CLEARFIELD – Clearfield Borough Council held lengthy discussions on three, main issues at last night’s meeting.
Councilman Brian Lytle, the only Public Works Committee member to vote in favor of a recommendation for removing time-constrained no parking signs on Second Street, re-introduced the issue to council.
Lytle had received several comments since the committee meeting, noting it seems important to those in town. He thought it was an opportunity to make a good-faith gesture for the community.
Last week’s proposal was at the request of the YMCA to accommodate patrons when the YMCA opens at 5:30 a.m. No-parking restrictions between 3 a.m. and 8 a.m. limit parking options.
Councilman Tim Winters noted several downtown businesses open before 8 a.m. and have the same parking issues. He asked if 8 a.m. was an arbitrary time that could be changed.
Councilman James Kling agreed that downtown parking needs revamped. He pointed out that the parking restrictions were implemented many years back when streets needed to be empty for plowing, when equipment wasn’t what it is today. He didn’t think there were any ordinances or policies to uphold the times as posted.
After discussing several options, council agreed to change the parking restrictions on a trial basis. No parking will be posted within the current downtown business district for the hours of 2 a.m. – 5 a.m., beginning Sept. 1 until the end of the year. During that time, council will evaluate the parking situation in the borough and decide in December on the future of downtown parking restrictions.
Fire Chief Todd Kling asked council to address a leaking roof on the Clearfield Borough fire hall and police station. Kling said repairs done last year are showing failure, and he believes it’s time to replace the roof rather than keep repairing it.
Borough Operations Manager Leslie Stott said she called American Roofing to inspect the roof, noting they advised the roof doesn’t need replaced, but it does have issues that need attention.
Todd Kling suggested a new roof could be done in sections, with the police station section being the worst, then the fire hall meeting rooms section could be later, and the garage section last.
James Kling said 10 years ago, council looked into adding a raised roof over the current roof, but it was determined that the load of a wood-frame roof with shingles would be too much for the structure. He said the new open-frame roof with metal sheeting would probably be a workable option now.
Stott pointed out that a frame roof on top of the current roof will require revamping the HVAC equipment on the roof. She also noted the roof is less than 20 years old, when it should be good for 40 years.
After more discussion, council agreed to advertise for estimates and proposals for repair or replacement of the roofing for the police station and fire hall with new roofing carrying a 30-year warranty.
The third issue of major discussion was brought up under new business by Winters. He reminded council that over one year ago, Mayor James Schell had signed on to a group called “Mayors Against Illegal Guns,” which he agreed was with the best intentions, as the group was formed in response to a national news shooting incident that involved the sale of illegal guns.
Winters said it’s been brought to his attention that since then, the organization has been absorbed into the new group, “Every Town for Gun Safety,” that lists Clearfield, as a member, and other spin-off groups supporting “gun safety” and “control of illegal guns” now list Clearfield among its members.
Winters reported these groups and Web sites are actually political lobbying groups funded by ex-Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg and promote anti-gun and anti-Second Amendment points of view.
Winters stated, “While the mayor is entitled to his own opinions, having our town affiliated with these groups does our community a disservice. Other council members may have differing opinions, but I firmly believe as a town we should immediately cease any association with these political lobbying groups.”
James Kling said Schell was perfectly within his rights to act as an individual in any groups he chose to join, but the mayor couldn’t take such action as a representative of the borough without council’s sanction.
Schell said he did join the group, as hundreds of other mayors did, and had received regular information about group activities and suggestion for fighting the illegal sale of guns and gun safety. He wasn’t aware that the organization had changed, and he never approved to be included in any other group membership.
Schell said he was glad to talk to anyone about his membership in “Mayors Against Illegal Guns.” He said he’d talked with business owners in town about the issue, invited them to bring their comments to the council meetings and offered to speak to local sportsmen’s groups about the issue.
Borough Solicitor F. Cortez “Chip” Bell said he’d checked into the situation with Winters. He said the council could take action to have the town’s name removed from these Web sites and group membership roles, or can pass an ordinance that declares the borough has no association with gun control groups, pro or con. Or, Bell added, the council can do nothing.
Several members of council spoke in agreement that Schell had every right to join any group he wanted, as an individual who is employed as mayor.
Council agreed unanimously to Winters’ motion to disassociate the borough as a municipality from any of these organizations, pro or con.
Councilman Lewis Duttry asked about an update on the ordinance proposal regarding borough protocol on Liquor License transfers, as was recommended after the transfer of the liquor license for Buck’s Pizza earlier in the year.
Bell reported the ordinance had been referred to the borough planning commission and was on Bell’s desk for review.
Engineer Todd Banks of Stiffler, McGraw and Associates Inc., reported the contractor for the Clearfield Streetscape project is scheduled to begin on Sept. 15.
Banks said the CDBG funded Daisy Street paving project was delayed because of lost paperwork, but a new agreement was issued to the contractor and paving will be starting soon. He added the Stinky Run repairs on Daisy Street at 12th Street are 95 percent complete and the street is opened.
Code Enforcement Officer Larry Mack addressed a complaint from residents regarding a property on Cherry and Fifth streets. Mack said he’s investigated the problems with the property and the residents will be receiving notification of borough violations.