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Scottdale looking at ways to shorten meetings

| Thursday, June 17, 2010

Some members of Scottdale Borough Council are frustrated with the length of borough council meetings that can frequently last four hours or more.

Several different tactics have been talked about, such as having a work session on a different day, in addition to the regular meeting held the second Monday of each month beginning at 6:30 p.m.

One item that will hope to help the length of the meeting is a change in the agenda. Agendas allow for public comment followed by addressing just action items in each borough council committee.

Once the action items are addressed, the engineer's report is given, followed by the solicitor's report, the mayor's report and then council is asked to approve payroll and any bills.

From there, the agenda continues with discussion items.

While this format at least takes care of any issues requiring action early in the meeting, the actual length of the meeting really doesn't change.

At Monday's council meeting, council President Tom Ermine put forth his idea on how to make the meetings as short as possible.

"Beginning with the July meeting, I would like to see all requests to council be made in writing at least seven days before the scheduled meeting," he said. "These requests will be given to committee heads for them to consider and possibly resolve unless the request requires a proper vote."

If that would be the case, Ermine said the issue would then have to wait until the next scheduled meeting unless it is an emergency request.

"All persons wishing to speak to council, with the president's permission, will be allocated five minutes," Ermine said. "I apologize for the length of the meetings, so maybe we can go forward from here."

He asked council to give him any comments or additions to these recommendations.

In other business, council appointed Heather Schaeffer as the Loucks Park summer program aide beginning June 28 and ending Aug. 20. Schaeffer will work 15 hours a week at three hours a day for minimum wage.

Council agreed to allow members of the protection committee to look into possible code enforcement violations throughout the borough.

Borough Manager Barry Whoric said the borough has settled with the Hartford Settlement, the insurance company of the individual who knocked down the street light pole at the corner of Pittsburgh and Chestnut streets.

Hartford Settlement will pay in the neighborhood of $12,000 for the $15,319 in damage done to the pole.

Whoric said that in addition to the borough's $500 deductible, the borough's insurance company will cover the balance.

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