Council questions ex-auditor’s bill

MUNCY — A disputed bill from the former borough solicitor “smacks of revenge,” according to Muncy Borough Council President Ed Feigles. The bill was a topic of discussion at Tuesday night’s borough council meeting.

The issue began last month when council voted to not renew a contract, which had expired, with Baker Tilly Virchow Krause LLP and to go with Zelenkofske Axlerod as the borough’s auditor.

In the process of transferring from one firm to another, the new auditor had requested the borough’s files from the previous auditor. A bill of $951.25 was submitted to the borough for “disengagement procedures” from Baker Tilly Virchow Krause.

During the discussion, council decided it wanted an itemized bill detailing the charges and agreed that the bill would not be considered for payment until it received the explanation of the charges.

“This is a thousand dollars of the people’s money in a small town,” Feigles said.

Prior to the business portion of the meeting, students from Muncy High School’s Future Business Leaders of America Club gave a presentation about the work at Green Street Park.

FBLA members Lexie Jacquez-Armenta, Bella Rymsza and Nate Paisley told council that the goal is to create a safe, desired park on the north side of Muncy and to make it a destination for people from other communities.

The students said $265,000 has been raised through a matching state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources grant and monies from the Margret Waldron Fund through the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania.

In regular business, council:

• Approved an ordinance, which had been advertised, to vacate an unopened alley near the Brelsford Motors business. Brelsford is paying for advertising costs, solicitor’s fee and deed searches associated with the action.

• Approved the vacating of the appointment of Scott Williams to the Muncy Borough Municipal Authority because Williams is a non-resident of the borough.

• Approved the appointment of Charles Leonard to the Muncy Borough Municipal Authority by a split vote of 5-2. Elaine McAleer and Buzz Baker opposed the appointment.

• Approved the appointment of Feigles to the Planning Commission by a vote of 5-1. Baker cast the lone no vote.

• Voted to cash in a certificate of deposit for the Green Street Park Fund when it matures in April.

• Decided to invite the Shade Tree Commission to attend council meetings periodically to keep council informed of its work. Council agreed that the commission does a lot of work in the borough and is a valuable asset.

• Approved Councilman Richard Umpstead Jr. as council’s representative to the West Branch Council of Governments.

• Approved the purchase of a Kyocera color copier from Phillips, pending approval of the machine by borough employees, at a cost of up to $5,000, which does not include the monthly maintenance agreement.

Council also discussed with members of the Muncy Area Volunteer Fire Department how possible changes in ambulance services would affect the local emergency responders.

Chiefs Scott Delany and Jimmy Michael told council that the proposal that has been floated that UPMC Susquehanna would take over the area ambulance services would leave their fire department without the income from ambulance services.

Noting that council has final say if the proposal becomes a reality, Delany said, “If you folks are happy and haven’t heard any complaints, why change?”

Delany said the only way the fire company had learned about the issue was what members read in the newspaper.

“They aren’t communicating with us,” he added.

The next council meeting will be at 7 p.m. March 15 at borough hall, 14 N. Washington St.