Reynoldsville borough council takes action on winter maintenance, dilapidated buildings

The Reynoldsville Borough Council met on Thursday, February 21, instead of its usual Wednesday night meeting due to a winter storm. To highlight that, snow removal and preparations for the next storm were topics of discussion.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Jessica Geer of Jessica Geer’s Family Salon at 327 East Main Street asked the council for help with snow piling up in the area of her salon. She said the snow is making hard for customers, especially the elderly, to enter her shop.

During the discussion is was determined that it wasn’t the borough doing the plowing there but a contractor for another business. The borough plans to contact that person and work out a solution.

With the recent snow and ice storms, council discussed the need to purchase more road salt. While the expense so far this winter is still under budget, the weather is taking its toll on supplies.

“We have enough right now for another two storms,” said Councilman Ralph “Tucker” August of the council’s street committee. More salt will be purchased.

Demolition bids and dilapidated buildings

Three bids were opened for the demolition of a building at 220 West Main Street. The bids ranged in cost from $8451.05 to $11,550.00.  After some discussion, Councilman William Cebulskie made a motion, seconded by Councilwoman Sue Ellen Wells, to reject the bids and proceed with the borough’s plan to demolish the building at a cost of about $3,000.00. The borough has an agreement with Advanced Disposal for dumpsters and hauling which lowers costs considerably.

During the public comments at the end of the meeting, Audie Geer of Horizon Homes and Construction Services, one of the bidders, said he was in favor of the borough’s effort in transparency when it comes to bidding jobs like this, but this one was not adequate. He said the bid lacked the specifications needed to make an accurate bid. He also stated that he would have written his bid differently had there been more information.

Council president TJ Sliwinski thanked him for his input and said the borough will use his feedback when it comes to designing future bids.

On the subject of vacant and dilapidated buildings, the council approved the final reading of a new ordinance that’s designed to help the borough deal with the problem. The buildings will be identified, and the owners will be required to register with the borough at a cost of $200.00 a year. Right now, finding out who owns a vacant and/or run-down building can be difficult. This registration will aide borough officials in contacting owners when there is a problem.

Code Enforcement Officer Larry Kirkwood says he will begin the process of identifying owners in the first ward section of the borough.

Police matters

Council voted to provide $1190.00 to the police department to help complete the new computer system in the two police vehicles. A $500.00 grant will be used to cover the rest of the costs. Sergeant Tammy Murray said the new printers and scanners will cut down the time it takes an officer to complete a traffic stop, providing more safety for the officer and the ability to go back on patrol faster.

The final insurance settlement for the damage done to the police garage last year by an Advanced Disposal truck was revealed at the meeting. Borough secretary Jaqueline Dixon said the total came to $7661.30. Council decided to put that money in a separate account while it investigates the feasibility of a new police station.

Some discussion was given as to what to do about a new station, but the matter is now in the hands of a special committee chaired by Councilman William Cebulskie. The other members are Councilwomen Mary Jane Clark and Robin McMillan.

“We’ll dive into it and go from there,” Cebulskie said.

Flood mitigation

Flooding along the Sandy Lick Creek Sept. 2018

Council president Sliwinski stated he was looking into a flood mitigation grant he was made aware of by State Representative Chris Dush.

“[Flooding] is going to happen again if we do nothing about it,” he said.

The borough is going to contact its engineering firm to discuss what should be done and how much it will cost. Sliwinski said he planned to talk to Representative Dush and the Jefferson County Commissioners to see if a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) could be used to provide the matching funds.

The borough as been plagued with flooding on the Sandy Lick Creek, especially in the areas of the baseball and soccer fields. The last one to occur was this past September.

Disposal of electronics

Borough residents are reminded they can dispose of their electronic devices such as computers and televisions at the Advanced Disposal offices near Brockway free of charge. They must show proof of residency.

For a time, electronics were collected at the borough maintenance building, but that ended because of misuse. Council president Sliwinski said there was a lot of “dumping and running.”

There will be a collection in May for a fee. Information on that will be released soon.

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