Commissioners add public comment to minutes

Susquehanna County Commissioner meeting minutes now contain a listing of public comment.
Public comment had not been included in commissioners’ meeting minutes since 2008.
The list of topics brought before the commissioners at the Sept. 14 meeting was included in the approved minutes at the Sept. 28 meeting.
While some in the audience thanked the commissioners for adding the comments, others asked that more detailed comments included.
A new chief clerk will be joining the ranks of the courthouse staff.
The commissioners hired Lana Adams of Dimock to the position, setting the start date at Nov. 7. The county salary board – comprised of the three commissioners and the county treasurer – set the starting pay for the Chief Clerk position at $62,500 annually.
The salary board also created a new position in the clerk’s office – Administrative Assistant to the Chief Clerk, at an annual salary of $32,000.
The commissioners approved personnel transfers at the county jail, as well as the hiring of a new part-time corrections officer.
There were also several personnel changes in the Prothonotary/Clerk of Courts office acknowledged by the commissioners.
The county adopted a resolution authorizing the Housing Authority to file an application of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding. The authority is applying for $236,000 in state funding that would be used for a sidewalk project in Thompson Borough; sewer repairs on two streets in New Milford Borough; and adult education carpentry program at the Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center.
The commissioners adopted proclamations naming October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month; and the week of Oct. 2-8 as Mental Illness Awareness Week.
Extensive renovations are underway in the courthouse. A second floor is being added in the “gymnasium” (where the Historical Records department was located). The new second floor will be home to the County Assessment office, as well as Historical Records.
The first floor of the space will be the Treasurer and Tax Claim office, as well as an employee lunchroom.
Most noticeably, work is being done on the Lake Avenue entrance side of the building. The side of the building is being “pushed out” 30 to 40 feet. The new entrance on that side of the building will have a handicap accessible entrance.
The top floor of the “push out” will be a remodeled District Attorney’s office that will include a conference room.
Most notably, the renovations will include the addition of an elevator in order to make all levels of the buildings accessible, and ADA compliant.
Montrose District Court – currently housed in the Old Jail – will move to the site of the current Treasurer/Tax Claim Office.
Hall said Montrose Borough Council were worried the county would “rip down” the jail in the “middle of the night,” harkening back to the demolition of Colonial Hall in the 1980s.
Hall said renovations to the Old Jail would cost in the millions. He said the cost of putting in the retaining wall, the jail yard wall and an I-beam was $750,000.
But, he said, there are additional issues with the building. Hall said an inside wall is caving in, and engineers are puzzled about how to stabilize it and stop it from affecting the adjacent property. He said the building contains asbestos, lead paint and there is raw sewage in the basement.
Once the magistrates’ office is moved from the building, Hall said engineers would be able to give a more through estimation of the work that needs to be done there. But, he warned, that work would come at a hefty price. He said he hoped the public would come forward at that time to help the county determine what should be done.
“If I could find a way to get around the deed, I would be more than happy to make a motion to turn the property over to Montrose Borough,” Hall said.
During public comment, one audience member said he had recently moved to the area and was seeking information about the proposed incineration facility.
Commissioner Alan Hall said Tyler Corners Group had released a press release about a meeting with the Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) the week prior to the meeting.
It was also stated that the group had not yet purchased the property where they are looking to site the proposed facility.
Hall said the county was working with DEP and they expected to receive more information from the state agency and would release that letter to the public. He also said the county had not received anything specific back from DEP about the request for an air quality study.
Hall said County Solicitor Michael Giangrieco was communicating with DEP, as well as the solicitor for New Milford Twp.

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