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Cornwall Borough Council revised its prohibition on feeding feral cats within borough limits during a meeting April 11 that also included traffic updates and a report on annual budget’s current status.

Feeding of feral cats

Councilman Thomas Burton (left), borough manager Cody Rhoads (middle), and council president Bruce Harris (right). Councilman Al Brandt was not present at Monday’s meeting.

The council unanimously approved a motion to adopt Ordinance 2022-1. This amends the 2019 ordinance banning the feeding of feral cats to allow feeding stray cats when attempting to trap and spay/neuter them.

Read More: Could someone go to jail for feeding feral cats in Cornwall? Yes – but not likely

The amendment came after requested by Cornwall resident Jennifer Wentzel, who has run a trap, neuter, and release (TNR) program in Cornwall and West Cornwall since 2019.

The amendment, she says, will assist the program in reducing the borough’s feral cat problem humanely.

“We’re trying to find a way to live with them until they can die out over time,” explained Wentzel. “That is the hope, that they humanely can live their lives out and die out.”

Read More: Cornwall Borough residents look to enact new trap, neuter, and release program for feral cats

Both the council and members of the public noted the reduction in the feral cat population over the last two years, since the time the ordinance was passed and the TNR program was started.

According to the April 11 Report of Cornwall Community Cats (available in the meeting’s agenda here), the program has altered 183 cats and fostered 131 kittens for adoption, as of April 1.

Borough manager Cody Rhoads noted that the borough works closely with Cornwall Community Cats when it receives complaints about feral cats.

“Just for the record, I think since the ordinance went in place, we’ve probably gotten three or four calls, and I always just ask, ‘Hey, you mind if I send it to Jen first,'” Rhoads explained. “I don’t think anybody’s ever called back after that.”

The Community Cats program is run through volunteers and donations, holding frequent fundraising events.

Council president Bruce Harris commended their efforts and suggested that they could be allotted money for TNR in next year’s budget.

“I think hopefully, when we sit down and do the budget, we can include a line item to give you folks some money,” said Harris.

From left to right, councilman John Karinch, councilwoman Beth Yocum, vice president Bruce Conrad and council pro tem Ron Ricard.

Route 419 speed limit

Cornwall Borough, working with West Cornwall Township, had previously reached out to PennDOT asking the state department to consider a uniform speed limit of 35 mph on Route 419. PennDOT responded, declining the request.

The section of the road spanning from Route 322 to the beginning of the 25 mph zone near the Cornwall United Methodist Church currently has sections of 35, 40, and 45 mph.

Council pro tem Ron Ricard noted his disappointment with PennDOT’s response and asked if a petition might change their mind, which Harris said was unlikely.

A Cornwall resident came forward at the March 14 meeting to ask that council consider doing something to improve safety at the intersection of Route 72 and Zinn’s Mill Road, which the council agreed to look into.

PennDOT responded to an inquiry from the council that, as the intersection is functioning better than they would expect it to function, they will not take immediate action.

A 2019 Lebanon Daily News report on Lebanon County intersections (paywall) had found that the intersection of Zinn’s Mill Road and Route 72 had five crashes with injuries from 2013 to 2017.

However, a resurfacing of Route 72 is planned for late 2023 or early 2024 and the issue may be addressed at that time.

Bids for 2022 paving projects

The council unanimously agreed to authorize bids for the planned 2022 paving project.

The borough had projects planned for Ash Lane from Beech to Hemlock, Holly Lane from Aspen to Aspen, and Beech Drive from Ash to Holly.

The council noted that other municipalities have found bids for paving projects to be very high due to high gas prices. For instance, North Lebanon Township is considering tabling paving projects until next year.

Read More: North Lebanon Township places restrictions on new solar & wind farms

Once bids are received, the township can decide to accept or reject them at that time.

Other business

In other business, the board:

  • Unanimously approved reports (PDF) including the treasurer’s, secretary’s, and highway department’s.
  • Presented the budget report, noting that (as of the end of March) the borough’s revenues totaled $501,325, or 20.61% of the budgeted $2,432,226, and that expenditures totaled $550,527, or 19.88% of the budgeted $2,769,684.
  • Unanimously authorized expenditures from the recreation fund for protective capping for fences and upkeep for the Minersvillage battling cage, hockey rink, and tennis courts.
  • Unanimously approved to authorize the transfer of banking services to JBT and FCCB.
  • Unanimously agreed to authorize an engineer to review FEMA flood maps, with councilman John Karinch noting that the maps seem highly inaccurate for Cornwall Borough.
  • Unanimously adopted Resolution 2022-5, showing the borough’s support for eliminating the state requirement for boroughs with at least three full-time police officers to have a Civil Service Commission.
  • Unanimously approved a letter of support for the County Issue Board’s donation of several acres of land to the county for a dedicated police pistol range.
  • Responded to a public comment asking the status of Spring Hill Acres zoning issues, noting that council has met with the solicitor in executive session, and that the solicitor is drawing up amendments to the borough’s zoning ordinance more strength of wording. Harris commented that this will hopefully be shared in more detail with the public next month.

Cornwall Borough Council meets at the borough building the second Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. The next meeting will be held May 9 at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church (2596 Cornwall Road), as the borough building will be undergoing repairs.

These meetings are open to the public and do not require prior registration.

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Emily Bixler

Emily Bixler was born and raised in Lebanon and now reports on local government. In her free time, she enjoys playing piano and going for hikes.