Susquehanna surprise reorganization

BY STACI WILSON

Susquehanna Council reorganized its borough officers Wednesday, June 11 after coming back from a one-hour long executive session.

Council announced they would be holding the clear session to discuss ongoing litigation as well as personnel matters, however, reorganizing council was the only action taken when the meeting reconvened.

About halfway through the executive session, Council President Roberta Reddon left the borough hall.

Vice President Joe Varsik said that council had held a lengthy discussion and then motioned that the officers appointed at the January reorganization would be abolished and new personnel placed in those positions. The motion carried with all six remaining council members in agreement.

Varsik received unanimous support from the five council members remaining at the meeting to fill the position of council president.

Debra Zayas was then elected to serve as the vice president of council.

Varsik said, “This was a difficult decision for council.” He said that although no longer council president, Reddon still holds her seat on the borough council.

According to Varsik, the reorganization better suits the “needs of the council and the borough of Susquehanna.”

“(Reddon) has done tremendous work for the community as a council person and as president,” Varsik said.

Council will see other changes in addition to its leadership.

At the beginning of the meeting, Councilman Jamie Koziol submitted his resignation from council, effective at the end of the June 11 meeting.
His resignation was accepted, with regret, by council.

Bids for the sidewalk restoration projects on West Main Street and Fourth Street were received.

Secretary Margaret Biegert said that with grant money and the borough’s sidewalk funds, both projects could be completed with an additional $2,000 expended by the borough.

Council approved both projects.

A Southwestern Energy representative also attended the meeting to request the borough’s permission for the upcoming seismic testing.

But, he told council, the company is still putting together the maps of “sensitivity areas” in order to determine what can and can not be done in the borough.

He said he didn’t believe there were many, if any, streets in the borough the company would “vibrate” but there is a possibility of placing receiver boxes in the borough.

The close quarters on Main Street would inhibit any of the vibe testing. “I don’t see us being able to vibe this town,” the Southwestern rep said. “We just need to map it so it’s in our books.”

Solicitor Michael Briechle said he had sent an opinion letter on one of the requests from Southwestern Energy.

Council held off on signing the energy company’s request until the solicitor could review the documents.

Mayor Nancy Hurley reported that police had responded to 44 incidents in the prior month, including four thefts, motor vehicle accidents, and other various criminal complaints.

She also reported the Community Awareness Committee had met and are working on bringing some fun events to borough residents. Possibilities discussed included a ‘Music in the Park’ event and a farmer’s market.

Councilman Roy Williams reported on the streets listed for milling, oil and chip treatments for this year.

He also noted restoration work on a property damaged from a contractor was started over the weekend prior to the meeting, and was expected to be finished last week.

He noted for the record that the borough was not happy with the work that contractor did in the borough.

The borough zoning officer said she is working on updating the file system in order to better track notices and violations.

She said she had issued notices, mostly on “garbage” in yards, but had also issued two notices for mowing.

She also had questions on zoning and land use permits and asked council to revamp the forms required for zoning variances.

After some discussion, council decided they needed to look at developing a more up-to-date forms as well as a fee schedule for zoning requests and variances.

Briechle said there were codes issues on some properties involved in litigation with the borough.

He also reported that a West Main Street property would be deeded to the borough in lieu of condemnation. He advised council to not accept the deed transfer until funding for the demolition of the property was in place.

Council approved moving forward with the deed transfer pending the receipt of funds and approval of the demolition.