Clarks Summit Borough Council members approve hiring of part-time parking enforcement officer

By Robert Tomkavage - | March 8th, 2016 6:13 pm

CLARKS SUMMIT — Members of the borough council approved a motion to hire George Carros as a part-time meter enforcement officer on the recommendation of the personnel committee during a meeting on March 2.

Carros currently works as an independent contractor for the borough repairing parking meters and will also continue in that role.

“He will enforce the violations of just the parking meters, he is not a police officer,” Council Vice President Herman Johnson said. “It will free up our (police) officers to be on the road more often.”

Carros will work 12 hours per week at a rate $12 an hour and Johnson recommended a six-month trial period for his position.

According to Johnson, the revenue coming into the borough primarily from the parking meters has risen over the past few years from approximately $22,000 in 2013 to $26,000 in 2015. He added repairs on the meters cost less than $1,000 last year.

“We are not losing any money, ” Johnson said. “The purpose of the meters is to promote safety and regulate traffic in the community. We have people parking all day. We have to eliminate that so the businesses can have an influx of people coming in.”

Members of the police department will also continue to monitor the parking meters.

Borough council members voted to grant Mayor Patty Lawler and Police Chief Chris Yarns authorization to start the interview process for a new part-time police officer.

According to Yarns, one of the borough’s current part-time officers, Matt Sims, will remain on staff but will be unable to cover all his shifts after accepting a full-time position with the Dalton Police Department.

“Over the last two years, our overtime has been in double digit hours and that is outstanding,” Johnson said. “Before those years, it was always up over 150 to 200 hours. I think it’s a no-brainer to give them that authorization because they are keeping the overtime down and the officers have a good police record.”

Yarns and Lawler will present a recommendation for vote during the council’s meeting on April 6.

The personnel committee also asked members of council to consider hiring a new full-time police officer. The finance committee plans to discuss the matter at one of its upcoming meetings.

During the borough’s February meeting, Councilman Dominic Scott questioned whether the Abington Heights School District has been recycling. Scott was under the impression the district had not been.

Recycling Chair Bob Bennett drove to Abington Heights Middle School and two of the district’s elementary schools and saw recycling bins outside each building.

Bennett noted the bins seemed to be filled mostly with corrugated cardboard, but were being used for recycling purposes.

“The statement that the (Abington Heights) school district is not recycling is wrong,” Bennett said. “The school district is recycling.”

Johnson, Councilman Pat Williams and Council President Gerrie Carey also went to the district’s administration office and verified the district has a recycling contract with J.P. Mascaro & Sons.

“We checked the administration building, and the break area and every office has recycling bins,” Johnson said. “I’m worried about the citizens of the borough because we have a good recycling program and a good partnership with the school district and businesses.”

Ryan Mitvalsky, president of the Abington Little League, addressed council to discuss plans for the lease on the Sheridan Avenue baseball field utilized by the little league.

Mitvalsky, who took over as president 18 months ago, had believed the league signed a lifetime lease on the property, which is owned by the borough.

“We seek to have approval for a lease for that field for the upcoming season,” Mitvalsky said. “We use the field from the beginning of April through the first weekend of July for our spring season, and toward the end of August through October we have our fall ball season. There are some dormant (months) when neighbors may think we left the fields, but we maintain cutting the grass during the offseason.”

Dori Waters of The Gathering Place and Ashley Shamus from the National Running Center addressed council to discuss plans for the Strawberry Day 5K Race and Festival.

This year’s event will be held on Saturday, June 18.

“The race brings a lot of people from the entire area into this community,” Waters said. “We’re going to approach merchants about finding ways to get people who come to the race into their stores.”

Shamus approached council with a request to close down Spring Street from 8 to 10:30 a.m. for the race.

Johnson suggested the organizers meet with Lawler and Yarns to discuss and plan any road closures along with traffic control.

In other business:

• Borough Manager Virginia Kehoe announced Pennsylvania American Water is awarding a $500 grant to the Clarks Summit Fire Company.

• Members of council passed a motion to spend up to $2,400 to repair the fence in the borough’s Department of Public Works yard.

• Members of council passes a motion to accept the low bid of $3,900 to repair a sewer line on Center Street.

Members of Clarks Summit Borough Council will hold a work session meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 29 at the borough building, 304 S. State St.

By Robert Tomkavage

Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.