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Brentwood seeks input on new borough building plans

| Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, 11:00 p.m.

It's back to the drawing board again for Brentwood Borough Council as it tweaks plans for a new municipal building.

Council held a special meeting Nov. 6 to gather more input on its plans for a new building at the old Snee Dairy site and renovation plans for the Brentwood Civic Center.

Council agreed last month to construct a one-story building at the Snee site for borough police and Brentwood Emergency Medical Services. Borough administration and council chambers would be moved to the renovated civic center. Also on the meeting's agenda were future EMS lease payments at the Snee site.

“We're on a two-year time line,” said John Frombach, council president. “We'll have to hold this place together in the mean time.

“Nothing is set in stone.”

Among those attending the meeting was the director and president of the borough EMS ,who questioned the amount of space and amenities it would be allotted in the new building, as well as its future lease payments.

“No one has come to us and asked us what we need,” said Joanne Cook, EMS director.

“For example, our equipment does not always come back to us clean,” she said. “We have to have a washer and dryer.”

Cook said EMS does not always get paid in a timely fashion by insurance companies, which hurts cash flow. That, in turn, could affect future lease payments to the borough, she added. EMS' lease in the current municipal building runs through Dec. 31, 2018.

“No one said we want to charge $1 or $1, 000,” Frombach said. “We can be reasonable.”

A motion by Councilman Pat Carnevale to charge EMS a rental fee of $9 per square foot for the new building was defeated. Carnevale was the lone yes vote.

“I wanted an open forum, and there are some legitimate questions moving forward,” Frombach said. “We can't pull numbers out of the air without research.”

Adam Zeppuhar, the Brentwood police chief, said the department's space in the new building will be an improvement to what in occupies in the municipal building.

“Ideally, we would like a second floor,” he said.

“You're not going to get a second floor,” Carnevale said.

“We have a $6.2 million budget, not $8 million,” said Mayor Dennis Troy.

Pat Hein, a borough resident, told council that it would be wrong to renovate the civic center, which plays a vital role in the community as a site for classes and other events.

“Do you want to be remembered as the elected official who took away the civic center,” said Hein, who presented council with a petition with more than 70 signatures of residents who are against the proposal.

Suzanne Elliott is a Tribune-Review staff writer.

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