JUNE 19, 2023
CALL TO ORDER
Council in regular session was called to order at 7:00 p.m. in council chambers. President McNally presiding.
Dennis McNally, President Alfred Noble, Vice President Jeanne Miller
Gregg Mitcho Jim Simonelli Doug Wright
Robert Stubenbort, Borough Manager Peter Burton, Mayor
Joseph Yochim, Solicitor Mark Corey, Engineer
Kevin Rafferty, Chief of Police
Dennis McDonald, Public Works Supervisor Robert “Doc” Orr
Shirley Hall Larry Russell Tim Knapp David Edder Bev Bible
Nancy Bronstein Ginger Cinti Dennis Bensur Andy Vasilik, Jr. Dave Jackson Susan Warner John Wagner Ill
Motion by Councilmember Mitcho to approve the minutes from the May 15, 2023 meeting. Seconded by Councilmember Noble. All in favor. Motion carried.
Councilmember Noble asked if we had two purchases of white traffic paint from Sealmaster each for $744.00. Mr. Stubenbort said yes. Motion by Councilmember Wright to approve the bills. Seconded by Councilmember Simonelli. All in favor. Motion carried.
Shirley Hall said that the fire hydrants will be painted again this year. On July 5th she will meet with volunteers at 9:00 am at St Johns Parish Center.
The volunteers will work from 9:00 am until 11:30 am. There are about twelve volunteers this year. The next scheduled day to paint is July 12th• The paint that will be used this year is from Lake City Paint. The borough did receive two gallons of paint with polyurethane from Sherwin Williams that Dennis McDonald will use for various projects.
Andy Vasilik Jr. spoke to council and said he has been hearing that Girard Borough Council wanted to shut down the Hometown Heroes Project. He said that Dan Edder is very upset about this. Councilmember Wright said the only concern that council expressed was the maintenance of the flags. At no time did council say they ever wanted to end this program. President McNally said the concern was over the condition of the flags. The borough was thinking of taking the flags down after Labor Day and putting them up again in the spring. Andy Vasilik Jr. said the winter does not damage the flags, but the sun does in the summer. Dave Edder spoke to council and said that he does not believe that his Father really wants to stop the program. Councilmember Wright told Andy Vasilik Jr. that the Hometown Heroes Project is a great program and it speaks well of our community. Councilmember Wright said if you paid for a banner you have some responsibility to maintain it to honor your loved one. Andy Vasilik Jr. will get together with Dan Edder and set up a maintenance plan for the flags.
The original plan was that the banners would only stay up for two years. Mr.Stubenbort wants to be kept informed of when the banners go up and come down. The Public Works Department will of course put up and take down any flags as instructed. Andy Vasilik Jr. thanked council for their time. Mr. Wagner thanked council for the sign recognizing that the legion donated the playground equipment.
REPORTS Councilmember Mitcho said the Annual Fund Drive for Dobler Hose started
a week ago, and there has been a good response so far. Dobler Hose is aware that their training ground on Haggerty Street near the railroad tracks has become a bit of a mess. Some repairs are being made to the area and some junk vehicles are being moved. The training ground is very beneficial and is shared with other fire companies.
The Erie County Firefighters Association has provided some funding so Dobler Hose could put down a 25×50 concrete pad and eventually place a burn box on it. The burn box is an excellent training device.
The new striker auto loader device for the ambulance has been installed. The cost was $27,000.00 with an $8,000.00 warranty. Install was $3,500.00 instead of $2,000.00 as quoted.
A new pediatric kit is being purchased for the ambulance. Some of the items that are purchased have an expiration date on them. They may not have been used but must be replaced before the expiration date.
On Saturday June 24, 2023 Dobler Hose will host our Special Party for Special People. Dobler Hose hosts this event as a venue but in addition they provide a beef cookout. This will be the third year they are hosting. They may possibly be phasing this event out as the Erie Division of Special Olympics may be looking for another venue.
Dobler Hose has four volunteers who are certified in CPR Training. They are required to give classes to maintain their certification. Councilmember Mitcho said that if any borough employee needs CPR Training to please consider the Dobler Hose Fire Company.
Platea Fire Department just ordered a 4500-gallon tanker truck. Councilmember Mitcho mentioned this because all the departments work together. Dobler Hose has a ladder truck and Lake City Fire Department has water rescue. Platea Is very excited to get this new tanker truck because the one they currently have and use all over the county is from the 1950’s. The new truck will take about a year to come in.
