The Riverside Borough Council met on Monday, May 4, 2020 in the Municipal Building, 415 Dewart Street, Riverside, PA. The meeting was called to order by President John Domanski. Present in the building were President John Domanski, Vice President Barb Kriner, Council Member Brian Whitenight and Mayor John LaMotte, as well as Secretary Deborah Bausch. Joining by telecommunications were Council Members Carolyn Bausch, Beth Rake, Peter Fleming, Kevin Romansik and Solicitor Joseph Michetti. The only other phone in participant was Chief Kerry Parkes; no other citizens participated.
Minutes of April 20, 2020 were reviewed and approved on a Motion by Peter Fleming; seconded by Carolyn Bausch. All voted in favor.
Budget Report for March 2020 was approved on a Motion by Carolyn Bausch and seconded by Beth Rake. All voted for.
Next reviewed were the reports of the Zoning Officer, Street Department, Southside Fire Company and Riverside Police. All reports were approved on a Motion by Vice President Barb Kriner; seconded by Brian Whitenight with all being in favor.
Mayor John LaMotte then spoke to council regarding the scheduled Memorial Day Service. He has suggested that we postpone our service since we will be so fresh off the COVID 19 stay home order. Montour County will not be having their parade or service. There was much discussion on how to proceed. President John Domanski suggested contacting Danville and doing a joint service; perhaps at the stadium that has lots of room to handle safe distance guidelines. John LaMotte stressed the importance of the safety of our residents. Beth Rake stated soft openings are resulting in many deaths to date. Carolyn Bausch agreed that people are fragile but we should not cancel. One date suggested was July 4, 2020 as was Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2020. Carolyn Bausch stated there is possibly a 2nd wave to hit in the fall so November may not be a good choice. Peter Fleming stated we are in unchartered territory with an increase in death rates. Vice President Barb Kriner asked Beth Rake about the portion of people counted and Beth Rake responded that the count is of everybody. President John Domanski then asked council if everyone was in agreement to postpone the Memorial Day Service and it was noted all responded yes. Mayor John LaMotte stated he would contact John Novak, head of Veteran’s Affairs, Montour County to see what plans can be made. Mayor’s Report was approved on a Motion by Carolyn Bausch and seconded by Beth Rake. All voted for.
Solicitor Joseph Michetti then stated the Borough needed to appoint a Pandemic Response Officer who is usually the EMA Officer. His basic duty is to be the chain of command between the borough and PEMA. Carolyn Bausch inquired if the officer should be our mayor? We have already put M. Todd Oberdorf, our EMA officer, in the position when we did our Declaration of Disaster Emergency for the Borough of Riverside, Resolution 20-03-25. Solicitor Michetti then stated it would be necessary to add the title. In response to Carolyn Bausch’s inquiry regarding getting reports presented to council, Solicitor Michetti replied that right now Riverside has no activity to report.
Another question addressed this evening was after the soft opening on May 8, would council return to office meetings. Vice President Barb Kriner felt we could return to regular meetings. Carolyn Bausch, Beth Rake and Kevin Romansik felt they would not be comfortable coming into the office since they work in the public sector. Solicitor Michetti stated the borough could do a hybrid meeting with some here and some phoning in as is the current meeting scenario.
President John Domanski said we would continue to hold meetings as is currently done. Solicitor’s report was approved on a Motion by Carolyn Bausch and seconded by Peter Fleming. All were in favor.
Council revisited the EMA office duty. Kevin Romansik made a Motion to add the title of Pandemic Response Office to M Todd Oberdorf. Motion seconded by Beth Rake. All voted for.
Under new business, President John Domanski spoke of the Real Estate Tax collections. Northumberland County is proposing to keep the discount period of 4/30/2020 but forego penalties on tax bills with them due by December 31, 2020. Vice President Barb Kriner felt it was a good idea with so many people not able to work; Brian Whitenight agreed with that. On a Motion by Beth Rake and Seconded by Peter Fleming, Riverside Borough will forego any tax penalty on collections with taxes due by December 31, 2020.
Conversation then went to the playground being opened. Carolyn Bausch felt it was too dangerous to do that. Vice President Barb Kriner stated signs could be placed and it would be up to the parents to decide if they wanted to use the playground with their children. She emphasized it is our park and not some other area we are looking at. Guidance from the State has not been consistent. Per MARC announcements, the Danville Skate Park will be opening with some limitations in place. Peter Fleming felt we should err on the side of safety. Solicitor Michetti suggested checking with other areas as to what they were doing. On a Motion by Carolyn Bausch and seconded by Brian Whitenight, opening the park was tabled until the May 18, 2020 meeting. All voted for. While on this topic, opening the office was discussed. The office door will be open to the public who will need to wear a face mask to come in to conduct business. One person per visit is how the visitors will be limited in coming into the office.
Brian Whitenight then addressed council with an upcoming event which is not open to the public. He will be having a vendor video tape the fireworks that he sells. This will be done at the farm market on May 9th and will be only himself and the video tape recorder operator. Carolyn Bausch stated all should wear a mask; Beth felt no problem with doing the recording. Solicitor Michetti stated since it is after the May 8th opening, it would be okay. Business can now have 25 people and again Carolyn Bausch stressed the masks and social distancing. Peter Fleming stated staying 6’ apart would not be a problem for Brian’s video programming.
Final agenda item was the MARC Agreement of Cooperation. This Agreement is being reviewed to add Mahoning Township to the membership of MARC. Carolyn Bausch stated that more support would be more advantageous for all. Brian Whitenight questioned our involvement since it is Montour County and Riverside is Northumberland County; it was explained we are very much a part of MARC and already have a signed Agreement with them. On a Motion by Brian Whitenight and seconded by Vice President Barb Kriner, Agreement to sign the MARC Cooperation to add Mahoning Township was approved. All voted in favor.
At approximately 7:44 pm, Carolyn Bausch made a Motion to adjourn; seconded by Peter Fleming.
Council Meeting Adjourned.
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