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Honesdale goes out on a limb

HONESDALE, PA — “I feel really conflicted on this one, to say the least,” said President Mike Augello, before voting at the August 13 Honesdale Borough Council meeting to approve a request from Human Services Center, Inc. (HSC) for sponsorship of its local-share grant application for $59,194. If funded, the grant would be used for exterior renovation of its three-story house on Church Street. Augello informed Human Services Foundation Director Jennifer Spitler that the borough had just committed to sponsoring a $150,168 local share grant with Wayne Highlands School District for funding of its vocational program greenhouse.

Borough secretary-manager Judy Poltanis said there is no prohibition against the borough’s sponsorship of more than one local-share grant application in the same year, although the granting agency will view them as competitive. She also mentioned that the borough may submit a grant application of its own as part of a Blake’s Creek storm-water feasibility study begun a decade ago, thereby putting itself in contention alongside both HSC and the school. Noting that there is precedent for multiple submissions in one year, Poltanis said that the year the borough submitted three applications, none were funded. But she added that the number of submissions probably had less to do with the result than the merit of each application and the thoroughness of the applications themselves.

After council member James Jennings said he thought borough sponsorship of more than one grant application demonstrates commitment to the community, the council voted unanimously (minus absent members Bob Jennings and Bill Canfield and Tim Lauffenburger’s abstention as an HSC employee) to approve the HSC request. HSC will be assessed a $5,000 administrative fee for preparation of the agreement between HSC, Inc. and Honesdale Borough, and the vote to enter into the agreement is scheduled for the borough’s September 10 meeting.

In other business, tornado cleanup of borough properties will finally begin. The council voted unanimously to approve a bid of $1,400 per day for a maximum of five days from Ed Langendorfer for removal of damaged trees on borough property. The borough also gave the nod to a $7,300 repair of the Department of Public Works storage building roof, half of which was lost to the May 15 tornado.

Cub Scout Pack #105 1eader Angela Kinney, addressing the council during the public comment segment, said her pack is ready, willing and able to volunteer for any one of three projects for which the borough is seeking public help. Among them is cleanup and maintenance of the Civil War Cemetery, gardening and tree plantation in Central Park, and help with a rock wall in an unnamed location. Due to the young age of the Scouts (boys up to 10 years old are eligible for Cub Scout membership), use of power tools is inappropriate and limits the tasks suitable for the troop.

Adult volunteers Clifford Lowe and Carolyn Lorent also faced limitations. Permission and liability issues threatened to put a halt to their willingness to maintain cemeteries, Main Street and parking lots. Lorent wants to get rid of weeds between the sidewalk and curb on Main Street. But Augello cautioned her to first get permission from landlords and business owners. Lowe wants to restore and maintain the Civil War Cemetery but must also first secure permission from several organizations involved.


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