KULPMONT - Borough council is taking steps to ensure that when a new borough complex is built, the work will benefit the local economy as much as possible.

Councilman Stephen Motyka proposed and council recently adopted the Best Value Contracting Resolution, which council will use in awarding bids for a garage and building that will house offices, a public meeting room, police station and senior action center. Council will soon be seeking bids for the $1.4 million project.

The resolution, a sample of which was provided by the Pennsylvania Building and Trades Association, establishes 23 criteria contractors and sub-contractors would have to meet for that and any construction project costing more than $25,000.

Any firm that doesn't meet two or more of the criteria - among them having labor law violations, failing to complete any project according to contract requirements or not providing health insurance and retirement benefits to employees - would be considered an "irresponsible contractor."

The final criteria states the contractor should adhere to a specific order when hiring employees for a project: qualified Kulpmont residents first, qualified state residents second and qualified others third.

Motyka said he proposed the resolution after seeing other recent contracts awarded to out-of-area firms.

"Therefore, no one from our community got the job in our local economy," Motyka said, according to minutes from the June 11 meeting.

Motyka's motion was seconded by Nicholas Bozza and passed on a 7-0 vote that night. Joseph Winhofer, Bruno Varano, Philip Scicchitano, Clarence Deitrick and Stephanie Niglio joined Motyka and Bozza in approving it.

Objections remain

While the project nears the bid stage, some residents continue to question it. Robert Chesney, who last month presented a petition signed by 130 people asking that the project stop until construction costs are reevaluated, said he is still being approached by residents. He believes the project should be put on hold until all options and alternatives are studied.

Motyka replied that council has been able to lower the cost, and that council is satisfied with the $1.4 million estimate. He and other members say they cannot stay in the current building much longer.

Picnics, paving

In other business, council approved the closing of Fir Street between Eighth and Ninth, the area of the Holy Angels picnic grounds, for two events: Aug. 2 and 3 for the church's parish picnic and from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, for the second annual Knights of Columbus wine festival.

Bozza said the service and facilities committee received estimates to have nine streets paved at a cost of $178,635. That's much higher than the $65,000 to $75,000 council was looking to spend. Bozza said they should be able to pave three streets and asked for council to decide which ones can be done.

Varano, council president, said the borough should contact utility companies to see if any upgrades could be planned before the streets are paved.

The borough's community yard sale is 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, with a rain date one week later. The annual Kulpmont Car Cruise is set for Sunday, June 30.