Bald Eagle Twp goes for water line grant
MILL HALL — The Bald Eagle Township supervisors are lining up projects and taking steps to get them done.
They voted Monday to apply for a $252,000 grant to extend a water line from the township building to Thompson Lane. This proposed line would supply 15 houses and would include fire hydrants, according to Supervisor Chair Gerard L. Banfill.
The grant would require the township to put up 15 percent of the money, which is about $38,000, the supervisors heard at their meeting Monday evening.
If the line goes through, the township would own it and would be able to assess a tap-on fee to the property owners along it, to cover the 15 percent, Banfill said.
The goal is to get good water to more township residents, he said.
The township could turn the line over to Suburban Water Authority after, perhaps, 10 years of operation, he suggested.
The Bald Eagle Township Sewer Authority also has applied for a grant, for $38,000, to replace grinders and other parts of the system, Banfill reported.
The supervisors heard that sewage is getting into Plunkets Run somewhere, and agreed to have sewage enforcement officer Jeff Kreger investigate the houses along the run, from Turkey Lane down.
The township has more households on septic systems than on sewer lines.
The supervisors agreed to put two road projects out for bid: Plunkets Run Road and First Street, off Pennsylvania Avenue.
Other roadways that have been discussed include Bald Eagle Mountain Road, Munro Road, and the alley between Second and Third streets. And, if the Clinton Country Club goes ahead with its proposed development, Country Club Lane would eventually need to be widened, the supervisors said.
The township has yet to receive an official letter from the country club’s owner, Williamsport Hospitality, LP, requesting rezoning. The company would like to see 50.2 acres of its land be rezoned so houses can be built on its ridge.
Funding has been awarded for projects on Selfe Road — more than $16,000 — and Shade Hollow Road — about $18,000 — through the Pennsylvania Dirt, Gravel and Low Volume Road Grant Program. These projects are expected to be done this year.
Banfill said the grant dollars are the result of sending township secretary Marissa Morgan to a training session on how to apply through this program. The supervisors voted Monday to again send someone, to a session this coming October. (The township representative who will attend will be determined later.)
Bald Eagle Township has agreed to help Allison Township apply for grants as well. Allison will pay for Bald Eagle’s costs for the assistance.
“We are using our resources to help them get grants to keep their township up to standard,” Morgan said.
Allison Township is looking at Sullivan Run as a potential project, and it is possible that the Bald Eagle Township crew will end up doing the work and getting paid for it. Helping this neighboring township, then, could help lighten the local payroll burden, Banfill said.
Campbell Road still has not been turned over to David Campbell, but the supervisors are willing to make that happen. A survey is needed and Mr. Campbell would have to pay for it, the supervisors said.
The 900 feet of amiesite roadway functions as a private road, but it is listed on the township’s books. The township has tried to plow it for snow, but there is no good place for the plow to turn around, according to the supervisors.
While waiting for the survey, the township has incurred more than $1,000 in legal fees for sending correspondence on the matter to Campbell’s lawyer, who has yet to reply.
Campbell has a gate running across the road, even though it is still a public byway, according to the supervisors, and a large pile of wood chips was seen sitting on the paved roadway. Supervisor Kenneth E. McGhee Jr. said the gate could be a traffic hazard and it must not be shut while the road is still public.
Campbell has been invited to the supervisors work session today for further discussion.
As the township approaches road work season, it will have a new backhoe, at a cost of around $85,000.
The old backhoe sold through the “Municibid” website for $28,400, and the supervisors accepted the bid Monday. Its trade-in value was quoted as only $22,000.
As the old backhoe goes out of the township garage, the new one will be delivered, Banfill said.
The township office and meeting room, which are attached to the garage, reportedly need extensive work. The roof leaks, the addition has sewer issues, it may have radon and methane gas issues, the secretary’s office has mold in one corner that is black in color, the furnace has seen better days, and there is no shower for the sewer crew to use.
Employees have reported not feeling well at the end of the day.
Steps taken so far include installing a new exhaust through the roof, which the secretary said seems to have helped. An air filtration system and an exhaust system for the office are also planned, she reported, and professional testing for hazardous gases will be done.
The supervisors will meet with representatives from Mill Hall Borough at their work session today to talk about new agreements with Mill Hall Fire Co.
Bald Eagle Township and the fire company have always had a written agreement or contract, Banfill said, and a new one should be drawn up now.
Mill Hall Borough also has an agreement with the fire company.
But this will be the first time the two main municipalities the fire company serves have talked together about what should be in their fire company agreements, from the municipal government point of view.
The township assists the fire company with paying its worker’s compensation insurance, acting as a pass-through entity for firefighters’ relief dollars, and giving a contribution each year.
Last month, representatives from the fire company visited the township meeting, gave a report on calls answered in 2017, and asked for the donation that had been set aside in the 2017 budget. Banfill said the supervisors want to honor that. They would also like a little more detailed information from the fire company before they do so.
The fire company has not done anything wrong, Banfill emphasized.
“We just need to know what’s going on. We are not trying to create any ill will. We want to figure out what they need and how to get them the money they need,” he said.
The firefighters recently lost a $40,000 motor and purchased a new engine to replace it, to keep that particular firefighting vehicle on the road, Banfill noted.
“We can’t lose a resource such as this,” he said of the fire company. “We rely on these volunteers.”
In other business, the supervisors voted to endorse the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors stance that municipalities have the right to control, with their local zoning ordinances, where wireless service towers may be placed.
Bald Eagle Township’s zoning ordinance addresses these towers already, but a bill has been introduced in the state House of Representatives that evidently would take away that authority.
The supervisors held an executive session, closed to the public, on a “legal arbitration contract” and an employee issue. Following the session, Banfill announced a letter would be sent to all staff members reminding them about the chain of command. He also said a breach of that chain would be addressed.
The township is working on a website and currently has a Facebook page. Look for the “Bald Eagle Township” page that has a photo of heavy equipment in front of the township garage.