Tunkhannock Borough Council entered 2018 looking a lot like its former self during a reorganization meeting last Tuesday (Jan. 2), with one new face.
Bob Robinson was voted in as president, and Ben Barziloski as vice president.
One early order of business following the December resignation of Joseph Myers, was to appoint his replacement in Ward 3 Dave Wiggins.
Myers won reelection unopposed in November, but announced in December his intentions to resign because his job was taking him away from the borough.
Mayor Norman Ball who had been sworn in for his sixth term as mayor earlier in the day at the Wyoming County Courthouse by Wyoming County President Judge Russell Shurtleff, administered the oath of office to two councilmen elected in November: Dan Gay (Ward 1), and Lisa Tesluk (Ward 2), as well as Wiggins.
Robinson also won in November, but earlier in the day chose to have his oath administered by Judge Shurtleff.
During the regular meeting, Robinson gave a report about a meeting he and others had with UGI on Dec. 14 regarding bringing gas utility service to Tunkhannock.
Robinson said Don Brominski requested that council sign a resolution to do what UGI wanted, but he (Robinson) thought the process was moving too fast, including what was most important and that was whether it was a feasible thing to even go forward with it.
No action was taken on the UGI matter.
In his Riverside Park report Ball noted that the park’s ice skating rink is in full bloom with the weather cooperating and lots of kid skating there.
Police Chief Keith Carpenter presented both a monthly report of activity for December as well as a tally of activity for all of 2017. Criminal charges and traffic arrests had more than doubled that reported in 2016 while the number of written warnings and parking tickets had declined from the previous year.
For the month of December there were 16 criminal charges, 25 traffic arrests, and 19 written warnings with 1,811 miles put on four vehicles.
Chief Carpenter talked about police cruisers and different purchasing options, and suggested they might be off as well to just fix the cars they had instead of buying new ones.
Mayor Ball suggested the police department was doing the right thing in looking to conserve expenses by fixing the force’s present vehicles.
Councilman Barziloski had asked about a COG (Council of Governments) meeting and was told the next one would be Feb. 13.
On the agenda was a resolution to approve a DROP ordinance which addressed a police pension plan in an officer’s last years on the force, but no motion was placed on the floor and no further action was taken.
Borough manager Dawn Welsh asked council if anyone had an interest in having identification cards in case of an emergency. Some said they already had them, and there was no further interest to push the matter.
In the public comment period, resident Joe Sick questioned if there was a conflict of interest in persons serving both on borough council and the municipal authority. He also suggested caution in working with UGI.
Sick also asked if there might be a way to gradually reduce the speed limit coming into the borough on Rt. 29 from the north which abruptly drops from 45 to 25. He asked if there might be an intermediary speed limit that provides a little more warning to slow down coming into town.
Chief Carpenter said a traffic study would need to be done to look into the matter.
As part of the appointments process in the reorganization meeting, Paul Litwin was appointed as borough solicitor with Timothy Michaels serving as Zoning Hearing Board solicitor, William Gaylord is on the Vacancy Board; Marshall Davis is liaison to the Municipal Authority; Dominic Talarico to the Zoning Hearing Board; Peg Ball, Bob Innamoratti and Rich Bishop to the Riverside Park Commission; Robinson to the Shade Tree Commission; Sam Elias to be the liaison to Wyoming County Parks & Trails; Charles Sands to the Civil Service Commission; and Ned Slocum to the Borough Planning Commission.
(Staff writer Robert Baker also contributed to this story.)