Last updated: February 04. 2014 10:41PM - 1156 Views
By - smocarsky@timesleader.com

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ASHLEY — Borough Council on Tuesday hired police officers, doled out raises and decided against installing an employee time clock, all after hearing about some major projects that could cost the borough a small fortune.

At a work session that lasted nearly 90 minutes, Walter J. Poplawski, of A+E Group, the borough engineer, gave council a rundown of options and statuses of three projects — constructing a new municipal building, upgrading the Sulfur Run culvert box and repairs of two bridges.

Poplawski said the borough received two grants totaling $850,000 for a new municipal building planned to be located in the old Ehrlich building, which the borough is in the process of acquiring. To cover additional costs, he said the borough could get a 40-year loan at a 4.5 percent interest rate, which would cost $450 per month for every $100,000 borrowed.

Poplawski also said the borough needs to determine the scope of municipal functions to be included in the new building, such as administration, police, fire, ambulance and streets department.

Costs to the borough to upgrade the culvert could exceed $1 million, and the state Department of Environmental Protection is expecting the borough to begin taking some action outlined in a 2006 agreement. Council President Don Sipple said council will ask to meet with a DEP representative to discuss options.

Poplawski said PennDOT inspected the bridges at Rodgers Avenue and Carey Street and determined they were both structurally deficient. The borough will have to take some action within two or three years. Replacement of the Carey Street Bridge — one of the state’s recommendations — was estimated at $1.1 million in 2011.

Also during the work session, Robert Krehely, director of compliance and administration with the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority, presented an offer to provide sewer maintenance to the borough at $500 per month. That would include the authority providing a team of 16 employees to inspect, diagnose and troubleshoot sewer lines, as well as use of closed-circuit camera trucks and other items.

Council, during the meeting that followed the work session, voted to approve a contract with the sewer authority.

Also at the meeting, council:

• Approved a 2014 budget with general fund revenues predicted at $791,146.

• Hired Joe McGlynn, Phillip Collotty and Joe Wildes as part-time police officers, bringing the department’s complement to 12 part-time and one full-time officer. Councilman Joe McGlynn abstained on the vote to hire his son.

• Approved $1-per-hour raises for police officers and streets department employees.

• Rescinded a resolution to install an employee time clock because council determined it would not be cost-effective.

• Voted to advertise for two back-up crossing guards.

• Set the code enforcement officer rate at $100 per month.

• Appointed Berkheimer the collector of delinquent per-capita taxes.

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