The Reynoldsville Borough Council tackled many items on the agenda at its regular meeting on May 16 causing the meeting to last for close to two hours.
DuBois-Jefferson County Vocational-Technical School (Jeff Tech) Director Barry Fillman updated council on the progress of a grant (the Multi-Modal Transportation Grant) he’s writing to replace the sidewalks from Third to Fifth streets in the downtown. He said the estimated cost would be $750,000, but he stressed there would be additional costs. The borough would be responsible for a 30% financial match, which would total about $225,000.
Council president TJ Sliwinski stated, “This is something we do need to look at and really start talking about, it’s just the scope of the project as a whole is extremely expensive.”
Council discussed ways to find grant monies, including Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds. Members also discussed scaling back the project and doing it over a period of years.
After the discussion, Director Fillman was asked to contact Bill Setree, Director of Community development for Jefferson County, and discuss how best to approach funding the matching grant. The grant deadline is July 31.
Request for land
Andy Riss of Reynoldsville presented a proposal to council to construct a 40 x 60 building for a wood working shop in the borough. He requested the council consider selling two acres of an eight-acre parcel behind the borough maintenance building.
Councilman Ralph “Tucker” August was in support of the idea.
“It’s going to be a [part of the] tax base for Reynoldsville and it’s not going to interfere with the borough,” he said.
Borough solicitor Joe Ryan said the first step in selling the property is to get an appraisal. Councilman August made the motion to get the appraisal. It was seconded by Mary Jane Clark and approved unanimously.
Several residents addressed council about issues with their properties.
Linda Bohlman of 329 Warner Street asked for help with a water problem she believes was caused by the new water sewer lines installed in the area several years ago. Since that time, she has had problems with water in the basement and standing water in her backyard.
Councilman Bob Crosby, who is the plant manager for the Reynoldsville Water Authority, and Councilman August discussed ways to alleviate the problem. Crosby and August were directed to investigate the problem and take care of it.
John and Melissa Burkett of 209 Jackson Street addressed council and asked that something be done about the condition of three properties across the street from theirs. They provided pictures of code violations including the parking of a graffiti-covered metal shipping container on the borough right of way and an out of inspection car.
“We’ve been having problems—it’s been going on for years—and nothing is being done about it,” John Burkett said. Melissa Burkett added, “We can’t even sit on our porch.”
Resident Barb Matusky supported the Burketts’ contentions, saying she has turned in the properties on numerous occasions and “nothing has been done about it.”
The Burketts wanted to know what it would take to condemn the properties.
One of the problems the borough is facing is that it is not clear who owns the properties.
After the discussion, Council President TJ Sliwinski asked for the addresses. He said he will find out who the property owners are, talk with Code Enforcement Officer Larry Kirkwood and the building inspection company Pennsafe. He said he would push for condemning the properties, but the council must follow borough code.
“If there’s no violations we legally can’t do anything,” he said. “There’s obviously violations here, so we’ll follow our code and what we can for the violations and take the proper steps and proper procedures. I can promise you I will personally take care of it.”
War Memorial Park
War Memorial Park Committee member Dan Edwards addressed council and asked the borough to take the title for the two properties the committee is obtain for the park.
Solicitor Joe Ryan explained he and attorney David Grady have been working on the acquisition of the properties. A legal entity must take possession of them, but the War Memorial Committee does not have the necessary status to do it. The Reynoldsville Community Association (RCA), the memorial’s parent organization, does have that status but it would not be in the best interests of the RCA since it would assume liability and tax costs.
The solution, Ryan said, is for the borough to hold the title and allow the committee to do the work on the memorial. An agreement to that effect would be drawn up and presented to council.
By a unanimous vote, the council approved the idea so the project can move forward.
The War Memorial Park will be located on two properties adjacent to Uni-Mart on Main Street. Once the properties have been acquired the buildings will be torn down and the site prepared for the memorial park.
In other actions, council was notified that it had a sample contract with the police department to review. The contract expires at the end of this year. Council also discussed what to do about a police station.
Police Committee member Robin McMillan asked for some direction on how to proceed. Council president Sliwisnki asked that the committee come up with a recommendation on what would be the most cost-effective way to provide one and present that recommendation to council.
Councilwoman Sue Ellen Wells asked that signage be placed on a parking space in front of the borough building for the police department. She said she has observed times where the police must park a good distance away from the building, especially at night. A sign will be placed there.
Council also approved efforts to provide longevity pay to Police Chief Troy Bell. Sliwinski said, “We will honor the contract.”
Council approved a motion to pay off the tax anticipation note taken out earlier in the year at a cost of about $25,000. They opened two bids for paving, awarding the bid to Hager Paving of Strattenville for the bid price of $78,103.75.
Quotes for stone were discussed and the lowest bidder, Beechwoods of DuBois, was given the contract.