Clarks Summit swears in EMA Director, discusses new parking meters

By Meredith Colohan - For Abington Journal | September 1st, 2015 12:36 pm

CLARKS SUMMIT – Borough Council President Gerrie Carey swore in new Clarks Summit Emergency Management Director (EMA) Jeff Ames Aug. 25 at the borough’s special meeting and work session. Council congratulated Ames on his new position and thanked him for his service.

Ames asked former EMA Director council member Herman Johnson to start “picking his brain” and reviewing and updating emergency plans for the borough.

As advertised, council voted at the special meeting 7-0 in favor of Ordinance 2015-09 SALDO Amendment. The Subdivision and Land Ordinance (SALDO) Amendment gives council the final say on any and all subdivision and land development plans.

In other news, borough manager Virginia Kehoe received two estimates on replacing the borough’s parking meters by recommendation of police Chief Chris Yarns. Council discussed at length potentially raising the cost of the meters, and extending the required times the meters will run.

Kehoe explained the meters do not run for the borough to make a profit. “The parking meters are a service that we provide to the businesses and the fees that we collect are to offset the expenses we incur and theoretically it should break even, and it’s not right now,” because of the cost of the old meters’ maintenance and repairs, Kehoe said.

The two estimates for new meters would cost approximately $71,000 for meters that read credit cards, and $63,000 to replace coin-only meters. Currently, the borough makes approximately $20,000 a year from coins collected in the meters. “If you say it’s only going to take quarters, I think it’s going to more than double,” Kehoe said.

Council member Vincent Cruciani asked council to consider how the investment of new meters would be financed.

Kehoe offered the suggestion to buy the new meters this coming year and then buy the housing, or the case that covers the mechanical meter, for the meters the following year. “The housing was a request but it’s not a need,” Kehoe said.

To only purchase new meters with card readers, without the housing that comes with it, the cost is $35,000, but that cuts the price in half from $71,000, Kehoe said.

Mayor Patty Lawler asked Kehoe to check on the warranty for the meters.

“We’re getting hammered,” Lawler said in response to the tractor trailer traffic in the borough. Kehoe said the more electronic the meters, the more they are negatively impacted by the heavy traffic.

Lawler also suggested extending the required hours for the meters until 8 p.m.

Council will discuss the matter further at the regular meeting Sept. 2 once Kehoe verifies the meters with card readers will fit the current housing, check with Yarns to see what meters that have housing actually need replacement, and check the warrantee on the meters for the mayor’s concern for how the traffic may damage them.

“Whatever changes we need to decide that all at one time because it’s going to affect our budget, and it’s going to affect our ordinances for the end of the year,” Kehoe told council.

Lawler also drafted a policy for reserving the borough’s new Finish Shop Pocket Park on Depot Street so members of the community may reserve the park for birthday parties or community classes.

“I have no objection to what the mayor has drafted,” said council member David Jenkins.

Cruciani said there needs to be an organized schedule of events so the public is aware of when the park may be available, and that council needs to determine whether reserving the park guarantees exclusive access for the time reserved.

On Sept 2, council will also vote on the Scranton Abingtons Planning Association (SAPA) Agreement. Kehoe said Denise Prowell will attend the regular meeting to answer questions regarding the SAPA Agreement.

Clarks Summit Council member Herman Johnson, left, congratulates new EMA Director Jeff Ames as council president Gerrie Carey looks on. Summit Council member Herman Johnson, left, congratulates new EMA Director Jeff Ames as council president Gerrie Carey looks on. Meredith Colohan | For Abington Journal

By Meredith Colohan

For Abington Journal

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