding, but nothing was actually resolved. Council president George Anderson indicated that there were differences in opinion as to who bears responsibility for washouts around drainpipes in the area of Senate and Gaylord Streets, especially under the former Wyalusing Country Market store.
Anderson noted that borough project engineer Mick Goodwin should be able to produce a plan and cost estimates within a few weeks so the borough can advertise for bids. Some of the parties involved would like to see the drainpipes excavated and encased in concrete, while others, including property owner Lou Zecca, were said to favor a plan that would involve sealing the pipe from the inside with a plastic lining that should last as long as concrete.
Either way, the cost of fixing the problems there could approach $200,000, so Anderson hopes to work with COSTARS, a state agency that helps to coordinate funding for municipalities, to bid the project for the borough. A $189,000 municipal bond held by the borough that matures in the spring could be used to cover the majority of the expense. Council vice president Kelly Bradley noted that Zecca, who reportedly plans to use the building for storage, was unaware of the erosion around the drainpipe when he purchased the property.
Wyalusing mayor Jean Reinhart said that she was pleased with the way a Gaylord Street property where a barn was recently torn down had turned out, but all councilmembers were wondering why there had been no progress yet on the demolition of several other structures in the borough, including the warehouse on Bridge Street that has clung to the bank over Wyalusing Creek for so many years. Borough secretary Stacy Hart related that magisterial district judge Fred Wheaton had forwarded the borough’s request in a letter to building owner Daniel Cotter in New Jersey, but there has been no response yet. Several councilmembers suggested that the structure is listing even more since the flood.
Dave Keeney’s monthly maintenance report was simple. Crews have been busy cleaning up leaves and are now getting ready for snow. A new spreader has been tested and is ready for winter.
The topic of leaf removal spurred Anderson to suggest that next year’s council consider amending the borough’s burn ban to allow for leaf burning on certain days through the fall, citing the removal of leaves by borough employees as a nuisance.
Bradley agreed to a point, but said, “I don’t want to see us back off on the burn-ban ordinance altogether.” Safety and the irresponsibility of some homeowners were her primary concerns. “We always have some people who just walk away and leave their pile smoldering,” she stated.
Reinhart suggested that the borough could allow burning on Saturdays only, when councilmembers and local police could monitor the situation and fine residents who abandon their burning leaves and also recommended that council table the discussion to next year.
Laceyville police officer Patrick Butkiewicz reported early in the meeting that he and his department have been focusing on traffic issues in the borough, especially along Route 706 in the evening and on weekends. He also related to council a peculiar story about a mix-up on Nov. 7 that involved handcuffing a resident in error just because he fit the description and was in the general area of an incident called in by a dispatcher.
Butkiewicz said that his department had received a call on Monday morning about an intoxicated male intruder at 107 Marsh St., an address that the officer maintained doesn’t actually exist. Instead, Butkiewicz pulled up to 101 Marsh St., where he found a man drinking beer on the front porch at 10:30 a.m. He explained that he handcuffed the man for safety reasons and searched the home but soon enough realized that there was nothing of interest happening there.
The councilmembers shared a hearty laugh about the misunderstanding, and Anderson indicated that he had spoken with the resident who had been placed in handcuffs and there were no hard feelings expressed.