Ligonier Township Municipal Authority expansion is a 'dead project'
A plan to expand Ligonier Township Municipal Authority's water system into parts of Ligonier and Fairfield townships is a “dead project,” authority Chairman Glen Kalp said.
Kalp said more details will be discussed at the authority's Feb. 6 meeting, but there simply isn't enough money to complete the project. No formal vote has taken place to discontinue the project.
The plan was intended to expand the system by tapping into the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County's Johnstown-to-Ligonier line to serve about a dozen homes in northern Ligonier Township and southern Fairfield Township. Those homes now rely on wells and springs for water.
Original plans called for the project to be funded with $2.5 million from Penn-VEST, a state program offering low-interest loans. But township supervisors said they would have to charge new customers too much to pay back the loan.
“Unless somebody can come up with some grant money or the Fairfield supervisors want to get in on the (cost), we can't go any further,” Kalp said.
Several residents, along with Fairfield Township supervisors, repeatedly attended Ligonier authority meetings to show support for the plan. Plans seemed to be moving along until two months ago, when the Westmoreland authority announced an across-the-board rate increase, including an increase in bulk water rates.
Kalp said, although the 64 percent rate increase affected the proposed project, it was not the only factor that caused a halt to the plans.
“When it got down to it, it absolutely wasn't a doable project,” Kalp said. “When we looked at the project again, it was way over budget.”
Financial statements show the engineer bills for the planning phase have topped $120,000. Fairfield Township Supervisor Paul Altimus said Fairfield officials have not received official notice from the Ligonier authority that the project will not be completed.
“We've had informal talks with their engineer, Ben Faas, who said he would be putting together a presentation about what happened,” Altimus said.
Altimus said he didn't know who would foot the bill for Faas' presentation, except that it wouldn't be Fairfield Township. A date for that presentation has not been confirmed.
Authority board members John McInchok and John Beaufort, manager Paul Knupp and Faas did not return telephone calls seeking comment.
Jewels Phraner is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-1218 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.