Request heard to name alleys

LEWISTOWN – The Lewistown Borough Council has received a request to give official names to several of the alleys located within the borough.

The request came Monday evening during the council’s regular meeting. Don Howe, of Mifflin County Emergency Services, said his agency would like to see names given to the alleys where residents live. Having those alleys named would make it easier for emergency responders to quickly find those homes, Howe said.

“We want to get rid of the points system, where a resident says something along the lines of ‘The third gate on the right after turning left from the light,” Howe said. “The alley names would only be used for map purposes at the center, signs do not have to go up.”

Solicitor Jeff Snook expressed concern that some residents could become upset if some alleys receive names but others do not. Council President Russ Rager said it was decided at a previous meeting in June that alleys can be named by the county.

Rager also said only about four alleys have residents and those would be the only ones named. Howe said if the center can have names on the map it gives the responders a better point of reference, which could improve the response time.

“If we do not allow this to happen it could turn into a safety hazard during incidents,” Rager said.

The council voted to have the county name the alleys for use in the 911 center.

Also discussed was the condemned property at 216 East Third Street. The council said the property is now officially a safety concern and needs to be demolished. It was discussed that due to the residents on either side of the condemned property legal actions need to be taken to begin the demolition process. Rager said CDBG money could be used for demolition, so no tax money would be involved.

The council approved a motion for Snook to proceed with the legal action, with Council Member Larry Searer casting the only dissenting vote.

Residents of Montgomery Avenue were present to discuss what they described as an overwhelming population of stray cats that seem to reside there. Gloria Micheals said the cats are using the lawns and personal property as a litter box and the smell is beginning to get out of control.

“We, the residents, are getting concerned with the health risks this poses,” Micheals said. “People who have rented property have left behind their cats when they leave.”

The council asked Code Enforcement Officer Rex Fink if he would compose a letter to the residents of the street to stop feeding the animals and to contact the rental property owners, to make them aware of the situation and to tell those owners that they could become liable in the future. It also was decided was to create a law ordinance for the area to help prevent people from feeding the stray cats.

Lewistown Police Chief William Herkert said the department had received a grant from the federal government called the School Resource Grant. This grant will provide funding for the officers assigned to patrol the school buildings within the borough.

“The grant was given after the council applied for it,” Herkert said. “We will not get the money, however, until the (federal government) shutdown is over.”

The council adopted the changes to the Fire Department ordinance that previously were approved at its Sept. 23 meeting. The adopted changes were advertised and the borough is now accepting applications for a full-time fire chief. Applications for the position are available at the second floor borough administration offices until Oct. 28.

Lewistown resident Mark Remy said a brake retarder ordinance is needed for some roads in the borough. Remy said the complete list of roads is not yet ready to be advertised, but the council said most of the roads involved are the ones serviced by PennDOT. The council gave approval for Snook, Fink and Remy to meet and discuss the roads in question and to submit the application to PennDOT.

Council Member Matt Moore gave an update on the phone system at the Waste Water Treatment Plant. Moore said the internet is in place and Comcast will be coming out to look at the structure needed for the borough to install the system. The council also voted to pay the bills associated with the plant and the change orders from Robert Johnson Plumbing and Heating Company. Moore also said the phone system at the borough office has been updated. Some important numbers to know at the office are: Administration Office: 248-1361, Codes Office: 242-1145, Refuse Office: 248-1331, Tax Office: 248-8607, and the Police Department: 248-6716.

The council also discussed changing the way street and trench restoration projects are handled in the future. The change will be to have the company doing the digging also handle the final paving after the project is completed. Rager said the borough currently handles the final paving, which costs more money. The council said this change would require more of a security deposit from the company and final payments would not be made until the completed project is inspected and approved by the borough.

Members of the council also said they have started the interview process to hire a permanent borough manager.

Also discussed:

– Board of Recreation Minutes

– Approved a request from Jim Zubler for use of fire police on Oct. 25

– Renewal of Geisinger Health Plan on Dec. 1

– Approved the Mifflin County Planning and Development Agreement to provide planning services for 2014

– FAME EMS financial statements were approved

– Facility request from Juniata River Valley Visitors Bureau for Ice Fest

– Facility request to close portion of South Brown Street on Oct. 23 for installation of air conditioner on roof

– Approved a handicapped parking request at 356 West Fifth Street

– Approved sewer exoneration request at 68 Central Avenue

The Lewistown Borough Council meets on the second and fourth Mondays of every month at 5:30 p.m..