Ridgway Borough Council on Zoom

Ridgway Borough Council members are pictured during the Jan. 18 meeting via Zoom.

RIDGWAY — Pastor Ron Burkett started off Monday evening’s Ridgway Borough Council meeting by saying a prayer for the late Tom “T.O.” Fitch’s grieving family, hoping for peace and comfort during this time.

Burkett also led a prayer for Ridgway Borough Police Department Chief Ralph Tettis, who is recovering from COVID-19.

Mayor Guillermo Udarbe also brought up Fitch, a renowned name in the Ridgway community, saying his recent death has been “very bad for everyone.”

During the “T.O. Train” held Jan. 16, following Fitch’s funeral service, Udarbe said he was standing near the Ridgway-Elk Welcome Center, when Fitch’s casket passed where he was standing. He recalled looking at the place near the Elk County Courthouse, where Fitch hung banners regularly announcing local events.

“T.O., to me, was an unsung hero,” said Udarbe.

He also noted the COVID vaccination process is “very slow.”

Borough ManagerRidgway Borough Manager Paul McCurdy updated members on a few matters, including grants the state has available for recycling facility. Those funds have been reallocated toward COVID-related expenses.

“We will not be building anything new for the recycling containers,” he said.

Mark Martinez will be replacing Paul Bullers, who is resigning in February, as a garbage crew man for the borough, said McCurdy.

McCurdy also brought up the topic of possibly purchasing AV (audio visual) equipment for an unbudgeted expense of $6,000, given the uneasiness that came from council’s last attempt at broadcasting a meeting.

The options are to stick with Zoom meetings, says McCurdy, or purchase the AV equipment to livestream meetings. This would allow council to meet in person but broadcast live.

Ultimately, it was agreed the equipment is not a necessity, and Zoom meetings will suffice.

McCurdy also noted with COVID vaccines coming along, borough workers are in the Phase 1C section.

President Sam MacDonald noted he is not aware of large employers requiring the vaccine.

“I’d like to, at the very least, make them available, at the borough’s expense,” he said.

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