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Street paving top issue for Kittanning

| Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2012

KITTANNING — There were changes for council during its reorganization meeting on Tuesday, but street paving stayed high on the priority list.

Councilwoman Kim Fox was administered the oath of office by President Judge Kenneth Valasek earlier in the day. She was elected in November to serve a four-year term in the 3rd Ward, replacing former councilman Thomas Close.

Council voted 5-0 in favor of reappointing Chris Schiano as president and Andrew Peters as vice president. Council members Cindy Housley and Dick Reedy were absent.

Housley has submitted a letter of resignation to council, and Schiano said seven people have expressed an interest to fill that position.

As the meeting got under way, Jennifer Bellas, director of the county's community development office, asked if council was ready to vote on the allocation of funding from a 2008 federal Community Development Block grant. In the past, council had discussed using the money — which amounts to $37,000 — to pay for a boiler and generator for Hose Company 4.

However, Councilwoman Lisa McCanna said residents have continued to express concern about streets that need to be paved and mentioned Orchard Street in particular.

Jim Mechling, streets supervisor, said Orchard Street is one of four borough streets that have never been paved. Martin, Sirwell and Beech are the other three.

"None of them have drains," Mechling said. "Where would we put the water?"

Bellas said that it is unlikely that $37,000 would be enough to cover a paving project that large. Drainage issues may effect the feasibility for tarring and chipping, she said, and added that she wasn't sure if income surveys by residents along those streets are still viable. Low income is a criteria for attracting the money for the project.

McCanna and Fox volunteered to knock on residents doors along those four streets and are planning to ask residents to fill out income eligibility survey forms to help determine if paving can go forward. If those unpaved streets don't meet the criteria, council agreed to look at allocating the money for skim-coating projects along North Water, Jacob, South Jefferson and South McKean Streets.

Borough resident Dale Worley told council that unpaved streets are a priority and research needs to be done on the best way to use that money.

In other borough business, council:

• Requested that people expressing an interest in Cindy Housley's vacated 1st Ward seat, submit a cover letter and resume to the borough. Only those who are 1st Ward residents and who are registered voters may apply.

• Voted to lay off a temporary street worker who had fulfilled a six-week agreement to work for the borough.

• Voted in favor of a four-way stop at the intersection of North Water and Monteith Streets near the new YMCA facility.

• Voted in favor of converting 25 nickel and dime parking meters on Market Street to meters that use quarters.

• Fox requested that council consider posting information on a website to "get all the information to the public, to be honest and up front and to let people know what's going on."

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