Factoryville borough council held its first meeting of the year virtually on Wednesday.

At the meeting, council members asked councilwoman Elena O’Connor to give an update on Keystone College’s plans for the spring semester. Council members Bill Edwards and Dan Engler were absent from the meeting.

O’Connor, who works in the school’s office of conferences and special events, said that Keystone plans to start classes on Monday, Jan. 25, fully remote. In-person classes will begin on February 1.  All resident students are required to present a negative COVID-19 test prior to moving into college residence halls. A small number of students have chosen to quarantine in their rooms prior to the start of classes in lieu of this requirement.

“Like the fall semester, students and professors will have the option to move and hold their classes virtually if they choose to,” O’Connor said. “Keystone’s top priority is to keep all students, faculty and staff safe, and we think we did a great job with that in the fall.”

Masks will continue to be required for students on all areas of campus, even when they are alone outside. Students can face disciplinary action for violating the college’s COVID-19 protocols.

During the meeting, the council approved a $9,000 contract with accountant Tim Farrell. Borough manager Mary Ellen Buckbee and the rest of council were impressed with the work that Farrell had done with South Abington Township, and said they looked forward to working with him.

Buckbee also delivered council some good news. In a year where most areas were struggling financially, Factoryville was able to avoid those struggles. She announced that the borough was able to save $53,000 in expenses than what was initially budgeted.

“This is very good for us,” Buckbee said. “In a year when most places were taking losses, we were able to save some money and finish the year on a positive note financially, which is very good.”

Councilman Gregg Yunko announced that he is going to call contractors to start looking into bids for repairs to the roof of the borough building on College Avenue.

He said there is no damage to the roof, he just wants to make sure that some routine maintenance is done to avoid future leaks, which could be more expensive to fix.

Council also reappointed Yunko to a four-year term on the Creekside Park commission, where there is some work being planned for the walking trails in the future.

Factoryville Mayor Gary Evans thanked borough head of maintenance Jim Gesek for his work during the December snowstorm that left over a foot of snow in the borough. He also thanked Endless Mountains Extended Care for sending five residents to help with shoveling during the snowstorm.

“They helped with shoveling out the sidewalks and paths in front of the borough building, and some of the trails at Christy Mathewson Park,” Evans said. “They were extremely pleasant and happy to be helping out. They were a big help to Jim who has a lot of area to cover already.”

Evans said he hopes to be able to continue working with Endless Mountains Extended Care, a drug rehabilitation center in Clinton Township, in the future, including in the spring to help with things like spreading mulch in the borough’s two parks, and other projects.

Factoryville Borough Council’s next meeting will be Wednesday, Feb. 10, at 6:30 p.m.

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