Reynoldsville Borough Council discussion gets heated
The controversy concerning the Reynoldsville Water and Sewer Authority and the Reynoldsville Borough Council was the topic of heated discussion at the June 22 council meeting held at the Reynoldsville Fire Hall.
The council voted to dissolve the authority at its May 6 meeting and then rescinded that decision on May 20, stating it wanted to review all legal matters and then revisit the issue.
Melissa Burkett, who is the wife of council member John Burkett and also the office manager for the water and sewage authority, attended to session and said she was there in neither capacity but wanted to know more about what prompted the moves.
During her comments, Burkett sated that “nobody has said anything” and that “I don’t understand why.”
She accused council president Bill Cebulskie of having a “personal vendetta” against the authority board.
At one point Cebulskie responded with, “We’re going to the let the investigation continue.” This was the first mention at a public meeting that an investigation into the authority was underway. Cebulskie said the Pennsylvania State Police and the State Ethics Commission were investigating, but did not elaborate.
When Burkett asked who filed the complaint with the Ethics Commission, Cebulskie replied, “Citizens did,” but Burkett alleged it came from Cebulskie, which he denied.
At one point, Cebulskie asked for the information that was requested through the Right to Know Act, but Burkett said that the request did not come from council but through Cebulskie since it was received less than 24-hours after his meeting with the authority board, not giving enough time for council to act. Celbulskie countered, “Anyone can request one,” to which Burkett said, “Your council needs to agree to it. We’d gladly give that information to council without a Right to Know.” However, Burkett did not bring the requested information with her because she said she did not have the time to put it together.
When asked for a copy of the authority’s budget, Burkett responded, “We do not have a budget.” She then said the council could contact the authority’s solicitor and secretary-treasurer concerning the budget.
The discussion continued and at times became more of an argument, with one member of the audience stating out loud, “We’re getting too personal on this stuff.”
Eventually, Cebulskie brought it to a close by thanking Burkett for her opinion.
Jill Heffner of the Reynoldsville Pool attended the council meeting to thank the everyone who helped the pool solve a leak problem. She said the pool was losing about 20-thousand gallons a day. Borough officials along with some help from DuBois officials worked on the problem and at least got a partial solution.
“We solved part of it, and hopefully we can get the grant and that will take care of the rest,” Heffner said.
The pool is seeking a $250,000 grant from the state for pool rehabilitation costs. In a related matter, the council adopted a resolution in support of the pool’ s grant request with the promise to provide $44,000 in matching funds.
Borough resident Marie Getch of Worth Street came before council to ask for help with a water problem in front of her Worth Street home. The problem is water pooling in that area since 2017 when the street was repaved. The pool at times grows to be twelve feet long by three feet wide.
Getch read a letter she had sent council back in 2017 concerning the issue. She also provided pictures and said that, though she has been promised help in the past, nothing has been done to solve the problem.
Council member Darren Scolese said that when the contractor doing the borough paving arrives this fall, the problem will be brought to their attention so it can be fixed. The issue will also be on the agenda at the next work session slated for July 2 at 6:30 p.m.
Resident Andy Riss asked council for a variance on the building-setback ordinance for an addition to his garage. That request was granted. Council also approved a request for a chicken coop on Brown Street.
In other action, council announced that its request for Community Development Block Grant funds was denied. The plan was to use the money to work on sidewalks. It was also noted that donations have been received for the purchase of brackets for the Hero Banner project.
To watch a video of the meeting, click here.