Councilman questions fee

MANSFIELD -Borough council here decided to look around for another administrator to handle its minimum municipal obligation payments for its pension plans after one council member objected to what he called “exorbitant” costs.

Councilman Bob Strohecker told council the $11,000 fee charged by the borough’s current administrator was “a lot of money,” and he made the motion that council look for another organization to handle it.

Director of Finance and Administration Lynette Hoyt presented the 2014 MMOs for approval at the Wednesday meeting and told council they must be approved by the end of the year.

“This is an annual necessity for the pension plans for the administration and police MMOs and public works,” she said.

Strohecker noted the cost was around 20 percent of the cost of the annual expenditure.

“That seems exorbitant to me, $11,000 on just administrative money for doing what? The Teamsters’ is $500, which is what it seems it should be. Are we required to use these, are there other options?” he said.

Council unanimously agreed to review other options and bring the matter up for consideration again in October.

In related contractual business, council approved its public works union contract following a 30-minute executive session.

Council also discussed the recent low lying street property flooding following two heavy downpours over the Labor Day weekend that dumped more than 3 inches of rain in less than an hour on the borough.

According to Director of Codes and Public Works Shawn Forrest there was about six inches of standing water from storm water that came off the hill behind Eighth and Ninth streets and the university also lost some of its curbing and pavement on its streets above South Academy Street from storm water rushing off the new residence hall worksites.

In other business related to the university, Forrest requested and received permission from council to charge the university a first time inspection fee of $70 per unit for the new residence hall rooms, half off the usual fee of $140 per unit.

Mayor Tom Wierbowski reminded council that the university’s “Light up Mansfield” event is this weekend, which also is Parents’ Weekend. Shuttle service from the downtown will be available to the university events, which includes a football game and fireworks following Saturday night.

He also set this year’s trick-or-treat hours for Halloween from 6 to 8 p.m., a change from more recent years when the time was moved back to 5 to 7 p.m. because the Chamber of Commerce is holding a Halloween Parade in Smythe Park at 5 p.m. this year.

Council also:

Heard from Forrest that tar and chipping will be done at the drive to the wastewater treatment plant behind the Sears building by Sept. 19 and 20, and brush will be accepted there once that is done and a chipper is brought in.

Heard that the borough has received approval from the state Department of Environmental Protection to sell nearly 7,000 nutrient credits to Blossburg Borough.

Heard that the paving for the YMCA parking lot will be done the week of Sept. 23.

Approved Civil Service Committee appointments for Dick Colegrove, Connie Brandt and Shar Farrer.