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Ford City council works on water

| Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, 12:11 a.m.

Ford City Council focused attention on prioritizing its short- and long-term goals during a work session held Monday before its regular monthly meeting.

Issues surrounding the proposed water plant topped council's short-term goal list.

Councilman Josh Abernathy said he would like to have the cost breakdown from the last five years of the existing water plant and see projected cost figures for the next five years. He suggested council explore the idea of having the borough join Manor's water facility and suggested the issue be put to a referendum.

The borough's water plant generates about $300,000 in annual revenue, said Councilwoman Kim Bish.

“If we do not have our own water plant, how will we maintain our own lines? Manor has said they won't maintain our lines. They said our lines are ancient,” Bish said.

Council agreed to speak to the borough accountant for a total cost breakdown regarding the water facility operations from the past five years.

Discussion moved to the possible hiring of a borough manager.

Councilman Gene Banks noted that since Larry Coffey, the former borough superintendent, is not going to be replaced, the $45,000 budgeted for his salary could go toward a borough manager's salary.

Solicitor Anthony Vigilante suggested council seek input from the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs.

When it came to identifying long-term goals, economic development took top priority.

Banks said he wanted council to come up with an economic development plan that would focus on 55 acres of borough-owned property that has never been marketed.

Involvement sought

Once the regular monthly meeting was underway, Abernathy explained to the public that council hoped to get more residents involved by attending the planned public work sessions.

“We're here to work for you,” he said.

Items discussed during work sessions will not be voted on during the meeting immediately following but will be put on the next month's agenda, he said.

The next work session will be held Feb. 10 at 5 p.m. before the 6 p.m. regular monthly meeting.

Odometer repair

A question concerning a police car odometer repair caused some disagreement among council.

Bish said she recalled initialling an invoice for the odometer repair.

However, Mayor Marc Mantini said the repair was not made since council had previously discussed buying a new patrol car.

“I'd like to see us get a new police car. We had three and now we're down to two,” Mantini said.

Banks said there is an allocation in the budget for a new car.

The allocated amount is between $20,000 and $25,000, Miklos said following the meeting.

Other items

• During the meeting, Jen Ray of Manor asked council for an update in the investigation concerning missing electrical equipment which supplies power to Ford City Park. The equipment includes breaker boxes, electrical panels and spools of wiring which were reported missing after the Heritage Days Committee disbanded in the fall.

The issue has been turned over to the police department, Mantini said.

Ray pointed out that the missing equipment could affect future events held at the park.

• Members of council noted that Paul Klukan, who is part of the Ford City Renaissance Community Partnership and who was present during Monday's meeting, installed light boxes and sockets on the light posts in the park at his own expense in order to make the town's Light Up Night possible. That work was done with council's prior knowledge and consent.

• In other business, council voted 6-0 to approve deadlines for adding items to meeting agendas. Agenda items must be submitted no later than noon on the Wednesday before a meeting and council must receive a copy of the final agenda by Friday at 4 p.m. prior to a Monday meeting.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or bbeatty@tribweb.com.

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