In her final comments during the last public meeting of Ford City Borough Council, Council President Carol Fenyes reflected on a few of the items accomplished during 2017. The following is from her notes obtained by the Kittanning Paper:
- We resolved the EDA debt.
- Completed construction of the WTP implementing the project design approved by previous council. In addition to the PENNVEST low interest loan, Council received a total of $768,000 additional funding from the County through their CDBG funding program.
- We began the process with FEMA to determine if the flood map enacted in February 2016 could be amended. FEMA started the Natural Valley Assessment in July and we expect their final report in January 2018.
- Council authorized the TV cleaning and mapping of the storm drains. We are now consulting with the borough engineers to formulate a scope of work for repairs not covered under the existing flood mitigation grant. Two pumps have been replaced in the lower pump house and a letter of no prejudice has been obtained enabling their purchase thru the current grant.
- We have completed the 3rd Avenue water line replacement project between 12th and 14th streets. This project was originally bid at $303,030 and completed under budget at $297,778.17, funded through the public utility fund and a CDBG grant awarded to the County for paving projects in various municipalities.
- Council approved maintenance contracts for mechanical equipment, HVAC and generators. Such contracts ensure regular inspections, routine maintenance, and reduced costs when repairs are necessary,
- We continue to implement recommendations made by Novak consulting in EIP Phase 1, specifically Recommendation 22, update the borough’s fleet of trucks and police vehicles. In addition to the 2017 Ford Explorer Interceptor purchased thru a grant secured thru the efforts of the police chief, we also purchased a 2015 Ford F-350 utility body truck for the Street Department and we currently have grant approval for another truck with plow attachment that should be in service sometime in January.
- Under the direction of the Borough Manager, the Street Department did an amazing job mulching the playgrounds, painting the equipment and picnic tables, and adding solar and LED lighting to illuminate the parks from dusk till dawn. As a result we saw less vandalism during the overnight hours. While we only had the summer feeding program in Boulder Park this year due to a lack of staffing, it is my hope the Parks & Recreation Committee will design programs for the children to augment the summer feeding program with activities, as well as programs for the adults. A special thanks to the fire department for dismantling and removing the outdated and dangerous equipment from the playgrounds, and Undercutters for their removal of trees in Malec Park.
- Our new street supervisor, Kevin Nelson, and the fleet advisory committee have inspected the Borough trucks and equipment, and the repairs made this year. The equipment has been categorized as next out for future purchase. This review will assist in the preparation of a capital budget projecting a 5-year capital purchases timeline, forecasting needs rather than reacting to replacement on the fly.
- The planning commission worked diligently to prepare a bid request package for updating the comprehensive plan and re-zoning project, to review applicants, interview, rate and make final recommendations. As part of the process, I wrote a request for funding thru the early intervention program. We are currently awaiting approval thru DCED.
- With the extension of the DCNR grant for the 14th Street Trail Project thru December 31st, the project will be completed with the installation of the solar light pole. I would like to thank Mike Greenlee, Jeff Cogley, Tyson Klukan, Parks and Recreation (committee), and all the volunteers and borough workers for the concerted effort to wrap up this project. If you haven’t had the opportunity to travel north on the trail or drive up 3rd avenue to 14th street, I encourage you to do so! Not only did we put down an ASHTO#10 surface on the trail, a gazebo, handicapped and child friendly picnic table, bike rack, bike repair station, two bench locations one including a pergola, we also leveled the landscape to make mowing easier next year. We can all be proud of this project.
- At the request of the parks n rec committee, council adopted a resolution to participate in the Pennsylvania Environmental Council’s Towns & Trails Program, in which communities join together to pool talents and resources to develop trail projects. Parks and Recreation (committee) is currently applying to the program for a grant to provide signage along the trail.
Fenyes continued her remarks by outlining projects she feels will be significant in 2018.
- In 2018 we will begin improvements to our pump houses thru the existing FM grant, and we will improve accessibility for our handicapped residents by installing more ADA sidewalks with the MultiModal grant. As funding allows, we will attempt to upgrade water lines as needs are encountered during storm drain repairs and prior to paving. We will make application to PENNVEST for additional funding to continue the work on the storm water management system.
- I would like to initiate a review of our more than 700 ordinances with a view to trimming outdated ordinances and implementing a fee schedule which can be revised by resolution rather than enacting another ordinance every time rates are raised. (Borough Solicitor) Alyssa and I have discussed a possible project and will revisit as time and schedules allow.
- I have asked the Borough Manager and Borough Secretary to compile an “events” packet outlining the borough’s requirements, policies and procedures for any event held in the borough. The packet will include but not be limited to insurance requirements, traffic control, security needs, etc. I have also requested a joint meeting to take place in January to explain the packets to the various committees who sponsor events in the borough and to begin the calendar of events for the year.
- It continues to be a desire to restore the borough to a more stable administration, allowing the borough office to administer the day to day activities, thus allowing the council to govern. With effective policies and procedures in place, council should not have to micro-manage the daily activities but to see to its duties as outlined in Chapter 10, sections 1005 and 1006, of the Borough code, Powers and Duties of Council.
Fenyes concluded her comments by thanking various groups and individuals.
- I would like to thank the garden club for all their hard work beautifying the town with such spectacular displays. Your contributions to the life of the community are without equal!
- A special “thank you” to Dave Klukan for all his hard work on Ford Street by designing, installing and maintaining the hanging flower baskets and fall plantings. What a difference! I can’t wait to see what he has in store for next year!
- Thanks to the Summerfest committee, the firemen, the Renaissance Committee, and Stevie Hefner for the terrific events…Summerfest, the Old-Fashioned Street Fair, the Labor Day Parade and Carnival, Light Up night, and Playground Experience. And thank you Michael (Greenlee) for First Friday!
- A special thanks to the renaissance committee for the light display in the borough this year. Ford street, the park and avenues are gorgeous!
- Thank you to all the new businesses who have thrown your hats in the ring with Ford City… Bennett’s Ladies-n-Gents Barber Shop, Harper’s Grill, the soon to come Spigot, Rae’s Color, the Second-Hand Store, Lerner & Sons’ machine shop. And thank you to those who are working to open next year. Watch 9th Street for Beth’s Soup and Sandwich shop…don’t have the official name yet.
- I would like to take this opportunity to thank Kathy Bartuccio for her service to the Borough as councilwoman and past president, and her efforts to make the Farmer’s Market a success. Take some time to smell the roses Kathy! I will remember your advice to me regarding four years!
- Thank you to the LA Club for generously providing the venue for our meetings. I appreciate your willingness to work with every request we make, no matter how big!
- Last but certainly not least, I would like to thank this Council for its united vision of the future and its commitment toward that goal. We may not always agree, but we always agree to put what is best for the Borough ahead of personal concerns and or private agendas. I have learned a lot in my two years as president. First, I learned Klukan speak which sometimes sounds a lot like yelling, cussing and growling but ultimately leads to understanding; I have learned to look to my left to see if Marc has raised his hand to make a motion; and I have learned to hold my temper so that everyone has a voice whether it is easy to hear or not. And I have learned that a glass of wine after the meeting is a fine thing!
Ford City will hold a special meeting on January 2 for the swearing in of the newly-elected council members and the reorganization of Council.