Northeast Land Bank Authority considering three new voting members

By Jimmy Fisher - | September 10th, 2015 2:22 pm

PITTSTON — Three municipalities could become new voting members of the Northeast Land Bank Authority.

At a special meeting held by authority members on Sept. 9, executive director Joe Chacke said its purpose was to update fellow authority members of the desire of Avoca, Hughestown and Dupont boroughs to join.

The four original municipalities that make up the Northeast Land Bank Authority are Jenkins Township, the City of Pittston, and West Pittston and Duryea boroughs.

Dupont Mayor Dan Lello was in attendance at the special meeting and said the borough is eager to join the authority.

“I’m glad you are considering bringing us on board,” Lello said to the authority members. “We want to be part of this. Everybody has some blighted property in their communities and we want to straighten it out as much as possible.”

Chacke said authority members will make a decision at the next meeting as to whether they will officially accept or decline the three boroughs as voting members.

Officially forming in October of last year, West Pittston land bank representative and council president Brian Thornton said he welcomes the new members in hopes of encouraging other municipalities to follow in their footsteps.

“Originally, we didn’t have a lot of interest but as we developed over the last year I think people see the value in what we’re trying to do and the legitimacy of having a separate entity outside of just borough council men and women to address just blighted property,” said Thornton. “It’s such a large issue in our towns that I think a separate entity is the best way to go.”

In other business, the Northeast Land Bank Authority approved changes proposed by West Pittston Borough to the Sub-Guarantee Agreement to the $150,000 Local Share Account (LSA) grant that the borough was awarded, stating that if the authority members make a mistake on any blighted properties the changes would protect West Pittston from having to pay for any fines or penalties.

The next Northeast Landbank Authority meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 23 at Pittston City Hall, 35 Broad St.

By Jimmy Fisher

Reach Jimmy Fisher at 570-704-3972 or on Twitter @SD_JimmyFisher