PLYMOUTH ‚?? Drawing applause from a standing-room-only crowd packed into their chambers, borough council on Tuesday unanimously approved a rental unit inspection ordinance and hired another part-time police officer.
The votes came after council heard residents express concerns about crime and public safety and after the police chief was publicly questioned by the brother of a man who was fatally shot outside a borough bar two days prior.
Council President Frank Coughlin opened the work session that preceded the council meeting by acknowledging ‚??another tragedy in town‚?Ě on Sunday, referring to the shootings at Bonnie‚??s Food and Spirits on East Main Street.
He assured the residents officials are working ‚??feverishly‚?Ě to find ways of addressing crime problems in the borough, but reminded them ‚??things don‚??t happen overnight.‚?Ě
Coughlin then addressed the renter‚??s ordinance, noting the borough has experienced problems for the past several years with code violations at nuisance rental properties, and the ordinance was designed to help eliminate those problems, making landlords and tenants more accountable.
After other council members addressed issues of some problem properties and flood plain issues, they heard from Police Chief Myles Collins, who expressed his sorrow to the families affected by the Sunday shooting.
Police allege borough resident William Allabaugh shot another patron at the bar ‚?? Stephen Hollman ‚?? in the head, critically injuring him, and went outside, where he allegedly fired more shots. Police allege that Allabaugh shot and killed Scott Luzetsky and that another bar patron, Mark Ktytor, then shot and critically injured Allabaugh.
State police charged Allabaugh with criminal homicide and criminal attempt to commit homicide. He underwent surgery Monday and is expected to be arraigned on the charges at a later date.
At Tuesday‚??s meeting, Collins called the shootings ‚??an isolated incident.‚?Ě
‚??We‚??re going to work to try to stop these kinds of things,‚?Ě Collins said, ‚??and hopefully, we can make Plymouth a safer place.‚?Ě
During public comment, Steve Luzetsky, Scott Luzetsky‚??s brother, asked council why Ktytor wasn‚??t charged in the incident. He said he was under the impression that although someone has the right to defend oneself, they don‚??t have the right to pursue someone and shoot them if their life is no longer in danger.
Collins walked to the front of council chambers near where Steve Luzetsky was standing and spoke with him calmly and quietly, suggesting that Luzetsky pose his questions to the investigating officer with state police and/or the Luzerne County District Attorney.
After the meeting, Mayor Dorothy Petrosky agreed the shootings amounted to an isolated incident.
Although Plymouth has the second-highest number of bars of any West Side community ‚?? 19 ‚?? and 313 borough residents for every active liquor license in the borough, Petrosky said she didn‚??t believe taverns in the borough presented any significant source of crime since the Bull Run Tavern was closed as a nuisance bar in 2009.
Petrosky said council‚??s hire Tuesday of William Acuff as a part-time police officer at a rate of $12.40 per hour is expected to help increase the police presence on borough streets.
Some residents expressed concern about council removing benches allegedly being damaged by youths at night because senior citizens used them during the day.
Matthew Hornick said there is nothing for teenagers to do in town, and Adam Morehart suggested council and residents work to try to come up with a plan to turn the former PNC Bank building that the borough acquired into a youth center.
Morehart, president of the Plymouth Citizens Action Committee, said positive change will only occur in town if citizens become involved.
He invited any and all borough residents to attend the group‚??s meetings at 7 p.m. on every first Tuesday at the municipal building.