Clarks Summit Borough Council had a lot of matters to take care of during its Monday, Jan. 6 meeting, including swearing in a new mayor and returning and new council members. But it was two guests in the aduience that drew praise and attention.
Council recognized Darren and Lisa Maria who donated their property on Depot Street to the borough in order for it to be converted into a park.
“We are so appreciative,” newly sworn-in Mayor Patty Lawler told the Marias.
Maria said he is glad council is turning the property into a park.
“A lot of people walk by and they’ll be able to utilize that space,” he said. His wife said she was happy the project is being funded by grant money, thanks to Lawler and the grant committee’s efforts in grant writing.
The park project is also the borough’s largest project slated for 2014 and it’s slated to begin this spring.
According to Borough Manager Virginia Kehoe, approximately $250,000 will go into the Depot Street Project, including community development block grant funds. The Depot Street Project includes overhauling the road, creating new curbs, angled parking, new sidewalks, and adding period lighting. The Depot Street project is expected to take at least a few years to complete once the project in underway.
As it was the annual reorganization meeting, there was plenty of appointments and swearing in ceremonies to take care of.
In addition to Lawler, District Magistrate James Gibbons swore in returning Councilwoman Gerrie Carey, Tax Collector Kathy Drake, and new Councilman Vincent Cruciani. Lackawanna County Judge Robert A. Mazzoni was on hand to swear in reelected Councilman Patrick Williams and Lawler used her new swearing in powers to swear in returning Councilman Dominic Scott.
When it came time to elect council officers, Carey was unanimously reelected as council president. Council elected Scott as vice president. Vice President Scott replaced Roy Davis whose term ended in December 2013. Councilperson David Jenkins was unanimously elected President Pro Tem.
Jim Klein was also welcomed to council filling the vacancy created when then-councilwoman Lawler was elected mayor. His appointment wasn’t without its hurdles. The council tied when voting to fill the vacant seat leaving it to Lawler’s tie-breaking vote to put Klein on council.
Council didn’t have any problems unanimously voting to reappoint Kehoe to her manager/secretary position and Jennifer Basalyga-Schmidt as assistant secretary. Melissa Jones was reappointed by council as treasurer.
During the voting for appointments of memebrs to other borough committees, commissions, and boards, Cruciani suggested council hold off on voting for some of the appointments until after all council members can examine the interest and ability of those interested and see if there is interest in the positions from others within the community.
“We should have the ability to vet candidates,” Cruciani said.
Councilman Herman Johnson agreed and said, “We just want to make sure we are going by the books and doing things right.”
Council subsequently voted to table making many appointments and plans on discussing the seats during the Jan. 28 work session.