March 7, 2024 

This Meeting was recorded for Accuracy

Meeting was opened by Lou McLaughlin at 7 PM.

Present:  Lewis McLaughlin, Solicitor Michael Smith, Keith St.Clair, Gladine McMaster, Dan Short, JR, Sue Bartow

Absent:  none

Public Attendance:   Eileen Clawson-Gaul, Mellissa Miller, Kim Botteicher, Louis Gazzale, Heather James, Brandon James, Arch Dodson Sr, Linda Lee, Justin Lee, Dave Peightel, Amber Bealonus, Allen Fisher, Lauren Shank, Clinton Stoffer, Joe Wood, Adrian Cameron, Kristen Cruse, Cory McGivern, Janine Wood, John Kovac, Brittany Miller

Old Business:

Approval of February minutes

 After review motion made by Dan Short to approve February minutes, 2nd by Keith, all in favor motion passed.

Approval of Treasurer Report

 After review, Gladine motioned to accept treasurer report, 2nd by Sue.  All in favor motion passed.

Solicitor Report:

Michael presented council with answers to question from prior meeting.

Michael stated he did send out the letter to Singer Accounting for the audit request and also sent letters of notification to the tax collector for the delinquent per capita bills from last year. 

Also several other question from last month's meeting have been responded.  Each council member has a copy for review. 

Question 1.  Is the Borough authorized to institute a salary for the mayor which would take effect during his current term?

Short answer. NO The Mayor's salary was repealed by Ordinance # 2012-1 which was effective January 1 2024 as ordinance adopted now to create a salary for the mayor would only take effect at the beginning of the next term.   State code 8 C.S.A. § 10A04 states the mayor's salary is established by ordinance, and a change in salary shall become effective at the beginning of the next term of the mayor. 

Although 8 PA C.S.A. § 806 states the mayor shall be elected at municipal election every four year, it also says that the term of an elected officer under this section shall begin the first Monday of January succeeding the individuals election. 

The Westmoreland County Election Bureau stated that its interpretation is that the next four-year term of office for the Mayor begins January 2026, as the previous one began in January 2022.

In order for a salary change to be effective on that date, an ordinance would have to be passed before January 2026, to become effective at the beginning of the next term.  If the council adopts an ordinance now, it cannot become legally effective until the beginning 0f the next term.

Mayor Baird is still authorized under the law to continue collecting a salary as a Code Enforcement Officer.  No mayor may hold any other borough office or appointment during the term for which the Mayor is elected. 8 PA. Stat. and Cons. Stat. Ann. § 10a01 (West)

Given the election bureau has confirmed the interpretation that Mayor Baird is not serving during the term for which he is elected (the 2022-2026) term, the prohibition on his holding another borough office does not apply. 

Question 2.  What is the effect of the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance of the County of Westmoreland, Pa Act of Dec 19, 2013? (SALDO)

Short answer.  The borough must comply with SALDO unless it enacts its own subdivision and land development ordinance.  However, this does not affect Bolivar's ability to enact a zoning ordinance.  Zoning is different from subdivision and land development.  

SALDO applies only to subdivisions and land developments within the borough, and any improvements in those subdivisions or land developments, or to any tract or parcel adjacent to such subdivisions or land development.  Developers are required to submit plans to the county planning agency in accordance with SALDO.

SALDO is authorized by Pennsylvania's Municipalities Planning Act (or MPC) which took effect on Jan 1, 1969.  The MPC regulates various municipal and county planning operations, only one of which is subdivision and land development. Zoning is a different sort of operation and SALDO does not affect it. 

A land development is the improvement of one lot or two or more contiguous lots for any purpose involving a group of two or more buildings, or a single non-residential building on a lot or lots, regardless of the number of occupants or tenure.

 A subdivision is the division of a lot into two or more lots, except for the division of agricultural land into parcels of more than ten acres not involving any new street, easement, or residential dwelling.

If it is a minor development, which is defined as a land development on less than five lots, or a subdivision which does not require the installation or extension of any new street or public water system, or any other community or public improvement, shall be submitted as a sketch plan and a final plan review and approval. 

Bolivar is authorized to pass its own subdivision and land development ordinance.  If this were to occur, it would replace that of the county. However, at present, the county ordinance governs.

