By OWEN WALSH
HONESDALE, PA — The Honesdale Borough Council began its June 15 meeting by accepting the resignation of Bill Canfield, the council’s vice president who served on the …
HONESDALE, PA — The Honesdale Borough Council began its June 15 meeting by accepting the resignation of Bill Canfield, the council’s vice president who served on the parking, safety and streets committees. He was not in attendance at the meeting.
Councilor Robert Jennings suggested not accepting his resignation until the council conducted an investigation into why Canfield was leaving. None of the others agreed, however. Councilor Jim Brennan made the motion to accept, “out of respect for Mr. Canfield,” who served on the council for the past seven years. Brennan noted that Canfield had missed many of the borough’s meetings last year.
“I don’t know if it was because of business, or he was busy, or if he was too dissatisfied with council,” Brennan said.
Councilor Jim Jennings and council president Mike Augello thanked Canfield for his services. Later, public works director Dan Brown thanked him for all his help in the past several months since Brown was hired.
Honesdale is now looking for applicants to fill the vacancy. Applicants must submit a resume by July 1 at 3 p.m. The council will hear from the candidates at its July 6 meeting.
The council also unanimously voted to bring back its parking enforcement officers. Parking officers have been off the street since March as a safety precaution during the COVID-19 pandemic. Robert Jennings said that this has been losing the borough money and that it was time to get them back out on the street.
Jim Jennings asked if there would be any safety protocols for the officers once they went back on duty. Secretary/manager Judy Poltanis said that they will be required to wear personal protective equipment as mandated by the governor. She also noted that borough hall will not be reopening to the public until after the July 6 meeting.
For the fourth meeting in a row, the council revisited a motion regarding the borough’s employee handbook. Two weeks prior, after the council had just passed two motions amending specific language of two policies within the employee handbook, a motion to have solicitor Richard Henry review, revise and update the handbook was defeated in a 4-3 vote. At the more recent meeting, the solicitor recommended that the councilors reconsider. This time, the council passed a similar motion unanimously.
Like last year, the borough got hit with heavy rain this past May. And like last year, a couple of Honesdale’s usual troubled areas were affected.
Brown updated the councilors on how his department has responded. He said that he brought in Koberlein Environmental Services to video log a storm pipe running underneath Top Notch Distributors parking lot—which has had consistent sinkhole problems for years. Brown said he will present a solution to those issues “at a later date.”
A collapsed pipe also opened up a sinkhole on Vine Street—another historically expensive area to maintain. Jim Jennings, who heads up the grants committee, said that he’s been in contact with Entech Engineering—a firm assisting the borough with applying for stormwater grants—to find out if making the necessary repairs to Vine Street might be covered under some grant funding.
President Augello commented that Vine Street’s stormwater issues date back to at least 1955 when a hurricane caused major problems there.
“The places we’re having problems are the same places we’ve been having problems for decades and decades,” he said. “No matter how hard we try, [issues] keep on popping up.”
Borough parks and property
Jim Jennings, chair of parks & recreation, said that he attended a June 4 anti-police brutality protest held in Honesdale’s Central Park. He said it was “peaceful” and “powerful,” and he was disappointed not to see more elected officials in attendance.
“Racism and systemic racism is a huge issue nationwide, as we’ve seen, and there are many levels and layers to that,” Jennings said. “I think it’s a period of understanding and a period of our need to listen and communicate with one another about what can be done.”
Later, the council approved the Wayne County YMCA’s to use the borough field and pavilion behind the Honesdale Pool two days a week from June 15 to August 20, for the YMCA’s summer childcare program.
The pool itself, however, is still expected to remain closed to the public this summer. Jennings said it looks “almost impossible” to generate and train staff to run the pool in accordance with state and federal health guidelines. Director Brown will continue to maintain the grounds and operate the water pumps.