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MAI NLI NE newspapers

Thursday, January 7, 2021

(814) 472-4110

Portage Borough Council fills vacancies on water authority

Vol. 117 No. 1

USPS 439-000

By Ron Portash

of Mainline Newspapers

The Portage Borough Council had to fill three vacancies on the five-person Portage Area Municipal Authority at the council’s Jan. 4 meeting. The vacancies were created with the term expiration for Mark Castel, who declined

Portage, Pa.

reappointment, the resignation of Brent Kinley and the recent death of Jerome Yetsko. The two remaining board members are Craig Castel and John Morgan. The authority board has undergone some strife with internal conflicts and accusations in the recent months. In November, the authority board held a pub-

lic meeting attended by its employees to air grievances over a longtime office employee who was fired over an alleged vendetta by a board member. The meeting resulted in the board and employees agreeing to work together to improve conditions. The council voted unanimously to approve Ed Alexander to

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the open five-year term on the authority, and Matt McCoy was approved by a 4-2 vote to fill the unexpired term of Brent Kinley until 2023. Former borough council president Sharon McCarthy was nominated to fill the unexpired term of Jerome Yetsko. McCarthy’s vote ended with a 3-3 tie, and with no mayor at the present time, the

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nomination failed. Chris McCall was then nominated for Yetsko’s term that expires in 2022. McCall was appointed in a 4-2 vote. After the meeting, the borough council members conducted interviews for those who submitted letters of interest for the vacant mayor position, due to

Adams Township Supervisors hold reorganization meeting

SEE VACANCIES, PAGE 2

By Ron Portash

of Mainline Newspapers

The Adams Township Supervisors held their reorganizational meeting Jan. 4 as required by the commonwealth’s Second Class Township Code. The law requires every township to meet the first Monday in January of each year. If the first Monday is a legal holiday, the meeting shall be held the following day. Supervisors are required to conduct appointments of affirm to each township position. This differs for boroughs, which are only required to conduct a reorganization every other year when there is a municipal election involving the council positions. The supervisors first must appoint a temporary chairman to conduct nominations for chairman of the board of supervisors. The supervisors appointed township secretary Jennifer Zakraysek as temporary chairman. Dennis Richards was nominated and unanimously approved as board chairman. Zakraysek then turned the meeting over to Richards. Mark Bucci was then nominated and

District judge Rick Varner swears in Adams Township officials during the annual reorganization meeting Jan. 4. Taking the oath of office are (from left); secretary-treasurer Jennifer Zakraysek, township supervisors Dennis Gdula, Dennis Richards, Daniel Senft, J. Brian Schrader and Mark Bucci. Photo by Ron Portash.

approved for the position of vice-chairman. The supervisors swiftly went through the numerous appointments of public works employees. Dennis Gdula, J. Brian Schrader and Daniel Senft were unanimously approved as working supervisors for the public

works department. Senft was then nominated and approved for the position of roadmaster. The roadmaster supervises the work of the road crew positions. The supervisors approved the reappointment of Kirk Moss as the township’s chief of police

equipment bays of the fire company, and there is no way to fix the cuts without cutting the new, rubberized roof material, voiding the manufacturer’s warranty and endangering the integrity of the roof. American Roofing filed a civil lawsuit against the borough for failure to pay the contracted price. The borough contends that payment was withheld until an agreement could be reached on either removing at roof material and replacing the metal roof pans or a repair that would not comprise the integrity of the roofing material. The civil case has been recommended for non-binding mediation. This is a process of alternative dispute resolution to reduce caseloads on the courts. Both sides, through their attorneys, meet with a court appointed mediator who is an attorney experienced in civil law. The three sides negotiate to find common ground to settle the case. If an agreement cannot be reached, the case will be scheduled for trial in the Court of Common Pleas in Ebensburg. In other matters, the borough

was successful in having the sale of a tax sale property in the borough revoked. When a person appears to purchase a property at a tax sale, that person must sign an affidavit that no back taxes are owed on any other property. In this case, the buyer purchased a property while owing back taxes on another property, including one or more properties in the borough. The borough filed a notification with the county’s tax claim bureau before the judge could certify the sale of the property. The council then approved a payment plan for court costs for a property that was declared a hazardous structure and ordered demolished. The property owner is required to pay the borough for all attorney, engineer and court filing costs. The council, additionally, approved sending a letter to the former property owner seeking a payment arrangement before going to court to file for a sheriff’s sale of the defendant’s property to satisfy money owed to the borough to demolish the hazardous structure.

Portage Borough deals with outstanding legal matters

By Ron Portash

of Mainline Newspapers

The Portage Borough Council meeting Jan. 4 opened the new year with discussion on an old agenda item. The borough’s civil lawsuit against American Roofing has been on and off the agenda for nearly four years. American Roofing was awarded the bid to the replace the roof on the municipal building, and the company used a subcontractor to remove the old, rubberized roofing material and insulation. The subcontractor used a saw to cut the roofing material, but the saw depth was set too deep and several cuts were made through the metal sheet pans that are the base of the roofing material. These cuts are visible in the

and approved a list of full- and part-time officers. Supervisor Mark Bucci was reappointed as police commissioner. Other reorganizational matters included reappointing 1st Summit Bank as the depository, The EADS Group as township engineer and Kotzan CPA and

Associates to conduct the 2020 state-required audits. Several appointments were made to other township commissions and authorities. Patrick Webb was reappointed as recording secretary for the SEE MEETING, PAGE 2

Fire safety especially important during winter months By Allie Byers

of Mainline Newspapers

As colder temperatures prevail, heating sources are a necessity, and with that comes a great deal of responsibility to safely heat a home. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), half of all home heating fires occur in December, January and February. The FEMA website also states that one in every seven home fires and one in every five home fire deaths involve heating equipment. As many individuals are turning to portable heaters and fire places for warmer homes, there are a number of safety precautions that can be taken. “Heaters should have tip-over protection and should be plugged into an electrical outlet and not a surge protector,” said treasurer of the Gallitzin Fire Company Christopher Cox. “Heaters should be kept three feet away from anything that can burn.” Only one heating appliance, like a space heater, should be plugged into an electrical outlet at a time. As far as fireplaces, Cox stated that a glass or metal screen should be kept in front of the fireplace to prevent embers or sparks from jumping out. A wood stove should also be at least three feet away from anything that can burn. “Put the fire out before you go to sleep or leave your home,” Cox added. There are a number of items that a homeowner can do to help prevent fires and assist the fire department during the

SEE SAFETY, PAGE 15

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