Plum Council Notebook: July Voting Meeting

Right-of-way, flashing signals and more discussed at the meeting.

Here's a roundup of items discussed at the July 9 Plum Council meeting:

Short Street

Officials are looking to make traveling on Short Street easier for larger vehicles.

Council agreed to condemn a piece of property at the end of the dead-end street to be able to secure a right-of-way to ensure public safety and public service vehicles can maneuver the street effectively.

Eight residences use the street, but borough Manager Mike Thomas said fire trucks, ambulances, garbage trucks and public works vehicles have a tough time getting in and out of the street because there is no turnaround at the end of the road.

Councilman Keith Nowalk said the right-of-way is needed for safety purposes.

Thomas said the borough has maintained the road for at least 30 years.

Officials also agreed to prohibit parking on both sides of the road at certain places, which will be marked. The road isn't wide enough to accommodate parking on both sides, and often times, vehicles have a hard time getting through or turning around.

Flashing Signal

The pedestrian flashing signal along New Texas Road will be replaced soon.

Council agreed to spend a little more than $13,000 to replace the current lights with LED lights. Borough Manager Mike Thomas said the infrastructure is fine, but the current lighting system is not functioning.

Thomas said it would cost $4,000 to repair the lights, but with a little bit more money they could be completely upgraded to LED lights, which would save the borough money in the long run. The new lights also would be easier to maintain and will run on timers.

Thomas noted the purchase would not affect the budget negatively.

Officials said it was a good idea to have a functioning system in place because a lot of children and families cross the street to get to the ballfields.


Fireworks companies who are in charge of setting them off during large borough events now are required to get a permit.

Officials approved an ordinance governing the commercial fireworks displays in the borough.

Thomas noted that the permit is for commercial displays only—like that of Plum Community Days, the YMCA's event and local 5K races—and not for private residents who want to set off fireworks.

"John Q. Smith can't get a permit to light M-80s or Roman Candles," he said. "We do not permit that."

The five requirements to obtain a permit are:

• A diagram of the grounds on which the display is planned
• The names and information of those who will set off fireworks
• Verification that the local fire department and ambulance service be on site for the event
• Proof of at least $1 million in insurance
• Copies of the licenses of all operators who will set off fireworks

Grass Cutting

Council voted 5-2 to hire outside help to cut grass on vacant properties throughout the borough. Councilmen Don Knopfel and Skip Taylor dissented.

The maximum amount spent would be $1,495.

Assistant borough manager Greg Bachy said public works employees have been cutting the grass on about six vacant properties in the borough because the owners can't be found. However, due to retirements, injuries and other projects, the public works crew hasn't been able to cut the grass at those properties.

Officials said because of the lack of rain this season, they don't expect to spend the full amount.

Firefighting Gear

Local fire departments are holding their annual donation drives.

Ira Helfer, president of the Unity Volunteer Fire Department, and Dave Bender, assistant chief at Renton Volunteer Fire Department, demonstrated how much it costs to outfit each firefighter.

Helfer said there are about 125 volunteer firefighters in Plum, spread out among four fire companies—, , and . He said it costs about $9,000 for one firefighter's gear—pants, coat, harness, helmet, gloves, etc.

"We need your help," Helfer said. "Every little bit counts."

Officials also urged residents to donate to the fire departments.


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