Brookville resident Carole Briggs addressed borough council Tuesday night on behalf of Fair Districts PA in regards to gerrymandering.
She was requesting that council give its support for the formation of a citizen redistricting committee in Pennsylvania by approving resolution 544-18 in support of legislative efforts to amend the state Constitution. She noted that 14 counties and 144 municipalities had already given approval for the formation of such a committee.
The group she was representing advocates the appointment of an “impartial, independent citizens commission to direct the redistricting process in 2020.
Solicitor Jim Dennison, asked his opinion on the subject, noted that he was giving his personal opinion, not legal advice. He said – while he is not for or against – the issue is a personal one to many people. Noting that council is elected to represent all of the borough citizens, he said he did not believe that borough council was the right venue for it, suggesting that people should contact Rep. Cris Dush or Sen. Joe Scarnati to voice their opinion on what should be done.
Newly appointed Councilman Randy Bartley said as the issue was not yet settled in the courts, he’d hesitate to act on it at this time and suggested tabling the issue.
Council decided to go along with Bartley’s suggestion and did in fact table any further discussion on the issue. Bartley did comment that tabling the issue meant it could be brought up at a later date.
Special event permits
Council approved two special event permits.
The first was for Light Up Brookville, scheduled to be held Nov. 23, and the second was for Relay of Life, planned for 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Aug. 4 in the town square, with 150 people expected.
New fees for tax collector
At the request of the borough tax collector, council approved resolution 543-18 that establishes a non-sufficient funds as well as a fee for copies and postage. With it’s approval the tax collector will be able to charge $50 for those checks that are returned as result of insufficient funds and will charge 25-cents per copy on any requests for copies plus the cost of postage.
Police department report
Tuesday was police Chief Jason Brown’s last council meeting before his retirement. He noted that the department had 1,231 service calls in January. Of those calls he highlighted the water rescue in January of a man found in Sandy Lick Creek.
Brown said Brookville Borough Police Officer Mick Stormer and Jefferson County Deputy sheriffs Sam Bartley and Mark Humes received a departmental commendation and David Harris, of Reynoldsville, received a citizens commendation, for their actions on Jan. 28.
Fire Department report
It was also a busy month for the Brookville Volunteer Fire Company. There were 31 calls that break down to four structure fires, four activated alarms, a vehicle fire, two flooded basements, a carbon monoxide alarm, a tree down, 10 motor vehicle accidents, two police department assists, four EMS assists, one landing zone, and one water rescue.
The officers of the fire department are also asking motorists that when an emergency vehicle is approaching to please pull over to the right and stop, not slow down and continue. It was noted that more and more the fire company is having some minor issues with people not getting out of the way.
The new ladder truck is expected to be completed Feb. 26. Once it’s complete, members of the fire company will travel to the Wisconsin factory to inspect the truck. After that final inspection, the truck will go to Zelinople, Pa., to another manufacturing facility where mounting brackets and accessories will mounted on the truck before the fire company takes delivery of it at the end of March.
Dave Vallosio, director of Public Works, noted that in January the department used 84 hours of overtime because of snowstorms and has already logged 34 hours of overtime this month. Other than that, Vallosio noted that crews were ready for the snow and freezing rain forecast for Wednesday.
Along with the street snow removal, sidewalks were also discussed. Donald Jonischek, code enforcement officer, noted that they are trying to keep sidewalks clean. He said if anyone has any problem getting their snow remove to give him a call at anytime.
Council ended its meeting by going into an executive session on personnel. Council president Phil Hynes said he wasn’t sure if there would be action taken or not after council reconvened following the executive session. He also noted that the closed meeting could be lengthy.