Despite a fire next door, Reynoldsville Borough Council holds its meeting

Nothing was going to stop the Reynoldsville Borough Council from completing meeting it started earlier this month—including a fire at an adjacent building.

On July 31, the council reconvened a meeting it adjourned July 17 so it could advertise and then act on the Quality of Life Ordinance. That ordinance brings together and updates several code enforcement ordinances. It also allows the borough to issue tickets when necessary without having to go through the district magistrate first.

After a brief discussion, the council approved the ordinance unanimously, with Councilman Billy Cebulski absent from the meeting.

On a related issue, Council president TJ Sliwinski asked the council to consider adding to the hours for the Code Enforcement Officer Larry Kirkwood. The new schedule would be three days a week up to 20 hours on average per week on an hourly scale. He said he spoke with Kirkwood who said he was willing to do that.

The discussion then ensued about how Kirkwood would balance those hours with the hours he works with the borough road crew. The council also discussed the hourly rate and how Kirkwood would keep track of the hours.

After a time, the council decided to turn the matter over to the personnel committee and directed the committee to report back at the August meeting.

Pool grant application

 Brad Lashinksy of the North Central Pennsylvania LaunchBox at Penn State DuBois provided an update on the status of a grant the Reynoldsville Recreation Committee is making on behalf of the municipal pool.

Lashinsky said there was a glitch with the request, but it wasn’t the committee’s fault but a problem in the application given to the committee by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED).

To resolve the issue, the council had to approve a letter of commitment to the DCED that the borough would provide a 15% match, or $26,298.00. That match figure was reduced from the original amount the borough would have been responsible for.

Lashinsky stressed it would not be a lump sum and that the borough has until next spring or later to begin payment if the entire grant of more than $170,000.00 is approved.

Calling it a “no brainer,” Council president Sliwinski said the borough had the time to seek another grant to fund the match or budget the funds next year. The entire council agreed and voted to send the letter of commitment to the DCED.

If approved, the money will be used to provide a for a new pool liner, electrical rewiring, and the rehabilitation of the restrooms and showers.

Police station

 What to do about the police station was the hottest topic of discussion at the meeting that began before and continued after the fire next door.

Basically, the council is looking for a new building or refurbishing the existing municipal building but can’t agree on what is the best course of action.

The problem lies in the fact the current station is on the second floor of the building, which is a problem for handicapped access, and the office itself is too small.

An intense discussion began before the fire alarm, which included the members of the borough police department: Chief Troy Bell, Sergeant Tammy Murray, and Officer Jeffrey Winfield. Before it could be completed, the officers announced there was a fire next door and jumped into action while the council members and the public left the borough building (see the fire story on page 1).

After some time, council members and the public came back into the meeting room and continued the intense discussion even while flashing lights were visible in the window and the smell of smoke hung in the air.

Council president Sliwinski boiled it down to four options. Option A, which was favored by some members of the board, was to make an offer to the realtor for the former Community First Bank Office building on Main Street.

Option B was doing a feasibility study on the existing building, not just for the relocation of the police station but also for the repairs that need to be completed.

Options C and D included other buildings in the borough.

As firefighters secured the adjacent building and began to gather their equipment, the council finally reached a compromise.

By a 4-2 vote, with council members Robin McMillan and Robert Crosby voting no, the council approved a motion to put in a bid on the office building just to hold it while other options are investigated. If another option is chosen, the letter will have wording that will allow the borough to withdraw the offer.

The council also decided to move the date of its next meeting to Wednesday, August 28 at 6 p.m., to provide enough time for the investigation. It also plans to hold the meeting at the Reynoldsville Fire Hall, so the public has the opportunity to hear the costs of each option and provide input.

Other action

The sidewalk in front of the little park where the Reynoldsville Community Association’s sign is located has needed repairs for some time. The borough council at one time had voted to do the repairs, but too much time had passed to use the bid, so the project had to be put out for bids once again.

At this meeting, one bid was opened for the concrete work. It was from American Masonry of Reynoldsville for a bid price of $6,265.00. That bid was approved.

The borough crew will remove the old sidewalk to prepare for the new concrete.

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