SHICKSHINNY — Haggling between borough council members and Mayor Beverly Moore over federal and state flood relief money dominated Tuesday night’s council meeting.
The meeting ended with Councilman Barry Noss alleging “They’re just playing politics in an election year” and Councilman Mike Steeber challenging, “If you think, Bev, that money was misappropriated, then call in the FBI.”
For her part, Moore said, “I’m upset that money is lacking for the playground. … It was used instead for the borough building.”
Moore is spearheading an ongoing renovation and expansion project at Crary Park. Moore said she is under the impression that some of the funding, more than $30,000, from the federal and state emergency management agencies, had been earmarked for reclamation work at the park.
For now, Moore said, she has no assurance the funding is still available other than an existing $12,979 in an account at the Landmark Bank. That is far short, she said, of the intended amount.
Councilman Kevin Morris sided with Moore after a period of debate.
Council President Rosalie Whitebread said some of the issues might be able to be resolved at a 9 a.m. meeting Thursday that will involve Melissa Weber, former secretary/treasurer, and an auditor from PEMA.
During the debate, Weber was frequently described as the borough’s agent with FEMA and PEMA. She retired at the end of 2012.
As far as Noss’ allegation of politics is concerned, he noted his term and the terms of Jim Wido and Morris conclude this year. Noss and Wido said they will seek re-election. But Morris said that “after 10 years, I’ve had enough” and he won’t seek re-election.
Moore’s mayoral post is also scheduled to be on the ballot.
In a detailed accounting report provided to council by Wendy Kramer, current secretary/treasurer, it is outlined that a substantial portion of $195,750 in FEMA funds deposited in the Landmark Bank on Feb. 2, 2012, has been utilized for restoration projects at the borough building. Of this amount, the report shows a balance of $12,979.