SCRANTON— Scranton Fire Chief Kenneth Croucher told the Scranton City Council he had not been contacted about his department’s support of the fireworks display until June 14, two weeks before Saturday in the Park.
“We have to recertify every four years,” Croucher said. “I need to know, about January or first part of February, what the plan is.”
Croucher told the council at its June 17 meeting the department would be unable to produce the show.
“There’s no product. We’re not certified. There’s no equipment to borrow,” Croucher said. “Am I going to get blamed for that?
“The (launching) tubes we use have sat out all winter,” said Ted McDaniel, assistant fire chief.
After extensive discussion, the council acknowledged that the Saturday in the Park Committee was established by an earlier council as a free standing committee, not an organization sponsored or funded by the city. The fire department would be authorized, when contacted, to conduct a display of fireworks, which the committee would purchase.
“There needs to be some accountability on that committee, of people who are acting in the best interest of the organization or the event,” said Jennifer Burkdoll, council member.
The council consented that the Saturday in the Park committee was responsible for planning and conducting the June 27-28 event, and that absence of a fireworks display was not the fault of either Croucher or the fire department.
Croucher also showed the council a Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus for council inspection. The fire department received nine units, each with two air bottles and a mask, through a $54,000 grant.
“It’s state of the art,” Croucher said. “Our old ones were good for only 25 minutes. These are good for 45.”
The vendor provided a rescue air pack at no additional expense.
Larry Alexander, police chief, presented recent activity by the department.
“It’s been a hectic week,” Alexander said. “We resolved all the burglaries, except for one, and we were able to get the property back to the owners.”
Alexander also presented a report from a human trafficking training session hosted by the department.
“We had law enforcement officers from all over the state,” Alexander said. “It was great. Crossroads Church put us up in their facility.”
The council also authorized a request from Alexander to purchase $200 of ammunition.
“It’s time for us to qualify this year, so we have to buy ammo,” Alexander said.
In other business, the council:
• discussed a project to upgrade the city’s water utility distribution system. Engineers from BG Consultants, Inc., laid out a table-sized map of the water system, stating that the map was subject to change as additional information became available. They identified and discussed several downtown and residential alley and street locations where easements would not provide sufficient separation between a sewer main and a new water main. Some fire hydrant locations were also discussed. The engineers described special construction requirements to avoid traffic disruption for the railroad and U.S. Highway 56.
• heard a report from Scott Lester, maintenance supervisor, about a recent sewer backup problem, which he attributed to heavy rainfall runoff. He said at least two manholes in the lower end of the system had been flooded, so infiltration was likely the cause of the problem.
• received a report from Todd Luckman, city attorney, that a reply had been received from Rural Water District No. 5, regarding replacement of the existing water purchase agreement. Luckman commented that it did not appear any significant barriers to negotiation and execution of the agreement would be encountered.
• tabled consideration of guttering repair estimates, after determining that carpenter assessment was necessary before replacement of guttering.
• convened an executive session to discuss non-elected personnel with Luckman attending and Alexander called in. The session was extended twice.