Bard Elected Borough President
McConnellsburg Borough Council reorganized on Monday evening and in a surprise move elected a new president, vice president and president pro tem.
Newly elected Mayor Mike Chilcote presided over the election of officers and Councilman Travis Bard nominated council President Rick Buterbaugh for re-election. Buterbaugh, who served as council president for six years, declined the nomination and nominated Bard, who had served as his vice president. Travis Bard was elected unanimously and Councilwoman Pat Frazier was nominated for vice president and was also elected unanimously. Buterbaugh then agreed to serve as president pro tem and would preside over any meetings that the president and vice president were both unable to attend.
In other reorganization business, council made a decision on filling the vacancy created by former councilman Chilcote’s election as mayor. Rick Buterbaugh nominated David Washabaugh IV for the position, and his motion was seconded by Councilman Mack Shaffer. During discussion, Councilman Jim Smith said that he would like to nominate former Councilman Lee Rager for the position. Rager was defeated in the election by newcomer Patrick Booth. Smith said he felt Rager should be given consideration since he ran and did receive a significant number of votes. However, with a motion and a second on the floor, council appointed Washabaugh for the position. Washabaugh had served previously for 12 years as a councilman. Patrick Booth cast the lone dissenting vote, asking instead that both Washabaugh and Rager both be invited to the next meeting so that he could learn more about them. Council, however, had only 30 days to fill the vacancy.
Council also voted unanimously to reappoint Jack Fields as secretary/treasurer, acting borough manager, zoning officer, building permit officer and police pension fund administrator for an additional two-year period. At Field’s request, Frazier was appointed assistant building permit officer.
The following committee members were named: Street Committee: Pat Frazier, Travis Bard, Mack Shaffer and Jim Smith. Light Committee: Patrick Booth, Mack Shaffer and Rick Buterbaugh. Buterbaugh was also appointed as the Parks/Recreation liaison and as the local emergency management officer. It was also agreed to submit Jim Smith’s name as assistant emergency management officer to the county for consideration.
All council members agreed to serve on a sidewalk committee charged with developing a sidewalk ordinance. Members agreed to hold a workshop on Sunday, January 31, at 1:30 p.m. for planning purposes.
Council voted to again retain Keller Engineers as its engineering firm on an as-needed basis with no retainer fee. Council also voted to again retain attorney Carlton Walker as its solicitor with the terms of the agreement unchanged from last year. Walker will receive a $300 retainer fee and be paid $95 per hour for any work she is asked to do for council.
County emergency management Director Vince Joyce met with council to seek permission for the county to erect either an 80-foot monopole north of the Services for Children building or a 40-50-foot antenna on the side of the building depending upon a final decision by the county commissioners. Joyce explained that his EMA offices will be moving from the Neighborhood Service Center into the basement of Services for Children, and the extra equipment is needed to enhance communications. Council approved the request.
A discussion was also held on an inquiry by the county as to the required materials for sidewalks. The county was advised that four inches of crushed stone should be used for the base for the sidewalks and six inches for driveways.
Council also said “no” to a request by the Fulton County commissioners to assist in paying for completion of the county’s Act 157 stormwater plan. The stormwater plans are mandated by the state, and Phase I and about 30 percent of Phase II have been completed. The state was to provide funding, but the funding did not survive recent budget cuts, and the county is seeking assistance from the participating municipalities in meeting the shortfall to complete the plan. The request was for a $2 per-capita fee in the borough or $2,146. After discussion, council voted to deny the request because of the financial challenges the borough is facing in 2010 with police pension fund-required contributions. Some council members called the per-capita fee simply a “tax” and said “if the state mandates the plan, then the state should pay for it.”
During other business, council authorized Fields to pay P&W a total of $900 for recent snow removal from the borough. Fields also reported that 44 tons of chips were used to fight the late autumn heavy snowfall. Council also discussed its snow removal ordinance and how to handle violations. Property owners/ residents have 24 hours after the snowstorm ends to remove snow and/or ice from sidewalks.
Councilman Smith also asked that council members receive an advance agenda in order to better prepare for meetings. Fields agreed but pointed out that often people just come to the meetings to conduct business without advance notice to Fields.
During regular business, council voted to pay December bills in the amount of $12,970.95. Receipts for the same period were $21,813.53. Checks were written for $21,105.41, and the January 1 balance was $53,465.35.
Council members present were Travis Bard, Rick Buterbaugh, Patrick Booth, Pat Frazier, Mack Shaffer, Jim Smith and Mayor Mike Chilcote.
Council meets the first Wednesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the Fulton House. The next regular meeting will be held February 3, 2010.