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St. Clair residents voice concerns

| Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

St. Clair Township residents are hoping their township supervisors can facilitate the cleaning up of a blighted property along state Route 56.

Resident Dennis Rudnik said the property — an abandoned cement factory that has been dormant for more than a decade — is an eyesore and a safety hazard.

Construction on the Route 56 bridge, just outside of Seward in St. Clair Township, includes the construction of a new road to access the state highway. When that road is built, Rudnik said he and many others will be forced to drive by the blighted property each day.

“There has to be something the township can do to clean that place up before they place that new big, beautiful road right by there,” Rudnik said.

Supervisor Richard Hill Sr. said the township has a nuisance ordinance, but because the property is part of a trust, it could be tough getting a response from the property owners.

The supervisors voted to give solicitor Judith Ciszek the go-ahead to research the property.

“In this type of situation in general, the township could go in and spend taxpayer money to clean up the property and then figure out who to go after to get reimbursed,” Ciszek said. “But if the entity is judgement-proof — meaning they have no assets — that money will end up coming out of the general fund.”

In addition, resident Tom Custer continued his plight to encourage the supervisors to consider a new health insurance provider. Custer claims a different provider could save the township more than $10,000 and continue to provide the same quality of health insurance to the township's two employees.

Supervisor Jim Caldwell said he plans to look into the plan suggested by Custer, but he remains skeptical.

“Every kind of insurance I've dealt with here — car insurance, everything — looks really good in the beginning and then six months down the road they raise rates. They find some way to cut it out of you,” Caldwell said. “Our hospitalization is too high, but it's a matter of finding the right new plan.”

In other news, the township accepted the resignation of auditor Paula Edwards. They will be appointing a resident to take Edwards' place at the Feb. 13 meeting.

Jewels Phraner is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-1218 or jphraner@tribweb.com.

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