The Ligonier Township Supervisors approved stepping in to assist a group of homeowners in seeking state grant funding to replace a private water line serving 19 homes with a line that would meet specifications to be taken over by the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County (MAWC) after it’s installed.
The township would apply for and administer the potential Commonwealth Financing Authority grant on behalf of the homeowners, Carcella said, but the group of property owners would be solely responsible for financing the matching funds required for the grant as well as any additional project costs.
“We feel that the water line has become a health and safety issue, and it’s only getting worse because it’s not being maintained,” resident Shari Shannon said of the failing line serving homes along Hi Acre and Charlotte drives. “Frankly, it’s taking down the values of our homes. We’re looking for any solution possible. We’ve held several neighborhood meetings and we also had a public meeting... that gave us a chance to ask questions and find out where we can go with this. We’re asking for your help in any way possible in finding a solution to the problem.”
The CFA grant would require a 15% match from the property owners, Carcella said.
“We would have to have full participation,” from the 19 homeowners affected, Carcella noted.
Shannon said the homeowners in the area hope for MAWC to take over the private line, but the authority won’t accept the water line until it’s replaced. There have been three breaks in the line in recent years, but repairs to the breaks have just resulted in the line breaking in another spot later on.
“It’s a projected cost of $360,000,” Shannon said of the line replacement. “As private individuals, we can’t apply for grants or anything to help us with that process.”
“We’re going to going to try our best to find a way to solve it, but obviously we can’t spend public dollars here other than the fact we’re assisting our residents to apply for the grant dollars,” Carcella said.
The supervisors also approved an ordinance in the works for several months granting the township’s volunteer fire departments the ability to assess fees to insurance companies for services provided during emergency and non-emergency calls.
The ordinance gives the fire departments leeway to set a fee schedule for the emergency services. Ligonier Borough passed a similar ordinance in May without a set fee schedule.
The supervisors also approved an extension to Coal Loaders Inc. for its coal reclamation work along Myers School Road, although the extension doesn’t change the total amount of time the company is permitted to have the road closed to traffic.
Initially, the supervisors approved two six-month closures of Myers School Road. The company requested an extension allowing a single 12-month closure instead.
The supervisors approved the change contingent upon Coal Loaders placing signs on three existing posts marking road detours to indicate that the detour was for Myers School Road. The company was instructed to work with township engineer Dorothy Boring of Markosky Engineering Group Inc. to determine where the three signs should be added.
In other business, the supervisors approved:
- Carcella’s request to attend the Pennsylvania Municipal Conference on Oct. 4 in Gettysburg;
- Listing the township’s 1987 Rex 10-ton roller for sale on the online auction site MuniciBid. Carcella said the machine isn’t operational;
- A resolution certifying confidentiality compliance with Act 32 and Berkheimer Collections Service, the township’s tax collection firm, as required under Act 32;
- Sending letters to Ligonier and Laurel Mountain boroughs, Cook Township and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) in hopes of collaborating on a study into contributors to and potential remedies for stormwater and flash flooding issues affecting the region.
The supervisors also:
- Learned from zoning and code enforcement officer James Nieusma that the township received 18 submissions for its contest to design a new township logo. The supervisors directed Nieusma to print the submissions that don’t include depictions of the bandstand at the center of Ligonier Borough’s Diamond Park for review by the supervisors, who will then pick their finalists;
- Heard from public works director Russ Morgan that contractor Russell Standard is behind on road resurfacing work because of inclement weather and may not complete its contracted work on township roads on time. If the company can’t finish the work by Sept. 15, barring the township being granted an extension for use of its Liquid Fuels funds in 2019, the project would likely be put off until the spring. In that case, township crews would seal cracks and make temporary fixes to the roads and the township could seek reimbursement for that work from Russell Standard under the terms of the contract.