RIMERSBURG – “Where did the water go?” That was one of the main questions asked at last Tuesday night’s meeting of Rimersburg Borough Council.
Facing an increase in water use and three suspected leaks somewhere in town, the leaks also threaten to increase costs to the borough. Rimersburg has its water piped in and purchases it from East Brady, while the Rimersburg Municipal Authority then charges its own customers.
Borough maintenance supervisor Frank McNaughton reported the increasing usage in recent months and local investigations suggest at least two possible leaks along with a new leak in the last week.
“I contacted American Leak Detection in Pittsburgh and we had them in 2013,” McNaughton told the council at the Jan. 2 meeting. “They are a little expensive and have a minimum of $750 to come here. They quoted me a price of $1,300 a day and they could probably get about five hours in a day. We found [a leak] today that could be a big one, but we need to bring them up here to pinpoint the leaks.”
Crick said the missing water is expensive and could cost the borough a lot in the long run.
“I did a quick calculation, and what we’ve budgeted is based on leaks and not people dripping faucets. It would cost us an additional $45,000 to East Brady for over what we budgeted if that continues,” said Crick. “That’s how serious it is. $1,300 is cheap.”
Rimersburg has had Pennsylvania Rural Water Association come in to look for leaks a couple of times, but they have not found anything. McNaughton checked with American Leak Detection and it could not do anything until next Tuesday because they were too busy.
“My suggestion would be to get them up here for tomorrow, and if they don’t find anything more than the three leaks, we get them fixed and see how much can be covered tomorrow (Wednesday),” said McNaughton.
Council gave consensus for the decision.
“See where your usage is after their visit and get them fixed,” said Crick.
“You’re fighting a battle you’re never going to win because now you’ve got frost and it’s moving everything,” said councilman T.L. Stewart.
Council also held its biannual reorganizational meeting last week, with mostly reappointments.
Crick was nominated to serve again as president and he accepted, noting that he had hoped someone else would step forward. Lark Palm was also reappointed vice president. Council members include Pamela Curry, Mark Deeter (new), K. Scott Myers, Palm, Dan Stewart (new and unable to attend), and T.L. Stewart. Mayor Ken Corle was present to swear in new members and those who were re-elected.
Other reappointments included Patty Alworth to the Rimersburg Borough Municipal Authority, Tom Curry to the Zoning Hearing Board, Northwest Savings Bank as depository, Bill Hager as solicitor, Don Hosey as emergency operations coordinator, and Kyle Fritz of the EADS Group as borough engineer.
Although a representative of the Southern Clarion County Regional Police Department did not attend the meeting last week, which was held on a different day than usual due to the start of the year, the council had several questions regarding police operations.
Council previously asked police to enforce more of the borough ordinances, but one council member had questions after he received a ticket and letter regarding snow on his home’s sidewalks.
“Basically, what they said was that the borough codes require that the sidewalks be cleared within 24 hours on any sidewalk that provides access to the general public,” said Crick. “Does that mean sidewalks into my house? Do we have the right to say to people to shovel all of the sidewalks on their property?”
The consensus appeared to be that all of the sidewalks that provided public access along the major roadways were intended by the ordinance.
“Do we need to rewrite it or just tell them it’s just along the state or borough right-of-way?” Crick asked. “That was my understanding of it and I didn’t want to argue with the ticket. We have an obligation to do that and no business doing the other. I don’t think we need to change it, but just tell the police our interpretation of it. Where do you draw the line?”
Myers said he will talk to the police.
“I don’t want to belabor that or stifle enforcement of ordinances, because that needs to be done,” said Crick.
“You’re sounding like Archie Bunker,” Curry joked.
The council also questioned a recent invoice from police reflecting a 3.7 percent increase in the cost Rimersburg pays to New Bethlehem for the police service each month. A 3 percent increase was budgeted for in 2018 and 3.7 percent would mean a difference of $316.30 per year.
Crick and other council members agreed that a 3 percent increase was what was negotiated with New Bethlehem, and instructed borough secretary Dana Solida to pay the 3 percent.
In another financial question, the agenda included three large transfers from checking accounts to interest-bearing accounts, and Solida asked if there should be a motion authorizing her to make the transfers.
“I don’t think we need a motion,” said Crick. “I’d like to see it just happen on a regular basis and whenever we see there is surplus money in there and it’s not doing us any good, to at least move it over to where it’s earning interest. I don’t think you have to bring it to us because it’s going to cause trouble for you if you run out of money in the checking account for bills and you have to transfer money back. Exercise good judgment with it.”
Parking Near School Causes Concern
“There seems to be a problem at the elementary school with people parking at the side alley and parking right up to the stop sign and don’t really give enough room to get through there,” said Palm. “I know they come to pick up their kids and it’s cold out, but if they would just park in the church parking lot and stay there until the buses leave and then pull up, there would be some free area to park.”
Curry said the problem has been there for years.
“There has always been a race to be the first one to pick up your kid,” said Curry. “It is dangerous. My opinion is they need someone from the school to stand out in the bus circle and police it because it is the school’s policy that you’re not allowed up there until after the buses have left. There are people that push it and push it.”
Crick pointed out that the school district does contract with the police for basketball games at the school, and since the same police force provides protection for the school and the town, perhaps the school could use them for a solution. Palm will check with the school.
Rimersburg Borough Council Committee appointments for 2018-2019 include:
Personnel: T.L. Stewart, Chair, Scott Myers and Lark Palm.
Public Safety: Scott Myers, Chair, Mark Deeter, Dan Stewart and Mayor Corle.
Buildings: Pam Curry, Chair, Mark Deeter and T.L. Stewart.
Streets: Lark Palm, Chair, Pam Curry and Dan Stewart.