Washington Twp. budget hit hard by bad weather
By Rick Bruni Jr.
Published: Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
Washington Township has been pounded by the winter weather and currently stands approximately $15,000 over its snow removal budget, according to supervisor and road master Chuck Yusko.
Yusko told residents Wednesday at the board of supervisors meeting that the township has already used 803 tons of salt in the past six weeks at a cost of $46,246.
“That's not counting the 100 tons we had left over from last year,” Yusko said. “We pay $57.57 per ton right now. After our supply is gone, they want $140 per ton. We were out completely, we just got more in.”
Yusko added the township has used 148.47 tons of anti-skid material at a cost of $2,227. The township will likely have to dip into its liquid fuels account as a result, he said. The township maintains approximately 50 miles of roadways.
“Last year, we spent about $30,000 for salt,” he said after the meeting. “We put in our order for 600 ton last year and we used about 400, plus what was left over from last year.”
The township is currently down to a little more than 100 ton in stock, he said.
“Our main goal is do the hills with salt until it lasts and then put cinders down,” he said. “Don't forget, we have to pay overtime and everything else for the guys too.”
Yusko said next year, the township plans on ordering 800 tons of salt. In the meantime, Yusko said he'll play it by ear.
“Whether we're going to order more – if we can get it – we don't know,” Yusko said. “What are you going to do if you can't get it? Once you run out, you're up the creek.”
The board of supervisors voted to send the Federal Emergency Management Agency a letter requesting the agency conduct a survey to consider removing properties along Gillespie Hollow Road from its flood plain map.
The decision came after a lengthy diatribe from resident Chuck Yetsconish, who said one property owner on the road saw his insurance increase $2,500 per month. Yetsconish owns an adjacent property.
Yetsconish took offense when township solicitor Shane Gannon said some residents requested that the township pay for the survey to determine whether or not their properties were in a flood plain and that the township should stay away.
“Based upon the law, there is no obligation for the township to bear that financial (burden),” Gannon said. “It is my advice we don't get involved in that matter between FEMA's program and the mortgage company.”
“Do you people feel it's in a flood plain?” Yetsconish asked the supervisors. “What's the township's position?”
“Well, my position is the house isn't in the flood plain because it's so high, but FEMA determines that,” Yusko said. “I'm speaking for me. … We have to go by the solicitor's advice and go from there.”
“Your solicitor, whoever primed him for the night, they did him wrong because he's going into a hornets nest here and he doesn't know what he's getting into,” Yetsconish yelled. “I want you do take a position and tell (FEMA) it's not a flood plain. You need to take a position but you guys don't want to do it!”
Resident Dom Amoroso quizzed the supervisors about contracts drawn up by former solicitor Don McCue and passed by the board in September for the township's four full-time police officers. The police department is currently trying to join Teamsters Local 205.
Dan Moody in January took over Miller's seat as supervisor while the board appointed Gannon to replace McCue.
“It cost … probably about $10,000 or whatever, and now, who is pushing for a union and why?” Amoroso asked. “If they've got a good contract on their own, why do they need a union and who's pushing for it?”
“We can just say right now it's a pending issue,” Gannon said. “We did have a hearing before the Labor Relations Board Jan. 15 regarding who will be in the bargaining unit and we're still awaiting the results of that. As far as who pushed it or why it was pushed, that's not something we know the answer to.”
Amoroso then questioned Gannon about the status of former township supervisor Jamie Miller's appointment as a paid member of the township municipal authority in November. Miller and supervisor Arnie Dull voted to appoint her to the authority while Yusko abstained.
By the same vote, the board rescinded that appointment in December and re-appointed Miller to a non-paid seat on the authority.
“What's the status on the illegal appointment to the water authority board of Jamie Miller?” Amoroso asked.
“Due to the fact she (was) a public official being on the board, that's something the supervisors can't handle,” Gannon responded. “That's a matter that has to go before the courts. So anything on that issue will go before the court.”
Gannon added after the meeting that someone would have to file a complaint with both the Fayette County District Attorney and the state regarding the matter. Gannon said he could not comment when asked if such an action has been undertaken.
In other action, the board:
• Entered an agreement with Weeds, Inc., to treat weeds around township ball fields for $746.
• Approved a subdivision of the Koslasky Plan on Paradise Avenue.
• Removed Miller from the township's PNC bank accounts for the general fund and social hall and added Moody's name so he can now sign checks.
Rick Bruni Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-684-2635.
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