RENOVO - On Erie Avenue in Renovo, dog is no longer man's best friend, following months of owners not cleaning up after their pets.
The borough's Erie Avenue project, which saw hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on improvements to eight blocks of Erie Avenue, is still an accomplishment Borough Council is proud of. However, dozens of piles of dog dirt are taking away from the enhancements... And council members are fed up.
After a motion by Councilman Paul Fantaskey at council's meeting Wednesday night, the members approved an amendment to its ordinance for a minimum $500 fine for those not cleaning up after their pet. The maximum fine is $1,000. This will include first time offenders.
In other matters at Wednesday's meeting, council agreed to a resident's request to extend a deadline to clean up after a fire, but not as long as hoped for.
Brian Youells of 10th Street had his garage burn down in January, and council gave him 90 days to clean up. With the April 22 deadline looming, Youells asked council for an extension to May 31. Council countered with an eight-day reprieve, meaning Youells has until April 30 to get the site cleaned up.
The vote was 4-3 in favor of extending the date, with much of the discussion coming after the vote took place.
Council member Rhonda Balchun referred to two other similar 90-day demands for property owners to clean up, only Youells has showed an effort, she said. Therefore, she felt the extension was justified.
Others, including Council President Mark Campbell, felt a tougher stance was in order and feared others asking for extensions in the future.
Council discussed the borough's police department numerous times, with nearly every conversation ending with council deciding to finish its discussions in executive session.
What was talked about in the public session included:
r Mayor Don Pagnotto said he "strongly disagreed" with last month's motion to make the two full-time officers' positions now 35 hours a week.
The mayor said he felt the officers disagreed with the decision. Also, he said, with a 35-hour work week, overtime pay will now start on hour 36.
r It was also noted the police budget was close to $10,000 in January. It declined the following two months, with a tab of $7,340 in March.
r Pagnotto also said last month's decision to appoint Balchun as the borough's Vacancy Committee chairperson was not legal, as she is serving on council. He said the chairperson acts as a liaison with a judge who might be asked to appoint a person to an empty council seat. Council looked into the matter and found the mayor was correct, and will look to appoint a person not on council to the position.