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Saltsburg council retains leadership for 2014

| Friday, Jan. 10, 2014, 3:06 p.m.

Saltsburg Borough Council's leadership will remain unchanged in the new year after Monday night's reorganization and regular meeting, though newly installed Mayor Elizabeth “Cookie” Rocco had to make a tie-breaking decision to determine who would fill the president position.

Council members Dave Zimmerman and Ed Ramsden nominated P.J. Hruska and Kathy Muir, respectively, to fill the position of president. A tie resulted after council member Terry Cumberledge voted for Muir and Larry Jesko voted for Hruska, while Hruska and Muir voted for each other. One of Rocco's first actions as mayor was to break the tie; after brief deliberation, she gave her nod to Hruska, who has held the position since 2010.

Zimmerman then nominated Muir to retain her position as vice president, followed by a unanimous vote in favor.

Ramsden was voted president pro tem after a nomination by Muir.

Jesko, Cumberledge, Ramsden and Muir were all sworn in to begin new terms on council.

Hruska said after the meeting that it will remain business as usual for the council in the new year.

“It's full steam ahead,” he said. “We have a great council, things are going well with the streets, the police department is intact.”

He said positive things are in store for Saltsburg with the continued support of actor David Conrad and his preservation organization, Peoples, Inc., as well as the tourism brought into the community by local trails and the river.

“There's a lot of positive things happening, and we want to keep them happening,” he said.

Entering her new term as mayor, Rocco returns to borough government after a few years' hiatus since her service as a council member. She pointed out that the mayor's main responsibility is the police department, “But I would like to see the mayor's office be more than just about the police,” she said. “I want to have a good working relationship with the council to make the community grow. We've got a lot of good things happening.”

The 2014 committee assignments were approved as follows: finance — Hruska (chair), Muir, Cumberledge; streets, buildings and sewage — Zimmerman (chair), Simpson, Hruska; Canal Park — Muir (chair), Jesko, Simpson; police — Ramsden (chair), Jesko, Cumberledge; Emergency Management Association (EMA) — Ramsden; HARB representative — Zimmerman; Salt Center representative — Muir; Council of Governments representative — Zimmerman; library representative — Cumberledge.

Council voted to retain Gibson-Thomas as the borough engineer, Wayne Kablack as solicitor, Mary Trunzo as the representative to the Indiana County tax collection committee, and Chris Pemberton as secretary/treasurer. Pemberton was also granted a 2 percent increase in her salary.

Joe Petrarca, Pennsylvania state representative, introduced himself at the meeting, noting that under the 2010 Census, state-wide redistricting was implemented, with Saltsburg now in his district. He represents 19 communities; Saltsburg will be his only Indiana County community, with most others in Westmoreland County.

Petrarca grew up in Vandergrift, and is a graduate of Kiski Area School District, St. Vincent College and the University of Pittsburgh law school. He is in his 20th year as a state representative.

He noted he has three offices — in Vandergrift, Latrobe and Derry — and welcomed council to present him with any issues that may arise.

Council agreed to donate $100 to Saltsburg High School sophomore Austin Jesko, who has been nominated to represent his school at the National Youth Leadership Forum Feb. 18-23 in Washington, D.C.

Jesko gave council a letter outlining his school and community service achievements. He said he will attend a Careers in National Security Program at the forum. Jesko needs $1,685 to attend the forum and has received a $400 scholarship through the corporation that operates the forum, Envision. He has saved money to apply toward the tuition but is also petitioning local businesses, organizations and individuals for donations.

Muir reminded the community that the Saltsburg Library is operating at its new location at the Salt Center Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. She noted the library now has wireless Internet service and is planning new book purchases and looking to start a book club.

In other business, council:

• Gave approval for Andy Blenko to complete the borough's Chapter 94 report at a cost of $825;

• Approved a $150 donation for the West Penn Trail and a $100 donation to ABS Athletics;

• Signed a letter of understanding from Delisi & Associates, P.C., which perform's the borough's annual audit.

Gina DelFavero is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2915 or

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