— Issues ranging from street line painting to the coal pockets were discussed at Monday night's meeting of the Honesdale Borough Council.
At a recent meeting of the council, the issue of doing proper painting of lines on streets was discussed.
Eric Linde of Leeward Construction made a presentation to the council in which he outlined why line painting would increase safety in the downtown area. He said when the streets were made one-way, the responsibility of painting was given to the borough.
With limited manpower and funding, proper painting of the lines has not taken place in Honesdale.
However, Honesdale Public Works Director Rich Doney said last night the cost for the painting could drain his budget, meaning other services like snow plowing could be put in jeopardy.
Doney said when the "rough estimates" were established, it appeared the cost would be somewhere around $25,000.
But, said Doney, when he solicited estimates, the lowest he has received is $89,000 and some are as high as $190,000.
Doney said the state requires a certain kind of paint for the roads but even that paint is only guaranteed to last two to three years.
Finance committee chairman Scott Smith said he wanted to not renew a certificate of deposit in the Liquid Fuels fund in order to have money to pay for the line painting. Another CD in the public works department has not been renewed, as well.
"You've cashed one CD and now you want to cash another?" said Doney.
Mayor Ed Langendoerfer said he thought the estimates for painting were high and maybe another approach needs to be taken.
"For that much money, we may have to rethink having DPW do the painting," said Langendoerfer.
But when the vote was taken to not renew the CD in anticipation of using it for the line painting, it passed 6-0.
Page 2 of 5 - Later in the meeting, a motion was made by councilman Bob Jennings to authorize the borough's engineering firm to move forward with developing specification for the line painting on the borough streets. That motion passed.
Coal pocket issue
Also discussed Monday was the ongoing issue of parking in the coal pocket area of the borough.
At a recent meeting, the council voted to sever its agreement with the railroad group that owns the bulk of the coal pocket property.
In doing so, it means people who have permits in that area can either get a refund or begin using the 10-hour meters located around the borough.
Smith said there was some "confusion" with some people who he said were told they could continue to park in that area.
Jennings, who led the charge to eliminate parking there because he said the large percentage of it is on private property, said there were about three people who were still parking in the area. He directed them to the railroad group if they wanted to continue parking in that area.
The issue of liability insurance then arose and it was said by Smith that insurance has been paid through the end of the year.
Council president F.J. Monaghan pointed out that Honesdale National Bank "owns a large portion" of the property. Monaghan said he had a discussion with HNB officials who told him that if the borough's insurance does not stay in effect, they will "fence if off."
That appeared to indicate the borough has been paying liability insurance on property owned by the bank, the chamber of commerce and the railroad group.
Borough solicitor Rich Henry was asked his opinion on the insurance and he suggested since it is paid for the rest of the year to keep it in effect to protect the interests of the borough.
Page 3 of 5 - He also advised borough officials to send out a notice to the three or so people who did not opt to either get a refund or park elsewhere indicating the program for parking in the coal pockets ends on July 15.
Another matter brought before the council Monday had to do with the proposed "Knox Box" ordinance which has been discussed for many months.
A Knox Box is a device used by the fire department in which a key is placed in the box. When the department is dispatched to that business, dispatchers can unlock the box electronically, meaning firefighters can gain easy entry.
A lot of confusion has arisen regarding the boxes, including the first ordinance which was proposed. That ordinance would have made it mandatory for all Honesdale businesses to purchase and install the boxes.
But fire department officials said that was not their intention for the ordinance. They wanted it for new construction and then have it optional for existing businesses.
Councilman Harry DeVrieze said Monday he had spoken to various people about the issue and he felt not moving forward with the ordinance was the best option.
He even noted that the boards of the Greater Honesdale Partnership and the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce had recommended not proceeding with the ordinance.
"I have had a lot of comments," said DeVrieze.
He then made a motion not to proceed with the ordinance.
It passed 5-1 with Smith voting no.
Voting of the ordinance were DeVrieze, Jennings, Monaghan, Juanita Pisano and Jim Brennan. Councilman Mike Slish was not at the meeting.
It appears a lot of work is going to take place over the next several months when it comes to the downtown area of the borough.
Page 4 of 5 - UGI officials are going to be installing new gas lines in the downtown area, including mains and the accompanying hook-ups to various buildings.
Recently, it was announced that UGI would be doing the work during the overnight hours as requested by PennDOT.
That work, it was pointed out, is for the main lines only, which is what is controlled by PennDOT.
Doney pointed out the permit does allow UGI to work during the daytime to do the building hook-ups.
What that means, said Doney, is there will be two crews and work will be taking place "24/7."
Brennan said he thought the borough should require UGI to do the same thing on the side streets. He said they can do the hook-ups during the day but should do the main work during the nighttime hours.
That motion passed. Work should be starting in the near future. It will take place Mondays through Thursdays in the borough.
Also brought up Monday was the ongoing discussion about the one-way streets in the borough.
Last year, the council approved forming a committee to study the possibility of changing the streets back to two way.
Jennings on Monday made a motion to spend up to $2,800 for a study of traffic accidents on Main and Church streets.
"I am a little bit confused," said Smith about the motion. "What are we going to get out of this?"
Jennings said it is "part of the ongoing material" needed by the committee, who he said wants to recommend the streets go back to two way in the downtown area.
When the vote was taken, it was 4-2 with Smith and Monaghan dissenting.
Page 5 of 5 - Monaghan said he was "all for" going back to two-way streets but thought the cost of the study was too expensive.
In other business, the council:
• Heard a report from Honesdale Borough Police Chief Joe LoBasso concerning the speed minders which were in place on Main Street from May 22-28.
He said during that time, there were roughly 20,000 vehicles which went through the borough.
He said the average speed on Main Street was 21 miles-per-hour, which is below the speed limit of 25.
On Church Street, the chief said the average speed was 26.2.
The chief is hoping to get another permanent speed minder on Main Street to compliment the one on Church Street which was paid for with a large donation from the Greater Honesdale Partnership.
• Approved a request from the Wayne County Public library to close one block of 14th Street for their annual "Truck Petting Zoo" event.
• Approved having two handicapped parking spaces in front of the Honesdale Assembly of God Church on Church Street.
• Gave the green light for Camp Raninu officials to use Central Park on Aug. 1 for a barbecue.
• Gave permission to Wendy St. Clair to remove four trees near the Old Methodist cemetery. The trees will be removed at the expense of St. Clair.
• Voted unanimously to approve a lease agreement with the Honesdale Little Baseball Association.
That issue came up a few months ago and was contentious between the association and the borough.
But in the end, the borough agreed to an exclusive 25-year lease with the HLBA for a single payment of $1.