Borough discusses police, budget and stormwater

By OWEN WALSH
Posted 9/30/20

HONESDALE, PA — Two residents had questions about the Honesdale Police Department during the borough council’s public meeting last week. Local store owner Gina Pritchard, who found her …

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Borough discusses police, budget and stormwater

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HONESDALE, PA — Two residents had questions about the Honesdale Police Department during the borough council’s public meeting last week. Local store owner Gina Pritchard, who found her Mommy and Me Consignments store on Main Street broken into on Labor Day morning, told the councilors that no local nor state police officers were immediately available to assist her that morning.

“I come with the situation, but I also want to know, how can I help?” Pritchard asked the councilors, wondering if there were grants or fundraising efforts that could help the borough hire more officers. 

Council president Mike Augello responded that he sympathized with her and that the council has looked into many different potential solutions without finding the right one yet.

“It’s not forgotten by any stretch, it’s just that we don’t know what to do to make it that much better,” he said.

Resident and recently retired councilor Bill Canfield later asked the council if solicitor Richard Henry was involved in the ongoing police contract negotiations. Augello said that the borough’s labor attorneys from Eckert Seamans were solely handling the negotiations, feeling that “they were the ones most qualified to deal with any union.”

“I think it’s very sad that the borough has an overqualified, absolutely outstanding public solicitor that the borough council has ignored,” said Canfield, who often decried the borough’s use of its non-local labor attorney while on the council himself. “I find it appalling... I think it’s wrong.”

Henry said that he has been “very candid” about the fact that he “supported Honesdale council engaging Eckert Seamans” for the police negotiations.

Later in the meeting, councilor Jared Newbon reported that the finance committee has completed a draft of the 2021 budget; it will be reviewed at a future meeting.

“This is the first year that we’ve had two really qualified people [councilors Bill McAllister and Jared Newbon] working on our budget,” Augello said. “This is the first year I’ve really felt confident in what is going on [with the budget].”

On stormwater issues, councilor Jim Jennings was excited to announce that a stormwater pipe on North Main Street is getting replaced and relocated as that stretch of road is repaved. Jennings said this should mitigate flooding between Fair Avenue and Route 670. In addition, borough secretary/manager Judy Poltanis announced that after “several years” of trying, the state had processed the borough’s emergency action plan.

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