City attorney: No agreement in place obligating city to help pay for Division Street bridge work


What’s next

Wilkes-Barre Council will hold its regularly scheduled work session at 6 p.m. on Oct. 6. The next regularly scheduled meeting is at 6 p.m. on Oct. 8. Both will be in council chambers on the fourth floor of City Hall at 40 E. Market St.

WILKES-BARRE — City council Thursday night refused to seek funding to replace the Division Street bridge after legal research showed it was owned by Luzerne County.

Councilman Tony George failed to get support for resolutions he introduced to go after state or federal money to match the $1 million the county budgeted earlier this month to build a new span over Solomon Creek.

The decision came 83 years after city council members passed an ordinance requiring it to split with the county the cost of repairing or replacing the bridge.

Assistant City Attorney William Vinsko told council at its regularly scheduled meeting held at GAR high school he researched the ordinance after the county cited a 1932 agreement when requesting reimbursement from the city for work on the bridge that was demolished last year due to its poor shape.

“That agreement specifically was traded back and forth and there’s nothing in the archives of the Luzerne County commissioners nor in the City Hall in 1932 confirming the agreement was signed,” Vinsko said. He said he confirmed the ordinance was passed but, without a signed, agreement it’s not valid.

“Because there is no signed agreement we notified the county that we are not under any obligation to proceed,” Vinsko said.

He added that as recently as last June, he sent correspondence to the county requesting notification if any additional information was found to show the agreement was signed and has not received any notice.

The city is still seeking funding for a comprehensive flood control project for Solomon Creek and George said he considers the bridge replacement to be part of the plan.

In other business, council agreed to:

• Approve The Cheesesteak Factory at 17 E. Market St. to use the right-of-way for outdoor seating and install a freestanding and folding sidewalk sign.

• Appoint Christine Jensen and reappointed David Holloway to the city Housing Authority.

• Amend the Parking, Stopping and Standing Ordinance to establish fines for failure to pay after 30 days.

• Enter the 2015-2016 Winter Services Agreement with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation at a cost of $52,100 to the city for snow removal.

• Act as the pass through for a $104,240 Pennsylvania Department of Education Keystone Grant to the Osterhout Free Library to upgrade the heating, ventilating and air conditioning system.

• Adopt the Luzerne County 2015 Hazard Mitigation Plan update as the city’s official hazard mitigation plan.

• Dispose of Fire Department ambulance trip sheets and department calls from 2006 and 2007.

• Enter a right-of-way agreement with PPL Electric Utilities at the rear of 30 N. Franklin St. to maintain electric service to the area.

• Enter a lease with King’s College for use of the tennis courts at Kirby Park at no cost and with the school responsible for maintaining the courts.

• Open a checking account with the Wilkes-Barre City Employees Federal Credit Union so coins collected from the parking meters can be deposited, eliminating the need for a police officer to accompany a parking enforcement employee to another bank for deposit.

• Transfer the funds from the inactive Luzerne County HOME Investment Partnership Loan Program into the City of Wilkes-Barre HOME Investment Trust Fund and close the partnership loan program.

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By Jerry Lynott

[email protected]

What’s next

Wilkes-Barre Council will hold its regularly scheduled work session at 6 p.m. on Oct. 6. The next regularly scheduled meeting is at 6 p.m. on Oct. 8. Both will be in council chambers on the fourth floor of City Hall at 40 E. Market St.

Reach Jerry Lynott at 570-991-6120 or on Twitter @TLNews.

Reach Jerry Lynott at 570-991-6120 or on Twitter @TLNews.

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