by Jonathan Weaver
Upgrading 10-year-old surveillance equipment might help Ford City Borough officials see more than the out-of-town residents leaving unwanted trash near the recycling trailers in the future.
During the Borough’s 4th Monday business meeting, Councilwoman Beth Bowser discussed the surveillance cameras currently facing the recycling trailers and other council suggestions.
Jeff McGaughey, owner of MVS Security of Ford City, provided security for the trailers in 2006 and gave Bowser updated financial figures to get surveillance back on-line.
He suggested an upgraded infrared night-vision camera, 19-inch monitor, new 1080 high-density digital video recorder (DVR) or reprogrammed unit.
“At the time this unit was purchased, this technical capability was not in existence,” Bowser read from the surveillance review.
New cameras are $145 each, and an additional $30 fee would be assessed to swap out a non-working unit.
Total, all the new equipment would cost about $680.
But, Bowser said surveillance would not stop there.
“We are also as a Council, along with the police department, looking to expand surveillance in the town,” Bowser said. “What would be beneficial, I believe after talking to Mr. McGaughey, is taking the existing DVR and cameras eventually off of the Borough maintenance garage and putting them on the Borough Building,” Bowser said.
Borough Mayor Jeff Cogley and Police Chief Roger Wright suggested moving the cameras to see who is outside the building ringing the buzzer at night.
Moving the cameras would only incur a transfer cost.
While upgrading cameras at the maintenance garage, Council members also suggested adding surveillance cameras where a Ford City Rails-to-Trails pavilion near the intersection of 3rd Avenue and 9th Street was destroyed by fire in April 2015.
Borough Resident Bill Oleksak suggested more surveillance in Ford City Park due to vandals that damaged half-a-dozen Ford City Renaissance Community Partnership decorations in November 2014 and ransacked park bathrooms.
“We are looking at different surveillance at the park in different locations. We’re even looking into something we can move if we want to, but right now, the problem is getting that remote access,” Mayor Cogley said. “There are a lot of things we’re looking into around town.”
McGaughey met with Bowser, Council President Carol Fenyes, and Council Vice-President Tyson Klukan – as well as Police Chief Wright and Mayor Cogley.
“Obviously, if we have equipment that is outdated and not working, we need to correct it,” Fenyes said. “I don’t think it’s out of the ordinary – we need to keep our public and police officers safe.”
Klukan talked with Freeport Borough officials that caught vandals thanks to a wireless system accessible through cell phones.
“The surveillance project Councilwoman Bowser has taken on is phenomenal – we are upgrading technology in the Borough,” Klukan said. “It’s a good thing to have these security cameras placed around town because you’re never going to know when an incident might happen.”
Councilman Marc Mantini thanked McGaughey for his diligence and wondered if the Armstrong County Commissioners might also help fund the surveillance upgrades.
“Over the years, I can tell you horror stories (how vandals) wrecked these commodes – provided for the good of the taxpayers. (Bowser) talked about these, and I wholeheartedly agree,” Mantini said. “I can’t even begin to describe some of the out-of-town people that drop their trash (at the recycling trailers).”
Councilwoman Bowser hoped for a decision potentially before the Borough Trash Days – which begins for the First Ward residents Monday, June 13.
Council President Fenyes said fines can also be assessed to those who dump trash at the trailers.
Last week, Engineer Wally Rusnica found the last recorded footage was dated three years ago – in 2013.
100-amp boxes would also be needed in Ford City Park.
Previous councils also brainstormed for surveillance cameras to be near park bathrooms across 2nd Avenue.
In other business, council members also unanimously voted to borrow $3.1 million from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PennVEST) for construction of the new water treatment plant.