This could have an effect on FAVOR's proposed development of the Methodist Church into emergency housing.  If the development involves the construction of a new building, or of two or more residential buildings, the development would be considered a minor development, and FAVOR should submit its plans to Westmoreland County's planning department. 

Question 3.Comprehensive Plan * Peoples Gas.

Does Westmoreland County's Comprehensive Plan have implications for Peoples intended demolition of its gas house on Market Street?

 Short Answer NO. 

The county plan requires that certain plans be submitted to the county's planning agency for an advisory review, including the demolition of public structures located within the municipality.

If the gas house is a public structure, then notice of this should be sent to the county planning for approval. 

Victoria Baur from the Westmoreland Planning and Development has confirmed that there is no need to submit a plan for the demolition of the gas house. She said that if Peoples were planning to reconstruct or significantly alter the building after demolition, then those plans would have to be submitted. 

Question 4.  May the Borough enact a zoning ordinance to regulate the FAVOR Recovery Community Center's plan to create emergency housing for persons intending to go to inpatient drug rehabilitation?

Short Answer.  Probably not, because a zoning ordinance cannot affect uses that were already in place at the time of passage.  However, a zoning ordinance could possibly limit such developments in the future, through adopting one would require the borough to adopt a comprehensive zoning ordinance that would cover entire borough.

Any municipality, including a borough, may enact a zoning ordinance.

Generally, a zoning ordinance consists of a borough map annotated with written regulations of different classifications of land use on the map.

A zoning ordinance must zone the entire municipality (Section 605)

A zoning ordinance creates different classification of uses and structures. (Section 605)

A municipality intending to prepare a zoning ordinance must create a planning agency for this purpose, which agency must hold at least one public meeting prior to submitting the proposed ordinance to the borough council (Section 607)

Before the borough council votes on a zoning ordinance, the borough council must also hold a public hearing, and the ordinance needs to be passed within 90 days of that hearing or another one would have to be held.  A stenographer would be required for all hearings. (Section 608)

45 days before the borough council's public hearing on the ordinance the proposed ordinance is prepared by the planning commission would have to be submitted to Westmoreland County's planning agency for recommendations (Section 607)

After an ordinance is enacted, the borough would have to appoint a zoning officer who cannot hold any elective office in the municipality (Section 614)

In enacting a zoning ordinance, a borough must also create a Zoning Hearing Board. (Section 901)

Zoning ordinances may not prohibit uses that were already in place at the time of the passage of the zoning ordinance. 

If FAVOR's proposed emergency housing operation intends to accept government money or to accept refers from government agencies, it must comply with PA licensing requirements for recovery housing.  These requirements are created by the PA Dept. of Drug and Alcohol Programs, and are authorized under 71 P.S. § 613.13

Special Guest:  Dawn Lamuth - Westmoreland County American 250 Municipal Initiative.

Dawn, running late so Pat gave a short version of the 250 PA event.

Westmoreland county commissioners have passed a resolution supporting the PA Commission for the US Semiquincentennial- America 250 PA in 2026.  The next step is to elevate our County by having all 65 municipalities pass resolutions of support for America's 250.

Also our municipality will be eligible to apply for Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful grants for cleanup and beautification projects for PA Day on July 20, 2025

Dawn has since shown up at 7:45 PM and will speak on the America 250 PA.  It is 2026. I work for Laurel Highlands Commission.  In 2026 America will celebrate 250 years for all America.  I have a flyer for everyone to have on the celebration.  Pat gave Lou the Resolution for America 250 PA. 

Pat read the Resolution for all still left at meeting. 

Adoption of the Resolution was made by Gladine, 2nd by Sue, all in favor motion passed. Resolution was signed and a copy was given to Dawn.   She also stated that we will be eligible for a grant in 2025 to beautify the parks. 

Special Kim Botteicher (FAVOR)

Owner and operator of K & K Flowers.  I opened 7 years ago the FAVOR recovery center in the basement of K & K.  This is and will never be a homeless shelter.  We have no bus transportation and will never have so we will not be bussing in people.  This shelter, (for example) is for 1 night only on a Sunday until Monday for someone who is awaiting rehab and has no other place to go.  In the 7 years we have been there we have housed a total of 5 people.    The last person we helped was someone who had 2 small children living in a jeep.

