Lawrenceville Council President Gordon Chilson raised concerns about his connection to the McCormick law firm. Austin White is the company’s representative for the borough. Asked about having a personal connection to White and being represented by White, Chilson replied, “No, not in four years.”
At a recent meeting, a discussion arose regarding the legality of the February 15 meeting when only three board members were present at the meeting. Chilson joined the group by phone. According to information on the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records website, the legality of this meeting is questionable. While members of government agencies can attend meetings via video or phone, borough code requires that a quorum of council members be physically present before others join remotely.
For a seven-member council like the Lawrenceville Borough Council, the quorum is a majority of all members, in this case four. The three board members physically present, Robert Penzone, Cleo Russell and Michelle Courtright, did not constitute a quorum as defined by the OOR. However, the three plus Chilsons by phone conducted business at the Feb. 15 meeting, set the mileage rate and passed the 2022 budget.
When asked, Chilson said anyone could challenge the legality of a meeting. He argues that the borough code allows agency members to meet from different locations and be part of the quorum.
According to the Chilson, the unpaid Pennsylvania Department of Transportation bill on the state project where Cowanesque Street was resurfaced in 2019 is “in their hands.” There were outstanding items that needed to be addressed by the state, according to Chilson, before the bill was paid. Values need to be uncovered, risers need to be installed, and some of the values that were discovered were broken in the process. Chilson said, “If we pay the bill, we won’t do the job.” The bill is around $10,000.
Water Operator Caleb Geist will meet with the borough team and fire department to flush the hydrants at the same time the new quick-release valves are placed on the hydrants. The valves will allow quick access to the water system when firefighters use the hydrant system to fight fires. Local firefighters will also be trained in the use of the quick release.
Owners who want to connect to the borough sewer have not been able to do so. The Environmental Protection Branch prohibits the borough from adding connections until the borough has an operation and maintenance manual and a continuous service plan (generator) .
A used generator is available from the Osceola Township municipal authority, but the council has questions about its maintenance. Chilson purchased the generator in December 2021 from the authority for $3,650.
A request for deaf children’s signs was sent to the committee for consideration. Residents said signage was needed on Mechanic Street, a street controlled by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
Spring cleaning is tentatively set for May 14. Residents will be notified of the date through the Borough’s billing system.
Steps are being taken to restore Cherry Street Park. The park was closed due to a collapsed dry well. Materials will be needed to repair the issue, and it is unknown where these materials may come from or how much it may cost.
The Lawrenceville Borough Council will meet at 7 p.m. on May 2.