By Garrett Dvorkin
Herald Staff Reporter
Titusville City Council held a busy meeting last night discussing a wide range of topics including bullying, traffic studies, City parks and a new rental licensing program. Council also heard from Crawford County Commissioner Eric Henry about bringing more attention to Titusville.
City Council unanimously approved the first reading of the Titusville Rental Licensing Program. The new program is meant to protect Titusville renters.
City Council held two special meetings to hear from the public about the program and announced a few changes to the program as a result of the feedback.
As the program currently stands, landlords would have to pay a $100 biannual fee for a license to rent in the City. The program also includes inspections on each rental unit every two years.
The inspection fee would be $40 for one and two-unit properties. Properties over three units would be $20 each.
Some landlords were worried about having to pay at once for the inspection of multiple properties. One of the changes announced by council is that landlords who opt into the program within the first six months would have their first time inspection fees waived.
Council also amended part of the program regarding property managers for landlords who live outside of Titusville. The City said that instead of property managers, landlords who live at least 25 miles outside the City are required to have an emergency contact who lives within 25 miles of Titusville. Previously, Titusville landlords had to have a business license, however, this policy was never enforced.
At the beginning of the meeting, council heard from Loretta Clifford, of the Titusville Pennsylvania Stand for the Silent organization. Clifford, who’s organization deals with anti-bullying, spoke to council about problems happening at City parks.
Clifford said that bullying, especially cyber bullying, has been a serious issue in Titusville. Clifford referenced four videos that she said had “gone viral” featuring Titusville juveniles getting into fights at Robert’s Grove Park.
Clifford said that dealing with bullying in town can feel like a “revolving door,” where the police says it is a school district issue and the school district says it is a police issue. “Im lost with how to take care of this,” said Clifford.
Titusville Police Chief Dustin LeGoullon spoke to council to address concerns raised by Clifford. LeGoullon said that the videos had been brought to his attention and that the department had taken several steps to find a solution.
LeGoullon said that he had met with Titusville Area School District Superintendent Stephanie Keebler about the issue, and that progress has been made.
LeGoullon continued saying that every juvenile identified fighting in the videos had been brought to the police station with a parent. He said that the meetings were “received well by the parents and students.”
LeGoullon also said that his department had increased its presence there and that since the police have focused more attention on the park there have been no reports.
In attendance at Tuesday’s meeting was Crawford County Commissioner Eric Henry. Henry was present to announce that a county commissioner will be at Titusville City Hall every first Thursday of the month to answer questions and hear from residents.
Henry said that the commissioner who attends will be rotated so that all three commissioners have the chance to talk to their constituents. Henry said that this is part of a broader effort to focus more on Titusville.
“We don’t want to leave Titusville out in the cold,” said Henry. Deputy Mayor Bill McCrillis said that frequently Titusville is considered the “red-headed step-child of Crawford County,” and that he was happy that the commissioners were making this effort.
Henry said that he has worked in Titusville before, and understands the concerns of it’s citizens about a lack of representation at the county level.
City Council also approved two resolutions. Council voted to approve a credit memo for a Titusville resident. This resident had been charged $400 too much due to an error at the county assessment level. As they cannot pay back the money, the best course of action is to provide a credit.
Council also voted to approve a resolution formalizing CDBG modifications. The modifications were for the Benson Memorial Library HVAC work and the transferring of CDBG funds from the South Perry Street Bridge to the Diamond Street clearance project.
—City Manager Neil Fratus thanked Jim Elliott for helping him get in contact with a construction company that is going to donate a new pavilion to Sunset Heights Park. JM Warren Buildings, based in Guys Mills, have offered to build a new pavilion free of charge so that funds for the park can be used to purchase playground equipment.
—The Titusville Police Department presented council with the results of its traffic studies. The police looked into nine intersections that council had suggested.
—Alexa Vroman was appointed to the Titusville Redevelopment Authority.