Franklin’s Liberty Street Mid-Block Light to Be Repaired… Finally

| January 8, 2019

FRANKLIN, Pa. (EYT) – The long-awaited traffic signal replacement in the mid-1200 block of Liberty Street in Franklin took a step closer to happening at Monday’s January Franklin council meeting.

The council awarded a contract in the amount of $152,192.96 to M&B Services, LLC, of Clarion for the replacement of two traffic signal poles at the location. The signalization of that crossing has been non-functional since 2016.

According to City Manager Tracy Jamieson, M&B Services was the only bidder on the project.

“It wasn’t from a lack of trying,” Jamieson said about the low number of bids.

Jamieson said it was her belief the council should award the contract considering the number of safety concerns that have been expressed to the city about the signal not being operative and the fact that the likelihood of the city getting better results from another bid process is not high.

According to Jamieson, the City has approximately $109,870.00 in funding from the project through various means including a PennDOT ARLE grant, Venango County Liquid Fuels monies, and an earlier PennDOT Multimodal grant that the city had received to upgrade the ADA pedestrian crossings on Liberty Street.

“That leaves $43,323.00 that we need to pay through the Capital Fund,” Jamieson said.

According to Jamieson, that money was budgeted for in the 2019 budget.

Councilman James Marshall asked Jamieson if she believed there was a chance the City could procure any more money for the project, and Jamieson said not for this particular project.

According to Jamieson, if the weather cooperates, the project could start sooner rather than later. The project must be completed by Sept. 23, 2019.

CITY BUYS STREET SWEEPER

The City also purchased a used street sweeper from A & H Equipment of Bridgeville, Pa., Monday.

The Elgin Whirlwind 2017 costs $163,500.00 less the $5,100.00 trade-in the City is getting for its 2003 model street sweeper for a total cost of $158,400.00. The city also elected to purchase a three-year warranty for $17,800.00.

According to Jamieson, the initial cost of the street sweeper ($163,500.00) was actually less than the advertised cost of around $179,000.00 because A & H Equipment took off the cost of the city’s rental fee for 2018 of approximately $16,000.00 to $16,500.00.

Jamieson said the City had to buy a used street sweeper because the cost of a new one was prohibitive at around $280,000.00.

The City is sharing the cost of the street sweeper with the General Authority.

The cost of the street sweeper will come from the following funding sources: $37,500.00 from the water fund, $37,500.00 from the sewer fund, $42,650.00 from the general fund and $40,750.00 from the liquid fuels fund.

Mayor Doug Baker said one of the reasons the General Authority was willing to share in the cost was to held keep anti-skid out of the sewer system, which tends to cause issues.

Councilman Mike Dulaney said considering the cost to rent a street sweeper if the City rented one twice a year buying one pays for itself in five years.

VENANGO COUNTY REQUESTS ZONING CHANGE IN FRANKLIN

Venango County is requesting a zoning change in Franklin in the 1000 block of Chestnut Street.

The county wants to put in a multi-family dwelling at 1013 Chestnut Street. That area is currently zoned industrial despite 29 of the 39 parcels being residential.

The Franklin Planning Commission is recommending the zoning be changed from industrial to TRC (transitional residential).

According to Franklin zoning officer Charles Gibbons, in addition to the 29 residential parcels, eight parcels have no structures on them and two are commercial, including the one the county wants to use. The other commercial property houses a plumbing supply company, which won’t be affected by the change in zoning.

Technically, the 29 residential parcels in the area are currently not allowed by the zoning of the area, and the change will make those parcels legal.

The council agreed to consider the changes. An ordinance will be drafted and read on a first-reading basis at the February meeting. If it passes that reading, a public hearing will then be held at 7 p.m. March 4, prior to the March meeting, with the second reading voted on the ordinance them taking place at the March 4 meeting.

MUSIC AT DOWNTOWN ESTABLISHMENTS DISCUSSED

A short conversation was had concerning music played at downtown establishments and how the city might need to pass a law saying it is okay with the music being heard outside of the establishments.

According to Jamieson, it was brought to her attention that the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (LCB) is responsible for the enforcement of code concerning music played at any establishment requiring an LCB license.

“Technically, if the music leaves the site of the establishment, the establishment can be cited,” Jamieson said. “I spoke with a state police officer and was told a municipality can exempt certain areas and say it is ok with the music leaving the establishment and the LCB won’t enforce it.”

Dulaney said he believes the City should do that.

“Allowing a fine to happen discourages business,” Dulaney said.

Councilman James Johnson agreed.

“That is a no-brainer,” Johnson said.

The council will look further into the matter.

OTHER BUSINESS

In other business the council:

  • Was informed by Jamieson that she will most likely be bringing to the council at its next meeting funding sources for the update and improvement of Miller-Sibley Park’s Little League fields.
  • Approved a $450,000.00 tax-anticipation note so it can pay its bills until tax money starts coming in for the year.
  • Granted a Certificate of Appropriateness for a sign at 1261 Elk Street.
  • Approved the following Parade and Park requests: Fountain Park for Franklin on Ice Feb. 7-9, Fountain Park for Pole Vault in the Park July 20 and West Park Street and Fountain Park for the Organ Grinders Rally Aug. 3-4.

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