Dobler Days was successful and people attending were very generous.
The next event to be held will be the Chicken BBQ Dinner. There will be 700 chickens prepared for dinners and the dates are the same as Dan Rice Days.
Mayor Burton said that the Art walk was successful. It was a bigger and better than last year. He is hoping for the same for the Summer Solstice event on June 22nd from 5:00 to 9:00 pm.
Chief Rafferty said this is the last week of training for Officer Hess and she is doing very well. She will be released next week from training.
The license plate reader is up and running. Last week we got the new server working. It automatically uploads all the videos from the cars when they pull into the station.
Chief Rafferty reported that the body cameras are up and running. Policies have been set and they are ready to use. Once the officers receive the training they are able to wear the camera. There are only two officers who still need to receive training and they will do that on their next shift. Councilmember Mitcho asked him how he feels about the body cameras. Chief Rafferty said when they first came out he was opposed to them. He grew up believing that an officers word meant something. At first people wanted officers to wear them for accountability. But, after reading the statistics it seems to be helping to clear officers of false accusations. Councilmember Wright said that is the value right there. They should be worn to protect yourself. You instantly become believable.
Councilmember Mitcho noticed that we had five alarm responses this month. He asked Chief Rafferty if he was aware that we do have an ordinance for repeat offenders. Chief Rafferty said yes. When the officer types in the location of the alarm it will show in the new system the prior offenses within a year. One of the issues we might be having now is when we switched over in April to the new records management system it did not carry over the old system information and it might show a first time alarm when there might be a prior from the old system. After being called to an address for a malfunctioning alarm up to three times in a week they are informed that they will receive a fine if the alarm continues to be set off.
Councilmember Simonelli said he received a text from someone on Myrtle Street about two pitbull dogs getting loose at the end of Myrtle Street.
Someone was walking their German Shepard and the dogs surrounded them. There was no biting involved but the person asked Councilmember Simonelli who he should call. He told them to call the non emergency police number. Chief Rafferty said they have been dealing with quite a few calls about loose dogs but did not receive any calls from Myrtle Street about the pitbulls. He will review the incident calls to double check.
Mark Corey reported to council that the Walnut Street water tank should be completely erected within the next few days. The tank should be full within a month. The accessory fencing and paving will also be done very soon as well.
Solicitor Yochim looked into the 10 acre parcel owned by St. Johns. The realty transfer had to do with a 50ft easement granted from Troyers to St. Johns. This allows St. Johns to have access to the property. If we recall, Macrina Drive stops and there was no access to the 10 acre parcel. Now the 50ft easement goes all the way up for access by St. Johns. As far as Solicitor Yochim knows, St. Johns still owns the property. Councilmember Miller asked if additional homes or a subdivision can be built on the 10 acres. Mr. Stubenbort said yes and we could also get a trailer court up there because it is zoned R1 not R1A.
REPORT Resolution 1-6-2023 will allow the Council of the Borough of Girard the filing
of an application for the 2023 Erie County Municipal Infrastructure Gap Funding Program. If received this application will provide up to $250,000.00 to
complete the Hathaway/West Gate Water Tank Painting Project. The GAP Grants require a 30% match which will not be a problem due to the projected price of the project. Mr. Stubenbort respectfully requests Council to vote in favor of Resolution 1-6-2023. Motion by Councilmember Noble to approve Resolution 1-6-2023. Seconded by Councilmember Mitcho. All in favor.
CONTRACT The Girard Borough fuel contract was bid through the Erie County COG so we could receive the best price. Our current fuel provider is Melzers Fuel Service and they were the only bidder. Mr. Stubenbort respectfully
request Council to vote favorably on awarding the fuel contract to Melzers Fuel Service. Motion by Councilmember Noble to award fuel contract to Melzers Fuel Service. Seconded by Councilmember Simonelli. All in favor. Motion carried.
WALNUT STREET WATER STORAGE TANK
Konzel Construction Inc has submitted payment number #3 for the Walnut Street Storage Tank Project in the amount of $74,997.00. Motion by Councilmember Wright to approve payment #3 to Konzel Construction in the amount of $74,997.00. Seconded by Councilmember Mitcho. All in favor. Motion carried.
On May 18, 2023 Girard Borough was entered in the National Register of Historic Places. Councilmember Noble asked if we could get a sign for the historical register to place along side the road coming into town.
The Civil Service Commission was unable to have the Civil Service test
for the position of part time Police Officer as scheduled due to a delay in the test arrival. A new test date will be selected. The current Civil Service list is exhausted.
