HOMER CITY — Borough council hired a part-time police officer Tuesday, with a council member offering positive comments about his addition to the Homer City Police Department.
“I think I speak for all of us when I say that he would make an excellent addition to our police department,” Jennifer Jaworski said of Nick Tartalone, of Homer City. Tartalone is a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania and of its Municipal Police Academy, police Chief Louis Sacco said, adding that this is Tartalone’s first job as a police officer.
“He seems to be interested in wanting to do the job. I think right now the mayor could use some help, so I have no problem with it,” said council member Joe Iezzi.
“I think he’d make a fine addition to our department, too. He seems like a pretty level-headed guy,” Mayor Kenneth “Cal” Cecconi said.
Tartalone is the seventh part-time officer in the department. Sacco is the only full-time police department employee.
Also Tuesday, borough Manager Rob Nymick announced that the borough and Evergreen Conservancy are pursuing a new project to expand work at the site of the boat launch through a grant from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Plans for the site include construction of a pavilion with picnic tables, a community garden, flower beds and a dog park.
Evergreen Conservancy helped build the boat launch along Twolick Creek to improve recreational access to local waterways.
Evergreen and the borough also hope to reroute the Hoodlebug Trail by taking it off Route 56 and connecting it to Cooper Avenue and possibly using Love Alley as another interconnect, “solely if we get the financial support from DCNR,” Nymick said after the meeting.
Everything is being put together and worked on now as far as cost estimates, he said. In order to apply for the grant, they need a 50-50 match in funds. The majority of the match will be in-kind donations of equipment and manpower.
The goal of the project “is to create a place where community members of all ages can gather and enjoy low-impact outdoor activities,” the letter of intent stated.
“The reason we’re looking at developing the boat launch and bringing the dog park/community gardens into this area (is) we’re trying to attract people to Homer City,” Nymick said. “And it’s not just for sports; we’re trying to hit all the other interests that are out there.”
There was extensive discussion about the project between council members, particularly concerns about enforcements, ordinances, liability and possible cost issues for the dog park.
Nymick said they are looking at putting in the dog park at the boat launch, which would be the borough’s responsibility, and putting the community garden/flower beds in the Intown Park area, “which I think would satisfy the neighborhood.”
If the garden and flower beds are located in the park, Nymick said, that would fall under the responsibility of the recreation department, “but I’m not going to dump additional responsibilities on them.”
“They have enough responsibilities, they got enough to handle with the community swimming pool and seven other parks,” he said.
Tuesday’s discussion led to a motion by Iezzi to allow Nymick to send a letter to the DCNR and general public to seek input and financial support. He said no action can be taken on the project until all the facts are brought back to council.
Council adopted two resolutions regarding the Municipal Pension System for Act 44 of 2009. The act requires a competitive selection process and an annual disclosure requirement.
Council adopted Resolution 2013-1, a resolution of the borough of Homer City relative to the procurement of professional services for the municipal pension system sponsored by the borough based on the requirements of Act 44. One of the requirements of the act is passing the resolution to be in compliance.
Council also adopted Resolution 2013-2, which also relates to retirement plans, that states that no monetary contributions shall be made by the employee members of the police bargaining unit into the police pension plan for the 2013 budget year, in compliance with the police contract that was ratified June 5 of last year.
Council members accepted the resignation of Ed Monko from the Parks and Recreation Board and are seeking letters of interest to fill the vacancy. Letters may be submitted to the borough office.
Sacco announced that the police department received a $2,000 Drug-Free Communities grant. It pays overtime for officers to go out and enforce underage drinking laws in the borough, Sacco said, and is active now through Sept. 29.
Sacco also reminded residents that parking meters must be paid from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, as per the borough ordinance. He said he’s finding that anywhere from 3 to 6 p.m., tickets are being issued for meters that are not being paid.
Council approved a motion to appoint Irvin McMasters to the board of directors for the Central Indiana County Joint Sanitary Authority.
Nymick thanked the Homer City Area Business Association and Bankson Engineers for their recent donations toward six new snowflake holiday lights. The business association donated $500 and Bankson donated $240.
The borough would like to expand its decorations with newer, more energy-efficient lighted ones and is looking for donations from area businesses and the public to help in its endeavor.
Nymick also announced that the majority of February was wet with snow, rain and ice and that crews are cleaning intersections and patching potholes when weather permits.