Last updated: June 01. 2014 10:58PM - 1925 Views
By - jandes@civitasmedia.com



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Backyard chickens are on Tuesday’s Luzerne County Council operational services committee agenda again, but Councilman Rick Williams has come up with a new twist.


Instead of forcing all 23 municipalities covered by county zoning to live with a change allowing hens in residential areas, Williams proposes a modification allowing these townships and boroughs to opt out.


“This will allow the townships and boroughs to decide how to balance the interests of residents who wish to keep female chickens for non-commercial egg production and/or as pets, and those who are concerned about the negative effects of chickens on their borough or township,” wrote Williams, who chairs the committee.


Council Chairman Rick Morelli has said discussion on backyard chickens should cease because a poll vote revealed a council majority does not support a zoning change.


Morelli said people are ridiculing council for focusing on chickens instead of more important issues, but Williams and several other committee members say they have a responsibility to consider all matters raised by citizens.


• Council committee meetings start at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the council meeting room at the county courthouse in Wilkes-Barre.


• Due to a lack of responses, county officials have extended the deadline to accept proposals from forestry consultants to calculate the potential profit from timbering on county-owned property.


The primary focus would be Moon Lake Park in Plymouth Township. The consultant would determine the potential revenue to help county officials determine if they want to proceed with timbering.


The request for proposals was added to statewide websites in an attempt to attract responses, said county Purchasing Director Mark Zulkoski. Proposals are due Tuesday.


• County Manager Robert Lawton encourages companies to submit proposals for county work, saying he has noticed “the same names over and over again.”


“I want to get the message out that we are truly open for business. My goal is to receive several competitive proposals for each advertised service,” Lawton said.


Work opportunities are on the “requests for proposals” link on the county website, www.luzernecounty.org.


• County Council made several appointments to boards and authorities last week: Children and Youth Advisory Board, Jennifer Moisey and Michael Ward; Planning Commission, N. Brian Caverly (reappointment); and Recreational Facilities Advisory Board, Michele Schasberger.


• The county Controller’s Office has received several recommendations through its Citizen and Employee Suggestion and Idea Line (CESIL) created in April, said county Controller Michelle Bednar.


“We have received some great suggestions, a few of which we are looking into,” Bednar said.


Bednar said she suspects some fear their identity will be revealed. Several people worried about confidentiality addressed their concerns in person, she said.


“Let me assure everyone that any CESIL submission received by phone, email or in person will be kept in the strictest confidence,” she said.

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