Knox taps CARES fund for borough fire department

After a similar donation to Knox Area Volunteer Ambulance Company last month, Knox Borough Council again tapped its American Rescue Plan grant fund to donate $20,000 to Knox Volunteer Fire Company.

The fire company’s president, Jason McMillen, made an appeal to council for the donation.

“A few years ago, we started an investment account for the fire department,” McMillen said. “We saw that you used the CARES Act money to help the ambulance company, and we wanted to ask if you would donate $20,000 to our investment account for when things get tough.”

Council member Bill Henry, who led the discussion for the ambulance company donation in October, replied, “I’m all for it, but I’m not sure if we should donate it just to invest it.”

In addition, Henry explained the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funds must be used to make improvement purchases. “I don’t think we’re supposed to just set it aside.”

McMillen said the fire company, which also serves Ashland, Beaver and Salem townships, could move money it planned to spend on equipment to the investment account and use the donation to purchase the equipment.

Council President Jack Bish Jr. explained the borough received two CARES Act payments of $56,152. The borough used about $16,000 for bonus employee pay through the COVID-19 emergency and donated $20,000 to the ambulance company.

“We have about $76,000 left,” Bish said.

Heny said, “Then, I’ll make the motion,” which passed unanimously.

Knox Baseball Association

McMillen also made an appeal on behalf of the Knox Baseball Association.

He explained the association mows the grass around the fields at the borough-owned park in the spring and early summer while the baseball season is open and running through Father’s Day. When the season ends, the association usually stops mowing the grass due to a lack of funding.

“We field a lot of concerns about the high grass in the summer,” he said. “We hear about it looking bad, but it’s not ours. It’s a black eye for the Baseball Association because we don’t take care of it the whole summer. We don’t have the funds to mow it after the season ends.”

McMillen said the borough owns one side of the recreation site and the Knox Lions Club owns the part on the other side of the road.

“We’re going to talk to the Lions about that part,” McMillen said.

Bish suggested the Baseball Association return to council in spring to work out a plan.

Council’s other business

— Approved payments to Kukurin that total about $561,042 for the ongoing water line replacement project. In a related move, council approved a time extension for the project, mainly road restoration, as asphalt plants are closing for the year. Council reminded Kukurin that the streets must at least be in “plowable” condition during the winter.

— Approved security upgrades at the municipal building at a cost of $4,285.

— Approved the purchase of needed street signs at a cost of $1,502.

— Tabled any work on the roof of the water plant until spring.

— Agreed to order a new general purpose 2023 truck chassis through Tri-Star in Blairsville at a projected cost of $53,170. That truck, however, might not arrive until late summer of next year or possibly not until 2024.


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