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DuBoistown addresses snow removal issues

The DuBoistown Borough Council addressed difficulties in clearing snow during winter weather events.

Borough Manager Ann Baker, with approval from the rest of the council, resolved at their meeting Thursday to begin enforcing ordinances involving negligence on borough residents’ part to clear snow during winter weather.

Article V of the DuBoistown code requires property owners to move their vehicles off the street for snow plows during winter weather and clear sidewalks of snow. It also prohibits depositing snow on the roadways.

Although the borough has not yet done so this year, Baker said she will begin charging residents for the cost of removal for borough staff in addition to a $50 penalty, after a singular warning.

Baker said the problem stemmed from residents not moving their cars from streets during winter weather, instead piling snow in front of or behind their vehicles.

This makes it more difficult for borough employees to clear roadways, and resulted in residents calling the borough to plow snow on a street they already plowed, Baker said.

The Borough Council approved the naming of four unmarked alleys across the borough. Lumber Alley will stretch from Dartmouth to Park, and is currently labeled as Bridge Street. Meanwhile, Church Alley will bridge Summer Street and Spring Street beside the United Methodist Church, while Middle Alley will stretch from from Church Alley to Bridge Street. Finally, Dubois Alley will run from Clarendon Street to Arlington Street.

The project followed a years-old county initiative to update addressing in the borough to make it easier for first-responders to find correct addresses in the event of an emergency, according to Baker. Baker will inspect the borough and make sure borough homes are marked properly, and if not, will assist them in making sure the houses are correctly marked.

Baker said the borough also received a grant to repair dirt and gravel roads in the borough. The grant, covering $150,000, will allow the borough to repair dirt and gravel roads on Edgewood and Woodside avenues. These projects will be completed by borough-approved part-time and seasonal employees.

The borough also approved fixing damage caused to the back of the borough building when a car’s brakes gave out and it crashed into the building, at cost to the driver of the vehicle. However, the borough council is taking advantage of the opportunity to further repair its garage doors, which have fallen into disrepair in recent years, according to Baker. Baker said she is pursuing quotes for the project, and is searching for a grant to assist in the replacement.

“The doors are close to 20 years old, if not older, and need replaced,” Baker said.

Baker also delivered a report on the feasibility of reducing the size of the borough council from seven members to five.

Baker explained the council is considering reducing its number from seven to five because of her recent hiring back in 2019. According to Baker, the borough did not previously hire a borough manager, and instead had to do a lot of work themselves.

Now that Baker is taking over a lot of the responsibilities, however, there is less need for a large borough council.

Because the borough is in the middle of election season, the number of borough council members cannot change. However, after the election, the borough may pass an ordinance that will reduce the council’s size by 2023; and then 2026, after that.

“Our borough is very small — we have less than 2,000 people and less than 570 homes. Because of size, to get seven people that want to run can be difficult,” Baker added.

The borough council approved the purchase of 17 new candy canes LED lights to line Euclid Avenue for the 2021 holiday season. The current lights, of which there were 12, were around 30 years old, according to Baker, and she said the borough spent $5,217 for the new set of them.

The borough announced its yearly community yard sale would occur May 1, and encouraged residents and other organizations to sign up ahead of time to be placed on the event’s map.

Finally, the borough council will return to having socially distanced meetings inside the council room, which has been rearranged to permit safe interactions in cognisance of the pandemic. The next meeting will occur April 1 at 6:30 p.m. in the borough office.

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