Bid opening, finances also discussed

— An update was given on the CVS project at Monday's meeting of the Honesdale Borough council, but it remains unclear exactly when the new business will open.

Gary Pollock, representing the Zaremba Group of Lakewood, Ohio, the company in charge of the project, gave council members the update.

One of the issues at hand is the truck turning radius at the intersection of Fourth and Main streets. That intersection is going to be widened slightly as part of the project.

He said in early September, PennDOT officials notified them there were no more comments concerning the official paperwork related to the intersection.

However, he said they are "still waiting" on the final notification from PennDOT before they can proceed with the work at the intersection.

In addition, Pollock discussed the right-out only driveway located near the bridge on Fourth Street. He said they cannot submit the plans for that turnout until they get finalization on the intersection portion of the project.

Pollock said they "hope" to get the final approval for the intersection this week and then get the permit for the turnout shortly thereafter.

He said they are hoping by the end of the month the work will be done "because we actually might get permits from PennDOT."

Last month, CVS officials said they were hoping to have the new store open by Oct. 1.

At the meeting Monday, Pollock said he would be "happy to return" to the next council meeting in October to give members an update.

During the August meeting of the council, a vote was taken concerning when CVS could actually open the building.

Councilman Harry DeVrieze made a motion.

It reads in full: "I move to withhold the issuance of any and all Honesdale Borough use and or occupancy permits relative to the CVS subdivision, land development and construction project until the applicant has fully and completely complied with any and all aspects of the Development Agreement between Honesdale Borough and Pennsylvania CVS Pharmacy, LLC, including, but not limited to, Honesdale Borough Traffic Engineer and PennDOT approval of the supplemental plans of and for the turning radius at the intersection of Main and Fourth Streets, and the Right-Turn-Only exit to Route 6 East, and to require Borough Council concurrence and approval of any permit applications submitted and or requested by the Developer."

The motion was seconded by councilwoman Juanita Pisano.

DeVrieze said he wanted to ensure "the job's not finished until PennDOT says it's done."

He said he doesn't want "any temporary permits of any kind until it's done. This reassures the borough the work will be done."

When the vote was taken last month, it passed 4-2.

Smith and council president F.J. Monaghan voted against the motion. Voting for it were Pisano, DeVrieze, Jennings and Jim Brennan.

Bid opening

Also during Monday night's meeting, bids were announced for the backflow prevention devices which have to be installed at borough hall, the department of public works and the police station.

DeVrieze, chairman of the building and zoning committee, announced the bids.

However, when he made a recommendation, the low bid was not accepted.

The bids were as follows:

• Don Hiller Plumbing & Heating, $1,502.63

• LH Reed & Sons, Inc., $1,892

• Aqua, $2,627

DeVrieze made a motion to accept the second-lowest bid from LH Reed.

When questioned about it by public works director Rich Doney, DeVrieze said he "felt more comfortable with Reed."

The council did vote unanimously to accept the bid.

Big payday

Finance committee chairman Scott Smith reported the borough is running nearly $200,000 over budget for expenses this year.

Part of that, he said, is because of the payout which the borough had to make to former police chief Joe LoBasso who recently resigned.

That payout was over $35,000, according to payroll records from the borough.

It was paid to LoBasso on Aug. 2.

That amount includes $21,290 in sick leave as well as $11,172 in vacation pay.

LoBasso's total pay for 2013 was $69,411.14, according to the records.

After taxes, his total net pay was just under $50,000.

Smith said another factor is a grant received for the new police vehicle. That grant has now been received and will appear in the financial statement next month.

Smith also said with contingencies and expected income, the borough "should be" all right when it comes to the bottom line.

He did, however, say "we have to keep a close eye" on the expenses for the rest of the year.

Concerning the 2014 budget, Smith said all of the department heads and council members will have their packets by the end of this week so the budgeting process can begin.

Other business

In other business:

• The council approved several requests from the Greater Honesdale Partnership, all related to upcoming Christmas season events.

• A letter was read from Grace Hatton concerning the Revolutionary Soldiers monument on Park Street.

Doney reported the condition of the monument as "really bad" and said it would take up to $1,000 to repair.

The council voted 7-0 to approve up to $1,000 to fix the monument.

• The council awarded the anti-skid materials bid to low bidder E.R. Linde Construction. The total amount was $4,708 for approximately 400 tons.

• Safety committee chairman Jennings reported the "railroad exempt" signs for the Fourth Street crossing should be installed by Friday of this week or Monday of next week at the latest.

That will allow school buses and other vehicles to proceed through the crossing without stopping. It was expected those signs would already by installed but there was a delay, said Jennings.

• The council approved a subdivision plan form Rogue Investments pending legal review.

• The members voted to appoint Steve Bates to the planning commission. Former member Margaret Allen recently resigned.

• The council voted 7-0 to hire a part-time employee for the public works department. That person will work 30 hours per week at a rate of $10 per hour. The department will now have two part-time employees.

• DeVrieze said he had concerns about recording devices interfering with the taping system used at the meetings.

The borough still uses an antiquated cassette tape system to record its meetings.

The Pennsylvania Sunshine Act says, in part, "a person attending a meeting of an agency shall have the right to use recording devices to record all the proceedings."

DeVrieze also said he was concerned about the use of cell phones during executive sessions.

DeVrieze said members need "to be reminded" that no recording devices are allowed during executive sessions. He said all phones "should be turned off."