By Peter Becker
Always a sensitive issue, the topic of too many stray cats again occupied part of the public discussion at Hawley Borough Council, Feb. 13.
Susan Baldwin said that stray cats visit the trash container outside Barker Street Apartments, jumping out, sitting in front of their building and roaming the railroad tracks. "They're driving us crazy," she said.
Michael Rizzi, who has an auto body shop not far away off Wayne Street, said he is chasing the feral cats away from behind the shop every morning.
Council President Don Kyzer mentioned that Dr. Marilyn Pardine operates a shelter for cats- Guardian of Mercy Animal League- but this is understood to be quite at capacity.
There is an ordinance in Hawley regulating both cats and dogs from running at large, and includes provisions for euthanization or seizure and detention of the stray animals. Solicitor Robert Bernathy noted, however, that since the cars don't belong to anyone, the expense of enforcing the ordinance would fall back on the borough.
Rizzi said that he'd be glad to catch the cats. He said he has seen very little problems with dogs running loose in town.
The problem is that people are feeding them, advised Mary Sanders, Council vice-president.
Attorney Anthony Waldron, who was in the audience, interjected that he was aware of another municipality where feeding feral cats was declared a public nuisance, and carried a penalty if a violation was found. The action stopped the person in question from feeding the stray cats, when threatened with a violation.
(The answering machine message at Guardians of Mercy Animal League on Feb. 15 stated they are not accepting any animals at this time.)
• Kyle Wright, Pike County Advanced Life Support Inc., provided their 2012 Annual Report. Last year, they responded to 1,389 emergencies, 132 which were in Hawley Borough. These included 71 who were treated and transported and 15 who were treated and released. Most (63) were taken to Wayne Memorial Hospital.
Pike ALS has a base of operations at the Clemleddy building on Shook Road, off Route 6 close to the Wayne County line. Their average response time from dispatch to the scene was 5 minutes, 49 seconds. Response time was up 16 seconds from the previous year due to relocating from Hawley Ambulance Garage.
For the second year, Pike ALS received Pocono Medical Center’s STEMI Cup Award for being able to recognize and report cardiac emergencies. Both Pike ALS and Delaware Township Volunteer Ambulance Corp received the award, relating to an emergency in January 2012 at Pocono Mountain Lake Forest Community.
For more information on Pike ALS, visit www.pikeals.org.
• James Shook, co-owner of Lake Region and Hawley IGA, commented on the Downtown Hawley Partnership (DHP) endorsement of LERTA. This regards the Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance Act which provides temporary tax relief for qualified business development projects. Hawley Silk Mill LLC has requested its enactment in order that they could apply. Shook told Council that the DHP endorsement does not necessarily represent all DHP members. He said he had not been notified, and remarked that DHP should not "get political."
• Steve Smith, owner of the Falls Port Inn, following Shook's remarks, said he "thought this was just joke" and suggested that standards apply "only to gunslingers and no one else."
• A "Welcome to Hawley" mural has been proposed for the side of the AM Skier building. No lighting is involved. Since it is not an advertising sign, Council concluded that there was no ordinances regulating murals.
• Hawley Area Authority collected $13,436.52 in January from sewer customers. The amount still owed is down to $84,000, reported Councilman John Robertson. Letters will be going out to delinquent customers on March 1, with notice that water service will be terminated April 1st unless payment arrangements are made.
• The Borough was not successful in applying for a Local Cost Share grant for the Bingham Park grandstand project. Other grant sources will be sought. The plan is to reconstruct the former grandstand, with a handicapped-accessible rest room in back.
• A grant opportunity has been identified to apply for the recreation trail from Lake Wallenpaupack to Hawley.
• Mayor Kevin Hawk performed two weddings in January.
• An engineer will be needed to review the Penn Avenue/Church Street intersection before a four-way stop is established.
• Missing street name signs will be replaced.
• Robertson said that the road crew had done an excellent job plowing and removing snow.
• Councilwoman Barbara Corrigan reported that 15 landlords have not replied to the borough's reminder that the annual rental unit fee and inspection is due. A third letter has been sent; after this, the delinquent list will be handed to the solicitor. To date, $3,950 in permit fees has been received and $850 for inspections.
Hawley Council meets on the second Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Borough Hall.