We have several projects started up there, one being an art project, have bands, and other projects for the people who come there.  We have a town hall there next Thursday which I do flyers for.  I also want to open it up for seniors for a book club and coffee and tea center for our seniors to give them something to do. 

The Methodist Church is going to involve a whole ton of work. The entire basement was full of mold.  We had to rip out the rest rooms, and kitchen. Everything is so slow, we have no money, and we are a nonprofit 501(3) C.  All our money comes in through generous donations and civic groups, and grants.  (We had 1 person stay at the church already awaiting rehab).

​​​​​​​Kim said a person came in at midnight and stayed until 4 am when Kim left to go out of town.  

I guarantee 100% we are not a SERIN program. 

Under this program you can go to a Walmart or other pharmacy and ask for nettles and they cannot ask you what you are using them for. 

We also have Alleghany Health Network mobile van that comes every other week to the center.

 Kim explained what her center currently does.  She also introduced Dave Peightel, who used to be the Pastor from Germany United Methodist Church. He is heavily involved with the veteran’s organizations.  We are the supplier of the fire departments for narcan.  We have given out over 380 boxes of NarCan this past year throughout the local Western PA area.  We currently have 50 clients that come from New Florence, Blairsville, Seward, Johnstown, Greensburg, & Indiana and other areas because we have the center here helping people.

 My degree is in social psychology. I help people get real jobs.  I have been working on a sustainable grant to help people.   Our project plan is up to 5 years and our trans session plan is for Sunday thru Monday only treatment.  Our town hall is next Thursday which is open to the public and have a support group every Tuesday and families can also come.

CJ Stoffer spoke of dropping prices of our homes.  He has put a lot of money into our house.  The people up there at your place are not contained.  Need fence around building, Dave stated that there is always two people from support group who stay with anyone they house over night. 

Dave said our books are open to the public.  Anyone can see there is no funding. 

Kim said she would just add that there will always be rumors about what we do.  If you come to one of our meetings you will see what rumors you hear are absolutely not true. 

Adrien Cameron says she has contacted seven facilities around our area, they are open 24 -7 and no one has called them. They have drug housing and works with drug and alcohol people.  She thinks it is a great program but just not run properly.  They do not have a wait list.   

Several other people spoke about their issues with dealing with drug and alcohol abuse from family members. 

John Kovac spoke about a person shooting up in the parking lot at the Legion.  Police were called and the individual tried everything they could to upset the police to get arrested. 

 Gladine spoke up and said "this seems to be a miss-communication between the newspaper and what is actually happening. 

Gladine also said a Town Hall meeting is normally up against politics and the government. You might get more people to go if you just called it an open house. 

Kim said our town hall meetings every quarter is to let people in the community know what has been going on the past quarter. 

Arch Dodson asked if Kim ever came to a council meeting and talked about proposal on what is being done.  Kim said they have never come prior to what they were going to do. 

Lou said we had no notice of them buying the church and what they were going to do with it.

Kim said the church did not want the sell out until it was done.  That was not my decision,  it was the church's decision. 

Joe Wood and wife spoke of wanting to purchase the Methodist Church and was told no. 

Further discussion was made between people at the meeting and Kim.  Final decision was to have an open house discussion for people's concerns. 

Dave said bottom line is we are putting together a survey which will be sent out asking concerns from town people.  Again Dave said we have 2 staff people staying overnight if anyone is being housed there.

Lou said he understands people's concerns and right now we are just beating the horse down with repetitive questions from everyone.   Lou said he understands everyone has valid points, but again nothing is going to be resolved tonight. 

Keith spoke about drug abuse, the question I have for you is to not call it an open house,  but would you open one of your facilities within the next month for open discussion with the folks from the town to discuss and hash out all their concerns. 

We are here to help our community, the sad thing is what can be and cannot be done for the community.  We can do nothing tonight.  I m asking as a public citizen can you not call it a town hall meeting.  A better description of the meetings would be more appropriate. 

For this meeting there will be a panel discussion coming up next Thursday.  Everyone is welcome to discuss their questions at that time. 

