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Saxonburg to go without leaf drop-off sites again, citing costs

| Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012, 1:51 a.m.

SAXONBURG — There will be no leaf drop-off sites again this year in the borough.

Carol Drive resident Clarence Anderson came before council Wednesday night to request the return of a leaf drop-off site on Carol Drive.

But council didn't go along.

“It costs money, which is one of the reasons it was dropped,” said council Vice President Patricia Rinebolt. “And if we brought one back, we'd have to bring all three back.”

In previous years, there was a drop-off site on Carol Drive and two other locations where the borough provided a backhoe to turn leaves. A private business owner collected the leaves to use as mulch.

But last year, there was no leaf drop-off supplied.

“I don't know what I'll do this year without it,” Anderson said. “Probably burn them.”

Anderson insists there is no cost involved.

But Borough Manager Mary Papik said that the borough has to maintain three sites so they're convenient for all borough residents.

She said the borough has to pay labor for use of the backhoe to turn leaves, as well as the restoration of the private properties used as leaf drop-off areas when the season ends.

“It is a concern to residents of the borough,” Anderson said. “And they do pay taxes. It takes hours to bag those leaves.”

Business group wants free use of hall

The Saxonburg Area Business Association also came before council and requested use of Cooper Hall for regular meetings.

Several borough council members seemed reluctant to hand the space over free of charge without permission from the Saxonburg Historical and Restoration Commission.

The commission is made up of volunteers who run the hall, and revenue from renting the hall supports the museum, park and Cooper Hall, itself.

Several members of the business association appeared before council to ask for free use of the space.

But Councilman Richard Foust said that the commission has specific bylaws that prevent nearly all groups from using the facility for free.

Foust said the commission is concerned about the cost of electricity and clean-up.

“Cooper Hall sits there doing nothing,” argued business association board member Jim Stanek. “We thought, ‘Why not utilize it and make it viable for the community and see what it has to offer?' ”

Council President William R. Gillespie Jr. said it is not council's decision. He said that the association should go to the commission for a recommendation.

“Let them decide,” agreed Councilwoman Carol Neubert.

Business association President Gregory Bauer said his next step would be to go to the commission.

Council seeking office tenant

Also, borough council is looking into renting out the former district justice office in the basement of the municipal building to bring in lost revenue.

The Butler County commissioners voted in June to break a lease with the borough for the district judge's office.

According to Gillespie, the borough lost nearly $21,000 in revenue from rent of the office space.

Papik will look into code requirements for renting out the space, and present her findings at the budget meeting on Oct. 17.

Several council members suggested renting out the space to a doctors office or some similar business.

Kate Wilcox is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media. Comments regarding this story should be sent to vndcity@tribweb.com or 724-226-4666.

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