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SALTSBURG: New council member brings background in construction

by on March 05, 2013 10:40 AM

SALTSBURG — Council swore in its newest member Monday, a resident with a solid construction background who has a good handle of what goes on in the borough, according to the council’s president.

Council members welcomed Jim Simpson, who owns Simpson Stone, to replace longtime council member Michelle Jesko, who resigned at the end of January. He has been in the construction industry for 14 years.

Simpson said he wanted to join council to “help the community.”

“I just take an interest in … everybody (working) together; I think it’d be a nice community, I really do. … (It would be nice for) everybody to get together,” he said.

Simpson has been a resident of Saltsburg Borough for about two years, but he has lived in the area his whole life.

“He has an awesome construction background that I always look for, because we’re always running into situations with our streets and buildings, and especially with the new sewage plant,” said council President P.J. Hruska. “So it’s just nice to have someone I can lean on as far as that goes. … And I think Jim will fill that role nicely.”

Hruska said Simpson probably will be appointed to the Streets, Buildings & Sewage Committee and maybe the Police Committee.

“He’s right downtown; he has a good handle of what’s happening in town, which I like — maybe somebody I can go to during the day when need be, for an opinion or just to come look at a job,” he said.

Also Monday, council was reminded that filing of election petitions is due March 12 at the Indiana County Courthouse. Terms are up this year for council members Larry Jesko, Ed Ramsden, Kathy Muir and Terry Cumberledge. Because Simpson took over Michelle Jesko’s seat, he also has to file a petition to be elected.

Closing on the mobile home park purchase is to take place today, according to solicitor Wayne Kablack. Once a few utility bills come in and are paid off, the remainder of money will be divided between the sellers.

Police Chief Gary Walker said so far he has received only one signed letter of intent, from Avonmore Borough, for a study on the implementation of a regional police department. He said he would like to get the other letters returned as soon as possible, hopefully by the end of the month, so he can submit them to the state Department of Community and Economic Development to have a study conducted on the feasibility of forming such a police department. The other municipalities are Saltsburg Borough, Bell and Loyalhanna townships and Conemaugh Township.

In other matters, council:

n Appointed real-estate broker Pete Stewart and residents William Bush and Marcia Heiple to the Historical Architectural Review Board.

n Approved a donation request from ABS Athletics for $150.

  • Approved a donation request from the Canal Days Committee for $5,000 for this year’s 175th anniversary celebration. A committee member said they’re looking to make this year’s Canal Days bigger and better, and a jewelry bash and more is in the works for May 5 to help raise money for the event. The bash is looking to include items from vendors such as Lia Sophia, 31, Pampered Chef, Celebrating Home, DD’s Unique Boutique on Warren Road in White Township and others. Canal Days weekend also is hoping to extend its fireworks display, which typically lasts 25 to 45 minutes. Planning for the weekend is still in the early stages.
  • Approved a request to send Officer Dave Romagnoli to a training conference at the end of the month, not to exceed $400. If Romagnoli does not stay with the department for at least one year, he will reimburse the cost.
  • Granted permission to Indiana University of Pennsylvania student Carolyn Kegler to research, collect information and obtain grants to put in a handicap-accessible fishing platform on the north river bank near West Penn Trail for a class project.
  • Approved a sign permit for the Herb Society and denied a sign permit for John Montgomery of Digital Concepts at 614 Salt St. for an LED sign perpendicular to the building. Hruska said the sign “does not fit the ambience of what we want for the downtown area of Saltsburg.”
  • Approved the purchase of the QuickBooks 2013 upgrade for $199.99.
  • Announced the following spring cleanup days: April 19 for High Street and below and April 26 for above High Street. Construction materials, chemicals or hazardous materials, tires, paint, freon and TV sets or computer equipment will not be picked up.
  • Announced the Lion’s Club Easter egg hunt will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 30, at North Park.

Heather Carlson is the wire editor and an assistant web editor for The Indiana Gazette. She covers courts, Saltsburg and Homer City borough councils and Penns Manor and United school districts, in addition to writing feature articles. She can be reached at
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