Published: September 27, 2012
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TOWER CITY - A new business may be coming to Tower City next year, and the owner is interested in purchasing the Knights of Pythias property.
Guy Rinaldi, Mechanicsburg, attended the council's September 10 meeting informing the members that he had recently purchased an adjacent property, Carroll's Furniture Store. Next summer, he said, he would be establishing a coffee shop in the front of the building, while the rear of the building may be rented out to consignees or craft vendors. Since he is employed by what he described as a 'cosmetic sampling' company, he thought he might also have room to set up a small lab. He added, however, that he was surprised when he learned what the council planned to do with the KofP property and was concerned that there would be access to the garage on the Carroll property.
According to Rinaldi, there used to be an alley which provided that access, but council president Bruce Schneck quickly corrected him, stating that there was not an alley, but a driveway.
"I need to know I have the freedom to get into the garage," said Rinaldi. "Ideally, "he added, "I'd like to buy it." And although he noted that he had not planned on that (purchasing the KofP property), he offered the use of his garage. "I'm prepared to allow two cars to be parked in my garage," he said.
Solicitor Richard Thornburg informed Rinaldi that council was not prepared to discuss selling the property, but they did hold a brief executive session to discuss it. When it came time to open bids for fencing to enclose the KofP property, council agreed to delay that action until the October meeting. Secretary Irene Dubbs was instructed to notify the bidders of that decision.
Rinaldi also noted that the current business will continue until he takes possession of the property on May 30, 2013.
Mayor Dan Daub explained that putting the KofP property up for sale would not assure Rinaldi that he would be the buyer since the borough would have to advertise for bids. Because of the need for an impound area, and the recent demolition of the building which Daub said was on the verge of collapsing, the council decided to fence it in and use it for that purpose. He agreed, however, that a fenced in area isn't the best thing for a down town area, and that he likes to see businesses come into town. But, said Daub, since the demolition money received from the county would need to be paid back if the property is sold, "It's a complicated issue."
Council agreed to waive the ambulance association's building permit fee which would cost approximately $2,400. According to Bob Shuey, the association had not followed the electrical plan called for by UCC Inspector, Carl Faust of Blue Mountain Inspections, and Faust had stopped the construction until the permit was obtained. "Carl does things by the book," said Shuey. He agreed, however, that the fee should be waived since the project benefits the entire community, and the members donate a lot of their time. Daub's suggestion that the waiver agreement stipulate that the association agree to permanently house the Emergency Management office in their building was added to the motion and was unanimously approved by the board.
In a related matter, Schneck reported that the ambulance association officers had expressed their hopes that their organization and the council have a good relationship. It was also noted that association member Ross Baker had expressed an interest in the Emergency Management Coordinator's position.
Roads and Property Committee chairman Harold Reiner reported Alfred Benesch, along with PennDOT Municipal Service Representative, John Davis, have measured some streets for next year's road project, recommending that the project be advertised for bids next March. The streets included are First Street, and two sections of Fourth Street - Fourth and Wiconisco, which requires a handicap crosswalk, and the bottom of Fourth Street. Upon Paul Ruth's suggestion, the council agreed a temporary overlay at the intersection of Fourth and Wiconisco be done to protect the borough's snow plowing equipment this winter.
A discussion was held concerning a drainage pipe in the area of the 600 block of Grand Avenue and School Street. Although the previous owners had given the borough permission to come on their property, the new owners would now need to provide that permission. Since it was unclear where the pipe was, and even whether it was the pipe that was causing a basement water problem, the council decided to take a 'wait and see' approach.
Council agreed some additional part-time road crew workers should be added to their "as needed" list. The council also agreed applicants with driver's licenses were preferred, although others would be accepted. It is expected that two workers would be appointed.
Dubbs reminded council that the 'dent' in the road at Fifth and Wiconisco is really bad. According to Schneck, the sewer authority has been notified and has promised to "get to it" when some of its other problems have been taken care of. Ruth agreed it needs a temporary fix.
The report last month of an alleged tattoo parlor on West Colliery Avenue was forwarded to the county's Zoning Office by Solicitor Richard Thornburg. Although the zoning office had investigated the complaint, nothing concrete had, as yet, been uncovered.
Another complaint last month involved a three wheeler, whose driver some residents said could be heard at midnight, as well as 2 and 3 a.m., revving up the motor. The driver, one resident claimed, had been observed "flying through stop signs".
According to Daub, Officer John Boyer had talked with the driver who said he would adhere to the law. The resident agreed the activity had stopped for about three weeks, but has since started up again.
Daub reported a written report had not been available from the borough's police department which had logged in 128.2 hours for the month of August. The force, he said, is currently investigating three criminal complaints. Daub strongly recommended that residents keep their house, garage, and car doors locked at all times.
Daub also reminded residents that anyone noticing people soliciting in the borough contact the borough office to make sure a permit had been obtained.
As a matter of information, Daub explained a mayor may veto an ordinance passed by the council. However, he said, the next month, the council can over-ride the veto with a two-thirds vote.
In other business,
- Schneck and Reiner will attend the 2012 Hazardous Mitigation Planning Workshop in Schuylkill Haven, while Daub will attend the Schuylkill County Boroughs' Association Conference.
- Council agreed to donate $100 to St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church in memory of William Wollyung, a former council president and community leader.
- Dubbs reported Heritage Mill, the new assisted living center located in the former Bestok Factory building, now has its license and is ready to open. According to Daub, there are many false rumors flying around, but he wishes them well and is happy for the jobs the facility will create.
- Schneck reported he had just received information on the 2013 Schuylkill County Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). According to Shuey, 51% of residents living in a project area must meet a certain income requirement in order for an application to be considered.
- Daub reported a fall clean-up will take place at the Porter Township municipal building on September 27 through 29. An 'Old Home Week Festival' will be held in October and the committee, he said, is looking for vendors.
- The first budget workshop was scheduled for September 24, at 7 p.m.
- Schneck reported a check in excess of $12,700 from FEMA/PEMA is expected sometime around September 27 to reimburse the borough for the 2011 flood projects.
- Ruth was authorized to purchase six outside lights, not to exceed $400.