This Meeting was recorded for Accuracy
Meeting opened by Lou McLaughlin- President at 7 pm.
Ron Betts, Gladine McMaster, Keith St Clair, Michael Smith, Attorney, Clark Baird- Mayor, Lou McLaughlin- President, Sue Bartow
Gen Public: Everett Saxton, Sheri Burtop, Mellissa Miller, Jeffery Miller, Tammie Baird, John Kovac
Approval of November minutes
After review , motion made by Ron to approved the minutes, 2nd by Gladine, all in favor, motion passed, no nays.
Approval of Treasurer Report
Sue asked about the Commonwealth of PA liquor license refund. Pat said we receive the money every year from the Legion sales. Sue also asked about the Quick-books subscription. Wanted to know if the amount was the same or has it gone up this year. Pat said it is more this year. Last year was $1299 and this year is went up to $1499. Sue also asked about the solvency fee. Pat said again we pay this every year to keep the un-employment percentage rate down.
Motion made by Gladine, 2nd by Keith all in favor, no nays, motion passed.
Attorney Smith research several question council had from last month as follows.
Question: Have the PA State Police investigated Mr. Kovac's shooting range and approved it?
Answer. PSP in Greensburg was spoken to and was informed that a Trooper went to that property in 2021 and indicated that there were no problems. The gentleman Michael spoke to stated that as long as the shooting is being conducted at targets on his property and that he has the proper backstops installed, there would be no issue. 34 PA.C.S.§2507 says the backdrop can be a natural or artificial barrier. It needs to prevent the shot from traveling more than 15 yards beyond the target at which it is aimed, and due allowance must be made to prevent deflection at an angle greater that 45 degrees. This basically means not to have anything behind the target that will cause is to ricochet. If bullets are found to be traveling more than 15 yards beyond the target, or they are bouncing around out of control, the shooter can be criminally liable for reckless endangerment.
Question: Is there anything we can do about people riding their dirt bikes in the street?
Answer: There is no specific law in PA regulating riding dirt bikes on the street like there is for ATV's. but if someone is riding a dirt bike they must meet all the same requirements as any other motor vehicle being operated on a public street. In other words, the bike needs to be registered and insured- which would only happen if the bike meets the minimum requirements of being street legal. The operator needs to have a valid driver license with an endorsement. All traffic laws need to be obeyed. So if someone is riding a dirt bike without regard for the rules of the road, the best thing to do would be to call the police and report them for violations of the motor vehicle code.
John Kovac thanked council for responding to his right to know questions and required response time.
He also thanked Lou for his concern on the subject and Lou just wanted to make sure the Borough was not liable if anything should happen at his shooting range. John also said he wanted to make one more comment by saying that anymore questions pertaining to his gun range will be taken to court. Also no-one has complained about the indoor archery range over the past 5 years.
Lou said he wanted to comment to John that if he is going to bad mouth the Borough to please come to him rather than to Facebook.
Everett, said he heard a rumor about the Borough wanting to put lower income housing at the lower park. Clark said it would not be lower income but for Senior citizens only. Everett said that cannot take place because the lower park was supposed to be a Tri Community park after the flood.
Lou said it is not even on the agenda to talk about.
Sherry Burtop said there is a brown and white dog that goes over to Clark's property. She would like Clark to keep his dog on his property. Sherry wanted to take her sickly dog out the other night and could not do because Clark's dog was in her yard. Her dog is blind, and can't walk and has other health issues.
Tammie Baird, stated she has been nominated as the new tax collector for the next two years. I have completed my tax collector training and have my certificate with me. I was told I may get my $200 cost of the training back from the Borough. I also received a certificate from the county stating I am now the official tax collector that came in yesterday. I called the magistrates office to get sworn in and the courthouse was trying to get all the paperwork in at one time so I don't have to go the them several times. I need the EIN number. The courthouse is requiring this. Pat said she has the letter for the bank that has all the information required for her to get a checking account, but she cannot do this until I receive all the paperwork needed from her to add to the system. You are not the tax collector until January 1 and the current tax collector cannot issue you a check with the start up funds until the end of December. Tammie said she was told to go to the bank as soon as possible. Again Pat said the current tax collector cannot give up the start up funds until the end of her term.
