Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Main Street Boro News Update

Council: Mayor-Randy Gartner, President-Harvey Marshall, Vice President-Abby Wertz, Jeff Gerhart, Bob Pierce, Dave Rohrbach, Mike Kocher, Joyce Phillips, Secretary- Lisa Heilman, Solicitor-Andy George, Engineer-Dave Bright, Police Chief-Scott Wagner. Abby Wertz ran the meeting. Harvey was absent. Joyce Phillips was removed from the Beautification Committee but the aftermath of all her errors will be felt for sometime. The boro has already been billed $3500 in attorney fees for this fiasco and it is sure to be thousands more by the time it is all cleared up. Bids must still be advertised for the shelters and if the current company is not the lowest bidder the boro is responsible for the monies. All 7 council members are on the hook to pay a portion of the cost toward the 2 bus shelters that Phillips illegally signed an agreement for. She also has no agreement from Twinch or the Sunoco to place them on their properties. Sunoco employees claim they do not want a bus shelter which would cause traffic hazards at the already dangerous
intersection. Unless Phillips or someone comes forward to pay for the soon to be delivered shelters council members must foot the bill. Phillips could regain some dignity if she would offer to pay the solicitor and for the shelters as an effort to make amends for her errors. Communication lines between council and the committee got blurred soon after the grant money was awarded. From Jan. of this year until the June meeting council had no idea where and how the committee was spending the money. Council never approved any spending by the committee nor were they presented with the budget of spending that was submitted with the grant application. The unseating of Phillips was handled with the upmost respect from council members. Phillips was given the opportunity to step down at a behind closed door meeting and had agreed but later chose to state her case right up to the seconds before council voted her off. Gartner explained in detail numerous problems with how grant money was handled and the position Phillips has left council in both financially and the embarrassment the committees actions have caused Robesonia. Attorney George also attempted to explain to Phillips the legal issues concerning her signature on a contract she was not authorized to sign. Phillips said she called the bus shelter company and that the shelters were put on hold until these issues are worked through. Atty. George said he also called the shelter company and was told the shelters are finished and ready for delivery. Ouch! After 30 minutes of explanations from both sides Abby made the motion to remove Phillips which was seconded by Pierce and unanimously agreed by council. A motion by Abby to appoint Mike Kocher, seconded by Rohrbach and unanimously agreed upon. Phillips asked if she could still serve on the committee and council said no.   V. Richards ask Atty. George if left over grant money could be used to pay the attorney fees? Grant money is for items and improvements to the Main Street district. There is an allowance of 20% for administration fees but your committee didn’t take advantage of that and that’s why we are all in this mess. Gartner explained that when grants were applied for in the past both the engineer and the solicitor reviewed all actions. Phillips ignored an email from the engineer, SSM, who offered to review documents. Rohrbach made it clear to her that she was not following proper procedure. Rohrbach said she responded by saying she “would rather buy all the goodies she could not advice”. Rohrbach claims she just “would not listen.” She just refuses to admit when she is wrong.”
Bus Shelters for sale.
In other business K. Richards brought to the attention of the boro that the Boca Code book he purchased for $60 is dated 1998 and is missing everything current. He also said the boro website has errors with dates and wrong street names listed on the map. Police officer, Ed Wilson, will not accept the offer from boro on his contracted healthcare coverage. He will be filing a grievance. The boro is working on the 2011 budget. Repaving Maple Street has been advertised for bids. A traffic study required by the state is needed before any further steps can be taken to stop truck traffic on S. Church St. at a cost of $2000+. Boro is considering eliminating playground for 1 year due to poor attendance and interest.
At the workshop meeting council voted to pay $2,470 for the gateway banners and $106 for a bucket truck to install them on the utility poles. EJB was awarded $23,490 to mill Maple Ave. in September. The Main Street Project is back on track with Mike Kocher as chairman. Now that the embarrassment of the Main Street kayos has quieted down rumor has it there is more scandal about to break in Robesonia. Time will tell…
Villa Studio is moving into the empty spot where Bountiful Harvest was.
Joe Nemecs ( Johnny & Hons) new bar is opening in September.
Pizza Hut is opening in September.