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Smithton Council addresses sidewalks, grass

| Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Smithton Borough Council has decided to take action on the decaying state of sidewalks and the ongoing problem of grass clippings clogging storm drains.

After getting another report from streets supervisor Bud Seglowich lamenting the time and effort spent clearing grass clippings from storm drains, council opened a discussion on whether or not to advertise an ordinance that would spell out in more detail the guidelines for cutting grass.

The ordinance would also describe the circumstances under which warnings and fines would be imposed for placing and/or leaving grass clippings on the street, including time parameters.

At one point, Councilman Bruce Celapino made a motion to advertise the ordinance, but the motion died for lack of a second.

The board's inaction prompted some prodding by former councilman Jack Schmitt. “I don't understand why we can't get a second on that motion if it's not going to do any harm other than do better for us by being more specific when we go to the magistrate,” he said.

Consequently, discussion continued and Councilman Fred Foster put forth a motion that included some changes in the wording of the ordinance. Councilman Larry Heltebran seconded the motion and it was approved with Councilmen Celapino and Dan Barthels also voting in favor and councilmen Robert Prah Jr. and Kevin Regotti absent.

Councilman Carl Cathers abstained. He did not feel the ordinance was necessary, saying the existing ordinance has always been sufficient.

Residents are again reminded that grass clippings are not to be placed in the street and must be cleaned up from the street and sidewalk after mowing.

Borough Solicitor Blane Black has advised council to go through all the ordinances to make them more specific, said Barthels.

Action was also taken to address the worsening problem of sidewalk deterioration in the borough. Council unanimously approved drafting a generic letter to send to property owners whose sidewalks have been deemed as unsafe by council. Included with the letter will be a copy of the ordinance.

On another matter, having finally received the anticipated Community Development Block Grant of $30,000, council awarded the associated contract to A. Folino Construction of Oakmont. Folino's low bid of $31,270 is to pave Fort Street, Smithfield Street and part of First Street.

The work should begin sometime in the beginning of September, estimated borough secretary MeLinda Radziwon.

Council also approved replacing the metal cover plate in front of the municipal building's door, which is rusting through in places.

William S. Zirkle is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 724-872-6800.