Tempers flare again at Kulpmont council over municipal building
KULPMONT - Once again, tempers flared at the Kulpmont Borough Council meeting Tuesday between citizen Robert Chesney and council president Bruno Varano over the lack of information being given to the public on the new municipal building project.
In past flareups, Chesney waited until the public comment period at the end of the meeting to address the board. This time, he commented at the beginning with criticism of items that are on the agenda, specifically the opening prayer council reads at the start of the meeting.
"Part of your prayer at the beginning deals with the satisfaction of the citizens. I really think you have let that part down, especially in the last year and a half, two years in this council chamber," Chesney said.
Chesney continues to question council about the fact that it has been two years since council had a meeting to invite public input on the building project. Varano has been at odds with Chesney, with Varano saying the discussion is getting old.
"You say its getting old for you, well, its getting old for us, too," Chesney said. "It is old and tiring that we cannot come to grips with getting a meeting and trying to get some information as to how much has been spent without one shovel of dirt being taken out."
Chesney also criticized the fact that there has been no reports on the agenda on the building project in many months.
Varano then fired back saying, "You come here month after month, and you ask for this and asked for that and we've given you..."
"Nothing," Chesney interrupted.
"What do you mean nothing?" Varano said. "You asked us to take the basement out, to get seniors and the weight room out of the building. We minimized everything and up to this point, you have not given us one alternative."
"The biggest problem that we have, the one thing you haven't given us, is a time or another meeting on a $1.4 million building project," Chesney said. "None since July 2012."
"We had the meeting and not one taxpayer showed up. The community didn't care," Varano said.
"Maybe, if I would have seen that no one showed up, that would have told me to have another meeting," Chesney said. "This is critical for our economy. Maybe when you give me the final figure about how much has been spent before a shovel of dirt comes out of the ground, then we'll see."
At that point, other councilmembers entered the discussion.
"Every meeting here is critical for the residents of Kulpmont, every month. It doesn't matter what the topic. Why are the landlords not here anymore every month? Because nothing's critical to them anymore," Stephanie Niglio said.
"Why not ask the taxpayers about the money to heat this place? Are you okay with spending another $30,000 to heat this building in the winter?" Nicholas Bozza said. "That's three mills."
Chesney was pleased with the argument going on saying, "This is what we should have been doing a year and a half ago."
"But you weren't here a year and a half ago," Niglio answered. "You are only here five months out of the year, and try to make up for the lost time."
The discussion ended and the meeting went on, with Chesney reiterating his point about only having one meeting about the project. There was no argument in the second discussion, lasting only about a minute.