RIVERSIDE BOROUGH COUNCIL
The Riverside Borough Council met in the Municipal Building, 415 Dewart Street, Riverside on Monday, January 15, 2024 at 7:00pm. Meeting was called to order by President Steve Wagner.
Council members present:
Vice President Beth Rake, Peter Fleming, Barb Kriner and Ken Gardner.
Also present was Mayor John LaMotte, Zoning Officer Brian Anderson and Secretary Lisa Fritz.
John Domanski and Delavan Whitenight Jr
Citizen (s) present:
Resident Ashly Skrine
Pledge of Allegiance
Citizens to be Heard:
Resident, Mr. Skrine stated he was only in the audience to observe. He did say he was recently new to the area and asked if anyone could recommend a Dentist. Several people offered local Dentists’.
Approval of the minutes of January 2, 2024.
Barb Kriner made a motion to approve the minutes, Peter Fleming seconded the Motion. Approved by all.
East and West Sewer Projects: Barb Kriner stated the Borough was notified that Northumberland County was giving Grants out for infrastructure projects and the deadline to apply was the end of week they were contacted. John Domanski contacted LDG and asked for prices for the two (2) sewer projects that the Borough was working on. LDG estimated one million ($1,000,000.00) for each project. The Borough also applied for Grant money for the school; however, that project did not qualify for that particular Grant. The Borough received $1,000,000.00 ($500,000.00 each for the East End and West End projects). Barb Kriner stated when they applied for the sewer Grants, they did it fast; John Domanski contacted Larson Design Group and told them the information needed to be sent to Northumberland County as soon as possible for a Grant to do these projects. Ken Gardner stated at the ‘Town Hall Meeting’, Larson Design Group estimated the West End project to be $1,600,000.00 to $2,000,000.00. Now the estimate for the West End is at $2,500,000.00 and the East End project is estimated at $1,500,000.00. John LaMotte stated the total estimated Sewer project comes to $4,500,000.00; we have $1,000,000.00 in Grant monies. John L asked if the Borough could afford to pay $3,500,000.00. Barb Kriner said that is a “hellacious” amount of money. Ken said according to the loan, the funding does not pay for laterals or hook-up. John L stated there is approximately $50,000.00 in delinquent sewer bills. Liens are placed on properties over the amount of $500.00; but payment(s) are only received if a property with a lien on it is sold. John L questioned why we have not pursued a collection agency versus placing Liens. Council discussed increasing the penalty fee from the current $5.00 per quarter to a higher amount or a percentage. Peter stated our quarterly fee for sewer is less than other areas.
Ken Gardner made a Motion to change the sewer late fee to 15% per quarter. Peter seconded the Motion. All in Favor.
Steve did speak with Katie from Hailstone, asking her if we decide not to move ahead with the sewer projects, do we have to pay the entire grant monies received back or just the proportion we’ve used so far.
Ken Gardner asked when the present sewer was done for West End Project. Barb felt it was done in the 1970’s. She stated larger lines should have been installed versus the four (4) inch lines they did install. Barb said the Borough received a notice from DEP saying the mound was not functioning properly. She said, Council at that time, went with the cheapest option, as it was another $15,000.00 back then to install the eight (8) inch lines. Barb stated Nitrate and Phosphate readings are high at times now. Peter Fleming asked why Riverside levels are higher than other communities. Beth Rake stated there are no set limits to what the levels should be. Ken Gardner asked if the driving force for the sewer project(s) is the Danville Plant. Barb Kriner said yes, it is Danville. Beth said there was an issue in Sunny Acres regarding pumping up. Barb stated Sunny Acres was a whole project, with all sewer lines hooked up to the main line. Barb stated that Brian Whitenight had previously gotten information to sell the sewer, but Council Members did not want to sell because they worried about the fee increases for residents. Ken stated if we sell, there would be professional working with the Plant and sewer fees would be controlled by PUC. John L asked if we could explore both selling and replacement? If sold, prices would be controlled by the PUC (Public Utility Commission). There is an issue at the Janice Drive pump station when it rains, the pumps cannot handle all the water. Barb stated the main section of Riverside has terracotta pipes and that could be a part of the problem. John l asked how many lines were run with PVC, Barb said they went all the way on Avenue D. Brian Anderson stated an Ordinance was placed into effect to have laterals’ inspected once a property is sold. Brian also stated inspections have been done in Sunny acres with no bad inspections to date. Brian said Sunbury Rd down has the most issues during inspections. In five (5) years, Brian said he has only found a few sub-pumps going into the drainage. He feels the water has to be coming in from some holding tanks. Ken recommended to have Brian and Dan search where the extra water is coming from.