Tammie said she would also like to name her Deputy Tax collector as Kelly Coursin. The council has to vote on this. She is Fairfield's Tax Collector and she knows what she is doing. She is going to help me get through this process. I have a meeting with her next Thursday to go over this stuff. I want to be as prepared as I can be to start out. The bank of choice. I was told I could chose. I would like to go with either Somerset Trust or First National. I'm good with either. We use Somerset Trust now. I have been dealing with Michael Ratavitch from Westmoreland County Tax collectors. He said he could help me with anything I needed to know. I'm starting out brand new. I have a clean slate and am not responsible for any mistakes from the prior tax collector. I would also like to set up a Gmail account if you all are ok with that. I will have office hours which I will be doing from my house across the street.
It will be in my family room and the rest of the house will be blocked off. I also want you to know that I have a full time job and will have to take vacation days to get everything done. I work for a company that has HIPPA. I will not be talking about peoples accounts. The approval for assistant tax collector will be at the January meeting.
Jeffery stated you also will need bonding and criminal background check. Pat said the bonding is through the county and I would need information to do the criminal background check. Tammie said she will try to have everything in by January 1st.
Sue motions to reimburse $200 for tax collector certification, 2nd by Lou - all approved.
Pat said you can take the paperwork and fill out and when you bring back we can go over what is required for you to take to the bank and get your checking account opened. You need start up money to open the account. You cannot use your own money. Fees for the checks to be made and stamp to be made cannot come out of your pocket nor the tax collector account. The bank will have the information in the letter on how to handle the cost of funds.
Jeffery has nothing to say and Mellissa said she is only here for parks.
Update on Emergency Management Coordinator and appointment from Governor office.
Pat said she received a letter from FEMA stating the Governor had to appoint the position. Pat received the letter from the Governor office congratulating Keith on the appointment and they were removing Cora Jones as the FEMA person. Apparently BJ Brett was never officially appointed.
Update of 3 slow battery chargers.
Pat said she and Ron went to Harbor Freight and picked up the 3 chargers for total of $ 63.96 and was purchase on November 22, 2023. They were taken to the Quonset Hut for Paul to put onto the 3 pieces of equipment.
Update on ARPA funds and contract.
Pat said we received the corrected contract from the county. Lou signed and Keith Vasas received a copy also. He putting together the invoices to submit to the county that was used to get the $91,000 back. The contract now covers all of the streets in town rather than just the 5th Street project. They issue checks once a quarter.
Anything else on old business.
Resolution for 2024 tax rates
This is Resolution 6 of 2023 stating the tax rates for the 2024 tax year. It states the tax rate will remain at 20 mils for general revenue purposes. The rate of taxation in dollars and cents on each $100 of assessed value or taxable property shall be $2.00 Keith motions to approve and 2nd by Gladine . All in favor motion passed. No nays. Resolution was signed by Lou and then the Mayor.
Final approval of 2024 budget
Motion made to approve the final 2024 budget made by Keith, 2nd by Lou. All in favor motion passed, no nays
2024 Sunshine law on upcoming meetings.
Pat presented to everyone on council. Pat stated the first Monday on 2024 is January 1st she has made the first meeting to be on January 2nd, and in July the first Thursday is on the 4th of July so the meeting was moved to the following week.
Gladine motions to approve the sunshine notice, 2nd by Lou all in favor motion passed no nays.
Items turned over from Methodist Church
Pat said since the Methodist Church closed they wanted to give the Borough several items to keep since we have the records from the Centennial and the Sesquicentennial. Pat showed the 2 wall blankets with historical name and photos along with the wall hangers. Pat showed Keith and Lou the blankets and wanted to know if we could display the items in the borough. Discussion made on what to do with them. Lou said we can look into it to find the best place to hang them.
Santa set up at the Borough office.
