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Bolivar council nixes increase of council membership

| Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, 9:03 p.m.

Talk of an increase in Bolivar Borough council members that was broached in November's meeting has since been reduced to a near impossibility, as council solicitor Jeffrey Miller explained to those present that council members cannot authorize such an increase in their own membership.

“Boroughs can reduce from seven to five members, and as low as three,” Miller said. “But a council cannot go into a court and ask for an increase.”

Miller said an increase in council could potentially take place if a public referendum was drafted and voters who do not serve on council would favor such a measure.

Council members agreed to no longer pursue the matter.

In other news:

• Councilman Dan Short Jr., who was not present at the meeting, submitted a letter of resignation for his council seat and role as street commissioner. It was unclear whether Short, who won another council term beginning in January, is resigning for only the month of December when his current term ends. Solicitor Miller pointed out that one cannot resign for a position that they have yet to assume. Resident Art Sisitki agreed to take on the role of street commissioner for the month of December.

• A motion to accept the budget for 2014 was finally carried, after council discovered that not all aspects of the budget had been accounted for in the original. Solicitor Miller stated that carry-over money had to be reflected in the budget and it was not. Council then re-worked the numbers to include the unaccounted for funds.

• There will be a $4,000 increase in workers' compensation in 2014 for borough workers, namely the firemen.

• A motion was carried to get the police car inspected and repaired for under $500.

• A motion was carried to no longer use Internet banking for council transactions.

• A motion was carried to pay $950 to the auditor council hired for the services performed.

• A motion was carried to take $10,000 of budget carry-over money and invest it in CDs with S&T Bank in order to generate interest on the funds. “We have to start somewhere,” said Mayor Tom Pickup.

Rebecca Ridinger is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.