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Saltsburg plans parking restrictions

| Friday, Dec. 10, 2010

Saltsburg Borough council voted Monday to advertise a new borough ordinance that would create one-way parking on several of the borough streets. The action came after borough officials met with members of the Saltsburg Volunteer Fire Department to discuss firefighters' concerns about parking.

If approved next month, the borough's existing parking ordinance will be amended to eliminate parking on the west side of High Street from Point to Washington streets; on the north side of Market Street between Grant and High streets; and on the east side of Canal Street.

Parking also will be eliminated at the corner of High and Walnut streets -- on the west side of the intersection and on the east side south of Walnut Street. Two parking spots will be removed on Point Street, on the east and west sides of the street above Salt Street, to allow for easier maneuvering of large vehicles at the intersection of Point and Salt.

The ordinance was first brought to the table in October, when council explained that closing one side of these streets to parking will allow easier access for fire, ambulance and emergency service vehicles.

But public outcry caused the board to put further action on hold until council could discuss its options and talk further with the fire department.

Some members of the Saltsburg Volunteer Fire Department reiterated the necessity of limiting parking on the affected streets, noting that its new fire truck is wider than previous trucks.

"We've talked with Wayne (Kablack, borough solicitor), we met with the fire department again. At this point, I'd like to make the motion to advertise the ordinance," said council member Kathy Muir. "My feeling is, it may take 20 years, but if we can save one life or one house in a fire, it will be worth it."

The motion passed 5-2, with Council President P.J. Hruska and Dave Zimmerman opposed.

"Although I don't have a different solution at this time, I don't think shutting one side of the street down (for parking) is better for this town at this point," Hruska later remarked.

In other matters, council passed a final 2011 budget and tax ordinance.

The 2011 budget projects $583,020 in revenue and $574,495.44 in expenses, while property taxes will remain at 11.2 mills.

The budget includes: general revenue of $279,270; sewage account, $209,100; UDAG account, $50,000; road fund account, $35,050; and community center account, $9,600.

Expenses are as follows: general expenses, $278,863.04; sewage account, $208,650; UDAG account, $44,000; road fund account, $35,000; and community center account, $7,982.40.

Council will continue to meet at 7 p.m. on the first Monday of the month in the borough building -- with the exception of July and September, when the Fourth of July and Labor Day will push the meetings to the first Tuesday of those months.

Work sessions and committee meetings will take place an hour prior to the regularly scheduled borough council meetings. The Historic Architecture Review Board (HARB) will continue to meet at 7 p.m. the fourth Monday of each month at the borough building.

Council accepted the resignation of part-time borough police officer Justin Susich, and announced the borough is taking applications for more part-time police officers.

"We would like to beef up the police force a little bit," Rocco stated.

By having more part-time officers on the roster and spreading out the hours, the department should be able to provide better coverage without comprising officers' schedules.

"It's not going to hurt to have them on the roster and we can call them when we need to," she said.

At the request of the borough employees, council approved two changes to the workers' holiday schedule. Effective in 2011, instead of Easter Monday, the employees will be now be given Veterans Day as a holiday. An additional holiday was added for Columbus Day as well.

A three-percent pay increase was also approved for the borough's three full-time and five part-time employees.

In the first quarter, new job descriptions will be issued, and all full-time employees must undergo a physical scheduled by a doctor of the borough's choosing. All borough employees will also have to undergo evaluations based on performance.

In other business, borough council:

• Agreed to give $150 to the Conemaugh Valley Conservancy for 2011, a donation budgeted every year.

• Approved the Saltsburg Volunteer Fire Department's request for its annual boot drive, which will take place Dec. 17 beginning at 2 p.m. and Dec. 18 beginning at noon.

• Thanked the Heritage Holiday Committee for its efforts for the recent holiday lighting celebration in the borough.

• Thanked Shirley Heating &?Air Conditioning for its donation of a used furnace at the old water plant.

• Announced that parking in the borough will be free for the holiday season, from Dec. 20 through Jan. 3.

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