Shickshinny Fire Company, borough council at odds

SHICKSHINNY, LUZERNE COUNTY (WOLF) -- Tonight's Shickshinny Borough council meeting turned into a debate hall.

The issue at hand -- the Shickshinny Fire Company.

It was taken off the call box in February after council says it failed to turn over financial documents requested by the borough.

"We as a council wanted to see documentation, financial documents, because the monies the borough was giving them every year. A check was written to them every year for $3,000 and we wanted to know how that money was being used," Councilman Jeffrey Norcross said.

Council says the fire company never turned over that information.

However, the fire chief says it did.

"We responded to that letter, and said that we would be happy to sit down with your fire and water committee and their solicitor and go over anything you want to go over. We have all the documents over there," Shickshinny Fire Company Chief Kevin Morris said.

But that meeting didn't happen.

And both sides are still at odds months later.

The fire company circulated petitions in the neighborhood asking for the call box issue to be listed on this week's agenda.

The chief says more than 120 people signed them, and they were given to council during a work session last week. However, the fire company was not on this week's public meeting agenda.

"The petition simply states that we, the borough, are trying to put the fire company out of business and that's not a true statement," Norcross said.

Despite that, several people expressed their opinions during a public comment session after agenda items were taken care of.

Many expressed safety concerns about fire crews from nearby Mocanaqua now handling emergencies in Shickshinny.

"I'm concerned about what happens if roads are blocked or if the bridge is closed and Mocanaqua can't get here. What do we do in that situation? We have a company here with equipment and personnel who are trained and designed to fight fires," Brian Caverly, of Shickshinny, said.

"I know its not that much further, Mocanaqua, but it could be just far enough away to cause a problem for me out in Union Township. I would just be much more comfortable having the fire department as close to my home as possible," another concerned citizen said.

The fire company was also the subject of an audit released by the state auditor general back in February. It says the company misused thousands of dollars in relief funds and had poor record-keeping between 2015 and 2016.

The company is now in compliance, and council says it has nothing to do with the current issue.

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