Akron’s Guers plans retirement

By on May 11, 2016

Candidates also sought for vacant council spot

The changing face of Akron government occupied much of the proceedings at Monday night’s borough council meeting.

First up was the May 3 official resignation of former Councilman Daniel McCormac. Council members voted to accept his resignation and, in doing so, subjected themselves to a state mandate to name his replacement within 30 days.

The next regular council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Monday, June 13. Since his resignation was accepted May 9, council voted to hold a special voting session at 7 p,m. Monday, June 6, at which time they will name a new council member.

At its Monday, May 23, committee meeting council members announced they will interview candidates who declare their interest in joining the group. Council president John Williamson urged any citizens with an interest in the job to contact borough hall or any council member. The job includes no pay and no benefits.

Earl Shirk, who chairs council’s public safety and personnel committees, announced that Borough Manager Dan Guers plans to retire Dec. 30. He urged that a timely search be launched for a replacement.

Police Chief Tom Zell, whose department currently has two vacancies, reported that the civil service commission is well on its way to filling one of the spots, and asked council for a motion to support the commission as it begins the job of filling the second spot. Council obliged.

The final personnel note came from Ann Small, chair of the Ephrata Public Library board of directors. Small said the library, as of the first of next year, will need a new board member from Akron to replace Lynette Meck, whose term expires and who is moving from the area. Small said they are looking for a qualified person, especially someone with human resources experience, who is interested in becoming an active and engaged member of the board. Her description of the board member’s volunteer job included fund raising, event planning and participation, committee work, and an all-around commitment of time and focus. Small said previous service on a board of directors, either of a profit or nonprofit enterprise would be helpful. Interested persons should contact the library director, Penny Talbert, at the library.

In his report, Chief Zell said the police department’s 2004 Ford Crown Victoria had been stripped of its law enforcement gear and was ready to either be donated to the Akron Volunteer Fire Company or sold. Board member Justin Gehman, who is also president of the fire company, declined the offer on behalf of his fellow volunteers. The car, which has been replaced with a new one, will be offered for sale on the website Municibid.

Zell reported that the Make-a-Wish Mothers’ Day convoy had made its way through Akron with no mishaps, except for one small vehicle accident. Zell also asked council to facilitate the posting of signs on the rail trail to eliminate vehicular traffic.

Farley Fry, from Hanover Engineering, spoke at some length about the borough’s present and future challenges in meeting pollution reduction goals set by the Susquehanna River Basin Commission. He said the borough will need to undertake an annual “project” but noted that the definition of project is somewhat fluid.

Councilman Perry Lorah, who chairs the special events committee, reminded the group that Akron night at the Barnstormers is scheduled for Wednesday, June 22, and that the $8 tickets can be purchased at borough hall. He also talked about Akron Day in the Park, a free event scheduled for Saturday, June 11.

Jeff Shirk, who is helping with Day in the Park plans, said he’s expecting a good turnout for a car show, which is a first for Day in the Park. He also said a tethered hot-air balloon ride will be available for $3 for each 100-foot up and back round trip. There’ll also be bingo and music by Easily Amused, an Akron group.

In his borough manager’s monthly report, Guers said the Lions Lodge parking lot would be rebuilt by the end of the summer. The dumpster now located outside the lodge will be either eliminated or moved. It was pointed out garbage trucks top out at 35 tons, which would be a lot of weight to put on the newly paved parking lot and the driveway leading up to the lodge. With no dumpster by the lodge, there would be no need for a truck to traverse that road.

Guers also discussed the town clock, which has not been keeping good time. He talked to one repairman who estimated the work to cost $4,000. Council encouraged Guers to look for an alternative.

The HandiVangelism Ministries International proposal to transform the Westview golf course into a summer camp facility for people with disabilities was the subject of a letter to the borough from the Lancaster County Planning Commission. In addition to summer camp facilities, the site would include dormitories, a headquarters building and other structures, and two or three permanent residences for staff. The LCPC letter indicated that the project met both the county and borough long range planning goals, although there were some suggestions for clarifying the language of a proposed zoning ordinance change that would be needed for the project to move forward.

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