Tunkhannock Borough Council members learned that UGI Energy Services would charge $10,341.30 to hook up the borough building to the gas line with its Get Gas program.
“I think personally, and I think maybe council will think that that’s inappropriate,” said council president Bob Robinson at Thursday’s meeting. “They say we are a commercial user. Well I don’t think we’re a commercial business. We don’t make money. We do use money, but we don’t make it. We spend taxpayers’ money.”
It takes $3,200 to hook up a residence, so Robinson questioned why it would take so much more money to service the borough building.
Council members also said it’s wrong to classify the borough building as commercial, as well as churches and the courthouse.
“To be commercial is turning a profit. We’re not turning a profit,” said council member Ben Barziloski.
Borough manager Dawn Welch said UGI considers an “establishment that has people coming in and out of it” to be commercial.
“We found out other communities do not even charge for hookup,” Welch said when discussing research she and Robinson had done into this issue.
Robinson also noted that when residents pay the $3,200 fee to hook up their homes to gas, they’re also getting hit with their taxes if the borough building, courthouse and schools are hooking up as well.
Council plans to invite UGI to its mid-month meeting on March 20 at 1 p.m. and present facts and numbers from other areas.
The council received a letter from a local bar owner asking the borough council to look into making an amendment to an ordinance about noise coming from bars from live entertainment so the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board would not bother his business all the time.
“It would be for the entire borough for all of the restaurants and bars in town and if they had any entertainment, that our police would be able to handle that,” Robinson said.
Robinson said because of the need for more information and some council members not having a chance to look the letter over yet, no decisions would be made that night.
“If that bar or any bar did get shut down, that means that there’s an empty spot again in our borough,” Robinson said.
Council plans to invite the bar owner and his attorney to the mid-month meeting as well.
Council member David Wiggins has been reviewing the comprehensive plan that the county plans to adopt, which council is considering adopting in the absence of its own plan.
“We could probably adopt the whole thing and possibly add an addendum for the borough,” Wiggins said.
The county has not adopted the plan yet.
Robinson also gave a brief update on the NE Marcellus water line.
“They are down to Lake Carey. They started up the other end because I guess they got a permit to do that. But we haven’t given them a permit yet to work in the borough,” Robinson said.
Welch said NE Marcellus is revising plans and borough council hasn’t gotten them back yet with comments from their engineer. Once this happens, they will move forward, but Robinson said council won’t give a permit until they receive payment.
Council received the borough’s liquid fuels money, totalling $60,611.26. It hasn’t been decided what these funds will be used for, but paving is a possibility.
Council member Marshall Davis said the police committee met toward the end of February and decided to establish a tentative timeline for having candidates ready to fill empty full-time positions in the Tunkhannock Borough Police Department.
One position has been open for awhile because of the possibility of receiving grant funding, and since another police officer is running for local office, the committee also considered how to prepare if he’s successful, Marshall said.
The committee will have this timeline established by next month’s meeting to prepare for the long term and ensure there isn’t a lapse in police coverage.
Council also approved a list of upcoming parades and events that would require partial road closure, including Good Friday crosswalk on April 19; Memorial Day parade on May 27; Founders Day on June 22; Tunkhannock fireman’s parade on Aug. 1; antique car parade on Aug. 3; Tunkhannock Area homecoming parade on Oct. 11; Halloween parade on Oct. 31; and Christmas in Our Hometown on Dec. 6.
Barziloski said the Wyoming County Council of Governments held a re-organizational meeting in February and Rep. Karen Boback is holding an event to educate the public about the spotted lanternfly on Thursday, March 21 at 6 p.m. at Triton Hose Company.
The Tunkhannock Borough Council is scheduled to meet again on Thursday, April 4 at 7 p.m.