SHAMOKIN — City council approved Monday a motion to move all future regular meetings to the Mill Road Square Complex training room at 541 N. Franklin St.
Mill Road Square will be handicap compliant, unlike chambers at City Hall that require attendees to climb a stairwell, Mayor John Brown told the audience during Monday’s regular meeting at City Hall.
Attendees can access the training room by parking in the lot adjacent to the police station and accessing double doors on the south side of the building.
Voting in favor of the move were Brown and councilmembers Barbara Moyer, Charlie Verano, Scott Roughton and Dan McGaw.
City workshop meetings will continue to be held at City Hall either in chambers or the mayor’s office.
“The past couple of years we have had handicap people and elderly who just couldn’t come to meetings,” Brown commented on Tuesday. “It will be important for everyone to attend with Home Rule meetings coming up, because we have to get this information out. We will give (Mill Road Square Complex) a try and if it doesn’t work out, we will try something else.”
In other business Monday, council authorized the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area (AOAA) to use pre-approved designated streets in the city for an Ice Breaker Ride from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 23.
Council designated various streets as joint-use for one day in November during “Taking it to the Streets,” a new event held to expose AOAA riders to local restaurants and other businesses. Out of 860 people who bought an AOAA pass on the event day, 444 traveled into town.
AOAA Operations Director Dave Porzi informed the mayor during Monday’s meeting that the route will be similar to the first ride with a “couple of adjustments.”
Porzi plans to meet with Chief of Police Darwin Tobias III to discuss potential route changes.
Light applause followed Administrator Robert Slaby reading a letter from the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) stating the terms of a settlement for the city’s prior misuse of funds from the Home Investment Partnerships Program have been met.
The letter was precipitated by the city paying the fifth and final payment of $83,498.34 in December to satisfy $504,495 that DCED and Department of Housing and Urban Development said it was owned for misappropriations of funds dealing with the Community Development Block Grant program in 2003, 2004 and 2005, and the HOME program in 2003.
The debt was connected with former Shamokin city clerk and treasurer Brian Jeremiah, who was charged in October 2010 with misappropriation of the federal grant money, which was earmarked for rehabilitating homes and making them available for low-income residents through the HOME Program.
In other business, council approved:
• The Lions Club to hold a block party at Claude Kehler Community Park on July 12 and 13.
• Denise Brown, wife of Mayor John Brown, to hold the second annual Easter egg hunt at Claude Kehler Community Park II from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 13.
• A bench that will honor Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Stanley Coveleski for a price not to exceed $1,800. Funding will come from the Parks and Recreation Fund. McGaw suggested the bench, which will feature the colors Coveleski chose for the Hall of Fame. It will be placed next to the monument along Market Street that honors the local sports legend.
• Roughton, director of public safety, and two fire chiefs to attend the Fire Law and Management Conference on April 26 and 27 at a cost not to exceed $500 a person.
• High bids of $1,503 from Craig’s Plumbing and Heating for a 2000 Ford F-350 truck; $1,400 from Stoneroad Iron and Metal for a 1991 street sweeper; and $587 from Chris Berkheiser for a salt spreader. No bids were received for a tire changer.
During the public comment section of the meeting, former Mayor William Milbrand chastised city officials for using city equipment and manpower on Friday to remove trash and other debris from a dilapidated home on Vine Street. He questioned why the cleanup was done to benefit one person.
Milbrand said, “For years when I was mayor, I had to tell 85-year-old people who had this same problem that ‘We’re working on it. We’re trying. We’re doing the best we can.’”
Slaby responded that he was asked to look into the situation and draw a conclusion.
“(The smell) was enough to make you sick,” Slaby told Milbrand. “Being the city’s administrator, I felt it was a public health issue and needed to be cleaned up — and it was.”
Slaby added that he had spoken with members of the Code Enforcement Office as well as Chief Tobias, who said the property owner would be cited, if he or she can be located.