Blighted properties was one of the main subjects of discussion during the Meshoppen Borough Council meeting on Monday.
During public comments, a question was asked about a building in the borough recently condemned by Bureau Veritas.
Bureau Veritas is an agency employed by member municipalities of the Wyoming County Council of Governments for building inspections.
President John Bunnell said he and other council members have no further information about the situation.
The property, located at 108 Oak St., is owned by Steve Colley, who rents out the building.
Although council could not provide additional information at its meeting, the property in question was the subject of discussion during a meeting of the Wyoming County Commissioners on July 24.
During the Meshoppen meeting, Linda Harvey of Meshoppen informed the council that about 25 years ago, she operated a crafts shop in the property at 108 Oak St. and also resided there. Recently, Harvey said, she got a look inside the building and couldn’t believe what she saw.
“I was appalled by so much bugs and garbage,” she said.
She said she was also concerned because of the condition of the building’s back wall.
Another property discussed during the council meeting was the old pizza shop located near the library, which the borough has been seeking to raze for a number of years.
Bunnell said the borough paid about $3,000 to perform a study to determine if the building has any historical significance. That study has been completed, but now the borough must pay for another study to determine what kind of environmental impact would occur if the building is eliminated.
“I was born and raised here,’ Harvey said. “I am totally appalled by what has happened here. This used to be a nice little town.”
Earlier in the meeting, council voted to approve giving the Meshoppen Fire Department an additional $3,000 per year to hire professional emergency responders to backup its ambulance service.
Fire Chief Chris Carney explained during the meeting that the department now employes three full-time emergency responders, plus 8 part-timers. These are in addition to the volunteers who help with the ambulance.
The problem, Carney explained, is the strain of Meshoppen providing ambulance service to other places like Meshoppen, Auburn, and Washington Townships and Laceyville Borough.
He said it is becoming to much to be supported by their present staff. The chief said he is afraid they will lose volunteers due to burnout, and the department needs at least two more paid full-time staff to take up the burden.
Carney said the department is seeking a total of $25,000, and the amount it is seeking from each community is determined by the number of calls the ambulance answers.
Following the presentation, on a motion made by Mike Voorhees and seconded by Jack Vaow, council voted to approve the request, effective immediately. The $3,000 will be in addition to the $1,200 per year the department now receives from the borough.
Joe Campbell of Meshoppen asked the council about an incident involving Police Chief John Krieg. Campbell informed the council that his son, who is 14, was recently at the ballpark, where an adult had called him a derogatory name and threatened to beat him up. When he spoke to Krieg about the incident, Campbell said, the chief told him there was nothing he could do, because the situation involved freedom of speech, and nothing illegal had occurred.
Chief Krieg explained that the incident involved another juvenile, not an adult. He stated that what occurred was a “He said - He said,” situation. Krieg also said he cannot arrest someone simply on the grounds that they expressed themselves .
Finally, the chief and the council advised Campbell that he should speak to the district attorney if he wished to pursue the matter further. Campbell said he would do so.
In other business:
*Council listened to a request from Boy Scout Jake Werle of Troop 88 of Auburn to clean up the Old Mowry Cemetery on Fairview Street for his Eagle Scout badge.
*Council announced that work to replace the bridge on state Route 267 adjacent to the ballfield will begin on Aug. 14.
*Cindy Cona reported that Meshoppen Community Day will be held Aug. 12 at the ballfield, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.