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Monack honored for dedication, longevity

| Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013, 12:06 a.m.
Jim Ference | The Valley Independent
Ron Monack gets honored at the Fallowfield Township Board of Supervisors monthly meeting for 50 years of service to the community on Wednesday, December 18, 2013. Handing him his plaque was Fallowfield Township Municipal Authority board member Al Cialone.

The list of Fallowfield Township Authority chairmen represents an exclusive club, and Ron Monack knows firsthand.

“Fifty years and eight months,” responds the authority's only chairman when asked how long he has served in the position.

The township recently recognized Monack for his more than half century of dedication to bringing water and sewer service to the community's residents.

Monack became involved in the early 1960s because Fallowfield did not have a water system.

Residents then depended on wells for water, and many of the wells were contaminated because of construction activities.

Monack was among a handful of people who formed the township civic association.

“We got together at Ghennes Restaurant,” Monack recalled. “We sold memberships for $1 a year and pushed the supervisors to form an authority.”

The Fallowfield Township Municipal Authority was formed in 1963.

The authority worked with Chester Engineers to seek grant money for a waterline project. U.S. Rep. Thomas E. “Doc” Morgan helped acquire a $325,000 grant, and the authority floated a $300,000 bond issue.

The tap-in fee in 1964 was just $150, said Monack, noting it was about a 10th of the current residential cost.

Ultimately, the Authority of The Borough of Charleroi took over the water system.

The Fallowfield Township Authority ultimately tackled sewage service for its residents.

Beginning in 1996, the authority began working to demonstrate the need for a sewer project. The township had a lot of bad, malfunctioning septic systems, Monack said.

In 1998, through the assistance of U.S. Rep. Frank Mascara, the authority secured $2.5 million in federal grants for the program. A $6 million PennVEST loan coupled with tap-in fees of $2,500 per residence completed the funding package.

“We went to Harrisburg when they were going to approve our loan,” Monack said. “We were at the governor's mansion when they announced that Fallowfield Township pushed the PennVEST program over the $1 billion mark. Gov. Tom Ridge was there for the announcement.”

The project brought sewerage to about 1,200 township residents at a cost of $236 per person – among the lowest rates in the county, Monack said.

“I had a good board,” Monack said. “We had public meetings even before we built it. We laid out the areas. That eliminated a multitude of confusion and change orders.”

The project, targeted at $11.7 million, was completed about a half million dollars under budget.

Unused PennVEST money was used to pay down the loan, taking a year off its life. The loan will be repaid in eight years, Monack said.

“Ninety percent of township has water, and 80 percent has sewage,” Monack said.

Monack has lived in Fallowfield Township since 1956.

After starting out in the produce business, Monack worked as vice president of operations for Haven Crest Nursing Center and later for Coventry Care Inc. He retired in 1995.

Monack has been involved in economic development for the Valley for many years.

He was treasurer, vice president and, ultimately, president of Greater Charleroi Industrial Development Corp. During his tenure there, the organization merged with the Middle Monongahela Industrial Development Association.

The current MIDA president, Monack has served on the organization's board for seven years.

Monack said he stayed with the Fallowfield Township Authority for so long because there were projects that had to be done.

“You stay with them,” Monack said. “You make up your mind you're going to do this, and you keep plugging away with it.”

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or cbuckley@tribweb.com.

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