New Peters Twp. Council member sworn in

Published Jan 7, 2014 at 9:02 am (Updated Jan 7, 2014 at 9:02 am)

The reorganization meeting of the Peters Township Council Jan. 6 saw five of the seven members sworn in as incumbents, plus one new member, Meghan Jones-Rolla.

Jones-Rolla was elected in November without opposition. When long-time member Robert Atkison died unexpectedly in July, former council member Michael McCaig was nominated to fill the vacancy until the November election. Jones-Rolla was nominated by the county’s Republican party, while no candidate was nominated by the Democrats. All of the incumbent members ran unopposed in the spring primary and the general election in November.

Councilman James Berquist was elected as chairman, with David Ball elected as vice chairman. Berquist’s election was not unanimous after Councilwoman Monica Merrell nominated Gary Stiegel Jr. as chairman. Berquist captured the position by a vote of 4-3 with Merrell, Stiegel and Jones-Rolla voting for Stiegel.

When Councilman Robert Lewis nominated Stiegel as vice chairman, Stiegel declined and Ball won by a vote of 6-0-1 with Merrell abstaining.

In other action during the reorganization, John Smith was appointed as solicitor. He was named township solicitor following the resignation of long-time solicitor William Johnson in October. Gateway Engineers was retained as township engineer.

Meeting times and dates will remain the same at 7:30 p.m. the second and fourth Monday of each month with the exception of Memorial Day, when the meeting is moved to the fourth Tuesday, and the December meeting that will be held the second and third Monday.

In other action Jan. 6, council:

•Established 7:30 p.m. Jan. 27 for a public hearing on a liquor license transfer. The request is to transfer a license from Donora to 3909 Washington Road, Suite 201. The applicant is Valdor for the location of the former Dozen Bakery and Restaurant.

• Announced the annual joint meeting between council and the Peters Township School Board will be held at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 3 in the district’s administration building. The meeting is open to the public.

• Awarded a contract to Watchguard for the replacement of police vehicle cameras at a cost of $50,655, which is within the budgeted amount.

• Announced the Valley Brook Road project has a completion date of early September. Initially, the project was to be completed in July, then the date was moved to August and now the date is September. Michael Silvestri, township manager, said a project update will be included in the next township newsletter. Work will continue through the winter. Silvestri said he will confer with the contractor to see if portions of Valley Brook Road that sunk several years ago and that are beginning to show additional sinking could be repaired during the time traffic is significantly reduced during the project.

• Approved the range of salaries for all non-union workers to increase by 1.2 percent up to 2.5 percent based on individual employee reviews.

•Announced paperwork is complete to begin legal action against the installation of a gate on the private portion of Mt. Blaine Drive. Silvestri said attempts to reach the attorney representing the eight property owners on the private portion of Mt. Blaine have been unsuccessful. The gate is not locked, but could delay attempts by the township’s emergency services.

The next meeting will be Jan. 27.

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