In 2023, Riverside Borough paid $206,000.00 to Danville Borough for processing sewage, maintenance and call-outs. Danville Borough stated the sewer is an inconvenience to them. Steve state the sewer line running across the Susquehanna River is a liability.
Steve Wagner gave some options for Council to consider:
1). Continue to fix and repair
2). Purchase our own Plant
3). Sell the Sewer
Generator - the estimates for a Generator came in at: $13,000.00 for Engineering costs, plus $61,821.00 for the generator. Ken Gardner stated the quote is not complete and does not include prevailing rates for the natural gas line from UGI to engine. Danville Borough gave us a generator quote for over $125,000.00.
Budget – Steve asked Council if they wanted to re-visit the Budget. He said we are constantly pulling money from the kitty to pay bills. Barb stated the deficit for the 2024 Budget was $35,000.00. She said after receiving State Pension funding, we only have to put approximately $20,000.00 in the General Fund. Peter asked if a Tax increase was necessary. Barb stated she felt it was 2019 when they increased taxes by ½ Mill. Barb said they did not budget as much for paving this year, so they will not be able to do as much paving. The Money Market account is for rainy days. The Capital Reserve has $95,000.00 and hasn’t been touched. Kerry Parkes stated, the Budget didn’t start at zero and there is wiggle room to trade in for a newer Police vehicle. He stated, historically, Riverside has never budgeted enough money for vehicle purchases. Kerry said he looks ahead to project what he needs in the future. Beth said she does not want to re-open the Budget for this year. She would like to review the Budget each quarter. Peter feels looking at the Budget each quarter will keep everyone abreast of the Budget status. Barb made a Motion to approve quarterly financial meetings, with Peter seconding. All in Favor.
Brian Anderson gave a brief description of the process –
* Zoning permit, BIU (Building Inspection Underwriters of Pennsylvania, Inc) does the inspections. They notify Brian when the permit is done.
* Customer picks up the permit.
* BIU does inspections at different stages and gives the final approval. Contractors usually let BIU know the stages of construction.
* If a permit is obtained for fencing, shed, etc. those repairs/improvements do not require inspection from BIU.
Beth said she plans to do a St. Patrick’s Day event in the Park.
Beth suggested to have one person manage the Boro Life checkbook. Peter made a Motion to have Beth manage the Boro Life checkbook. Barb seconded. All in Favor.
Police vehicle – Kerry stated a Police vehicle was ordered and there is money in the budget. Ken Gardner asked Kerry if a vehicle purchase was brought to the table for Council to approve? Ken stated, we need to vote on all purchases as a whole. Kerry said it was not brought before Council, as it was in the budget for a vehicle. Kerry stated the purchase is through Co-Stars, which is a buying program for Municipalities. Ken asked Kerry why they need three (3) vehicles. Kerry stated at times, there is more than one (1) person working; they do speed traps and DUI checkpoints. Also, if one vehicle breaks down, they have another one to use. Kerry stated vehicle purchases are on a three (3) year rotation. Ken said he feels three (3) Police vehicles is too many for the community. Steve Wagner stated, “bottom line is, we need to discuss purchases”. John LaMotte said in past years, Council always knew the Police were purchasing a vehicle, but this time no one knew about the purchase.
Locks – Steve asked if we need different locks for the office. He also said some filing cabinets do not lock and we need to change that to keep everything secure. Council will discuss changing the locks at a future meeting.
Street Department Coverage – Steve asked if we need to have a part-time person to help with plowing in the winter and leaf collection in the fall. Barb mentioned to put something in the employee handbook to not allow any time off for the Street Department employees during winter. Steve stated that wouldn’t be fair and we were not going to do that. Peter spoke with Nathan Apple (former part-time Street Depart employee) to see if he might be available to help out, but Nathan said his schedule is unknown; as sometimes he is told he must work overtime just as his shift is ending, or he gets called in. Barb feels we should advertise for a part-time employee. Beth mentioned to have Kerry help plow when someone is off.
Motion to Approve:
Appointment of a Pro-Tem. Ken Gardner made a Motion to appoint Peter Fleming as Pro-Tem. Beth seconded. All in Favor.
No actions items were discussed.
At 9:05pm, Steve made a Motion to move into Executive Session, with Ken Seconding. All in Favor.
At 10:25pm, Peter made a Motion to adjourn and Ken seconded. All in Favor.
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