Brookville Borough Council Says No to Casino

BROOKVILLE, Pa. (EYT) — Brookville Borough Council said no to the possibility of a casino at the final meeting of the year on Tuesday.

Council voted 6-1 to opt out of the chance to host a category 4 casino.

The Pa. Legislature’s House Bill 171 said municipalities had to make a decision by the end of 2017.

It was a decision that many members of council said they wrestled with for the last few months.

Council President John Blazosky said, “it was easily the most phone calls he had received and most talked about issue he had encountered.”

Three borough residents spoke against the possibility of a casino being located in the borough before council voted.

Concerns over people becoming addicted to gambling were cited.

“I learned how to operate slot machines, learned how to set them, learned how to take the money out, everything,” Sandra Snyder said. “They don’t create jobs, they only benefit the owners.”

“You may think you’ll create some jobs, but you’ll probably just lose even more people. People will become addicted, go in debt, move away,” Snyder said.

“There is a lot of money to be made, but ordinary people don’t benefit.”

Vicky Brown said she was “totally against casinos.”

“I believe they’d be very harmful to this community,” Brown said. “It’s totally against God. People will become addicted, and I don’t think this area needs it.”

Council member Dave Ferringer was the lone dissenter.

“The only reason I voted for this was my hope to create a few jobs, have a few more people living in the borough so we can get the money from the state to get some things done,” Ferringer said.

He was referring to the fact that Brockville’s population had dropped enough that fell below the minimum threshold to receive Community Development Block Grant money. A borough needs 4,000 people to be eligible for CDBG grants.

“We need 30 more people to live here to get $100,000. That’s worth it,” Ferringer said.

Neighboring Pine Creek Township also voted against the casino measure.

While the casino measure was the focal point, council dealt with several other matters.

The council approved the transfer of a liquor license from Henderson Township to the Truckstops of America business located on Allegheny Boulevard.

Borough solicitor Jim Dennison said Truckstops still needs approval from the state Liquor Control Board.

Dennison also informed council about three property owners filing for real estate tax relief, including WRC Senior Services, Miller Welding, and Chris and Sean Taylor, who own the old Pennzoil building, located on Main Street, across from DeMan’s.

“The county usually takes the lead on this, but it is something the borough should be aware of,” Dennison said.

Council also received a letter from borough Emergency Management Coordinator Kyle Zents who resigned his position due to increased responsibilities at work and school. Zents also has moved from the borough to Sigel.

Council subsequently moved to approve Todd Gumpher as the new Coordinator. The position is unpaid, but the person is responsible for coordinating emergency response to catastrophic events.

In other business, council voted to approve the following:

– Moving $3,000 from the Liquid Fuels Fund to the general account;

– The DuBois-based firm of Mauthe, Yutzey, Gabler, and Troxell will be the borough’s independent auditor for 2018;

– Dave Love was re-appointed to the Brookville Municipal Authority board for a five-year term;

– The new union contract with AFSCME, for all non-uniform union employees.

Council will meet again at 7 p.m., Tuesday, January 4.

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