Member of DuBois City Council again discussed matters of the proposed consolidation at Monday night’s meeting.
All the council members that were present shared the same core statement. They were in favor of consolidation in the long term, but did not feel the form of consolidation on Tuesday’s ballot was the way to go.
“This is strictly my position,” opened City of DuBois Mayor Ed Walsh in his closing comments of the meeting.
Walsh admitted that the City of DuBois had been silent regarding the consolidation process between the City and Sandy Township. With the vote nearing a week away as of Monday night’s meeting, Walsh wanted to give his personal thoughts on the consolidation ballot measure. Speaking first, Walsh stressed that this was himself personally speaking and not speaking for the City.
“I am 100% in favor in consolidation. I am not backing down on my stance. It’s just the way its on the ballot,” said Walsh.
The form of consolidation that Walsh had supported and worked towards had been the home rule charter method. Different types of municipalities have different legal powers and restrictions. Both the City of DuBois and Sandy Township had been looking at forming a “home rule charter” form of government like what St. Mary’s did with its consolidation. The ballot measure would require the consolidated City to be a Third-Class City and the effects of that alters what will happen if it passes compared to what was being planned.
“The City residents are going to get hammered with higher water rates. I don’t understand how we are getting hammered by higher rates when we own the system,” said Walsh.
If consolidation failed on the November 2nd ballot, Walsh pledged to restart consolidation talks with Sandy Township the next day. These would involve the Township Manager Shawn Arbaugh and one of the Township Supervisors.
“I feel because Sandy Township Supervisors stopped the dialogue it produced a reactionary effect by those passionate for this,” said Councilmember Diane Bernardo.
The latest consolidation effort between Sandy Township and DuBois has been complicated. It started off with Sandy Township looking to construct a new municipal building and stretching out a hand to the City of DuBois to see if the two communities could pull their resources into a regional civic building both could share. This evolved into talks of fully consolidating. The consolidation talks fell apart on Sandy Township’s end due to three factors:
- To continue the planning for consolidation required paying $50 thousand, from each community for a total of $100 thousand. Sandy Township initially thought this would only be needed if consolidation passed the public vote, but got skittish after learning it would be due before the vote whether it passed or not.
- The survey paid for by the City of DuBois and Sandy Township showed only 49% of the Township was in favor of consolidating with around 30% being uncertain.
- The Supervisors, as a group, were concerned that between low public feedback on consolidation, low attendance to the information meeting on the consolidation plan, and low attendance to their public meetings that despite 49% saying they were in favor of consolidation the effort could fail to pass when voted on.
With those three factors in mind, Sandy Township’s Board of Supervisors voted 4 to 1 in favor of ending the consolidation process for the time being. The sole vote for continuing consolidation was Supervisor Sam Mollica. Mollica, and Township Resident Barry Abbot, eventually started a public petition to get consolidation put onto the November 2nd ballot. The petition succeeded, but the form of consolidation was different than what both communities’ governments had wanted.
At their previous meeting, the Sandy Township Supervisors made a similar promise as Walsh’s to return to the previous consolidation talks. Chairman Supervisor Kevin Salandra said the Township would seek to get a referendum on the May election’s ballot asking the Township residents if they both wanted to resume consolidation talks under the home rule charter plan and to authorize the Supervisors to spend the $50 thousand needed to carry that out.
Between the ten elected representing the City of DuBois and Sandy Township, eight have come out against voting yes on Nov 2nd’s consolidation measure. The exceptions are City Councilmember Jim Aughenbaugh who was not at the meeting to give his view and Township Supervisor Sam Mollica who was still in favor of the ballot measure he helped create.
City Police Officers and other guests at Corporal Orlando Prosper’s wedding helped save the life of one of an attendee, Denny Gray. Gray had collapsed and the group took steps to provide him with care until he could be taken by emergency services.
“The City Council and Mayor wanted to recognize everyone who was involved,” said Police Chief Blaine Clark.
The City Council chamber was full of friends and family to see the award ceremony. Gray himself was in attendance.
“Every doctor, every surgeon I talked to said I wouldn’t be here without them. They did everything right,” said Gray.
VFW Game Feast
VFW Post 813 will be hosting their second annual wild game feast this March 5. This fundraising dinner is going to be selling tickets to raise money to take disabled veterans to a pair of outdoor activities and to help disadvantaged children in the area.
For the veterans, Game Feast Committee Member Paul Sprague said there were two planned outings. One would be working with Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing again and taking some disabled veterans fishing up near Lake Erie headwaters. The other would potentially be pheasant hunting. Equipment, such as specialized ATVs for the pheasant hunting, would be provided.
This year the feast is planning to go with elk. According to Sprague, last year buffalo was served. There will be 50-50 drawings, Chinese auctions and a gun raffl
Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for youth. The VFW can be called at 814-371-4124 to purchase tickets.
Pacing for Stockdale, Second Ward, Rumbarger, and the alley behind Friendship should be done by week’s end. The Maple Avenue project faces a potential slow down due to COVID cases, but is still expected to meet the Thanksgiving date goals.
Invictus has requested permission to transfer a liquor license from the Italian Oven in Sandy Township into the City of DuBois. The required public hearing for this is scheduled for Nov 22 at 6:45 pm.