Clarks Summit Borough Council president offers update on borough building plans

By Robert Tomkavage - | March 6th, 2017 4:38 pm

CLARKS SUMMIT — Borough President Gerrie Carey announced during a regular meeting March 1 there are no immediate plans to build a new borough building in Clarks Summit.

“What we’re doing is in its infancy stages,” Carey said. “Highland Associates has come forward, pro bono, and is going to give us the numbers on what it would cost to revamp our borough building versus building or finding another one. Our goal is to stay in the building we’re in right now. As a borough, we got a $100,000 grant for The Gathering Place. We’re grateful we have them downstairs and want to keep that (partnership) moving in a good direction.”

Members of borough council discussed the possibility of constructing a new borough building on Sheridan Avenue, where a baseball field is currently located, during a meeting Jan. 25.

“We’re just looking at some other options,” Carey said. “It’s all going to depend on where the numbers come in, but taxes aren’t going to be raised.

Carey added that Highland Associates plans to have a structural engineer examine the current borough building to determine what would have to be fixed structurally.

“The bottom line is nothing is going to happen soon,” Councilman Dominic Scott said.

Councilman Vince Cruciani voiced his concerns regarding a deficit of approximately $80,000.

“It was discovered in our audit that Clarks Summit finished $180,000 in deficit last year,” he said. “Ninety thousand of that is accounted for by reimbursement of police vehicles. We were lucky enough to get back $15,000 because of lower bids than we budgeted for the wall on School Street, but the bottom line is we have about an $80,000 deficit, and you can’t run a sustainable enterprise whether it’s a business, a home or local government with sustained deficit spending.

“It wasn’t brought up until this month; that’s my biggest concern,” Scott added. “We all did a really good job working to balance this year’s budget; my concern is the deficit wasn’t discovered until the audit. I think it’s a really serious issue and it has to be addressed. It can’t creep up on us like it did.”

Mayor Herman Johnson also believes the deficit is a significant issue that needs to be resolved.

“I would strongly suggest that we suspend all discretionary spending until we get an answer on this,” Johnson said.

In other business:

• Police Chief Chris Yarns announced the cost for accident reports will increase from $15 to $22.

• Members of the borough council approved a motion to accept the low bid of $44,419.95 from Rutledge Construction for repairs to the wall on School Street.

By Robert Tomkavage

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