Akron council seeks applicants for vacated seat

By on March 30, 2016

Akron Borough Council reached a tentative consensus on a number of issues at its regular committee meeting Monday night at borough hall. The committee meetings are work sessions devoted to discussing actions, such as employment, zoning changes, ordinances, etc., which often require a majority vote at regular council meetings, which are held the second Monday of the month.

20150413_202324Among Monday night’s issues were finding a replacement for Dan McCormac.

McCormac announced his intention to resign from council the day after the last regular meeting, March 21.

In a telephone conversation, he said his resignation letter would cite the time demands of his family and professional responsibilities as reasons for resigning. Although he didn’t include it in the letter, he said in conversation  and for the record – that during his final council meeting he had an epiphany and realized that he could probably get more done as a private citizen than as a council member.

This realization struck him during a lengthy conversation about installing a porta potty somewhere on the borough’s portion of the rail trail. That conversation, he felt, led nowhere and he offered to pay $60 for a month’s porta potty rental. The offer was neither accepted nor rejected, but the next day McCormac did give a $60 personal check to the borough for a month’s worth of porta potty service.

Council President John Williamson said Pennsylvania’s municipal code requires council to appoint McCormac’s replacement within 30 days of its acceptance of his signed resignation letter. If they have that letter in hand by the next regular meeting, April 11, they could vet applicants for the vacated seat, and appoint a replacement at the May 9 council meeting.

Williamson suggested that interested Akron residents could announce their interest to any council member. Every member has a borough email address, listed on the borough website. Or citizens can call the borough secretary, Sue Davidson, at 859-1600, to let their intentions known.

Williamson said he is comfortable with the way the current council members get along with each other, the mayor, the borough manager and secretary. He would like to see an appointee who would fit comfortably into that environment. He added that he would be interested in a more diverse council

Rail trail toilets were another issue that involved a lot of discussion. Borough Manager Dan Guers told council he has received five phone calls since the last council meeting about a proposal to build a restroom facility at Colonial Park, next to the rail trail. A grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources would pay for most of the cost, but the borough would still be on the hook for $20,000 to $30,000. The deadline for the DCNR grant application is April 13.

There was general agreement that if a porta potty would solve the toilet issue, it would be preferable to a brick-and-mortar restroom. Regular porta potties are $60 a month. Handicap-accessible units are twice that.

There was no official vote, but a consensus was reached to scrap the DCNR grant request, at least for this year, and go with a handicap accessible porta potty, probably on the Balmer property across from the Colonial Park.

Guers said it is his understanding that the Balmers would be okay with that arrangement, but that the location is actually in Ephrata Township. Guers said he would approach the township about splitting the cost.

When asked what would become of the $60 check McCormac had presented to the borough for the first month’s rent, the group decided to return it.

Rip rap is the likely choice to solve the erosion issue in the backyards of Bomberger Road properties that are separated from the rail trail by an intermittent, unnamed stream which, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, is a water of the Commonwealth, and a tributary to the Cocalico Creek. As such, it cannot be enclosed and the streambed cannot be disturbed.

However, it is gradually eroding the backyards of the Bomberger homeowners, and if it is left unchecked, will continue to wash soil away from those yards. A representative from Arro Consulting, the borough’s general engineer, said gabion baskets – which are basically rip rap in cages – would be another possibility, but at a higher initial cost and more expensive maintenance. Rip rap has many other names, but it consists of large stones, often 8-to-12 inches in diameter, arranged on stream banks to keep them from washing away.

Dick Wanner reported on this story for the Review. He can be reached at rwanner.eph@lnpnews.com, or by phone at 419-4703.


Social media editor and staff writer for Ephrata Review and Lititz Record Express.

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