Borough looks to restrict parking

Ordinance that would prevent parking on home lawns discussed

LEWISTOWN — An ordinance pertaining to vehicles parking on lawns was discussed during the Monday evening’s meeting of the Lewistown Borough Council.

The ordinance, should it be adopted, would prevent residents from parking on their own lawns. Solicitor Mark Remy said preventing cars from parking on lawns would stop excessive lawn damage and prevent home values from decreasing.

Council members asked about people parking on sidewalks, which Remy said is already covered under the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s codes.

“Police could already be ticketing for parking on sidewalks under the state law,” he explained.

Members of the council had objections to the potential ordinance and Searer repeatedly asked, “What’s it matter if it’s their own property?” Council member Jim Felmlee said that there are already ordinances that are not enforced, so why should the borough add an other one. Council member Matt Moore commented on the subject saying, “we are making a mountain out of a mole hill with this.”

It was up to the council Monday night to vote to put the ordinance out for advertising so it could potentially be adopted at the next meeting. The council voted no to advertising the ordinance and at this point, and therefore will not pursue implementing it at this time.

Also during the meeting, the Lewistown Borough Finance Committee reported that they had found a way to save the borough a large sum of money.

During Monday night’s meeting of the borough council, two options were presented for next years health care plan.

The options were Geisinger and Capital Blue Cross. According to the committee, while there are many similarities between the options, however, the Capital Blue Cross plan had one major difference.

Through Capital Blue Cross, the borough would look to save nearly $175,000, whereas under Geisinger, insurance would increase by $34,000.

The new plan would replace the current plan that covers employees of the Lewistown Borough.

Borough Manager Scott Welham said that under the new plan, the cost of doctors visits will increase, however the cost of prescriptions will decrease.

“It is a give and take,” he said. “But it saves us money.”

In the end, the council voted in favor of Capital Blue Cross, 5 to 2. Finance Committee Chairman Bill Wilson and Council Vice-President Larry Searer, voted against the new health care plan.

Welham also said that there are more doctors that accept Blue Cross compared to the Geisinger plan.

Additionally, at the meeting, the council approved an agreement with Donald Rothermel.

Remy presented the final agreement, in which Rothermel stated he wishes to donate $43,000 toward the walking trail project. The trail would begin at Victory Park in Lewistown and end at the borough line.

In the agreement, Rothermel asked that the portion of the trail be named after his father and have a sign or plaque placed on the trail. According to the agreement, the borough would be responsible for maintaining the sign.

Remy stated that Rothermel would like to move forward with this donation by the end of the year.

The trail is a combined effort between the county and the planning office. Felmlee asked where the project currently stands, as no update has recently been given, and stated that he would not like to accept the money if the project is not moving forward.

Lucas Parkes, of the EADS Group, said that the money is already available for the first phase of the project, which is the portion under the borough’s responsibility. Parkes said that the project is waiting on permits, but will be moving forward.

The agreement with Rothermel was approved 6 to 1, with Searer voting against the agreement.

Also during the meeting council:

¯ Approved to allow PennDOT to purchase a right-of-way for the Kish Street bridge project.

¯ Approved to spend $15,700 for the materials to rebuild the retaining wall on Richmond Court, with PennDOT supplying the labor.

¯ Approved three handicap parking spaces.

¯ Voted to suspend street sweeping parking enforcement as of Nov. 18 for all streets in the borough except on Chestnut, Market and the first block of Valley streets.

¯ Voted to create a document to prohibit the potential for mini-casinos.

¯ Approved to allow eight parking spaces off Brown Street, along the alley behind Bon-Ton for the use of customers of MCSB.

The council also held an executive session prior to adjournment of the meeting.

During the session, police department personnel and bids for the demolition at 216 East Third Street were discussed.

After the executive session council voted to:

¯ Hire Cody Wilt as a full-time officer with the police department.

¯ Accepted the resignation of officers Luke Ciccolini and Ethan Hummel, and Sgt. Travis Sheaffer.

¯ Re-bid the demolition project.

The Lewistown Borough Council meets at 5 p.m. the second Monday of each month at the Lewistown Borough building.