BY STACI WILSON
Montrose Borough is scrapping its plans to convert the former gym on Mill and High Streets into a community center.
Following an executive session Monday night, borough council voted to terminate the lease, effective Dec. 31, on the property owned by Alice Davis.
In December 2012, the borough entered into a lease for the property at a cost of $5,000 per month – utilizing its $60,000 in Act 13 or “impact fee” funds received in 2012 to finance the project.
The lease effectively brought to a close a lawsuit filed by Davis against the borough after council and the zoning hearing board denied a request to convert the former gymnasium into an apartment building.
The building was set to undergo renovations over the summer but inspectors found mold that called for remediation before the center could be opened.
Talk about buildings and finances dominated most of the Nov. 4 meeting.
Councilman Sean Granahan said borough bank accounts would be collecting about two percent interest. And the interest on the loan for the borough building is four percent.
Granahan advocated paying off the building loan this week – at a cost of $232,553.
Councilman Craig Reimel said his original intent was to pay off the borough building mortgage loan in 10 years. But the end of the liability to the borough will come just four years into the 30-year mortgage.
Council unanimously approved paying off the loan.
Council President Tom LaMont suggested a fire lane be lined out in the municipal parking lot west of Public Ave.
Cars parking near the buildings is blocking emergency access, he said.
Council appointed Erin Jenner as its acting, interim secretary. She will be paid on an hourly basis, and maintain her health insurance through the transition period.
Jenner tendered her resignation in October, but the secretary’s position has not yet been filled. The borough is looking for a person with bookkeeping experience.
Council asked members of the public to be patient while their search for a secretary continues. Currently, there are no open office hours during the day at the borough building. Members of the public are asked to leave a message. The borough streets, zoning and police departments are available through the phone system and messages will be returned, council assured.
Council approved the removal of four trees located on the bank behind the borough building at a cost of $250 per tree.
Streets Supervisor Ken DiPhillips provided council with a sample of a highway occupancy permit used by a neighboring municipality.
Leaf collection would be continuing through the month of November, DiPhillips said.
Council recessed the meeting until Monday, Nov. 11 at 7:30 p.m., to discuss the 2014 budget.