Consultant hired to move Turnpike St. project forward

BY STACI WILSON

Susquehanna Borough Council focused on street projects and the newly formed Department of Public Works at the Wednesday, Jan. 16 meeting.

Council advanced its look at a potential Turnpike Street improvement project. Bob Doble, of the engineering firm Riley Associates, to identify project funding streams, coordinate meetings and work with PennDOT.

Although still in the early stages of development, the potential project will look to widen the roadway, as well as address drainage, curbing and sidewalk issues.

Council approved payment of the $7,800 consulting fee to be paid to the engineering firm.

“We are only committing to (Doble’s) expertise,” said Council President Roberta Reddon, “and we will see where we go from there.”

Councilman Joe Varsik asked if the hospital and school would be willing to help with the project.

The hospital and school, as well as the Susquehanna County Housing and Redevelopment Authority have already been approached about the project.

Reddon said the Housing Authority, which operates Turnpike Terrace apartments on the street, expressed interest in partnering with the borough to replace the 30-year-old sidewalks on their property.

Council also approved work to be done on drainage issues in the Franklin Ave.-Maiden Lane area by Warren Stone to be done as soon as weather permits.

It was also reported work on Prospect St. drainage issues, near Third Ave., had been completed.

Another Prospect St. concern was brought to council’s attention by Varsik.

He reported that a waist-high pile of dirt had accumulated near the cemetery entrance deposited there by the borough’s plow.

The debris will be cleared and the borough will take a look at what is happening with that part of the road.

Council also approved the purchase of a 2012 GMC Sierra 3500 Series truck, at a cost of $32,579 through the state’s Co-Stars program.

The truck is equipped with a plow, electric spreader, bedliner and flashers and is ready to be delivered to the borough.

The new truck will replace the 2003 Ford F550 which council voted to advertise for bids.

Following an executive session, council voted to hire Tom Kelly as a part-time employee in the Department of Public Works.

Going forward, the DPW, born out of a change in the structure of the Streets department, will handle plowing and borough maintenance projects, including mowing at the town’s park.

Council also voted to make changes to its telephone plans, affecting a potential annual savings of about $1,000. The borough office phone number will remain the same.

On the recommendation of Paul Smith, attorney for the borough’s Zoning Hearing Board, council increased the appeals’ fee to $500.

Mayor Bill Perry discussed the potential purchase this year of a new police vehicle as a replacement for the Ford squad car.

Perry said 2014 requirements for a computer in the police vehicles “changes the dynamic of what we need.”

He said there is money available in the budget to purchase either an Impala or a Durango; and that the borough police were okay with either of those. But, Perry said, if council wished to purchase a Ford Explorer or SUV other than the Durango they had found, this year’s budget would not accommodate that purchase.

Reddon said council would be open to vehicle recommendations made by Perry and Police Chief Robert Sweet.

Although the police car to be replaced is currently running, Perry said the borough may be down to one car by the end of the year. The vehicle, however, is still at a point where it could be sold, Perry said.

“I would rather make an informed decision, rather than a quick decision,” the mayor said.