Duryea Borough Council approves volunteer, non-governed Betterment Committee

By Nick Wagner - nwagner@timesleader.com | February 9th, 2016 8:58 pm

DURYEA — There’s a new committee in Duryea.

At the monthly meeting of the Duryea Borough Council on Tuesday night, council passed a motion to create the Duryea Betterment Committee and appointed three initial members: Art Pesotine, Anissa Akulonis and Lois Komensky. The Betterment Committee will not be governed by the town of Duryea, but residents are encouraged to help in any way they can.

The Betterment Committee is a platform for residents with ideas to meet and carry out those ideas throughout the borough.

“Art’s been at us for a while now,” Council President Ed Ameika said. “He has a lot of good ideas. Since we had the Christmas event here in Duryea there have been a lot of people that had a lot of different and unique ideas. They’re coming forward.”

The committee idea was spearheaded by Pesotine, who encouraged all residents to come to the first meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday at the borough building.

Pesotine said he doesn’t need laborers to make the committee successful. About 40 percent will be physical, but the rest needs to come from people who have ideas, he said.

“We have some dedicated people in the town,” Pesotine said. “We can get some good projects going before it gets warm. It’s something new. It’s up to you.”

The borough currently has a suggestion box, which Pesotine built and placed in the annex of the borough building. Council member Audrey Marcinko read several of those suggestions, which the Betterment Committee may address. Ameika said many members of the borough have come up to him with ideas such as planting flowers throughout the borough.

A suggestion going around the borough has been erecting and placing an Honor Roll, which will recognize Duryea residents who lost their lives in the United States Armed Forces.

The Betterment Committee will look to get this project done within the year. Ameika said Komensky has taken lead on the idea of the Honor Roll and reached out to veterans’ organizations to get the project going. Komensky sent a letter to the borough, which said so far she has collected 32 names of Duryea residents who lost their lives from the Civil War to the Vietnam War.

The project would cost approximately $5,000 and be erected at the borough building or at the VFW on Stephenson Street.

“She did all the footwork and the leg work,” Ameika said. “We’re getting positive feedback. After all these years of the town not having an Honor Roll, we will have something soon.”

Also at the meeting on Tuesday, council approved the entrance into a mutual agreement with Avoca Ambulance and the Greater Pittston Ambulance Association for Basic Life Support and Advanced Life Support services, respectively. If Avoca Ambulance is unavailable for an emergency call, Pittston’s Medic 29 will be the first response. From there, Plains Medic 2 will be the next responder.

In other business:

• Council created a hiring committee. The committee will consist of two council members, the borough manager and the head of the department hiring the employee.

• Bruce Prandy was appointed to the Civil Service Commission. Prandy will fill Tim Welling’s term through 2020. Welling announced his resignation from the commission in January. Council also approved Civil Service Commission resignations of Lois Hanczyc and Robert Webb.

• The borough will authorize Northeast Signal to start work at the intersection of Main and Stephenson Street. Northeast Signal will place a meter on the traffic signal and replace the controller at a cost of $13,073.10.

• The borough approved purchasing a new computer through MBC Solutions for $1,433.87 for the police department.

• Council approved the purchasing of a used Wacker Neuson roller for $12,900.

• The borough, through recommendations of Police Chief Nicholas Lohman, hired two part-time police officers to be used on an as-needed basis: Patrick Zippittelli of Olyphant, and Ruddy Navarro or Taylor.

The next meeting of the Duryea Borough Council will be at 7 p.m. on March 8 at the Duryea Borough Building.

By Nick Wagner


Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick