BROOKVILLE — A vote of 3-2 with one abstention kept the Brookville Borough Council from sending an Act 152 support letter to the Jefferson County Commissioners.
The Act allows for a fee of up to $15 for recording a deed in the county. The money would be put into a pool and Jefferson County municipalities would be able to apply for the money to fight blighted properties.
Borough manager Dana Schreckengost said she had reached out to the commissioners but had not heard back as to whether they were in favor of Act 152 or not.
At the commissioners’ last meeting of December they responded to a question about Act 152 and noted that they were not inclined to enact it as they believed the blighted property issue was better handled at the municipal level, noting that municipalities had “more tools in their toolbelt” in regards to blighted properties.
Councilman Randy Bartley said he thought the council should “make their case personally to the commissioners and explain a few things to them. This is an excellent move by the Legislature and an opportunity we should not overlook.”
Council Vice President Bill Kutz said, “I’m not interested in Brookville people having to spend a surcharge tax for people in Brockway to get their houses fixed up.”
“Well turn it around Bill. People in Punxsutawney and Brockway may be paying the surcharge tax to eliminate a property in Brookville,” Bartley replied.
The surcharge would only be for those people buying or selling a house. Solicitor Jim Dennison said the current fee was around $60 to record a deed so the surcharge would bring it up to $75. Mortgages were not included, several members of council noted.
Bartley noted that the county would have to set up a board to arbitrarily decide what applications would be funded and which would not, the same as it does with the hotel tax money.
“We sit around wringing our hands and waiting for our own funds to build up and we wait forever to do that. This is a chance to maybe get a few more dollars. Because nothing is going to happen without the money to grease the wheels,” Bartley said. He then made a motion that a letter be sent. Council President Pro-Tem Karen Allgeier seconded the motion.
A roll call vote had Bartley and Allgeier as the only affirmative votes. Kutz and Councilmen Rick Baughman and Dave Ferringer voted no and Councilman Ken King abstained from voting. Council President Phil Hynes was absent.
Council did approve the transfer of money between two accounts so that electric bills could be paid.
Brookville Borough Police Chief Vince Markle reported the following for December: 164 calls for service, 36 citations, 41 warnings, nine parking tickets, 13 felonies, 28 misdemeanors, one drug arrest and 16 summaries.
The police department is going to be signing a revised contract with the Brookville Area School District. There was one word both parties were hung up on so the word will be changed. “Basically, what it is one of the billing items says one payment yearly where it should be one payment monthly. So we’re goimg to get that corrected,” Markle said.
The wording will be corrected at the school board’s Jan. 21 meeting, and then Markle will bring the revised contract back to council for signatures.
Markle reported that police officers utizling the online Police One Academy have completed 298 classes to date, including 75 classes in December.
Markle also noted that the department received a $1,000 from the Brookville Firemens Club for new radios as well as an anonymous donation for $7,221 to put toward the radios. Markle said the community have been very generous and the police department cannot thank them enough.
The Brookville Volunteer Fire Company had 209 calls in 2018. Those calls included:
- Structure/building fires/electrical/smoke odor –29 calls
- Passenger/freight vehicle fires – 7 calls
- Brush/dumpster/outside fires – 4 calls
- EMS/ Medical assists – 12 calls
- Motor vehicle accidents – 55 calls
- Victim removal (lock in)/elevator rescue – 2 calls
- High angle rescue – 1 call
- Hazardous condition/ gasoline combustible/flammable liquid spills – 21 calls
- Gas leaks (Natural or LPG) – 8 calls
- Carbon monoxide incidents – 7 calls
- Police assist/missing persons – 16 calls
- Power lines down –3 calls
- Flood assessment/water problem – calls
- AFA/false alarms/system or detector malfunction – 22 calls
- Standby/cover assignments – 5 calls
- Severe weather/wind storm/disaster – 4 calls
- Special type incidents/other – 6 calls
Deputy Fire Chief Ryan Pearsall noted that firefighters had responded to a bad accident on Interstate 80 that involved entrappment. He said assistance was provided by Pine Creek Fire Department and the accident victim was extracted from the vehicle within 20 minutes.
A tractor trailer had rolled over the embankment on I-80 Westbound. The accident happened Jan. 3.
The next council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 15, at 7 p.m.