Gilpin residents want better road maintenance
By George Guido
Published: Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Some Gilpin residents want improved roads and improved road clearing after snowstorms, even if it means a real estate tax hike.
Township supervisors on Monday heard complaints from a number of residents, particularly in the Godfrey Road area, about the condition of roads after a Dec. 29 snowfall.
Supervisors Chairman Mike Steimer told residents that one public works employee was on vacation and another got his vehicle stuck in a ditch on his way to the township maintenance building, leaving just one worker to plow 30 miles of townships roads.
Supervisor Ryan Sprankle suggested officials “black out” a number of dates in the heart of winter where public works personnel can't take vacation days. Solicitor James Favero said that might need to be negotiated with the Teamsters Union, which represents township workers.
Others wanted roads treated with road salt instead of plowing, but Steimer said road ashes are used because salt tends to damage tar-and-chips roads as well as unpaved roads. Residents have complained when road ashes end up in their yards, Steimer added.
Some were concerned that school buses can't navigate untreated roads during snowy days while others complained of drifting snow at the crest of Godfrey Road.
Residents asked that more roads be paved but the township allots just $90,000 per year — enough to pave one half mile of road. With the current program, it would take 60 years to pave all township roads.
A real estate tax hike of 4.5 mills would bring in $200,000 annually, enough to pave two miles of roads each summer. Favero suggested a revolving fund as a possible ballot initiative.
Supervisors voted 5-0 to have Favero research what is needed to establish a revolving fund designed for permanent street maintenance.
No residents at the meeting voiced opposition to a real estate tax increase.
Supervisors meetings will remain the second Monday of each month this year.
A meeting will be added in late December at a date to be determined.
Steimer was re-elected chairman and Jenine Remaley vice chairman.
Sharon Long was appointed secretary-treasurer and zoning officer at a salary of $4,300 per year.
The remainder of Long's salary will be determined today at a township auditors meeting.
Favero will continue as solicitor at a rate of $65 per hour and Larry Loperfito will be zoning hearing board solicitor at $100 per hour on an as-needed basis.
Doug Smith was reappointed to the water authority and Pete Pinto was reappointed to the Kiski Valley Water Pollution Control Authority.
Dave Pochiba will be emergency management coordinator at a $1,200 annual salary.
Township engineer will be Bill Braun of Senate Engineering Co.
George Guido is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.
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