John Kovac asked what day it was. John said he is working on this. Someone set up another event the same day and time and was told it was for a pizza party. It originally was to be at the VFW and it fell through. It is posted on Facebook that the event was now to be at the Legion and a charge of $7 for a pizza party with Santa. John said he is going to have it changed or cancelled all together. Pat said our event was scheduled 1 year ago. John said if they are planning on charging for the event then they are no longer having at the Legion. Pat said she has not done anything in the Borough only the basic's until we find out if we can hold the event in the Borough.
Keith motions to let parks have the Santa event at the Borough office, Sue 2nds, all in favor motion passed. No nays.
Attorney General Liquid Fuels Audit
Pat gave everyone a copy of the final audit which states that all money was accounted for 100%.
Key Authorization Form
Pat said council needs to decide who will be authorized to have duplicate keys made. Ron was the only person on the key duplication list and since he will no longer be on council, another person needs to be authorized to be the only person to have keys duplicated with Ryan Lied Lock Smith in Indiana.
After discussion council decided to have Lou be the only person to get this done. Motion made by Sue 2nd by Keith , all in favor, motion passed. Lou abstains.
Westview Cemetery Grant Funds
Pat said that the cemetery received a $10,000 grant from Ligonier Endowment Fund. She received a call from Pam Hysong from the Endowment because it seems the Pittsburgh Foundation that issues the checks said that even though the cemetery is non profit and tax exempt we are not classified at a 501©3 but a 501 © 13. The foundation can only issue checks to 501© 3 grant applicants. They would like to know if the Pittsburgh Foundation could send the Borough the Check for the $10,000 and then issue a check to the Cemetery. Pat is asking permission for the Pittsburgh Foundation to do this. It works the same way as grants for the parks. Jeffery and Michael both reviewed the state code book. Jeffery said he thinks it is Section 501 in the borough code book . Pat printed out the IRS 501 © 13 status. After review of the state code book is says it can happen if the property is adjoining the Borough.
Ligonier Endowment is the party that suggested to go this way.
Lou motions then to allow the Foundation to deposit the $10,000 funds for the cemetery and then reissue a check to the Cemetery. 2nd by Gladine, all in favor motion passed. no nays.
Any other business:
Lou said he would like to thank Ron Betts and Jessica Betts for their service to the Borough. Ron went above and beyond as a council person and we are going to miss you.
Clark spoke to PSAB, Jim Nowalk. Is was brought to Clark attention about other people getting write in ballots other than for themselves and getting or helping them to fill it out. This is not legal and he said that would be up to the Attorney General and to check with the election Bureau also to see what could be done about this.
Also Sewage Authority charging people $1,000 tap in fee but they never tapped in and vacant properties - no-one has lived in for years still have to pay $35 a month for services rendered but never got such services provided. He was told to talk to the DA office and get our attorney involved. Mr. Nowalk does not see how that is legal. (Jeffery tried to explain about the fee)
ON Ordinance #2 of 2005 Section 3 says annoyance or discomfort to persons beyond the boundaries of such properties (barking dogs) 2nd & Shaffer Street.Hopper sticking out on roadway. I talked to renters by a phone call and told them Borough would not be liable if accident there. Also talked to McInchok and told them about the situation. They said tie hopper was gotten for 2 weeks but is has been 3 weeks now. Clark also told the people to clean up the property while the hopper is still there.
Mayors salary - Clark want to see the Mayor salary reinstated. Lou said bring it up next month.
Meeting next week to be held at Robinson Community Center
Street Commissioner Report
Ron said 39 miles were put on truck
zero turn used 5 hours
1.7 miles on the Kubota
fuel was gotten for the truck this month.
approximately 7 hours of the borough worker were used for parks to help put up the Christmas decorations.
Parks & Rec
Mellissa said parks got a grant from Ligonier endowment for $14,000 for the sidewalk along 5th Street. we are also working on putting steps along side of the slide with the additional funds and approval from Ligonier endowment. We have applied for another grant from the Westmoreland Foundation thru the Pittsburgh Foundation to fix the upper park and awaiting a decision to fulfill part of our request. Itwould take the wooden structure out, new swing sets, new benches, and storage.
Gladine motions to retro- approve the grant which we applied for, 2nd by Sue. No nays.
No other business, motion to close meeting made by Sue, 2nd by Gladine at 8:12 pm.