CLARION - Clarion Borough Council opted May 5 to continue its emergency declaration which limits public access to borough-owned property and has some employees working from home.

Council met May 5 in a combination in-person/teleconference meeting.

Council member Ben Aaron raised the issue, asking if the borough was ready to lift the emergency declaration or at least modify the restrictions on building access and on-site work by employees.

The matter was not listed on the meeting agenda.

Clarion Borough Council President Carol Lapinto said she had considered putting the discussion on the agenda but then decided it should be discussed in an administration committee meeting first.

"I'd like to see us develop some guidelines and then bring it back to council at our June 3 meeting," said Lapinto.

Aaron said he believes there are already guidelines in place.

Aaron and Lapinto were among the council members attending the session in-person.

Council member Brenda Sanders Dede, who participated via telephone, said she would rather wait.

"We need to look at it very seriously," said Dede. "So far, we've had it pretty good around her. I think we need to be very cautious."

Borough secretary Linda Lavan-Preston said office operations have gone smoothly under the restrictions with no complaints from the public.

Lavan-Preston said if anyone needs any paperwork borough office employees meet those citizens at the front door.

Most other matters, said Lavan-Preston, can be and have been handled via telephone or email.

"I just don't think we're ready (to left the declaration)," said Lapinto.

Council members Rose Logue (in person) and Rachel Roberts (telephone) agreed.

Council member Jason Noto added, "There's no pressing need to open back up. We've been able to handle things."

Real estate tax payment deadline

Council agreed to extend the "face value" payment period for real estate taxes until Oct. 31.

That move mirrors a decision by the Clarion County Board of Commissioners regarding the county real estate tax payment period.

The deadline for paying real estate taxes at "face value" was June 30.

Real estate taxes not paid by Oct. 31 will be assessed a late penalty.

The discount payment period already ended for the tax year.

Aaron expressed disappointment that the county did not consult with municipalities before making its decision.

Lapinto said "it makes sense" for the borough to follow suit so local tax collectors don't have to send out separate tax bills.

In other business, council agreed to seek bids for 2020-03 Main Street improvement projects, including replacement of light poles.