The Tarentum Borough Council awarded contracts for the construction and equipment for Tarentum's public skatepark tonight. Councilwoman Ginger Sopcak reported for the Allegheny Valley North Council of Governments on the lowest responsible bidders for the projects to be accomplished with Community Development Block Grant money. The contract for the fence and pad for the skatepark was awarded to Santamaria Landscaping and Fence of Apollo at a cost of $76,453.45. The contract for the skatepark equipment was awarded to True Ride Inc. of Duluth, MN at an approximate cost of $61,000. The elimination of one of the desired pieces of equipment brings the skatepark in within the amount the Borough has budgeted for this project.
The Borough Council also awarded the contract for the generator for the pump house to Schultheis/T.S.B. Inc. for the Kohler generator at a cost of $52,200.
In a surprise series of votes near the beginning of the meeting the Borough council voted to restore Councilman Carl Magnetta to the position of President of the Council, to elect Councilman Tim Rapp as Vice President of Council, and to hire William Rossey as Borough Manager effective September 25, 2006 with a starting salary of $54,500. Council President Magnetta announced that the events of the recent months were "over his head" and that he would make new committee appointments in the next week.
The citizen comments at the beginning of the meeting included: concerns about First and Fourth Amendment rights; a statement from the Recreation Board that had not been given access to the Council Agenda since its election; a commendation to the Council for the openness of the process at the committee meetings the previous week; and a request to reconsider approving the retirement of Borough Manager Jeff Thomas. As I watched the Council give the citizens full opportunity to air their concerns I was impressed that then Council President Mary Newcomer had reached a level of comfort with her office such that she was able to handle some very hard questions and deep concerns with firmness and grace. But I did not know that a round of musical chairs was in the offing.
From the committee meeting last week I had been anticipating a difficult discussion of a motion to change the line 451.530 in the borough budget and take funding away from the Recreation Board. During the time for citizen comments, the chairman of the Recreation Board, Harmon Boston had explained that the Council had formed the Board by an ordinance in 1968, following Article XXVII in the Pennsylvania Borough Code, and that the Board wanted to keep its funding.
Solicitor Strellec opined that there was no ordinance to create the Recreation Board, having researched the matter as far back as 1985. Representatives of the Recreation Board had copies of the 1968 ordinance available. The motion to change the budget failed by a vote of 2-5.
In other business, the Council passed the Family Medical Leave Act policy, voted to advertize an ordinance granting Salsgiver Communications a non-exclusive franchise agreement, approved a Mutual Aid agreement with Allegheny Ludlum, hired a full-time police officer, accepted an addendum to the Agreement with Frazer to provide police services, approved 2 handicap parking spaces on Allegheny Street near First AVe., and awarded a street paving contract to Ron Gillette at a cost of $160,469.30.