Pine Grove Boro. boosts police force
Published: October 25, 2012
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PINE GROVE - Pine Grove borough council agreed to hire two additional part-time police officers October 18. Full-time officer, Chief Thomas Trotter, will now be assisted by eleven part-time officers.
Although the names of the selected persons would not be made public until they accepted the positions, it was noted that of the three interviewed, the two selected were the only ones considered. If one of them declines the employment offer, the third person would not be offered the position, nor would the council re-advertise.
Since a police report had not been available last month, the August and September reports were combined and included 32 criminal arrests; 50 traffic arrests and five traffic warnings, plus 24 parking tickets issued; seven ordinance warnings; and 167 complaints.
Council also selected three persons to whom they would offer the vacant position in the Streets/Water Department. Of the interviews conducted, council agreed that the position would be offered to applicant A first, followed by B, and C, an order decided upon during a brief executive session. Council president Larry Dubbs cast the only negative vote.
Although two budget meetings have already been held, Dubbs felt another one was necessary to hammer out some small 'glitches'. He noted he had some concerns about where the borough stands with timbering, plus some police issues that the council hadn't looked at this time. "If we can come to an agreement, we can advertise a meeting for its adoption," said Dubbs. It was noted that a 6 p.m. October 29 meeting had already been scheduled at the beginning of the budget process.
Dubbs announced 'project worksheets' (concerning the September '11 flood) would be distributed the week after the meeting. According to Mayor Kim Brown-Zerbe, council members should discuss their project with Streets/Water supervisor, Lenny Clark, since he was involved with all of them, and knows what can be done. Councilman Tom Fickinger added that if the scope of the project is changed, funding could change. In addition, several projects need to be advertised for bids, and if that can be done in November or December, the work could begin in early spring of 2013. It was noted that the January 31 completion date had been moved to March 31, which means, by that date, each project must show progress towards completion.
Councilman Tony Gurski suggested the hours at the borough's composting site be extended on Saturdays until 4 p.m. The day following the meeting it was confirmed that the site's custodian was available for the extra three hours and the site would be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. until the end of the fall season.
Since the Clark Snyder estate has decided it does not want the property on Leonard Alley (off Walters Street) returned to the estate, the borough can continue to lease it, or can sell it. Solicitor Chris Hobbs reminded the council, however, that if the property is appraised at more than $1,500, it can not be sold without competitive bidding. Gurski noted he will attend the October 25 meeting of the current lessee who has shown an interest in the property. When the question of whether the property could be purchased by paying it off on time, Hobbs recommended the borough not become a lender. Dubbs also noted that if the current lessee is interested in purchasing the property, it would need to pay for the appraisal, and if competitive bidding was required, the borough could not guarantee who would be the successful bidder.
Council agreed to give a 20-year lease to the Lion's Club. Gurski noted the Lion's is an integral part of the community and has been leasing the building on Veterans' Memorial Drive since 1981. A long term lease, he said, with automatic renewal would provide stability for the organization. The amount of the lease is $1.00 per year.
Peter Edelman of Stevens and Lee, a Reading bond counsel, was in attendance to answer questions concerning the Pine Grove Joint Treatment Authority's refinancing effort. Edelman explained the JTA is combining two loans, one taken out in 2003 for I&I problems (Inflow and Infiltration), and another in 2007 to construct the new treatment facility. A savings of between $500,000 and $600,000 is expected.
Hobbs noted that the new loan requires the same guarantee that both the borough and Pine Grove Township had agreed to for the two previous loans. In addition to the adoption of an ordinance, agreements, an application, and various documents required by the state for refinancing were authorized for signature by borough officials.
In other business,
- Frank Scherer, a Cherry Street resident, informed council that an old truck owned by Forino, the Pine Vista developer, has not been removed, as promised six weeks ago. He also noted that water coming down off the hill had knocked down his retaining wall. Dubbs assured the resident the police would take a look at the problem.
- A report from the North End Fire Company indicated the company had responded to 12 calls during September. The mayor added that Ravine Fire Company and North End are considering wildfire training and would like to hold it on borough land. Their request to cut down about 10 trees will be discussed with forester, Matt Frederick.
- Richard Zimmerman reported the 'artists' have already discovered the new picnic tables at the canal. Lynne Umbenhauer suggested Zimmerman look into purchasing anti-graffiti paint.
- Council approved advertising the FEMA buy-out demolition work, pending the receipt of approval from FEMA. According to the mayor, it's been held up.
- The mayor reported that the police had done a live drill during in-service day at the Pine Grove Area School District, while the SADD group was forming a drug and alcohol task force and would be going to the elementary school during Red Ribbon Week.