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Wyalusing Council Down to Just Three Members

 

By David Keeler

When the Wyalusing Borough Council convenes its first meeting of 2012 next month, there will be plenty of room at the table.

Councilmembers Fred Reinhart and Mary Ann Raffin completed their terms, did not seek reelection and attended their final meeting Monday night, Dec. 5. And with no one running to replace them, the five-member borough council is cut to three members until replacements are found.

Council President George Anderson said that there were write-in votes that could fill the seats, but so far none of the write-ins has actually accepted a position on council.

Gary Rouse, who received four write-ins and was the top vote getter, told the Rocket-Courier this week that he sent council a letter explaining that he’s not interested.

Rouse formerly served as council president, and it was during his term that a similar personnel shortage developed and council cut its size from the former seven members to five.

“If we cut our size to three members, what happens the next time there’s an election and nobody runs?” Anderson asked his fellow councilmembers.

Anderson answered his own question by explaining that if Wyalusing Borough residents aren’t interested in self government, the borough, which has existed since 1887, would become part of Wyalusing Township.

Council has 30 days to find replacements for Reinhart and Raffin. If the borough’s search for councilmembers comes up empty, the job of finding replacements will be turned over to the county.

In the meantime, all three remaining councilmembers—Anderson, Scott Snyder and Kelly Bradley—need to be present at borough meetings in order for official business to be conducted. If just one is absent, the necessary quorum will not be present and no official business can be conducted.

Other business included:

—Reaching an apparent agreement with Route 6 resident Carolyn Harrsch over a parking dispute that has been discussed at every council meeting since February 2011. At Monday night’s meeting, Harrsch’s daughter, Melissa Lee, told council that she was confident she could get her mother to agree to a proposal from council to designate a single handicapped parking space in front of her home, providing she sign a document releasing the borough from any liability associated with her parking along Route 6. Council first proposed this solution to the problem in May.

—Agreeing unanimously to permit David Burgess to place a modular-type home of approximately 1,500 square feet on property he owns in the borough’s Hill Section. Burgess said he may eventually add an additional similar home to his property. Council’s approval is pending approval by the Wyalusing Planning Commission. Burgess said he plans to rent the homes.

—Agreeing to hold the borough’s 2012 reorganizational meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 3 at 8 a.m. at the borough hall.

—Discussing a problem involving some 30 water meters in the borough not being in working order and other cases where there are properties with no water meters connected. Some councilmembers plan to attend an upcoming meeting of the Wyalusing Municipal Authority to discuss this and other concerns.

—Agreeing unanimously to abandon a short section of Old State Street behind the Farm and Home Plaza and a section of Walnut Street, which runs between Third and Fifth Streets and is unused.

—Discussing an unusual situation on Riverside Drive where a man is said to be living in a motorhome permanently parked inside a garage near Park Place.

—Hearing from Anderson that piping running under Route 706 will not be damaged or hamper the proposed demolition of the former Wyalusing Country Market.

—Setting Monday, Dec. 12 for a workshop with the Wyalusing Planning Commission.

 

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