Honesdale police, public works seek council action
The bulk of action requests received at the Honesdale Borough Council’s meeting on December 9 came not from the public but from its own officials. Icy roads kept public attendance sparse, so only the few routine public requests received by correspondence were considered at the monthly meeting chaired by Vice President James Brennan, in President F. J. Monaghan’s absence. Newly-appointed Police Commissioner Rick Southerton and Director of Public Works Richard Doney described exasperating situations that they regard as dangerously unacceptable, asking the council for action to remedy them.
Doney pointed out that the council’s action last year to grant overnight street parking to borough residents (from 2–6 a.m.) has wrought havoc with snow removal efforts on all streets except those already designated as snow emergency routes. Reminding the council that he had voiced opposition to the plan for that very reason when the decision was originally made, Doney stated that, unless the decision is reversed, it is only a matter of time before one of his plow trucks damages a parked car and/or accidentally injures or kills somebody. Doney cited the 80-plus year ban on overnight parking as an ordinance that has stood the test of time; he asked that it be restored, effective immediately.
Brennan countered Doney’s request with the reasoning behind the lifting of the overnight parking ban: many borough residents lack off-street parking and need to leave their cars on the street overnight. Acknowledging Doney’s concerns as legitimate, Brennan nevertheless urged that borough residents be given time to become fully informed of winter-month limitations on overnight parking. For more information on winter-month overnight parking regulations, visit honesdaleborough.com/hats-new/.
Southerton asked the council to approve hiring of a full-time clerk-typist to man the police department’s Main Street office Monday through Friday during normal business hours. Pointing out that the borough’s police force is currently critically short-staffed, with three officers out for unspecified reasons, Southerton justified the request as a reasonable response to public complaints that the police department is currently inaccessible by phone or at its office. Given the current officer shortage, Southerton said that he could not afford to deploy an officer to man the office and its phones. The council opined that there would be insufficient paperwork to keep the clerk-typist busy full-time and suggested that his/her services be shared with another department. A resolution authorizing advertisement of the position was passed.
Public welfare news released at the meeting was the announcement by Grace Episcopal Church of its “Warmth in the Night” emergency shelter services, which started on December 1. In addition to a safe, warm place to sleep, the shelter offers a hot meal, a nurse and social worker on call, volunteers trained in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and, by the end of December, a hot shower facility. The church is located at 827 Church St. and can be reached by phone at 570/253-2760.