Montrose addresses center, records

BY JEFF HORVATH

Monday’s Montrose borough Council Meeting was occupied with a community center they all wanted, but little consensus about a need for archiving records.

Montrose’s Community Center which is scheduled to undergo renovations.

A tentative goal is to have the Community Center ready to host the Montrose Adult School’s Expose on August 2.

Council President Tom LaMont mentioned several things that need to happen before this goal can become a reality. The center’s pool needs to be drained and kitchenette repaired.

LaMont also believes that the fire escape and two of the lower windows need to be replaced. Plans to install carpeting and convert two small rooms into one are also on the table.

Resident Mary Lee Fitzgerald spoke on behalf of the Adult School, whose fall semester begins on September 10.

She said that of the school’s 61 catalogued classes offered during the fall term, 35 are scheduled to take place in the Community Center.

The Council approved a motion to advertise for a general contractor who can do the work, and hope to have a bid conference next Monday night.

President LaMont said that he thinks they could have everything prepared in time for the exposition, but reminded the audience that “this is government.”

Attention shifted to a discussion about records.

Things got heated near the end of the meeting when Councilwoman Julanne Skinner raised concerns that the borough’s public records and information, including council meeting minutes, are not archived or accessible.

The Pennsylvania “Right to Know Law” works to ensure that public records are accessible to the general public. The law says these records must be maintained by the borough.

Skinner said she does not feel that the borough has maintained these records, many of which are stored in piles in attics and safes.

Councilman Sean Granahan disagreed, arguing that the records were being maintained, and that a digital archive of the records was unrealistic.

This led to a debate over the definition of “maintained.”

President LaMont did acknowledge that the records and minutes of the last 15 years are in shambles, but seemed to agree that organizing and archiving them would be very difficult.

Councilwoman Skinner suggested that budget money should be designated to archive the records, and said that she would look into who could perform the task.

Skinner said she fears that failure to make the public records accessible will put the borough “on the hook” in the future.

In other business, council:
*approved a $12,000 request by Street Dept. Supervisor Ken DiPhillps for road work on Lake Avenue.

*approved Police Chief Dale Smith’s request for a new $500 police radio and two new bullet-proof vests for $800 apiece.

*heard from Joe Hunt about plans to prevent flooding on Coleman Road, with a new 60-inch galvanized pipe was suggested as a possible solution.

Hunt said such a pipe can last for upwards of 30 years, and is better suited to accommodate potential flood conditions than the current 24 -nch pipe.