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Outdoor cafes OK, but none planned yet |

Outdoor cafes OK, but none planned yet

The city made such permits available this year for the first time. A permit costs $150 for the first year and $70 a year after that.

No restaurant has applied for a permit to open an outdoor cafe yet, council heard in answer to a question from Councilman Richard L. Conklin.


Conklin suggested the city waive the permit fee for this year since this is the first opportunity restaurants have to get one.

The fee should not be so high, Councilman Ted Forbes said. Instead of levying an application fee that attempts to make the new permit program pay for itself, the city should ask businesses to simply register their outdoor cafes and pay a $10 “registration fee” to cover paperwork. He also suggested the city not inspect the outdoor cafes unless a problem is reported.

“It’s a user fee,” Council Vice President Stephen L. Stevenson countered. “The residents on South Jones Street should not be subsidizing a business that will make money from an outdoor cafe.”

The city is ready to inspect the plans for all proposed outdoor restaurant seating and to inspect the site before and after such seating is added, Assistant City Manager Gregory J. Wilson said. Less work by city staff is needed in the second year so the application fee is lower, he explained.

But the inspections should be part of city staff members’ regular jobs, Mayor William E. Baney III said.

When City Manager Richard W. Marcinkevage began to answer, the mayor said in a louder voice, “Aw, c’mon now, Rich. We have two city managers right now. We’re a small town… 10,000 people. As they say in the work place, you should be able to do different jobs.”

Lightly thumping his fist on the table for emphasis, he went on to say, “We’re a small town. Don’t forget that.”

One interested person has told him it would cost $1,000 to set up an outdoor cafe, including buying tables, dinnerware and other equipment, obtaining the liquor license, and paying the city fee, the mayor reported.

A year or two ago at budget time, council began to adopt a break-even financial philosophy, Stevenson said, asking city departments to submit break-even budgets, raising the fees at parking meters and for parking tickets toward that same end, and now requiring this new opportunity to pay for itself. The overall idea is to allow the general fund, which is supported by tax dollars, to benefit the city as a whole, not just the downtown or any one particular neighborhood, he said.

The discussion ended with no changes in the permit fees.

SUMMER IS HERE

The city is already in summer mode.

The first performance of the annual concert series was held Friday in Triangle Park, with Biscuit Jam providing the music for a decent-sized crowd, as Conklin described it.

The concert series recently made the cover of the Municipal Reporter magazine, a statewide publication by the Pennsylvania Municipal League, Stevenson reported.

In addition, the Clinton County commissioners approved a $3,500 tourism grant toward the cost of the series.

Another county tourism grant, for $5,000, has been approved for the boat dock project that would allow pleasure boaters on the river to tie up on the Lock Haven river bank and potentially walk into town for lunch, shopping, a movie, or other summer pursuits.

With the $1,500 grant from Wal-Mart, the boat dock project now has $6,500 designated toward it, council heard.

A whole new complement of buoys has been ordered for the river and should be here soon, Marcinkevage reported.

Council approved the use of city facilities for the annual Great Island Race Series that includes the Great Island Adventure Triathlon. The races will be held Friday and Saturday, June 30 and July 1 and are sponsored by the Rotary Club of Lock Haven as a charity fundraiser.

Water Street will be closed to traffic from Jay to Henderson streets for the races.

Also receiving approval were the Lock Haven YMCA’s annual Run the River race on the levee, set for July 8, and the Lock Haven Catholic School’s Eagle Trek on the watershed, set for Sept. 10.

PERSONNEL

Joshua Eichenlaub has resigned as a Lock Haven police officer, effective June 16, to take a position with the state police. The city still has viable candidates from the last round of police officer testing, and the city manager said he expects to have the name of a potential replacement for council’s next meeting.

The current police contract ends Dec. 31, and council set up a negotiating committee to meet with police negotiators and start talking about the next contract soon. Forbes and Conklin will serve on that committee, with the mayor serving as alternate.

Jimmy Risley, Garrett Strouse and Jeff Lombardi were accepted as auxiliary drivers for Citizen’s Hose Co., and Langdon Gillen as relief driver for Hope Hose. Gillen is currently an auxiliary driver so this is a change of position for him. All have clean driving records, council heard.

Hope Hose currently has an open position for relief driver.

The city has hired Kyle Dale as a levee operator, filling a vacancy created by a termination, and Elwood Duck for the water department.

Eric H. Grove’s resignation from the zoning hearing board was accepted.

OTHER BUSINESS

Council passed a new ordinance to establish a fire insurance escrow program. Municipalities may set up such a program under a 1992 law.

The program would allow the city to recoup some costs if it must remove, repair or secure a fire-damaged structure, by tapping any fire insurance the owner may have on the building.

Forbes called it “a great idea,” and council passed the ordinance without further comment.

It will not take effect until a second vote has been taken in its favor.

The ordinance will not apply to the former furniture store on Bellefonte Avenue that burned late last year, because that fire took place before council’s vote.

Lugg Coleman of Lock Haven received a $17,500 contract to build a 45-foot by 28-foot concrete pad at the city’s recycling center, on Myrtle Street. The pad will help keep the roll-off Dumpsters from damaging the asphalt at the center, Marcinkevage reported,

The successful contractor had the lowest of three bids. The other bidders were HRI Inc. and Glenn O. Hawbaker Inc.

The project is funded with a state recycling grant, and the city is responsible for only 10 percent of the cost.

Council noted a police report for April showing 24 criminal arrests, 104 traffic arrests, 7 DUI arrests, 3 ordinance arrests, 72 non-traffic arrests, 275 parking tickets, 13 warrants, 46 written warnings, 7 verbal warnings, 19 vehicle accidents, 308 complaint reports, 512 hours on patrol.

The police report for the year through April shows 91 criminal arrests, 333 traffic arrests, 18 DUI arrests, 12 ordinance arrests, 131 non-traffic arrests, 1,367 parking tickets, 80 warrants, 158 written warnings, 17 verbal warnings, 65 vehicle accidents, 1,129 complaint reports, 2,218 hours on patrol.

Forbes again mentioned a hedge at 15 E. Water St. that is so overgrown, it has become a problem. Police Chief Keith Kibler said 18 complaints have been received about weed problems, and the officer in charge of these complaints has been told it is time now to start issuing citations and taking care of these situations.

Baney encouraged citizens to contact the city code office with any such complaints.

Stevenson noted a “flagger” sign on downtown Main Street near the courthouse that seems to be taking up two parking spaces when no flag person is anywhere near it.

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