Tremont plans bridge opening
Published: January 3, 2013
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TREMONT - With the new year here, Tremont borough residents will have two more things to be thankful for. Property taxes will not increase and the Union Street bridge will again be open to traffic.
Council unanimously approved the 2013 budget December 11 as well as the current 11 mills property tax for general purposes and another one mill for the fire department.
Other current taxes, the $52 Local Services Tax, the 1% Realty Transfer, the 1% Earned Income (EIT), and a $5 per capita tax were also approved, along with the current $30 mechanical device tax. The EIT is equally shared with the Pine Grove Area School District.
The budget calls for revenues and expenses of $448,770 in the General Fund; $64,277 in the Highway Aid Fund; $22,760 in the Fire Department Fund; and $24,000 in the Swimming Pool account. In addition, a Street Construction Loan Fund has revenues and expenditures of $27,537.
Information from the Schuylkill County Assessment office indicates the assessed value of the borough's taxable real estate for 2013 totals $15,057,565, while the number of per capitas total 1,079.
The name of the anonymous donor who is paying for the Union Street bridge repairs was announced. Councilman Jerry Fasnacht is footing the $18,500 bill for the work being done by Steven Frantz Construction, Pine Grove. Fasnacht thanked Frantz noting he had provided what he considered to be an outstanding price, along with solicitor Chris Hobbs, engineers Tom Schreffler of Light Heigel and Ryan Fasnacht of Alfred Benesch who donated their time to the project.
According to president Bob Donmoyer, the project is currently 70% complete. After the meeting he noted that steel girders, donated by "Butch" Kreiser, will replace the current beams before the bridge can be opened to traffic. That, he said, will probably be within the next few weeks, depending on the weather.
Donmoyer reported the repairs to the hole on Laurel Street near Crescent Street were set to begin the week of December 17. The contractor's work will involve placing a plastic pipe covered with cement in the hole. Since a tree must be removed, the project will include a replacement if the property owner wants one.
Some of the playground equipment from the Poplar Street Playground, the location of another huge hole, is currently stored in the borough garage. Although the borough received $2,500 from FEMA for the equipment, it is not commercial quality and cannot be used in a public playground. Since the FEMA money must be spent by the middle of March for replacement equipment, he suggested some fund raisers be held. New commercial grade equipment, he said, will cost at least $4,000 to $5,000. In the meantime, the old equipment, which is in usable condition, is for sale for private use only. Anyone interested should contact the borough office at 695-2199.
With regrets, the resignation of Mayor Bill Allar was accepted by the council effective December 31. Donmoyer expressed regrets at his decision noting Allar's law enforcement background had been a huge help. George Schaeffer agreed. "It's a shame he's going. He was a good mayor," said Schaeffer, adding however that he has already spoken with former mayor, Roger Adams, who is interested in applying for the position.
The opening will be advertised.
George Stahl reported the December 8 dance held in the Clay Street building was a success. Thirty-eight youth, ages 6 to 11, attended during the 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. period and 34 youth, ages 12 to 18, attended during the 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. time slot. He thanked "DJ-BJ" who provided the music free of charge.
The borough's Code Enforcement Officer provided a verbal report of November activities. According to Fashnact, three hearings had been scheduled before District Justice Carol Pankake, although only one person showed up and was not fined. "We want to do that, not fine, but get the properties up to code," said Fasnacht.
The November police report lists attendance at three hearings before D.J. Pankake, one criminal complaint and four non-traffic citations filed. The incidents for the month include an investigation of shots being fired in the borough, as well as a juvenile shooting an air pellet gun. Two civil, two criminal mischief, one disorderly conduct (juvenile), and three domestic complaints were received. The officers also investigated one attempted bicycle theft (juvenile) and started two drug investigations. In addition, one identification theft was referred to the Attorney General, one mental health warrant and one criminal warrant were served. Three traffic control assignments and three traffic stops were made, as well as three ambulance and three other police department assists.
In related business, council unanimously approved the new borough uniformed workers' agreement for 2013 thru 2015, with salary increases of 1.6% in 2013, 2% in 2014, and 3% in 2015.
Hobbs reported the civil action non-jury trial for Tremont Borough versus Municipal Energy Managers was scheduled to take place on December 21 in the Schuylkill Court of Common Pleas. Although Donmoyer and secretary/treasurer Linda Gately will be present to testify, Tim Allison of the Gratz Bank will appear to provide testimony concerning the street light loan.
Hobbs will represent council during a building code violation appeal hearing January 17, referred by Fasnacht and Uniform Construction Code Engineer, Marty Sowers of Light-Heigel.
What was listed as an 'old workers' compensation claim' hearing was held December 6 concerning a previous employee's allegation that a prescription medication had not been paid by the insurance company. According to Hobbs, the hearing involved the claimant and the insurance company.
Hobbs reported he had reviewed the notice that Centax, the borough's former EIT collector, is out of business and in receivership. This, he noted, enjoins all parties from taking action against Centax in order to allow them time to get their "house" in order.
In other business,
- Donmoyer reported information received from the borough's cable television provider, Wire Tele-view, indicates another increase. According to Donmoyer, council was told last year that the increase was a one-time deal. He noted about five more years remain on their contract.
- Emergency Management Coordinator Pryce Parker was scheduled to update and submit the required hazard mitigation planning spreadsheets to the Schuylkill Planning and Zoning Office by December 14.
- Donmoyer encouraged residents to complete the United States Postal Service survey they had received and to attend the January 9, 2013 meeting. He added that he will offer the Clay Street building to the post office for the meeting, and if accepted, a notice would be posted on the post office door.
- Dye testing of sewer lines on Crescent Street will be made upon receipt of permission to enter the residents' properties. The testing is needed to determine the location of a leak.
- the ballfield behind the Clay Street building was vandalized over the Thanksgiving holiday and is currently being investigated.
- Gately will assist fire chief James Koppenhaver in ordering a Thermal Imaging Camera through the Co-Star program. Koppenhaver also noted the company is purchasing a hydraulic ladder rack for the '96 KME engine, as well as a high/low band radio for the squad truck. According to Koppenhaver, the company answered eight calls during November.
- James Scheibley questioned Koppenhaver about a generator the former Tremont Borough Sewer Authority had donated to the fire company since, he said, nobody knows where it is. According to Koppenhaver, he thinks there was an agreement that the generator could be sold and another generator purchased.
- Donmoyer reminded members that the area now used in the Clay Street building by Schuylkill Intermediate Unit-29 will be available for rent June 30, 2013. Interested people should contact the borough office for information.