EBENSBURG – Ebensburg Borough Council awarded bids for a pair of community improvement projects during its meeting conducted via Zoom on Monday evening.
The council voted unanimously to approve Ameron Construction’s bid of $786,467 to complete the borough’s 2021 sidewalk project in the northwest quadrant. The property assessment this year for curbing is $24.50 per lateral foot and $100 per square yard of sidewalk. The State College contractor entered its bid for curb work at $49 per lateral foot and $154 per square yard of sidewalk.
Ameron was one of 13 bidders for the project.
Construction is expected to start in March or April and be completed by July 31.
The contract for Ebensburg’s 2021 tree-cutting project, which involves the cutting of 29 trees on West Horner Street, West Crawford Street and West Sample Street, was awarded to Tree Expert Tree Service of Johnstown in the amount of $12,200. Work is slated to begin on or before March 15 and be completed no later than April 1. The contract was passed 6-1 by a roll-call vote with Scot May as lone nay vote.
Tree Expert Tree Service was one of four bidders for the contract.
In other news from Monday’s meeting:
• The meeting was unique in council President Doug Tusing’s eyes, as it marked the first time in his memory that two Ebensburg Borough managers sat in on a borough council meeting as retiring chief Dan Penatzer begins transitioning the position to Kelly Cook, who started on Monday.
Cook has previously held management positions in the governments of Tobyhanna Township, Monroe County; Kingston Township, Luzerne County; and the city of Lower Burrell, Westmoreland County.
Penatzer has served as borough manager for 24 years.
• Staff conducted a brief assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on the borough’s finances during all of 2020. The assessment noted little effect on the collection of taxes. Real estate tax collections were $2,000 above budget. Earned income tax revenue slightly exceeded what was budgeted while the local service tax was only $3,000 below that budgeted … Parking meter revenue was down 21% or $8,700. … Ebensburg Tennis Center revenue was $47,000 below budget. Expenses were $32,000 below budget. The net impact on the budget was a loss of $15,000 … Ebensburg Borough Swimming Pool revenue was $45,000 below budget. Expenses were $30,000 below budget. The net impact on the budget was a loss of $15,000 … Young People’s Community Center revenue was $84,000 below budget. Expenses were $56,000 below budget. The net impact on the budget was a loss of $27,000.
All departments incurred increased expenses for more frequent cleaning and sanitizing. For example, all office areas are now cleaned every other day rather than weekly. Police cars are sanitized every week. COVID relief funds of $10,022 were received from the county to partially offset that loss.
It was pointed out that the net impact on the $2.07 million general fund budget is less than $70,000.
Tusing noted a need to keep the buildings open and the heat on with a hope that things will continue to improve with lower infection numbers as the vaccine rollout increases.
• The council learned the results of its 2020 audit results, as conducted by Stephanie Stohon and Meghan Freidhof of Wessel & Company. Freidhof noted that the borough’s net position in total assets increased by $142,787 from 2019 to $1,916,547.