Wellsboro council bids retiring mayor and councilman farewell

WELLSBORO – Borough council here said farewell to retiring Mayor Jim Daugherty Monday and welcomed new Councilman Kevin Connelly.

Connelly was appointed by council to fill the remaining two years on Councilman John Wheeler’s term as Wheeler, who was elected mayor in November, resigned Monday to take over in Daugherty’s stead.

Councilman Terry Bryant also was at his last meeting as he also is retiring after a term and a half.

Bryant said he is “humbled to have served on the board.”

“Our accomplishments are great, we now have a borough manager, beautiful new office, and an updated water systems. It has been rewarding to me to see all that accomplished. We don’t agree on everything but we agree to do what is best for this community,” he said

Jennifer Updyke, who won election in November, will replace Bryant in January.

Daugherty has been mayor since 2002, and police Chief Jim Bodine said he had been a “huge asset” to the police department.

Daugherty, also a member of the borough fire police and a deputy county coroner, has assisted police at crash scenes and with traffic control at special events.

Daugherty noted that festival attendance had been down enough to make the crowd “manageable” for traffic control using a “bare bones crew” of all six borough police officers, five fire police from the borough and Morris and four from the county sheriff’s department.

Bodine expressed appreciation for the help and noted that the festival went “very smooth” without the department having to tow one car, and only one ticket was issued.

Bodine presented Daugherty with a plaque expressing the appreciation of the police department as council, three police officers and county Sheriff Tom Young looked on.

Bodine also thanked council for its help with the renovation of the police department in the John E. Dugan Municipal Building.

In other business, council:

Approved making a recommendation to the zoning hearing board that Laura Lee Soderberg and Jesse Robinson’s business, Emerge Healing Arts and Spa, be approved as a home business in a duplex located at 28-30 Central Avenue.

Rejected a $38,700 bid from Black Bear Construction, Covington, for roof replacement on the borough shop and tabled any further action on it until spring when the project will go back out for bid.

Approved $16,533 for safety, police, fire, protective inspections, codes and EMA.

Approved borough Secretary/Treasurer Sue Keck as voting delegate and borough Manager Dan Strausser as alternate for the Tioga Tax Collection Committee for 2014.

Heard from Wheeler that the state Department of Transportation wants to meet with council to discuss changes to the new traffic signals before council has Larson Design do a study for $14,400.

Heard that the borough has received a $24,400 matching grant from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to develop a master plan for Woodland Park.

Heard from council President Joan Hart that the reorganization and regular meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Jan. 6.