Jason Newbon picked as new borough councilor

By OWEN WALSH
Posted 3/4/20

HONESDALE, PA — The borough council had a vacancy to fill at its March 2 meeting. Tim Laufenberger resigned from the position in February and three residents offered to fill his shoes: Sandy …

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Jason Newbon picked as new borough councilor

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HONESDALE, PA — The borough council had a vacancy to fill at its March 2 meeting. Tim Laufenberger resigned from the position in February and three residents offered to fill his shoes: Sandy Degroat, Jim Hamill and Jason Newbon.

After all three had introduced themselves, Mike Augello asked each to confirm that they would be willing to consistently attend the borough meetings, noting that some past councilors have had poor attendance records.

“The public has seen that it’s ‘embarrassing,’ as one person [from the public] said one night, and it is,” Augello said.

James Brennan nominated Newbon and James Jennings nominated Hamill; Degroat did not receive a nomination. Newbon was chosen as the new councilor during a roll call vote in which Brennan, Jared Newbon and Mike Augello voted “yes,” and Jennings voted “no.”

Jason Newbon ran for council in 2019 alongside his son Jared, who ended up winning the election. The full council is now made up of Mike Augello, James Brennnan, Robert Jennings, James Jennings (no relation to Robert), Bill Canfield, Jared Newbon and Jason Newbon.

During the public comment section of the evening, Honesdale resident Bill Musgrove spoke about his decade-long dispute with his neighbors whose property he called “a dump.” Musgrove’s neighbors are New York City residents, and he said that they have not maintained their house or property: The grass is high, there is often debris and trash that Musgrove disposes of himself and the structure of the house itself is deteriorating. During an appraisal, Musgrove was told that the next-door property was “killing him.” The property owners have refused to listen to Musgrove’s complaints, he said. He added that he’s been seeking help from the borough for years but has yet to see any results.

“I, quite frankly, get the runaround,” he said, saying that the zoning officer sent him to the Wayne County magisterial judge, who “told him the exact opposite” of the borough and sent him back to the zoning officer. “They pass me around like I’m nothing, quite honestly.”

Mayor Sarah Canfield said that she also lives near the property in question and confirmed that “the property is in shambles,” and urged the officials to address the issue.

Councilors Augello and Brennan both said that they were completely unaware of this dispute. Augello said that unfortunately, Pennsylvania’s vague abandoned property laws make it difficult for the municipality to hold property owners accountable. However, the councilors assured Musgrove that the new zoning officer David Nilson and borough solicitor Richard Henry would meet with him to look into the issue further.
Musgrove said that he has been advised to sue the borough if the issue continues much longer, a threat he was loath to levy.

“I was told by one of your administrators to sue the borough,” he said. “I hate that idea… I love this place… but you leave me no choice if nothing is done.”

James Jennings said that the borough is actively seeking lifeguards to work at the public pool.

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