After losing an appeal decision on the disposition of insurance on the roof of its borough building, Saxton Borough Council must now decide how it wishes to proceed with the matter.

During most of 2020, council wrangled with its insurance company on receiving insurance benefits for damage to the roof of its borough building discovered in 2018 when a portion of ceiling in the building once occupied by the Broad Top Senior Citizens collapsed. Council appealed the decision and lost the case.

Following the departure of the senior citizens, council had its engineers inspect the status of the roof. Council had envisioned turning that portion of the building into a community center.

Council president Lester Meck told council the only way that can happen is if the sagging part of the roof is “shored up.” This can be achieved in part by creating weight bearing walls throughout a portion of the building to support the ceiling and roof.

With this in mind, council discussed the possibility of sectioning off a large room into different offices. It was agreed the possibly of moving the borough’s police department into that section of the building might be an option.

Borough manager Jamie Foster also suggested creating a map room where all borough maps could be safely and adequately stored. Councilman and building committee chairman John Hoffner said this is something council should begin to act on immediately.

Police chief Fred Chadwick announced that he and fellow officers Dave Buseck, Eric Calhoun and Logan Tornatore will be participating in mandatory in-service training in order to maintain their Act 120 certification. He stated several neighboring municipal police departments will also participate in the training.

Mayor Alan Smith said the training is a good confirmation that local police are trained and up-to-date. Residents served by the local police department, he said, can rest assured that their local police officers are keeping up with things.

Chadwick asked that members of the police committee assemble to review proposed updated changes to the police department’s standard operating procedures (SOP) manual. The committee agreed it would review the proposed changes and make a recommendation for approval to council if found satisfactory.

Smith also reported that there has been a lot of communication activities taking place on the borough’s efforts to create a Rails-to-Trails system from Saxton to the Carbon Township-Dudley areas. He said the RTT committee had recent productive sessions with both Southern Alleghenies Planning & Development and state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) officials.

Smith also indicated that Huntingdon County Planning Commission officials have also expressed interest in the project. The next step in the process, according to Smith, is to seek a project cost estimate from an engineering firm.

It was suggested that an engineering firm with experience in what the committee hopes to achieve be chosen in order to keep the project that moving along. It was suggested that a Pittsburgh engineering firm that neighboring Broad Top Township has used for its RTT be considered.

Smith said the project all hinges on engineering costs.

Foster informed council that Smith, and council members Adam Runk and Larry Miller are all coming up for reelection this year. She advised all to get their necessary paperwork completed and turned into Bedford County before the spring primary election.

Council agreed to make a monetary contribution to the Saxton Community Library in memory of former borough tax collector Barbara Meck who passed away Nov. 30, 2020. Meck served as tax collector from 2008 to 2019.

Smith said Meck did an outstanding job and exercised an adept attention to detail and possessed a standard of integrity in her role as tax collector. Council also discussed the possibility of adopting a Resolution of Respect for Meck in the future.

Council president Lester Meck abstained from the aforementioned vote.

Council held a 25-minute executive session during the meeting to discuss possible litigation and personnel matters.

Adam can be reached at dnews@huntingdondailynews.com.

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