Indiana Borough Council took two more actions Tuesday night to pay costs of the recent Community Center project, approving payments of $10,385 and $38,764 to Davis Brothers for interior work on the center that houses the Indiana Free Library, Jimmy Stewart Museum and Downtown Indiana Inc. offices.
“Are we close to the last of these?” Council Public Works Chairman Gerald Smith wondered.
The annual report of library operations also was delayed as the nearly $3 million overhaul of the library and the rest of the multi-story building at Philadelphia and Ninth streets continued.
“We’ve been busy,” library board President Mary Lou Zanich said as she presented the 2018 report Tuesday night, showing a budget of $407,510, with more than two-thirds of that going toward staffing costs.
As the report indicates, “services and programs were adversely impacted by renovation work and by a loss of elevator services.”
Forty percent of the library’s revenue comes from local municipalities, with Indiana Borough contributing 17.5 percent, along with $35,821 in in-kind utility and custodial services; White Township contributing 20 percent; and Indiana Area School District chipping in 2.5 percent.
Still, 14,987 cardholders circulated 76,448 items, computers in the library were used on 9,901 occasions, and there were 14,384 users for WiFi computer sessions.
There were 165 children’s programs attended by 1,877 youngsters, 21 young adult programs with 151 attendees and 143 adult programs with 3,588 in attendance.
The library is looking ahead to a fall fundraiser, Evening In The Stacks, Oct. 25 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. in the library. Tickets are $35 each, and the library also is accepting $100 gold-star and $50 silver-star donations.
Also offering a report Tuesday night were SNIPP President Bonnie Adair and volunteer Jonelle Summerfield.
SNIPP, or Spay and Neuter Indiana Pa.’s Pets, has been working on feral cats along Walnut Street in the vicinity of Second and Third streets.
“We’ve helped a lot of people in a lot of municipalities,” Adair said, as she passed out letters regarding SNIPP’s work in Saltsburg, and asked Indiana officials for a resolution supporting the “Track, Neuter, Return” effort.
It is a project involving Four-Footed Friends and the Indiana County Humane Society as well as SNIPP.
Cats are tracked, neutered and returned to where they’re found — and Adair conceded that “a neighbor was not happy to have the cats back.”
Still, the SNIPP president told council, “Because they are fixed they will no longer yell in the middle of the night.”
Or give birth to new feral cats.
“The colony will eventually die out,” Adair said.
One piece of advice she had for local residents: Don’t feed the feral cats.
“They will starve in place,” she said.
Also, Police Chief Justin Schawl had reports for July and August — that include more calls for police services.
In July, there were 801 calls, up from 552 in July 2018. In August, there were 889 calls, up from 683 in August 2018.
For the period from Aug. 20 to Sept. 2, when students were returning for fall classes at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, there were 481 calls for service, up from 376 for the comparable period in 2018 and 357 for the back-to-college period in 2017.
Councilman Sean McDaniel wondered why there was an increase in calls.
“We’re recording them differently,” the chief said. “I’m committed to finding non-traditional ways to deal with non-traditional problems.”
Schawl said there is more flexibility in what services the Indiana Borough Police Department offer. For instance, in a manner similar to the school patrols on weekdays, there now are patrols of houses of worship similar to what state police have been doing in surrounding communities.
In answer to Councilman Jim McQuown, Schawl said his officers voluntarily go to the churches and houses of worship and response has been positive.