Laceyville Borough Council voted Tuesday (Feb. 6) to appoint Kara Davis as tax collector for the borough.
Davis was appointed because no one ran for the position in November.
Although the tax collector normally serves for a four year term, Davis will have to run for re-election in two years because she was appointed.
Council also voted to switch to a new law firm to act as solicitor for the borough.
Council voted unanimously - with Randy Brigham absent - to hire McCormick Law Firm of Williamsport to provide legal representation and advice to the borough.
Mayor Phil Brewer explained after the meeting that Chad Salsman, the previous solicitor, did not submit a letter of intent to continue to represent the borough.
The McCormick Law Firm did submit a letter of intent, and council discussed the matter with one of its representatives during an executive session before Tuesday’s meeting.
“They sent us a letter with a resume,” Brewer explained about McCormick. “It was very impressive. They have five lawyers who are all familiar with municipal law.”
Only three members were present at the meeting on Tuesday, but council still had a quorum because its number has been reduced from seven members to five.
There is still one vacancy, and Mayor Brewer said he has someone in mind as a candidate for the spot. He declined to identify the person, explaining he first wishes to contact him.
Council discussed the possibility also of contacting the Wyalusing Area School District to see if any student would be interested in repairing the bleachers at Donovan Park for his or her senior project.
During the discussion, members lamented how the use of the park has fallen off over the years - commenting on how the Roosevelt Trail League used to play ball there, and the Laceyville Firemen’s Carnival was held there many years ago.
During the streets committee report, council member Kristy Fassett said that people have been parking on the streets during snow storms, making it difficult for the plows to get through. People are instructed not to park on the streets when a major storm occurs. Those that must park on the street because they have no other place for their vehicle should remove it as soon as possible after the snow stops falling.
Fassett also said that snow must be removed from sidewalks 24 hours after a storm.
Water operator Jay Butler reported that the recent cold weather gripping the area has kept him pretty busy. Butler said he has had to deal with pipes that burst and other broken equipment due to the frigid temperatures.
Butler also said that new water meters recently installed for certain accounts have been performing very well. They were able to record water usage that was previously missed, he said. The meters also allow them to provide detailed water usage to customers, which comes in handy when complaints are received because of high water bills.
On Butler’s recommendation, council decided to look into the possibility of purchasing additional meters for the borough.
During the police committee report, Brewer informed the council that the borough’s new police cruiser - a 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe 4-wheel drive vehicle - is performing well. Council purchased the vehicle because the old cruiser - a 2005 Ford Crown Victoria - had broken down to the point it was no longer economical to repair. On Brewer’s recommendation, council decided sell the old police vehicle for junk.
Police Chief Kevin Costello reported that he responded 67 times in January - including 10 criminal activities: two terroristic threats; one bank alarm; and one drug activity.
Borough Treasurer Ken Johnson reported that an audit performed by Selective Insurance determined that the borough has been underpaying its Workers Compensation premium by $241.
The borough was paying an annual fee of $4,619 for all its employees, when it should be $4,860. An adjustment in the borough’s payroll figures will be made to correct the shortage.
Council voted to renew its Agreement of Operation with Sekula Environmental Services. The borough pays Sekula $100 a month, plus $60 an hour, to provide emergency backup services for the borough’s water supply.
Council also discussed shopping around the local electric companies to see if they could get a better kilowatt rate for the borough.
However, Johnson cautioned this may not be possible, because the number of electric companies have declined in recent years.