The Girard Borough Pool did not open on June 12, 2023 due to a pump failure. Pilewski Plumbing did come in to rework all of the piping for us. We are also still waiting for our back up pump to arrive. Councilmember Mitcho asked if we are using liquid chlorine. Mr. Stubenbort said yes.
The bell was removed from the bell turret in front of the Social Hall when Dobler Hose opened the new fire house. Shortly after the bell was moved the borough had an opportunity to host an art work associated with a trail initiative. Melinda Myer was part of this project. The art piece is in poor condition and the area could be cleared and grass planted in the space. The
brick pillars do not serve any purpose so they could be removed. Mr. Stubenbort will contact Melinda Myer to see if she would like the art work back. Council agreed to take the art work and pillars down and replant grass.
A porta potty was ordered for the Wells Park for July and August. The
rate is 150.00 per month. This is nice for the people at the park and playground but we also use the porta potty for Dan Rice Days. It is cleaned once a week
by Powell Sanitation. There is no handwashing station available. Councilmember Miller asked if there were any complaints about the restrooms here after the art walk. Mr. Stubenbort said no. Councilmember Simonelli said there were complaints on Election Day but he explained that they are under construction.
They were fully supplied with soap and toilet paper.
Since passing the transient retail ordinance to accommodate food trucks there has been some interest. People are asking how much it cost to set up their food truck at any time in the borough. Councilmember Mitcho mentioned that we don’t have many restaurants open in the evening so this would be nice. Our current fee structure is $5.00 per day for up to three days. Council needs to decide what fee they would like to charge to allow food trucks to set up.
Councilmember Wright said we might not want 30 food trucks lined up in the borough at any given time. Erie has the room for these but Girard Borough is limited in space. After discussion council decided to charge $50.00 per day to set up their food truck in the borough. This will be in the form of a resolution so it may be changed at any time.
The stage awnings are up on the Main Stage and worked very well for the Art Walk.
The Erie County Association of Boroughs summer meeting is scheduled for July 19, 2023 at the McKean Borough Park. The meeting starts at 6:30 pm. Mr.
Stubenbort asked council to let him know if they will attend.
On June 8, 2023 County Executive, Brenton Davis visited the borough briefly to inspect the housing and talk about the new Whole Home Repair Program. This will benefit home owners that meet the income requirement’s. We believe the grants are up to $25,000.00 and do not impose liens for 5 years like earlier grants that were similar to this one. This is also not a matching grant. The grant has not yet opened according to Melinda Myer. Previously if someone qualified, the work would be done and whatever the cost was they would lien your home for five years. If you sold your home within the five years they get the money back. Elderly people were concerned because what if they passed before the five years. Councilmember Simonelli asked what if there is a homeowner and the house really needs to be fixed up but they do not want to show their finances. What does the borough do in this case. Councilmember Noble said we need to have a three strikes and your out option. We need to do something with the ordinance. We keep sending the same people letter after letter and nothing gets done. We do have a code enforcement officer now but this has nothing to do with the Whole Home Repair Program. Our Code Enforcement Officer will be able to make a difference. Mr. Stubenbort said to keep in mind that we will have Jeff Gadley as our new District Justice. Councilmember Mitcho reported that Jeff Gadley received a letter from the Governor recognizing that he has met all of the requirements and will most likely be our next magistrate.
Councilmember Wright said he will definitely be our next magistrate but will they appoint him right now. This was the first step for the Governor to do that so it is possible that it will happen soon.
Dennis McDonald said the new transformer is set at the high school and the underground wire is pulled in. Now we have to terminate the ends and hopefully tomorrow afternoon it will be energized. Mayor Burton asked if they will have more power. Dennis said that they actually have a smaller transformer now. The old transformer was 50 years old. They upgraded to all LED’s and have a lower demand.
ERIE COUNTY DEVELOPMENT
The transformer for McQuillens car charging station should be installed around the end of June. This will be the first commercial car charging station in Girard Borough. McQuillens will provide a charging station that will allow two cars to charge at one time. Councilmember Wright asked if this will be available for everyone to use or just McQuillen customers. Mr. Stubenbort said he will have a charge card station so everyone can use it. Councilmember Wright said he understands that every GM Dealership in the country is required to put in a charging station.
On May 24th Girard Borough held a meeting with Joe Sinnott, Erie County Development Director and talked about the upcoming GAP funding through Erie County. The program will be like the previous GAP grant but will not include vehicles.
