Rt. 706 project plan for culvert raises boro’s concern

BY STACI WILSON

Montrose Borough Council has concerns Rt. 706 project plans to divert water to an already compromised culvert will cause flooding issues for some buildings on South Main St.

Councilman Sean Granahan said he was told by PennDOT officials that plans included connecting storm drains and “dumping” the water into a corner on South Main St. where a broken culvert is located.

Granahan said he was told “no” when asked if fixing the culvert could be added to the project.

Last year, council looked into having the contractor for Rt. 706 fix the culvert at the expense of the borough.

Councilman Craig Reimel said that in times of heavy rains, the compromised culvert can already lead to the flooding of basements of businesses located in that area and that more water directed into that culvert would only make the problem worse.

Reimel said that since the water belongs to the state, the borough should close the alley and the water could stay on the state owned road.

“They need to make arrangements for where the water can go without wrecking a building,” Reimel said. “They can’t bring water off a state project and wreck a building.”

Council said they would seek help from Sen. Gene Yaw and Rep. Sandra Major for the issue.

Granahan also reported the Rt. 706 project is scheduled to be completed in August.

The replacement of trees on Church Street were not included in the original project, Granahan said, adding there is money in the tree fund to cover the cost of removal and replacement.

The borough will partner again with the Susquehanna County Housing and Redevelopment Authority in an effort to gain a streetscape grant for South Main St.

Councilman Sean Granahan said the maximum grant is up to $500,000 but awards of $150,000-$200,000 were more likely.

He said that if there was no corresponding lighting component the grant would likely cover the cost of the project.

Granahan also provided an update of the Leatherstocking Natural Gas distribution lines coming toward Montrose from Bridgewater Twp.

He said the company wants to come up Lake Avenue and High Streets, then to the county courthouse and behind Public Avenue.

Granahan reported that Leatherstocking would like to begin the work in the spring.

Reimel said the county Tax Collection Committee had about $44,000 in its coffers, enough to cover the annual assessments paid by the participating school districts and municipalities that have an Earned Income Tax for at least the next two years.

Traveler’s Insurance, the bond agent for the defunct Central Tax, paid about $29,000 to the county committee, adding to the $15,000 the TCC had on hand.

The Tax Collection Committee also elected to remain with Berkheimer as its collector, Reimel reported.

Street Department Supervisor Ken DiPhillips said that four borough employees had completed the training required in order to certify the parking meters in town.

Police Chief Dale Smith reported an increase in the number of incidents in the borough in the past month.

Council approved the Chocolate and Wine Festival for May 17. Chestnut Street will be closed to traffic that day, noon-10 p.m.

Councilwoman Julanne Skinner asked if the borough had a policy on paying for continuing education and seminars available to council members.

Granahan said he didn’t believe taxpayer money should be spent on the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs seminars or conferences.

Skinner, who attended the PSAB conference in 2012, had indicated that she would like to attend again this year. She pointed out that the borough code allowed for reimbursement by a borough for a council member to attend the conferences and sessions.

“We’re a small borough with a small budget with people who pay taxes,” Granahan answered, adding he didn’t see the benefit of attending.