Springdale Township supervisors agree to delay costly sewage project
After listening to about 30 residents upset about their projected payments for a sewage project, Springdale Township supervisors delayed it.
The supervisors were poised to approve an ordinance that established a sewage district for Sagath Drive, Melzina and Adeline streets.
It would have provided the framework for connecting residents to a sewer line that will replace existing septic systems at 20 homes along those streets.
That included requirements and exemptions for connections, fines of up to $1,000 a day for violating the ordinance, construction costs and residents payments for those costs.
Those payments, for an expected $400,000 loan on a 10-year term, were projected at $220 to $250 per month.
“If this was happening to you, and you have a mortgage, and you have kids in college, how would you feel?” asked Marlene Deily of Melzina Street.
“There are people on the street who are on fixed incomes,” her husband, Gary Deily said.
Supervisors Chairman George Manning said the supervisors are sympathetic to how the residents feel.
“We have tentative numbers,” Manning said. “I think we would like to have the opportunity to lower the payment for you folks.”
No action for 5 years
The Allegheny County Health Department sent the township a letter in 2007 stating that there are septic systems malfunctioning in that neighborhood and must be addressed.
But nothing happened for about five years.
“We weren't really forced into it, I think, until the county revisited us recently over some inflow problems and looked at this again,” Manning said.
He acknowledged that the supervisors rushed the project “a little bit.”
He said he is not sure if the county set a hard deadline for the project's completion. However, this year the county did provide a $200,000 grant for the project, which is expected to cost more than $700,000, and set an October deadline for using the grant.
Delay may only be temporary
The residents asked the supervisors to delay the project to allow more time to search for other funding resources and to answer other questions they had regarding the project.
The supervisors agreed and voted to delay the project, but that delay appears to be temporary.
“What is the bottom line for the project?” asked Denise Korzon, a Malzina Street. “Is it going forward regardless?”“I would have to say yes,” Manning said. “Otherwise, we would be throwing away $200,000 in free money.”
“There's not one person in any of those houses saying, ‘No, we don't want sewage (service),' ” said Pam Rayburg of Malzina Street.
She and Korzon said the residents understand that having sewerage will increase their property values, but they objected to the way the supervisors have handled it.
They said residents were not kept informed and brought into the decision-making process. And the projected costs, they say, are just too high.
That appeared to be remedied Monday night when the residents appointed a committee of Rayburg, Gary Deily and Jack Burns to meet with the supervisors concerning the project.
The supervisors said they plan to meet with all the residents again next week.
Among the questions the supervisors will be trying to find answers to include whether recently signed state legislation changes the need for this project and whether the county will grant an extension on the deadline for using the $200,000 grant.
Manning also said the supervisors will look at other financing methods, including a state PennVEST low-interest loan, which had not been done before because of the small number of people affected by the project.
“We're going to weigh all options,” he said.
Tom Yerace is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4675 or firstname.lastname@example.org.