Sue asked question to Kim as to why when the article was put in the newspaper that Kim said this and Kim said that, why did you not go in and retract that stuff. Kim said we did, but the newspaper has never republished the retraction.  This is where all this stuff has come from. 

The newspaper said this is for the homeless people and all the buses will bring in lots of homeless people to be housed.  Well we never said this. 

Sue also ask Kim who did the transfer on the property?  We just went to the courthouse and did the transfer.  Sue asked what she paid for the church.  Kim said we paid $15,000.  Sue then ask why it was recorded as $1.00 I had no idea.  Sue said someone showed me an article that had $1 for the recording fee.  I knew you paid more than that because Parks & Rec got $8500 from the church sale as a donation. Kim asked what newspaper.  Sue said not sure whether was Greensburg paper or what paper but it was shown to me.  I did try to look it up but did not know what the sale was under.  It should say Favor of Western PA of Bolivar. 

Another person in the lobby stated" a community center is a place for kids to go and do activities, play ball and so forth, but you turned it into anything but a community center."  That is undermining to people.   Why do you need that much room for this program? 

Eileen Clawson-Gaul asked again about zoning. Is the borough going to do something about this?  We already knew that FAVOR would be grandfathered in, but are we going to be doing anything about zoning. 

Lou stated yes, we have a discussion coming up about zoning in town tonight.  Lou said we received a letter from the county that now we must comply with the county zoning ordinance.  The smaller communities such as Fairfield Twp, Derry, and Seward all did not go with the Ordinance and now we must comply.   

Brandon James asked about putting gravel in the alley behind his place. Wanted to know if the Borough had any problem with this.  Lou said no problem. 

Old Business:

Update on Comcast business.

Pat asked whether council will approve to pay $24.95 additional to Comcast so we will not lose our security cameras.  We need to have a lock in IP address so when the power goes out or Comcast takes down the lines we will not lose the cameras.  Superior Security will come back out on March 22 to program with the locked in IP address.  Without a lock in IP address each time the Comcast takes the system down is costs us $108 for the security company to come out to program the cameras again.  Sue motions to pay the $24.95 to lock in the IP address for the security cameras, 2nd by Lou, all in favor motion passed. 

Update on Mayor Salary.

Sue passed around our old ordinance from 2013 showing the Mayor salary was repealed. 

In order to give the Mayor salary back we need to create a new Ordinance. 

Clark said to just drop the situation.  It is so stupid the continued argument.

Update on No Exit Sign for Lear Street. 

Pat said she contacted US Municipal and since they have sign in stock they can send to us.  Cost is $48.30 not including shipping.  Sue retro for sign purchase, 2nd by Lou, all in favor motion passed.

Update on 2023 audit of Books.

Pat said the audit is now complete.  Everyone has a copy to read at their convenience.  She has been paid $4,120.00 this year.  Pat also presented a new contract for Singer Accounting for the upcoming 3 year period.  New cost for 2025 is $5,000  2026 $5,500  and 2027 $6,050

Motion made by Keith, 2nd by Sue for the next three year period.  All in favor, motion passed.

Results of the Liquid Fuels Audit

This audit has been completed and everyone has a copy of this audit.  There is no charge for this because it has been approved by the Attorney General office in Harrisburg. 

Dirt and Gravel & Low Volume training

Lou, Gladine and Paul will attend the Dirt and Gravel class March 20, and 21st in Johnstown

Any other business to discuss

Gladine attended Rain Water Run Off program with the conservation district.  We have to have controlled rain runoff on properties with over 1000 sq feet, asphalt and cement pads, you have to have a system in place to take care of runoff.  Mostly is also was effective when we went to the last meeting for over a year ago.  Most is for shopping centers, and so forth. 

Sue asked what is going on with Keith Vasas with the projects he has applied for. 

Pat said that the large grant for the streets has not been decided upon as of yet.  The other grant for the reimbursement of funds from the county, Pat got notification that the funds are to be deposited into the bank tomorrow.  The funds will go into the engineer fund.  The county has finally reviewed all the invoices and cancelled checks have been approved.  There is no restriction on how to spend the funds. 

New Business:

Subdivision & Land Development Ordinance

Michael was saying with the county ordinance we have to comply with, all the renovations that Favor is going to do with the church, they would have to comply with the county ordinance.

