The new JMA water plant
The Johnsonburg Borough Council is invited to the Johnsonburg Municipal Authority meeting on Wednesday to discuss with Engineers from GD&F the proposed solution to the current water plant issues for the new plant pictured above. (Photo by Brian D. Stockman)

JOHNSONBURG-- In a departure from the norm, the Johnsonburg Borough Council wrapped up their monthly meeting in less than an hour on Tuesday.

Borough Council members questioned Dan Newell of the Johnsonburg Municipal Authority (JMA) manager Dan Newell about the proposed solution that was put forward by the GD&F Engineering firm last week at a cost of $294,570. The JMA board passed the proposal with a slim vote of 4-2 in favor of the solution. As proposed by JMA and endorsed by Ken Cadwell, the water plant operator, the solution involves installing a new 12" water line between the Third Avenue tank down to the main distribution line that follows the old route of 219. The proposal put forward to the board would have the work performed by current contractor Continental Construction. Two 12" lines, 3 12" valves, 2 6" tie-ins, and a new 12" tie-in on the Third Avenue tank would be included in the price of $294,570 and includes the material, labor, and landscaping after the work is completed.

Borough Council members questioned Newell on the likely success rate of the project, with councilmember James DeAngelo questioning the 12" line as actually having an interior diameter of about 10 1/2" as it is welded pipe. Several council members, including mayor Jack Fowler, questioned Newell on the "hardness" of the water, saying that many people are complaining as the change is noticeable, especially when using soap or detergent in the lack of suds in the wash water or shower. Newell affirmed that the water, which is tested daily, meets or exceeds all of the required levels from the PA Department of Environmental Protection. Newell then invited everyone to the JMA meeting on Wednesday afternoon, beginning at 4 p.m., and mentioned that one of the Chief Engineers and owners of the GD&F engineering firm would be on hand to respond to questions in more depth than Newell can. The meeting will be held at the JMA headquarters on Market Street in the Borough.

Mayor Jack Folwer reminded all residents of the upcoming elections on November 2 in Elk County and mentioned that the last day to register to vote is October 18, with the last day to request an absentee ballot on October 26. All polls in Elk County will be open on November 2, beginning at 7 a.m. and continuing until 8 p.m. The mayor also wanted to thank all of the organizers and attendees at the highly successful Festival of Flavors in Johnsonburg this past Saturday, noting that the improvements at the Community building are making the area more attractive to residents and visitors alike.

Police Chief John Clopp presented his monthly report to the Borough Council. There were 257 calls for service for August, a sharp decrease over the past few months. Telephone calls to the station stand at 76, with signal calls at 75. Sixty-one investigations were carried out, which resulted in 25 arrests, ten of which were for motor vehicle infractions. Two drug arrests were reported, along with 14 family and Children cases. The new patrol car has arrived in Johnsonburg and will be outfitted by Murry's next week. Chief Clopp reminded all residents that abandoned vehicles and those without inspections or registrations are liable to be towed away by the Johnsonburg Police as they prepare the roads for the arrival of winter. Multiple vehicles, abandoned trailers, and other vehicles have already been towed away from the streets, with more to come. A police presence was requested at the Johnsonburg School District meeting last week, but thankfully no action was needed by the police, and the meeting went smoothly, unlike many others across the country as COVID-19 restrictions remain in place for school students.

Borough Engineer Ryan Miller reported that the Harrison Avenue project is moving ahead with Dean Construction entering into an agreement with the railroad for the required "flaggers" for a minimum of 10 days as they work to complete the project before winter. Milling of the Avenue will begin on October 13, with one lane of traffic maintained through the process. Dean also cleaned and replaced most existing catch basin filter bags in the project area in September. Miller also noted that Domtar is working with the Borough to promptly clean up the area behind its properties on 452 and 454 Center Street. Seven vehicles and tons of "junk" that has acclimated over the years. Domtar, Johnsonburg Police, and Borough work crews are helping to clean up the area and remove the abandoned vehicles. Miller also alerted the Council that the residents of 327 First Avenue have been informed that the house will be reposted as "uninhabitable" once again if they fail to remove the property's blighted garage.

The site of the old Johnsonburg Hotel, and the connected lot of the property that backs onto the Community Center Park, was approved for purchase by the Borough from the County Repository. With the transfer and paperwork costs of around $300, the Council will be contracting to remove the debris from the property in the spring.

The former Elk County Chief Clerk, Seth Higgins, has opened his own government consulting firm, Town and County, and presented a proposal to the Borough Council before the meeting. At the meeting, the Borough Council agreed to Higgins's rate of $50 an hour to assist them in applying for the American Rescue Plan Act funding that is becoming available.

The Borough Council also approved Kincaid Construction as the lowest bidder for the demolition of the recently acquired property at 433 Second Avenue at the cost of $9,889 for demolition and removal of the blighted structure.

The finance report showed no discrepancies in any accounts, and Council quickly approved the bills for payment.

The Borough Council then went into executive session at 5 p.m. The next monthly meeting is scheduled for November 9, again at 4 p.m. in the Council Chambers.

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