Capital plan, dispute resolution on the agenda of Luzerne County Council on Tuesday

Luzerne County’s annual capital plan does not propose new projects because the fund is essentially depleted, the document says.

In order to be presented at Tuesday’s council meeting, the plan must be submitted by June 1 under the county’s self-government charter.

The capital fund came mainly from past borrowings, periodically supplemented by one-time receipts.

In his final proposed capital plan before he left last year, former county executive C. David Pedri reiterated that capital funds were “dwindling rapidly” and recommended only two new projects involving elevator work and column repairs at the Bernard C. Brominski building near the courthouse. at Wilkes Barre.

The proposed plan for this year indicates that only $276,206 remains in unencumbered funds. The administration proposes to place these funds in an emergency construction fund to cover unforeseen problems and needs.

About $11 million had been in the fund in 2016, according to the plan. Dozens of projects large and small have been completed since then, including IT upgrades, building and parking lot repairs, elevator updates, roof replacements, courthouse restoration and security improvements at the aging Water Street County Jail in Wilkes-Barre, he says.

Consistent with past practice, the proposed capital plan also lists road/bridge and infrastructure projects to be funded with grants, Federal Metropolitan Planning Organization transportation allowances, landfill and other separate accounts for roads and bridges.

The following county-owned road projects are on the list, he said: Oak Hill and Church Roads in Wright Township; Broadway Road in Ross and Union Townships; and Ransom Road in Dallas and Franklin Townships.

The replacement of the following bridges or culverts is also shown on the plan: Heslop Road, Rice Township; Ftorkowski Road and Cherry Hill Road, Huntington Township; Chicks Lane, Black Creek Township; Stout Road, Nescopeck Township; Belles Hill Road, Union Township; and Beach Grove Road, Salem Township.

A county-owned building near the Wyoming Valley Airport in Forty Fort is also set to be renovated, at a cost of $4 million, which will be funded by Department of Solid Waste landfill fees, the plan says.

The proposed capital plan does not address work approved or proposed for completion using US federal bailout funding, such as prison repairs and information technology projects.

The board has until September 1 to make changes or adopt the plan as is.

Tuesday’s voting meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the County Courthouse on River Street in Wilkes-Barre, with instructions for remote participation posted under the council’s online meetings link at alfalfacounty.org.

Two public hearings will precede the voting session starting at 5:40 p.m. concerning a budget amendment and a draft amendment to the administrative code of the council.

The proposed code change would require six of the council’s 11 votes to form an investigative committee. The code adopted by the board currently requires seven votes – a majority plus one – for such action. The Board plans to vote on the code amendment at Tuesday’s voting meeting.

Ongoing litigation

Three litigation settlements are slated for a board decision on Tuesday.

The meeting documents outline the following settlement amounts and dispute details:

• $100,000 to settle the lawsuit filed by Kareliz Nin against the County and the County Children and Youth. Nin had filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging ‘mishandling of information and the case generally’ regarding a child identified as CN

• $15,000 to settle the lawsuit Mark Baynock filed against the county in the county’s Court of Common Pleas last year, alleging he was wrongfully terminated from his job as county corrections officer.

• The settlement of the litigation filed by Eugenia Galli is $66,164.28 in addition to monthly insurance payments for her medical insurance under COBRA through June 2023 and payment for her dental and vision insurance through April 2023.

Galli’s claim is against the county, County Mental Health and Developmental Services and Amy Tomkoski. Galli had filed an appeal with the State Civil Service Commission, a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and a writ in the county’s Court of Common Pleas in 2020 “alleging generally discriminatory employment practices.”

Two other legal settlements are on the agenda for Tuesday’s business session after the vote meeting. The Board will have to vote on these two points at a future meeting.

According to the agenda for the meeting, the first would resolve the lawsuit filed against the county in 2015 by family members of the late Marla Hunter alleging that she was harassed by a supervisor during her employment with the county and that ” such actions and the county’s failure to act and rectify the situation led to the death of Mrs. Hunter.

The family does not ask for any payment. Instead, the $10,000 settlement is to be used to produce a two-hour diversity educational production focusing on LGBTQ issues and anti-bullying, the county’s resolution said. This production must be presented to all county employees within 60 days of its completion, he said.

In the second Labor Session settlement case, the county would pay $5,000 to close the litigation that Laurie Hughes filed against the county and Wilkes-Barre in the county’s Court of Common Pleas in 2019 over injuries he allegedly sustained. on the sidewalk and Water Street in front of the county jail, the county’s resolution said.

Contact Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.


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