Sue asked what the bottom line is. Is there anything we can do about it?  To do the zoning ordinance we need to establish a zoning board.  It cannot be anyone on council.  Also establish a planning committee.

Kristen asked about writing zoning rules.  Michael showed a zoning map from Blairsville and what all the colors mean.  Michael said he would ask the solicitor from Blairsville what all he went through to establish ordinance.  Council gave Cory McGivern, and Kristen Cruse a copy of the county ordinance to read and to research and bring their results back at next meeting. 

Fire Dept Annual Fund Raiser

No action to take. We pay for the fire dept workers comp.

Citizens Ambulance Service

They are requesting Municipality to donate funds for the ambulance service.  

Lou read the letter to council.  Individual families in town already donated but only covers 80% of costs to run.  Anything you can donate will be appreciated. 

 Keith said to hand over to Parks & Rec.  Keith asked if parks would like to donate.  Sue said we can just give the letter to parks and Rec to respond to.

County Boro Assoc meeting March 20 - subject changes to workers comp.

Lou asked if anyone wants to go to.  Clark suggested Pat to go.  Pat said she gets changes all the time for workers comp.  So not interested.

Peoples Gas demo at the gas house.

Clark said they did replace the plywood on the house.

Pat said they are considering tearing the house down and just putting up a fence around the gas valves.

Pat said she forwarded information to Peoples Gas to the county to find out if they needed a Demo Permit to tear down.

Clark commented if someone wrecks into the gas house there will be a very large explosion if they only have a fence around it. 

Starting March 4 thru Nov 21 - traffic count

Annual county boro assoc banquet -

 No one is interested in attending.

PA One Calls & Co Stars Contracts

Pat said that Gladine is now on both contracts and Ron has been removed. 

Street closure for Carnival in July

Sue motion to allow the street closure for the carnival, 2nd by Keith, all in favor motion passed.

Emergency response request

Pat received a letter from Fire Chief that a letter of authorization is needed for 911 Public Safety.  Pat spoke to Mr.  Good the Safety Chief and verified what needed to be on the letter of authorization allowing John Speidel to update, change and managed the Fire Response items for the Borough.   Sue motions to allow John to make any changes necessary for this, 2nd by Keith.  All in favor motion carried.  Pat to email Mr. Good the letter. 

Any other business to discuss.

Keith, someone in the mix of things tonight said about picking up used needles.  He wanted to know if we have protection for Paul.  Pat said yes, we have special gloves to pick up needles and so forth.  We can pay out of miscellaneous fund if needed.

Mayor report:

Got another good letter.  To the Mayor, Ligonier and New Florence both.  It says, Mayor  you helped us part way and that Damn Lane Gamble changed cars and still parks out front.  Thank you.  

Clark said he is not going to act on any more of these.  I said from day 1 if they can't sign their name to a complaint then I am not going to act upon it. 

The only other thing I have is there is a lot of cars being parked on the street with expired tags or inspection. 

Cory asked if we have any problem with parking a camping trailer in the yard.  Clark said as long as you don't have anyone living in it then no problem. 

Street Commissioner Report:

 We been working hard on taking down the candy canes but 1 on Lincoln Street.  A vehicle was parked in front and they could not reach it from the truck.  Paul put 4 hours on the Kabota, and used 32 gallons of diesel fuel in truck.  Clark asked if it was necessary to have this recorded each month.  We took care of the gravel up on alley above Paul Hall Senior and Joe LaMantia place.   If you really looked at it, the gravel came from Cecilia's place because the gravel was by the medical center. 

Sewage Report

Nothing meeting next week.

Parks & Rec

Mellissa gave an update on what is going on with the parks committee.  We received $6,000 from the Wagner Foundation for the basketball court as well as selling bricks for the court.  We are trying to have all the brick applications in by April 1.  We are selling tickets for the cow plop as well as a fund raiser for additional funds for the upper park.  We almost completed the events list for the summer for concerts, have sent sponsorship letters and vendor letters out for this year.  We will be putting up banners or boards for sponsorships for anyone who sponsors a concert. 

Motion to adjourn made by Boone, 2nd by Sue at 9:15 PM. 


Patricia Betts