This article was funded by LebTown donors as part of our Civic Impact Reporting Project.

Jonestown Borough Council unanimously approved mayoral letters to the state and federal legislature in support of North Lebanon Fire and Emergency Services (NLFES) at Tuesday’s meeting.

Some 75 percent of NLFES calls are for incidents on interstates 81 and 78, as LebTown reported Monday.

These incidents typically do not include locals, and fire police block traffic with their personal vehicles. NLFES relies almost entirely on funding from Jonestown Borough and Union and East Hanover townships, receiving less than $50,000 annually from state funding and insurance monies.

Read More: Fire companies make case for funding; flag lack of payment for I-78, I-81 calls

Council voted to support Mayor Joseph Quairoli sending a letter to the federal government supporting federal funding for interstate responses and a letter to the state government supporting legislation requiring insurance companies to pay for emergency service responses.

The mayor suggested including in the state letter supporting legislation allowing municipalities to enforce per capita taxes for emergency services, charging residents including tenants rather than just property owners.

However, Councilman Jeffery Schott voiced concerns about the relevancy of this to the topic at hand, and his sentiments were echoed by several other council members. As a result, this was left out of the letter.

NLFES is also planning to apply to several federal grants but is as of now unsure as to which municipality will be backing it.

The council also agreed to submit a letter to the postmaster soliciting a walking route carrier for Jonestown, covering Market Street and some of South Lancaster Street.

This has been discussed by the council in the past, as many Jonestown residents cannot receive mail and need to rent PO boxes with the post office.

All were in favor except Tracey Charest, who already contacted the postmaster as a private citizen asking about a walking route and was told it would not be considered.

In other news, the council:

  • Unanimously approved the appointment of Lebanon County Emergency Management Agency as the borough’s emergency management coordinator.
  • Unanimously approved Jonestown’s Fire Company box cards.
  • Unanimously agreed to appoint Barley Snyder as solicitor active April 1, as he has joined the Reilly Wolfson firm. This will not affect solicitor costs, solicitor Colleen Gallo said.
  • Unanimously approved events for NLFES to direct traffic through November.
  • Held an executive session following the meeting concerning maintenance helper salary.
  • Unanimously approved the March 7 minutes and March’s treasurer’s report.

Jonestown Borough Council meets at 6:30 p.m. the first Tuesday of each month at 295 South Mill St. The next meeting will be held May 2.

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

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Editor’s note: This article was updated after publication to clarify references to emergency services where an earlier version of the article referred to EMS.

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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.


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