Borough records unearthed

January 22, 2013
Some of the boxes of old records found in East Washington - Submitted photo

East Washington Council Monday approved spending up to $1,000 to have more than 60 boxes of borough records that were found in the basement properly destroyed.

The records, dating as far back as the 1950s, were in cardboard boxes crammed in the damp, moldy municipal building basement.

Borough Secretary-Treasurer Nancy Klemash questioned the boxes of records while on a quest to organize the office, which was left in disarray after former secretary Heather Walsh left early last year.

“The whole basement was full, and you didn’t know how deep,” she said.

Klemash proceeded to take it upon herself to go through the boxes to decide what needed to be kept under the state’s records retention requirements.

With the volunteer help of her daughter, the women, wearing rubber gloves and face masks, went through the boxes. One by one, the boxes were brought upstairs and put in the borough office for sorting.

“There were hundreds of boxes filled with unnecessary papers,” said Councilman Jeff Bull. “I don’t believe that (the basement) has ever been touched.”

But, not all of the records were unnecessary, as many contained information on borough codes, taxes and ordinances. There also were maps, surveys and even a few uncashed checks from 2009.

Klemash has since managed to go through all the boxes except for seven or eight.

Council agreed Monday to have the other boxes, which are not being kept in storage, destroyed by DocSolutions, a local company that offers secure destruction of records.

Linda Metz has been with the Observer-Reporter since 2000, covering Washington County courts and politics, as well as the city of Washington. She previously was employed by the Tribune Review. She is a graduate of Point Park College, now a university, in Pittsburgh.

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