Laceyville Borough Council members went into the new year with a positive outlook for the community during its reorganization meeting on January 2.
The optimistic atmosphere was apparent when Mayor Phil Brewer began highlighting some of the borough’s major accomplishments in 2017: Stabilizing the police department, the completion of road paving and other street maintenance, and getting the water company operating in the black were among his praises.
“I think we’ve done a great job,” the mayor said.
He continued his compliments by mentioning the purchase of a new police cruiser and also touted the strides the water company took toward improving the system including obtaining new equipment that detects water leaks, installing new meters where needed, and offering the option for residents to pay their bills with a credit card. He noted the town received much needed cosmetic improvements including street paving and light replacements.
Council was also able to impose a one-mill decrease in borough taxes for 2018, bringing the millage down to 22.6.
The pending drop in tax revenue did, however, raise a concern with council member Randy Brigham who encouraged the rest of council to be mindful of projects and concerns that will have to be addressed during the year that may be costly.
One such issue is safety at the ball park across the river. He noted the bleachers are in dire need of repair and the flag pole is not secured properly. After discussing the necessity of these repairs, Brigham said he would make some temporary fixes to the pole and Mayor Brewer agreed to rope off the bleachers until the matter could be properly resolved before the park opens in April.
Other matters that Brigham said would need to be taken care of were deciding whether to reopen the bridge on Franklin Street which is currently closed to traffic, as well as what is the most feasible way to take care of such things as gutter and ditch repairs and removing unwanted brush along the roadways.
With the new year comes a change of those in command.
Mayor Brewer acted as president at the beginning of the meeting until the position was handed over to newly appointed president Randy Brigham.
Council Member Kristy Fassett took over as vice-president, while Courtney Salsman was reappointed borough secretary. Ken Johnson will remain as borough treasurer.
Mayor Brewer had the honor of swearing in council members Mary Robinson, Randy Brigham, and Henry Laboranti to a new term, with each member reciting their oath of office.
The reorganization also saw changes in some borough regulations. A unanimous vote eliminated the occupational tax levied on all persons that work in the borough, and raised the employee mileage rate from 50 cents to 53 cents/mile.
Borough office hours were extended to Tuesdays from 3 to 7 p.m. and Wednesdays, 4:30-7:30 p.m.