SHAMOKIN — Shamokin City Council unanimously approved a two-year contract Monday night with eight employees in the Department of Public Works that calls for a 1 percent base wage increase each year.
Approving the AFSCME agreement that runs from January 1, 2018, through Dec. 31, 2020, were Mayor William Milbrand and council members John Brown, Dan McGaw, Barbara Moyer and Charlie Verano.
Under the new contract, employees will receive an additional holiday (Presidents’ Day), which brings their total to 11. They also will retain three personal days.
In other business, council approved the first reading of a police pension ordinance in accordance with an arbitration award issued last month by an independent arbitrator.
Council passed a resolution naming city administrator Robert Slaby chief administrative officer for the police and non-uniformed pension plans.
A resolution was unanimously adopted by council that allows the city’s third-party inspector, Light-Heigel & Associates, of Palmyra, to assist code enforcement officers with issuing citations for code violations at a fee of $60 per hour.
Code enforcement officer Rick Bozza said the $60 fee charged by Light-Heigel will be assessed to the violator on the citation. Light-Heigel will be used at the discretion of Slaby and the city’s public safety director, who is currently Brown.
Robert J. Derk was sworn into office by Milbrand as an assistant emergency management coordinator. Derk will assist Brian Pufnak, who was sworn in as the new emergency management coordinator last month.
McGaw announced that Brookside Ministries, of Shamokin Dam, will be distributing coats, mittens, scarves and blankets to needy children in the municipal parking lot on East Independence from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18.
McGaw reported the lighting of a community Christmas tree will be held at 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, at Claude Kehler Community Park on Arch Street.
Friendship Fire Company was granted permission to conduct its annual fund drive this month.
Council agreed to donate a six-month parking permit to the Shamokin Youth Basketball League that will be given as a prize during a league fund-raising event.
During the citizens’ portion of the meeting, Al Yurkiewicz, of 208 Strawberry St., complained that city officials failed to do anything to rectify an ongoing water runoff problem on his property that runs adjacent to a rail line owned by SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority between North Franklin and North Pearl streets.
Slaby and Verano, who said they attempted to help Yurkiewicz, explained that Strawberry Street is not owned by the city and belongs to the railroad, which creates liability issues for the city. The street is not on the city map.
“You made a mountain out of a molehill and didn’t do anything to correct the problem,” Yurkiewicz said. “Thanks for nothing.”
Yurkiewicz said he’s entitled to services from the city because he pays his taxes.
Milbrand, Verano and Slaby advised Yurkiewicz to contact George Furry, a property maintenance official with SEDA-COG, in an attempt to resolve the water problem.
Joey Leschinskie read a letter to council at the beginning of the meeting stating his intentions to resign from the landlord/tenant board of appeals that he has served on for about a year.
Leschinskie thanked city officials for giving him an opportunity to be on the five-member board, but believes it has become stagnant and isn’t doing enough to help people.
Council took no action on Leschinskie’s resignation request.
Slaby told representatives from the Shamokin Area Band and Orchestra Boosters that their request to use Claude Kehler Community Park on Saturday, June 30, 2018, for a block party to raise funds will most likely be acted upon next month once a budget is approved for next year.
At the beginning of the meeting, Milbrand reported city treasurer Brenda Scandle suffered a heart attack Friday night and plans to be discharged from the hospital today. He asked council members and citizens to keep Scandle in their prayers.