W-B Council Approves Plan To Fund New Ladder Truck
WILKES-BARRE — City council unanimously approved all agenda items Thursday, including a plan to fund a new ladder truck for the fire department, and state funding for a leaf vacuum truck and new recycling containers for all city residents.
Council approved on first reading an ordinance amending the Office of Community Development’s 2018 Community Development Block Grant plan, which transfers about $422,000 from an essentially defunct revolving loan fund into the CDBG fund for the ladder truck purchase.
The fund is due to receive another $376,804 upon the sale of the Park and Lock East garage to the parking authority later this year, and that money also will go toward the ladder truck purchase.
Fire Chief Jay Delaney has said the city once owned three ladder trucks, but is now down to one 2003 model that is frequently out of service because of breakdowns, and parts are hard to come by because the manufacturer went out of business.
The new truck is expected to cost about $1.2 million. Officials expect to learn in March if the Commonwealth Financing Authority approves a Local Share Account grant toward the purchase of the truck.
Council also approved a last-minute addition to the agenda — a grant offer the administration received Wednesday from state Department of Environmental Protection.
The DEP will pay $350,000 to fund most of the cost of a leaf vacuum truck and recycling containers for all residents if the city kicks in 10 percent of the cost.
City Administrator Rick Gazenski said the match was already budgeted for 2019 in anticipation of the grant approval.
Council also heard from resident Sam Troy who during public comment asked members to consider passing a resolution asking the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority to delay collection of a new stormwater management fee and reconsider how it calculates fees.
Troy said council would be following the lead of a Lehman Twp. supervisor who sent such a letter to the WVSA on Wednesday.
“City residents are already getting whacked with a $50 per year (sewer line maintenance fee from the city) per property owner. We also have … a $55 a quarter fee from the WVSA, which adds up to $220 per year. Now we have this stormwater fee,” Troy said.
The combined stormwater and sanitary sewer bills are due for payment to the authority in February.
Council Chairman Mike Belusko noted that the WVSA is handling state stormwater requirements for 32 municipalities in Luzerne County, including Wilkes-Barre.
Belusko recommended that Troy make his first quarterly payment to the WVSA in February, file an appeal with the authority and ask Luzerne County Council to address the issue with the WVSA.
In other business, council approved:
• A proposal by Joyce Insurance Group to renew an excess workers compensation policy with Safety National Corporation at an annual premium of $90,476, a savings of $6,930 compared to this year’s premium.
• Using the final $6,889.23 in a recreation fund established for revenue from the installation of a Verizon cell tower at Hollenback Park to partially reimburse the city for costs associated with installing netting at Hollenback Golf Course to prevent golf balls from damaging vehicles parked near the property.
• The appointments of Dr. Susan Lynn Kaczorowski to the Board of Health and Edward Pesotski to the General Municipal Authority.
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