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Saltsburg Borough moves to purchase mostly vacant mobile home park

| Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012, 8:54 p.m.

Saltsburg Borough has moved forward on an agreement that will soon make it the new owner of a mobile home park on High Street.

Borough council has come to a tentative agreement with owners Raymond and Eddy Bell to pay $47,500 for the property, which has been appraised at $64,000 by Putt Real Estate of Indiana.

Council voted at its regular Monday meeting to move ahead with the property purchase. The decision followed a lengthy executive session for discussion of personnel and real estate issues.

Saltsburg's intent for the property will be revisited at a later time, but Council President P.J. Hruska said possible uses include a new spot for the community playground or a borough maintenance building.

The mobile home park, situated near the playground's current location along High Street, includes eight trailers, five of them uninhabited. Hruska estimated the triangular lot measures about 30,000 square feet.

The only council member voting against the purchase was Michelle Jesko, who said after the meeting, “It was just a difference of opinion on whether we need more property...I didn't think it was a good move at this point.”

The board referred the tentative agreement to its solicitor, Wayne Kablack, to pursue an agreement of sale.

Council also voted to advertise its tentative 2013 budget. The borough property tax is to remains unchanged at 11.2 mills, with one mill generating close to $3,500 in revenue.

The tentative 2013 budget projects $664,050 in revenue and $608,541 in expenses.

The budget includes these tentative accoount revenues: general, $295,000; sewage, $250,900; UDAG, $50,000; road fund, $58,550; and community center, $9,600.

Corresponding expenses: general, $292,177; sewage, $231,364; UDAG, $35,000; road fund, $50,000. No community center expenses are anticipated.

The board will consider a final budget vote at its December meeting. In the meantime, the spending plan can be viewed by the public 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the borough office.

Taking action on a request in a letter from the family of the late Sam Eckenrode, council voted to allow the placement of four benches in memory of Eckenrode, who was a longtime borough employee.

The family stated they would take care of the expense but wanted council's permission to place the benches. One will be placed in front of the borough building, with the other three to be placed along the town's histori canal bed.

It was also announced that a memorial service for Eckenrode is planned for 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Matthew Church in Saltsburg.

In other business, council:

• Heard concerns from resident Dan Rose about several issues including the former feed mill, and what he feels are an overabundance of signs in town and his perceived selective enforcement of laws by borough police;

• Agreed to purchase a multi-feed remote deposit capture machine from S&T Bank at a cost of $600, with a monthly fee of $50;

• Agreed to sponsor a Heritage Holiday Christmas tree at a cost of $25 and a trail marker for the Conemaugh Valley Conservancy at a cost of $160;

• Voted to approve an emergency evacuation cooperation agreement between the Blairsville-Saltsburg School Board and the Salt Center, allowing use of the center for emergency placement of students in case of an evacuation at the school complex;

• Appointed Linda Maguire to chair the Historic Architecture Review Board (HARB) and discussed possible amendment of an ordinance establishing positions to be held by HARB members;

• Gave the go-ahead for internal and external renovations at the former W.R. McIllwain Store building, also referred to locally as the “mule barn;”

• Accepted the resignation of Diann McElwain, the borough's tax collector, who is stepping down for personal reasons. Donna Rasperger, a 24-year S&T Bank employee, has already expressed interest in filling the position until the next election, but the board won't make a move on that until after the first of the year, when McElwain's resignation will become effective;

• Thanked borough workers and others who helped prepare for Hurricane Sandy;

• Voted to promote Robby Kelly from laborer to public works laborer with a raise of $1 per hour;

• Voted to cut down a tree located partially on borough property along Walnut Way, with permission from another affected property owner, at a cost not to exceed $500.

Gina DelFavero is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at gdelfavero@tribweb.com or by phone at 724-459-6100 ext. 2915.

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