Elizabeth Township commissioners, sanitary authority remain at odds
Elizabeth Township commissioners are continuing to deal with legal issues related to their efforts to terminate the township's sanitary authority.
At a regular commission meeting on Monday, a divided board voted 4-3 to take legal action against the Elizabeth Township Sanitary Authority, forcing it to cooperate with the township on its efforts to refinance $30 million in authority bond issues.
Board of commissioners president Gene Francesconi, vice president Larry Vota and commissioners Claire Bryce and Chris Evans supported the measure. Commissioners Joanne Beckowitz, Don Similo and Robert Thomas voted against it.
The township will use Boenning and Scattergood as underwriter for the action and Reed Smith as bond counsel, the same firms that had been used by the authority.
Commissioners in April voted along the same lines to dissolve the authority and hired attorney Jack Cambest to oversee the process, an action the authority has vowed to fight.
Earlier this year, the commission voted to add two members to the authority board by amending the authority's article of incorporation, an action that eventually was overruled by the Pennsylvania Department of State. The department said the action did not conform to state law because the authority did not propose the amendment.
At Monday's meeting, township Solicitor Pat McGrail said the authority is suing the township to recover $6,900 in legal fees it incurred while responding to the issue involving the articles of incorporation.
McGrail said she has informed the authority that once it is dissolved, its debts will become the township's debts.
The board, again by way of the same 4-3 vote margin, authorized Cambest to handle the defense against the authority's action to recover legal fees.
The legal action approved at the meeting involving the bond also requires that the authority stop incurring debt and entering into contracts.
McGrail said the authority's refinanced debts will be paid down with funds from sewage rate payers and not with township taxes.
In a separate motion that received unanimous support from commissioners, the board authorized McGrail to send letters to the state Department of Environmental Protection and the Allegheny County Health Department notifying those agencies of the township's plans to dissolve the authority and to request meetings to discuss a consent order under which the authority has been operating.
In other news, commissioners voted unanimously to hire Richard Janus as township manager for a salary of $67,000.
Janus was West Mifflin's business manager for most 2010.
The township has been without a business manager since February when commissioners fired Aaron Sukenik from the position he had held since July 2012. Prior to his hiring, the township had been without a chief administrator for about six months after former township secretary Malisa Migliori resigned from her job in response to commissioners' changing of the township's administrative structure.
Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
- Grant will benefit Allegheny County Airport in West Mifflin
- McKeesport Area schools to provide outreach activities
- Paving, electronics upgrades evident at Steel Valley
- Mon Valley steelworkers rally for new contract
- County shuts down Clairton demolition work
- West Mifflin Community Day returns to airport grounds
- Renzie Park projects top list of requests for RAD funding
- Homestead violence escalates with second day of shootings
- Mon-Yough water line upgrades will lead to more reliable service
- McKeesport’s Minerva Bakery gets spotlight in WQED special
- New structure going up in Duquesne industrial park