Muncy Borough denies parade request, cleans oil spill
Borough council turned down a request from the Muncy Veterans of Foreign Wars to host a Memorial Day parade due to several obstacles due to compliance with Pennsylvania Department of Transportation policy.
According to Borough Council President Ed Feigles, the VFW asked the borough to stand in as an engineer to obtain a permit for the event from PennDOT, however as a municipality the borough is unable to do so. Feigles said
Additionally, borough council does not know what condition the intended route would be in given planned construction during that time. If the road is milled but not paved, the road itself will be uneven and would have uncertain safety conditions.
Even if there was an alternative route, there would be nowhere in the borough the route could travel that would not cross PennDOT roads.
PennDOT also requires an indemnification releasing the department from liability if there is an accident or injury during the parade.
“We can work with them for a Fourth of July parade, or later in the year when there isn’t construction and we have more time,” Feigles said.
Feigles made it clear the borough was willing to cooperate with and support the VFW, but it could not approve the parade itself due to the missing elements required to make it able to comply with PennDOT’s rules.
“We shouldn’t violate the rules,” said Councilman Richard Umpstead.
Borough council unanimously passed two motions in response to an invoice from EnviroServe Inc. that cleaned up a minor motor oil spill that occurred on South Washington St. March 4.
Around two gallons of motor oil spilled from a 55 gallon barrel on a homeowner’s property, which leaked into the sewage system, according to Feigles.
EnviroServe arrived on the scene almost immediately and placed an absorbent tube down into the sewer, according to Feigles. He said the tube has been down there since, absorbing the oil when enough rainfall occurs.
A certain amount of time needs to be passed for the oil to be completely absorbed and the tube removed, according to Feigles, and the oil did not travel down the pipe into Glade Run.
“It was not that big of a deal, but it’s something we had to address as if it was a big deal,” Feigles said.
The borough decided it would pay the $4,528.69 invoice from EnviroServe upfront out of its emergency fund and seek reimbursement back into that fund from the homeowner responsible through its solicitor, be it the homeowner or the homeowner’s insurance company.
Borough council amended that first motion by adding it would withhold payment of the invoice to EnviroServe until such a time Borough Manager Charley Hall has deemed the contract completed.
Feigles provided an update on the status of the new borough building project, and said until an architect can see the physical locations, it will be impossible to provide cost estimates, which is what will dictate borough council’s decision.
In the meantime, Feigles reported the Muncy Creek Township supervisors gave borough council permission to annex the borough’s shed, which sits just over the boundary between Muncy Creek and Muncy Borough.
Borough council voted unanimously to allow the borough’s solicitor to move forward in the process of acquiring that property under the condition that if Muncy Borough sells the property, it would revert back to Muncy Creek Township for taxation purposes.
The borough council voted to give all four non-uniformed employees a three percent raise in 2021, as was budgeted starting the next pay period and retroactively reimbursing the employees from January 1 to now.
Umpstead objected and said the borough had steps of wage increases to reward satisfactory or above performance in its employees. He said during 2020, the borough had to hire private contractors to perform staff jobs, and even with that, several jobs were left incomplete.
Feigles said the wage increase steps were not applicable because the borough manager responsible for delivering performance reports to the council was no longer employed, and as such could not weigh in on employee performance.
In the end, borough council voted 6-1 in favor of retroactively granting the three percent wage increases. Umstead supported giving the borough’s office personnel the raise but voted against the motion to give all staff a raise.
Also under personnel, borough council decided instead of splitting employee days into vacation, sick and personal, they would consolidate all three lines into “paid time off” equalling the same total amount of days to give employees greater freedom to decide how to make use of time off.
Jim Dorman, Muncy Borough Police Chief, requested the borough approve hiring Amanda Barnes, a police officer at UPMC Muncy, for a part-time position to help alleviate work at the borough police.
Dorman said Muncy police lost one officer, and another moved to part-time status. According to him, the police department has been unable to fill vacancies in the department.
Barnes is a graduate of police academy but does not have her “numbers,” meaning she cannot make arrests.
Hall also raised the issue of the rectangular hole in the ground at the park. Previously, the borough sought to put playground equipment in.
However, upon finishing digging the hole, it realized the hole was not deep enough to meet the manufacturer’s specifications, and put it on hold before winter weather delayed it until now.
Dorman raised an issue of graffiti and vandalism in the dugouts at the borough’s baseball field. Borough council decided to allow Dorman to explore solutions and make a proposal at the next council meeting.
Hall also highlighted an issue with enforcement of Americans with Disabilities Act for sidewalks. Residents need a permit from the borough for ADA reasons when replacing sidewalks in front of their house.
Moving forward, Hall encouraged all residents to contact him at the borough office for guidance on modifying their sidewalks.
Borough council also unanimously passed a resolution adopting the Lycoming County Hazard Mitigation Municipal Plan.