The County of Erie has retained Strategy Solutions to assist in analyzing the feasibility of implementing an EMS Authority. Basically what they are looking for is a council person or all of council to get together and help them out with their survey. Mr. Stubenbort said he could send out the interview questions to council. Over the next week or so, Robin Morris from Strategy Solutions will be reaching out to schedule interviews with the borough officials. Mr. Stubenbort said once he receives more information he will inform council.
The Animal, Air B&B and Trailer Ordinances are still pending and the committees should meet as soon as possible. On Thursday June 22nd Councilmembers Miller, Simonelli and McNally will meet with Mr. Stubenbort to discuss the ordinances.
Mr. Stubenbort was hoping to hear from Zito concerning expanding the band width service. With all the new equipment in the Police Department everything is running much slower. We currently have 10mbps (megabits per second) and have had that for ten years. The average office is at 300 megabits.
Bev Bible asked if there is anything going on with the sidewalks. Mr. Stubenbort said our new Code Enforcement Officer will make a list of sidewalks that need repaired but right now he is concentrating on pools because this is a health and safety violation.
Councilmember Simonelli mentioned that a locust tree located at 129 Myrtle is leaning over the street. If it falls it is possible that it will take out the power lines. This will be looked at.
Councilmember Simonelli also mentioned that there are many bundles of old telephone wires hanging up on the poles from the old land lines. President McNally asked Mr. Stubenbort to contact Verizon. If they want the wires they need to come out and get them. Mr. Stubenbort said we could have Attorney Yochim send them a letter. We could just take legal action and take them to court. Solicitor Yochim asked if there is some kind of agreement between Verizon and the borough. Mr. Stubenbort said our agreement with Verizon is a handshake. We use some of their poles and they use some of ours. We can’t be the only municipality that has this problem.
Councilmember Noble received a plaque from PSAB for being President and past President of PCA. Also, Councilmember Noble brought back the annual conference bills report for the House and Senate. PSAB voted to work on all of these within the state.
The annual PAMA Conference is July 30th through August 2nd• He would like to see Mr. Stubenbort attend this. It will be held at the William Gardens in Bolsberg. There are classes that would benefit the borough. A letter has to be sent to Mary Weller by June 23rd to register. The cost is $350.00 but because it would be our first time attending the fee would be waived.
Councilmember Noble asked if we could put a list of the images on the mural in council chambers to explain what each scene is. If people are looking at this and they are not from Girard they would not know what each picture represented. Councilmember Miller said there is something on the big mural.
Councilmember Noble mentioned that we have a quite a few local artists in Girard. Is there anyway we can focus Girard Borough on being an art community. That seems to draw in a lot of people.
Councilmember Noble said he was one of three people selected from PSAB to go to Capital Hill in Harrisburg on June 27, 2023. On June 28th he will be filming a television program for the PSAB Round Table.
Councilmember Miller asked if we heard anything on the grant through DCNR. Mr. Stubenbort said no.
Councilmember Miller mentioned to Dennis McDonald that a piece of wood on the outside of the restrooms down at the Water Works Park that needs painted white.
There are three students from Girard High School that will be working for the borough this summer through a program through Occupational Vocational Rehabilitation. Councilmember Miller asked if they could paint the posts on the welcome signs black. She also asked if the red and gold benches could be painted before Dan Rice Days. It does not matter what color they are painted. Any paint we have in stock would be fine.
The ball fields looks like they have not been mowed but it looked like they had some type of fundraiser this past weekend. Loren Jenkins is in charge of mowing the fields. There is no softball league this year. There are only two teams so they were only doing tournaments. The borough keeps the outside of the field mowed. Mr. Stubenbort said if they are not going to maintain the field they will not be able to use it.
Councilmember Miller asked if we could look into a portable ice skating rink in between the basketball courts.
Meeting adjourned at 8:50 pm for a five minute break before going into executive session.
SESSION At 9:00 p.m., President McNally asked for an executive session to discuss personnel and legal matters.
MEETING The regular meeting was called back into session at 9:55 p.m.
Councilmember Noble made a motion to accept the resignation of Patrolmen Brian Hughson on August 8, 2023. Second by Councilmember Mitcho. All in favor. Motion carried.
ADJOURN Motion by Councilmember Wright and seconded by Councilmember Noble to adjourn at 8:29 p.m. All in favor.
Robert A. Stubenbort Borough Manager