Controversy over Greenville Borough Council Meeting
- Category: News
- Published on Friday, 17 May 2013 03:26
- Written by Jenn Nickols
Controversy sweeps Greenville, PA during Tuesday, May 14th city council meeting.
On Tuesday night Greenville Borough Council met to discuss plans for funding to go towards Greenville’s Heritage Days celebration.
The controversy became apparent the next day when a front page featured article in the Record Argus was made, making it seem that the Greenville Borough Council made a decision between Fireworks vs. fire truck. This sparked a conversation on several local Facebook groups that are working to bring positivity and community revitalization to the Greenville borough.
Mayor Josh Stevens was very upset at how the reporter for the Record Argus portrayed the meeting, stating “Don't get me wrong, I do understand the need for a new truck we just need to put our heads together to figure out how to get the funds to get one. $10,000 is not going to buy a new fire truck.” and that “This should not take away from what this celebration is all about. It is a time for our community to come together; to reflect on our past and to look forward to our future.”
Mayor Josh Stevens explains the borough meeting was held to discuss both issues separately and that “This is NOT an issue of fireworks vs. A fire truck! The 175th committee in no way would say the celebration is more important that public safety. Our committee asked for a donation from the borough to help with the years celebrations, mostly the carnival, fireworks, and the town gala. We have already raised a considerable amount of money through private donations and fund raising.”
The meeting was established to cover the two topics but they were not discussed in a one or the other kind of way.
The meeting first visited the 175th anniversary Heritage Days celebration funding, then turning its attention to the funding to replace Engine 96-2. Which Mayor Stevens states is what happened.
There were about four Greenville residents that attended the council meeting and two out of the four in attendance were in agreement and supported the decision made to transfer $10,000 to the anniversary committee, Mayor Stevens states.
Heritage Days is sponsored by the Greenville Museum Alliance & Greenville Chamber of Commerce. It is held on the first weekend in July and has grown significantly over the last 5 years. There are many activities that happen throughout the Riverside Park and the town, the entire fourth of July weekend.
Activities include an art auction, YMCA kids carnival, and new this year concerts and a larger fireworks display. Each year the celebration brings in about 2,000 people from communities in and around Greenville.
This year Greenville will be celebrating their 175th birthday and with hopes to make this years celebration bigger and better then before the Heritage Days Committee was asking borough council members for some help with funding. The Greenville borough council has always aided in the funding of the Heritage Day celebrations.
Mayor Stevens who is co-chair for the anniversary committee said that the fireworks display and newly added concerts that the funds are being used for will help “drive more people into see what Greenville has to offer."
The Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce promotes community development and holds a fireworks display every July. This year Zambelli Fireworks, out of New Castle, PA, has been hired to produce the fireworks display.
Paying off a loan early has helped the Borough with excess funds in the amount of $75,000. The Greenville Borough Council delegated $10,000 of those excess funds to the 175th anniversary celebration. In previous years the Borough Council has funded the whole Heritage Days celebration, as in the case of the 125th & 150th anniversary celebrations.
The borough is in need of a new pumper truck. The 1985 pumper, engine 96-2, that they currently run is too old and needs replaced, according to the Greenville Fire Chief. The old truck has issues that cause inconveniences like: Rusted battery components, electrical shortages, and leaking seals. Fortunately these issues are were discovered during yearly tests and not during active duty. A new truck is estimated at costing the borough about $350,000.
The borough has another “main attack” truck, engine 96, that is in great condition and used as the primary truck. Engine 96 is sent out as the main attack vehicle, when 96 runs out of water 96-2 is hooked up to it and hooked to a hydrant to refill engine 96.
There are Greenville residents that were present at May 14th’s meeting that believe the use of $10,000 for fireworks is a misstep on the council’s part. Many question the council's plans to finance the replacement of the fire truck engine 96-2.
Amy Lorent-Hollowell, a board member for the local ITP (Imagine the possibilities) Team of Greenville is confused that when a town is “financially strained and my team is taking it upon ourselves because we feel it is our moral obligation to make sure our firefighters have the necessary equipment to do their job and protect our residents, you have to really consider what you are willing to spend the taxpayer's money on.”
For example, if the money were to go to the clock the 175th Committee has discussed, she could see spending the money, but to spend it on fireworks and a gala, is not something she sees as needing to be paid for by the council. Amy belives Fundraising efforts should be used to foot the bill for these types of events. “Greenville Borough has many projects right now that $10,000 could assist with, look at our streets.” Amy said.
The Greenville Council will be waiting to hear about a $312,000 grant from the federal government, which requires a five-percent match locally, that the council has applied for to replace the old pumper engine 96-2. The Greenville Volunteer Fire Department Relief Association and the Greenville Borough will split the 5 percent match for the grant. The Greenville Borough has already accounted for its half of the match in its budget. They should receive word by the end of June whether the grant will be awarded to the borough.