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Homer City buys new truck, sells old one to rec board

| Thursday, July 10, 2014, 8:55 p.m.

Homer City Borough is purchasing a new pickup truck and is passing along a six-year-old model to the local recreation board.

Borough council voted at its July 1 meeting to purchase a 2015 F-350 4x4 truck from Tri-Star Motors of Blairsville, through the COSTARS state bidding program, at a cost of $33,989. In turn, the borough will sell its existing 2008 F-350 truck to the Homer-Center Parks and Recreation Board.

Because the borough is one of three local entities that are members of the recreation board, it will forgive one-third of the book value of the 2008 truck while the other member entities — Center Township and the Homer-Center School District — each will pay the borough a third of the value, or $5,700.

The rec board has been in need of another truck to pull its tractor to mow lawns at various parks, council President Matt Black said, explaining the vehicle transfer.

Initially, council voted to contribute up to $8,500 toward a new truck for the rec board, providing the township and school board followed suit. But, Black said, the borough then proposed providing its used truck to the rec board and replacing it with a new vehicle.

Black said the rec board “unanimously voted to go that route. It's a little less expensive on the three entities, and they're getting a good truck.”

He noted the 2008 truck was recently inspected, has four new tires and is equipped with a snow plow.

Borough manager Rob Nymick noted that in past years, when he served as director of the Homer-Center rec program, the borough had a practice of providing its retired vehicles to the rec board.

Council member Joe Iezzi asked who pays for maintenance of vehicles once they are owned by the rec board.

Black replied that the rec board is responsible for the maintenance, but Nymick added that the member municipalities assist with some items. Nymick noted that the township has performed some needed welding for the rec board while the borough “will help them change oil in their tractor, or blades, or whatever, small stuff.”

Nymick said the borough will finance purchase of the new truck, which also comes equipped with a plow, and will pay an interest rate of 2.761 percent over 60 months. The collective $11,400 received from the township and school district will be applied immediately toward the debt on the new vehicle. Receipt of the district's payment was acknowledged during a review of borough correspondence.

Nymick said the borough will not keep the plow from the truck it is selling because it won't fit the new truck. But, he said the rec board has agreed to make the 2008 truck and plow available to the member entities in winter months if they experience a breakdown with any of their vehicles.

In additional correspondence to the borough, the school district requested a variance from a capacity requirement for a pre-cast concrete restroom and concession facility the district is installing at its Memorial Field football stadium, located in Homer City.

“This facility is used, at the most, 25 times per year. Without a variance, the cost and building size would make this project unrealistic for the district,” wrote William K. Bonya, who is set to retire as the school district's maintenance supervisor.

Nymick said he doesn't think the borough has any problem with the restroom project, but he expressed belief that the variance the district is requesting falls under the state's Uniform Construction Code and must be sought from Indiana County officials who enforce the code.

Homer City Borough also received a letter from Byron Stauffer, executive director of the Indiana County Office of Planning and Development, indicating that the borough can apply for up to $14,714.73 in assistance for eligible projects through the county's liquid fuels tax fund. Since the fund is derived from the state gasoline tax, borough officials were referred to John Poproch, municipal services specialist with Indiana-based PennDOT District 10, to determine eligibility of proposed projects.

In his report, Homer City Police Chief Louis Sacco said he would apply to PennDOT for needed road closures to conduct activities of the town's 17th annual Hoodlebug Summerfest, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. July 13.

While most festival events will take place at the Homer City Firemen's Field along West Church Street, or at the borough's Floodway Park, the Homer City Fire Department will conduct a 1 p.m. parade along Main Street and the festival car cruise will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. in a new location, in a field along Route 56 (West Elm Street) near the BiLo supermarket.

Borough officials discussed the Homer City swimming pool's participation in an online contest to win renovation funding through the Ultimate Neighborhood Giveback Challenge, presented by television home makeover host Ty Pennington and retail mortgage lender Guaranteed Rate.

The Homer City pool renovation was among 50 projects chosen as semi-finalists in the contest. Online votes the pool received through July 8 were to help determine if it moved on to become one of six finalists, to be announced on July 15. As of July 10, the local pool appeared to be in seventh place, with about 1,700 votes.

A grand prize winner, to be announced on Aug. 1, will receive $50,000 and the services of Pennington for a day. The five runners-up will each receive $10,000.

Recently, an deteriorating wooden deck was replaced with concrete and a pavilion that had to be removed was replaced with a carport shelter. According to Homer-Center rec officials, who operate the pool, work they'd like to complete at the facility includes expansion of the concrete deck, installation of additional seating for patrons and resurfacing of the pool bottom.

Meanwhile, Homer City police are seeking contributions to help fund the proposed addition of a K-9 officer to the force.

Sergeant Anthony Jellison, who would be the dog's handler, told council last month it would take an estimated $21,250 to acquire a properly trained dog, refit a police vehicle for transporting it and cover veterinary bills, insurance and other expenses.

On July 1, Jellison said, “I believe we're about one-third of the way to our goal,” after having sent letters to area businesses to solicit donations.

Sacco indicated the police department was set to begin a second wave of aggressive driving enforcement, with costs for manpower to be defrayed through funding.

In his manager's report, Nymick noted he received three responses from among five owners who were sent borough letters requesting that they address problems with their properties. Nymick said two responded in writing, the third by phone, which he intended to discuss with borough solicitor Michael Supinka.

Nymick reported that the borough's summer street resurfacing program is complete and used 5 less tons of paving material than what was placed out to bid. He said borough crews have fallen behind in moving grass on borough rights-of-way and repainting lines on borough streets because of recent inclement weather “It just won't stop raining,” he said. “We're about a month behind.”

Council member Elizabeth Brown reported receiving complaints about a loose street drain on West Elm, near the Arone auto garage, including that a motorist apparently struck it and got a flat tire.

Nymick said he would look into the problem. Since West Elm is a state road, he said, the borough is “responsible for the pipes, we're not responsible for the catchbasin tops.”

Council unanimously approved a suggestion by Black to award borough secretary Karen Valyo a $200 bonus. “She does more than she's required to do for the borough,” he said.

Council member Jennifer Jaworski praised Valyo's grant-writing efforts for the borough.

Borough officials discussed the possibility of establishing a community calendar events listing.

The borough also is looking for additional vendors to participate in its weekly farmers market, held from 3 to 6 p.m. Fridays at Floodway Park. Prospective vendors are asked to contact the borough at 724-479-8005.

Jeff Himler is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-459-6100, ext. 2910 or

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