Put Kulpmont building issue to a vote
To the editor: The new Kulpmont borough hall should be voted upon. Can anyone on council provide any reason why this issue wouldn't go on a ballot to be voted on?
At last week's Kulpmont Borough Council meeting, the following issues came up:
- There is not adequate police protection. Why? There's no money.
- Only some of the streets needing repair will be fixed. Why? There's no money.
- The West End fire truck is so old that a new one is needed. A new police vehicle is needed. The only siren tower in town needs work. There are issues with an infestation of rats in some areas of the borough. A demolished building sits like a pile of rubble on our main street and the code officer appears to be fighting a losing battle.
All of the repair and upkeep that is needed in the borough is simply overwhelming a two-person street crew. All these areas need additional resources and council's focused attention.
The borough owes the county approximately $7,000 and it is unclear how that will be repaid. Why aren't these problems being given the resources needed to fix them? Once again, no money.
No money. Why? Because more than $100,000 has been spent on an unneeded and unwanted new borough hall, that's why. Money should have been spent on taking care of real problems in the borough.
The proposed complex has a new garage with two offices and a large break room. I think there are only two employees. The proposed borough hall plan shows approximately 4,000 square feet of space. At first look, the plan appears to show nearly half of the space is for vestibule and entry foyer, a large meeting room to accommodate more than 50 people and a small meeting room. Some 420 square feet, or 10 percent of the building space, is unassigned. So let's see, we have a borough clerk, code enforcement officer and it's not clear to what extent we have a police force. We might have one full-time officer. Council will spend $1 million for five people.
- Let Kulpmont citizens decide by way of a vote whether or not $1 million should be borrowed to build a new borough complex and a new borough hall. Let the citizens decide; not seven individuals. Once the vote is held, then a long-term solution will be clear, validated and have authenticity.
- Leave the garage where it is.
- Rent the old Clauser/Fracolossi building at $1,000 a month across the street from St. Pauline's.
- Council constantly holds up the heating bills for the present borough hall as justification for borrowing $1 million. Move all of the offices before the weather gets cold. Vacate the Wilson building. Save more money in heating than the monthly rent and whatever moving expenses there might be.
- If there is not enough room, rent the social hall at the East or West End fire companies to hold meetings.
Additionally, building on the site causes serious problems for the three main events done for the good of the borough. The area is used for Holy Angels annual picnic, the Knights of Columbus fall wine festival and, to a certain extent, the annual cruise. So borough council will interfere with the three most important events in the borough by borrowing $1 million and building something not wanted or needed.
Council is silent on holding a vote. Why? Because council knows Kulpmont's citizens will overwhelmingly reject this proposal. Clearly, from the body language and facial expressions of some of the council members, there are concerns about this whole deal. I hope some council members do not have some misguided loyalty to the others on the council. Council should only have one loyalty, and that is to the citizens.
The public should attend one of these meetings. At times it is hard to see any clear thinking. The council is confused and its priorities are so out of whack that it is mind-boggling. Inadequate police protection, so let's build a new building? Rat problem, so let's build a new building?
Our government is a representative government. Council is elected to represent the people; not dictate to them.
Already council - stop the baloney, shell games and nonsense. Put the issue on the ballot and let's vote.
Put the issue to a vote.