Concerns Over Loose Dogs, Unrestricted Burning, Shooting in Borough Raised at Hawthorn Council Meeting

hawthornHAWTHORN, Pa (EYT) – Concerns about loose dogs, unrestricted burning, and shooting in the borough occupied Hawthorn Borough Council at their April meeting, on Tuesday night, April 4.

Council President Malinda Little reported that she has fielded several calls about dogs running loose in the borough. Borough Secretary Billie Kinnan recounted how she had taken several dogs off of Route 28 over the past several weeks.

The Hawthorn Dog Ordinance prohibits dogs from running loose on property not owned by the dog’s owner.

Council also discussed residents’ concerns about people in the borough not complying with the burn ordinance which sets specific times for burning. Council asked Billie Kinnan to draft letters to residents stressing the need to follow burning restrictions and controlling dogs.

Residents also had voiced concerns to council members about a resident shooting guns within the borough. Council members were not sure how to address this particular issue. There was some concern expressed that perhaps only the state legislature has the authority to pass gun restriction laws. Council President Little said that she would investigate what options were available to the council.

Council President Malinda Little reported that there had been complaints about the water at the Redbank Valley Intermediate School in Hawthorn. The concern seems to stem from the fact that virtually any repairs or connections on the borough water system result in some short term cloudy water at the school. Mrs. Little reports that the water has been tested, and it is not contaminated and is completely safe.

The effort to secure grants for storm drain improvement, basketball court renovations, and new street lights continues. Council is making arrangements for aerial photographs required to plan the storm drain work. Treasurer Billie Kinnan reports that she is working on setting up the necessary bank structure to complete the PennVest grant process. Senate Engineering is working on the cost estimate for the basketball court improvements, and Councilwoman Adele Smith intends to file the grant application for the streetlights very soon.

The planned renovation of the storm drain system presents some near-term challenges to the borough. Terry Beamer reported that last week’s heavy rain resulted in some ponding at the storm drain at Maple and Harper Streets. Mr. Beamer offered several options open for finding the restriction. Brookville Borough has a jet/vacuum machine that can flush and vacuum plugged storm drain lines. It might also be possible to have the fire company dump water into the drain to try to find the plug.

The larger issue with this storm drain is that the council hopes to completely redo the storm drains next summer with the PennVest grant for which they are currently applying. Council needs to balance the need for an immediate repair with planned future restructuring. Councilman Beamer says that it is poor business to spend a lot of money now and then have to rip it up next summer and do it again. He also reported that at present, he has no information on what specs the PennVest rebuilding will require. Not knowing the specs makes any short-term repairs a questionable investment. The Board adopted a resolution to have Mr. Beamer work with the fire company to try to locate the blockage and determine how best to proceed with a cost effective short term repair.

Council also addressed the need to close Walnut Street between Main and Maple for a two-week period beginning Monday, April 10. The street closing is necessary as the fire company needs to rebuild the retaining wall and steps along Walnut Street.

In Other Business:

– Council passed a resolution to adopt Clarion County’s plan for Natural Disaster Debris Cleanup. Adopting the county plan saves the borough the expense of drafting their own plan. Mr. Beamer reported that Hawthorn Redbank Municipal Water Authority has agreed to rent their backhoe to Hawthorn Borough on an “as need” basis. The cost of using the backhoe would only be for fuel used and any repairs for breakage done while in Hawthorn’s use. Council passed a motion to accept the proposal.

– Malinda Little reported that her efforts to retain contractors on reserve had met with mere success among machinery owners in the area. The contractors she spoke with were unwilling to agree to flat rate fees because every job is different, requiring different skills. There was the consensus among council members to hire only when needed.

– Spring Cleanup Day will be on May 6, 2017.

– The audit of the borough’s books has been completed, and council voted to accept the audit report as presented. Mrs. Little also reported that Clarion County has changed the assessment policy. Under the new policy, any structure larger than 48 square feet will need a building permit.

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