Good news, bad news at the Reynoldsville Borough Council meeting
It was a mixture of good news and bad news at the Reynoldsville Borough Council meeting on October 2.
The good news was the fact the demolition of the property for the proposed war memorial park was progressing. Council member Ralph “Tucker” August stated that Borough Secretary Jaqueline Dixon should be thanked for securing the necessary permits to do the demolition. August is doing the demotion with equipment donated by W & W Equipment. Advanced Disposal, with the cooperation of the Borough of Reynoldsville, is providing the equipment for the cleanup.
Council President TJ Sliwinski said, “This has been a vision for a very very long time, and I think everybody here on council, everybody who works for the borough, and everybody who is a part of the committee deserves a big thank you for all the work you’ve done thus far.”
The bad news came in a brief letter from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DECD). The letter stated that the Reynoldsville Recreation Committee will not receive the grant it requested from the DECD. Pool officials were hoping the $170,000 grant could help them complete badly needed repairs.
“I think truly it is an unfortunate situation. We had the backing of a lot of people on this. Hopefully this doesn’t deter us from doing this in the future,” Sliwinski said.
“Without that [the grant], I don’t know how we’ll go on,” pool manager Jill Heffner commented. “We need so much work done. It is 50-some years old, and I hate to lose it, but this isn’t good.”
Borough secretary Dixon said she has been in contact with Brad Lashinsky of the North Central Pennsylvania LaunchBox at Penn State DuBois who said he was looking into other sources of funding.
KOZ request approved
By a unanimous vote, the council approved a Keystone Opportunity Zone (KOZ) request from Sintergy, Incorporated, of Reynoldsville.
The company plans to build a 25,000 square foot facility adjacent to its current building in the industrial park and add 15-20 new jobs. The company currently employs 70 people.
The current facility will be coming off KOZ in January of 2020 and join the borough tax rolls. The KOZ exemption was for the new building.
Borough Secretary Dixon informed council that the plan is to add to the road in the industrial park.
“That’s going to open up all the industrial park land that’s over there that, right now, has no access into it,” she said.
The request also has the support of the Jefferson County Commissioners. At its recent meeting, the DuBois Area School Board did not act on the request. The request needs to be approved by all three taxing authorities.
The most contentious issue of the evening was the discussion on the proposed police station. Mayor Peach Caltagarone stated he felt he was not a part of the process even though according to borough code he has the responsibility of the two-person police force.
“This should be my call. I’m the mayor, I’m in charge of the police department. This is all going over my head,” he said.
He suggested remodeling the room in the back of the first floor of the building.
Earlier this year, the council discussed ways to move the police station downstairs because of the lack of handicapped access and the occupancy permit. Several options have been discussed, from purchasing a new building to adding an addition to the old ambulance building behind the borough building.
In response to Mayor Caltagarone, Council President Sliwinsky said, “Do I think you should be involved? 100%. But I would ask you to run it through the police committee. At that point, the police committee could be involved and bring it to our [the council’s] attention with your support just the way any police matter should be handled.”
Councilwoman Robin McMillan, who chairs a special committee on the matter, said she had already made the recommendation of remodeling the back office to get the department downstairs.
“Let’s get them in that back office. Keep the administrative upstairs. Fix the garage door. Make that the interview room. There’s a holding cell across, to get them downstairs, to get them what they need,” she said.
The actual cost of that project was not available, but it will be investigated.
As far as redoing the old ambulance building, Councilman August said he was in touch with Hallstrom Construction to have their people look it over and provide an estimate.
From the audience, John Burkett of Glass Erectors in Reynoldsville offered to have a contractor he works with also look over the project to get an additional estimate, which was given approval.
*A basement flooding issue at Mancuso’s Pizza was discussed. The street in front of the restaurant lacks an adequate curb and water is getting in the basement of the building. Councilman August said he investigated and came up with a plan that would cost the borough $3500. Since the plan did not cost $10,000 or more, it did not have to be put out for bid, so council approved the work. It’s hoped it will be completed by the end of the month.
*The borough directed Solicitor Joe Ryan to draw up a resolution authorizing council to sell two empty lots it owns on West Main Street. Originally, Sliwinski asked the properties to be advertised by a realtor, but the borough needs to pass the resolution first before it can sell the properties. It was also suggested that the lots be sold as one and not two.
*At the request of the Reynoldsville Community Association, trick or treating hours were set for October 27 from 4-6 p.m. with the parade kicking off at the ambulance station on Main Street at 4 p.m. There will be a trunk or treat the C.G. Johnson Elementary School at the same time. There will also be a Halloween Dance at the Bellamauro Social Hall starting at 6 p.m. Mayor Caltagarone said he would like to see trick or treating hours returned to the traditional Halloween Day instead of the Sunday before. Next year, he’ll get his wish since Halloween falls on a Saturday.
*The proposal to purchase new Christmas lights was tabled for next year to give the borough time to raise money and decide which replacements to go with.