Herman Questions Anticipated Clarion Borough Stormwater Fees, Expresses Need to Proceed With Caution
CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – Former Clarion Borough councilman and current borough resident Rich Herman questioned the council on what the stormwater fee for borough residents will really be at Tuesday’s monthly council meeting held at the Clarion Free Library.
Herman told the council that his original understanding from attending early meetings and reading previous stories about the stormwater fee was that it would cost somewhere between $3.00 and $8.00 a month or around $36.00 to $96.00 a year.
After talking to Borough Treasurer Todd Colosimo, Herman said his understanding is the cost would now between $40.00 and $45.00 a quarter or between $160.00 to $180.00 per year. (At the meeting, Colisimo said his math was a little off and that the fee would be more like between $32.00 to $35.00 a quarter or $128.00 or $140.00 a year.)
“I think that is a little high,” said Herman, who acknowledged the need for some sort of fee. “That is not what we started with. I don’t want the fees to get too high. We are just starting out. It would be nice to proceed with caution.”
Councilman Jason Noto said the Authority has yet to come to a final determination of what the fees will be, but the numbers given by Herman and Colosimo “roughly come to that.”
“I agree with Rich,” said Borough Council president Carol Lapinto. “It was supposed to be a certain amount. It just keeps getting bigger and bigger.”
Lapinto said that her understanding was it was supposed to be one set price for residential customers.
“There is a little bit of discussion to go away from that,” explained Lapinto. “I don’t agree with that. Just because you have a big house it doesn’t mean you can afford it. There are a lot of widows living in big houses.”
Herman said the borough should be looking to see if the federal government passes an infrastructure program, something both President Trump and Democrats have both expressed support for.
“We will have the Authority ready to go,” said Herman. “I would like to wait and see and not spend money rather than have other boroughs have free money when we spent our own money.”
COUNCIL APPROVES ZONING ORDINANCE CHANGE
The Council approved a zoning ordinance change in the Bond Drive area of the borough from C-I, Commercial Industrial to R-1, Single-Family Residential.
The land affected is a two-acre parcel identified by property map No. 05-010-001-043-00. The request came from the Miles Brothers, LLC. A public hearing was held prior to the December meeting.
In other business the council:
- Approved a 2019 tax anticipation note in the amount of $300,000.00 from First United National Bank at a rate of 2.65 percent. FUN Bank, which isn’t charging any fees, was the lowest rate of four obtained by the borough. Clarion County Community Bank offered a 3.25 percent rate with no fees, S&T Bank offered a 2.74 percent rate with a $100.00 commitment fee, and Farmers National Bank offered a rate between 4.25 percent and 4.35 percent with the 4.25 percent being with a deposit relationship of at least $25,000.00.
- Ratified three separate items concerning the PennVEST Grant and Loan Funds. The first opened a non-interest bearing checking account with S&T Bank for the purpose of receiving and distributing PennVEST Grant and Loan Funds. The second, approved Lapinto, Noto, and councilmember Brenda Sanders DeDe as authorized signers for the PennVest Funds account and the third approved borough secretary Linda LaVan-Preston and Colosimo as authorized individuals to obtain account information for the PennVEST Funds account at S&T Bank.
- Approved ending the probation period of Meter Enforcement Officer Emerson Hartle, who was hired in August.
- Agreed to pay 33 percent of Hartle’s medical insurance costs with Hartle paying the other 67 percent. Councilmember Ben Aaron voted against the measure saying he believed it set a bad precedent paying for just one person. “I would like to have seen it for more than one person,” Aaron said.
- Approved a Women’s March “Invisible We Rise” for January 19. The organizers just submitted the request for approval Monday, and the item needed to be added to the agenda. Aaron voted against adding it to the agenda believing the request was submitted too late and then voted against authorizing the event saying he didn’t believe he should vote against adding it to the agenda and then vote for it once it was there.
- Appointed Susquehanna Accounting Consulting as the borough’s financial consultant for 2019 at a rate of $190.00, which was the same rate as 2018.
- Approved the EADS Group Agreement for Professional Services (Non-CDBG) for 2019.
- Authorized changing the 2018 CDBG project from the Neighborhood Park Project to the Main Street Improvement project. The change was made necessary because the borough has not been able to find a suitable site for the park yet and in order to use CDBG funds a site needs to be purchased first and the site also needs to be in a Low to Moderate Income neighborhood.
- Granted permission to bid for the Library Storm Water Improvements Project.
- Reappointed Tom DiStefano to a 5-year term on the Clarion Borough Stormwater Authority. DiStefano was appointed in the fall to fill out an expiring term. His new term will now expire the first Monday of 2024.
- Appointed Jim Geiger to a 6-year term on the Civil Service Commission to expire at the end of 2024.
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