WESTFIELD — The borough council here opened two letters of interest to fill a vacant council seat at its meeting on Tuesday. Due to a mistakenly-cast vote, it’s not yet clear whether Lorie Card or Carissa Grossman will take the seat.
Councilmember Denis Landry made a motion to nominate Card to the vacant position, seconded by Roxann Weidman. Voting in favor were Weidman and Leland Pond, who first tried to abstain but was told he couldn’t. Voting no were Council President Gail Bollinger, Vice President Shaunta Vahey and Landry. Councilmember Roger McCullen was absent.
Vahey then made a motion to accept Grossman to the vacant seat, with Weidman seconding. It was then Landry said he made a mistake, and meant to vote “yes” for Card.
“I’d like to remove my vote and change it to ‘yes,’ he said. “I misunderstood.”
Bollinger questioned whether a vote could be changed after a new motion had been made. It was decided the question would be brought to the borough solicitor and no one would be named to council until more information is received.
Council wrapped up voting for Grossman – Vahey, Weidman, Bollinger and Pond voted in favor, with Landry in opposition.
Also at the meeting, council voted unanimously to limit speaking time for meeting visitors to five minutes. The time was previously unlimited, which Bollinger said has led to some issues with lengthy conversations at past meetings.
Bids for two borough parcels were opened. Two bids were received for a 3.07-acre reservoir off Walnut Street for $6,251 and $4,750, with the higher bid accepted. The lone bid for a 2.51-acre parcel at Reservoir Hill/High Street Extension for $7,500 was also accepted.
Council tabled a decision to extend payments for work on the new wastewater treatment plant to November, the new timeline for completion. Shawn Downey with Larsen Design Group said the expected payments total $95,000 for construction and administration fees over the next three months. He said if the contractor goes past the November deadline without a valid extension, they’ll start to accrue liquidated damages owed to the borough of around $1,000 to $1,500 per day.
Downey also said council could rebid for the sewer rehabilitation project work in August. The scope has changed from replacing eight manholes to rehabbing them, bringing the expected cost down.
Council gave Police Chief Dale Niles the go-ahead to look into a new fingerprinting service for non-criminal related purposes, such as for teachers or coaches. At last month’s council meeting, Niles said Identogo ceased its fingerprinting services in Coudersport; the closest locations are now Smethport and Williamsport. Council voted to establish a $10 fee for any non-borough residents to use the service; Westfield borough residents are free of charge.
No further updates or information were given regarding the investigation into Niles, who is still performing all his regular duties. Rowland previously told this newspaper the investigation could “take a long time.”
Bollinger announced that Senator Cris Dush will present a “Talk with the Senator” event on Aug. 11 in Mansfield, which she encouraged council members to attend.
Westfield Borough Council meets at 7 p.m. every second Tuesday of the month and, if needed, on the fourth Tuesday, at the borough building.