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Murrysville

Resident refusal to fill out surveys jeopardizes grant funding for Export

Patrick Varine
| Wednesday, June 6, 2018, 10:12 a.m.
Above, a large pothole at the bottom of Calisti Drive in Export Borough on Wednesday, June 6, 2018.
Patrick Varine | Tribune-Review
Above, a large pothole at the bottom of Calisti Drive in Export Borough on Wednesday, June 6, 2018.
Above, a pothole on Hamilton Avenue in Export Borough on Wednesday, June 6, 2018.
Patrick Varine | Tribune-Review
Above, a pothole on Hamilton Avenue in Export Borough on Wednesday, June 6, 2018.
Above, a series of potholes running for about 15 feet from the top of Pal Street in Export Borough on Wednesday, June 6, 2018.
Patrick Varine | Tribune-Review
Above, a series of potholes running for about 15 feet from the top of Pal Street in Export Borough on Wednesday, June 6, 2018.

Shocks and struts be damned.

Privacy concerns apparently stand in the way of Export officials from getting federal money needed to fix a mess of cracks, potholes and uneven pavement on four borough roads.

Instead, Calisti Drive will be the sole roadway carried over to next year's federal Community Development Block Grant program.

Too few residents on Penn Street, Hamilton Avenue, Puckety Drive and Pal Street returned income surveys required as part of the grant application process.

Borough officials needed surveys from 80 percent of residents in the areas where projects are proposed. Federal officials track those figures to determine the number of projects serving low- to moderate-income residents.

"The only one where we got (sufficient) compliance was Calisti," borough council President Barry Delissio said.

Several residents in March declined to fill out the surveys based on privacy concerns. They were given the option to mail the surveys to the Westmoreland County Community Development Division, councilwoman Melanie Litz said.

Most recently, volunteers went door to door and presented residents with a self-addressed stamped envelopes in order to mail their responses directly to the county.

No one has, Delissio said.

"We did the best we could," he said. "I don't know what else we can do."

Lorraine Miller, a borough resident for 45 years, lives on Hamilton. She filled out her survey, and said she doesn't understand why other residents have not done so.

"If you live in Export, we know what your income is — not a lot," she said. "So do you want good roads or not?"

Thelma Taylor has lived on Pal Street since 1970. She said she also filled out her survey.

"You can see (the road) needs paved," she said, gesturing to a series of potholes running about 15 feet from the top of Pal Street. "I scold my sons if I see them driving Pal or Puckety. I go around."

Residents who refused to fill out the surveys are preventing their federal money from being invested in their community, councilman John Nagoda said.

"We can't get our own tax dollars back because people won't get off their behinds and fill out a form," Nagoda said.

Calisti Drive will be rolled up into the next round of CDBG-eligible projects, which will be submitted in September, Delissio said.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2862, pvarine@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.

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