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Officials OK $1 lease at Penn Township building for senior support group

| Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

One year after expanding into the Penn-Trafford region, Forbes Trail Faith in Action is opening a new office in the Penn Township municipal building.

Faith in Action, a senior-services organization affiliated with the United Way of Westmoreland County, has a one-year lease with the township for an office formerly used by Larry Wojcik, the township's treasurer and tax collector.

Township commissioners voted unanimously on Monday to approve the lease, which starts April 1 and will be reviewed next year for possible renewal. The cost is $1 a year.

The local Faith in Action chapter, which is one of five in the county, provides free transportation, small household repairs, home-safety checks and caregiver relief and other services to those age 60 and older.

“I think it will be a great addition to the township in the services it provides,” Commissioner Larry Harrison said.

The chapter started five years ago with a focus in Murrysville, Export and Delmont but intends to grow in the Penn-Trafford area and push into Jeannette, too, said program director Phyllis Morgan.

There are 31 volunteers and 49 care recipients in Penn Township alone, she said.

“I would like to see those numbers double within a year, and I think we can do it,” Morgan said.

Several of the group's volunteers spoke Monday night about the importance of its work in the community to help seniors get to the grocery store or a doctor's appointment.

Bonnie Galdo, who volunteers in the group's office through the Lifelong Learning Center, said some people need assistance because they don't have many family members in the area and they feel isolated from the community.

“From my desk at Faith in Action, I realize they're not ‘golden years' for everyone,” she said.

New paver

The township is buying a new paver so the public-works department can resume doing the annual road-paving project in-house.

Commissioners agreed to buy a 2010 model from Cleveland Brothers Equipment for $187,500 instead of purchasing a dump truck that had been budgeted.

Because the paver was unused but a few years old, the commissioners said they will inquire whether Cleveland would be willing to offer an extended warranty beyond the scheduled expiration in summer 2014.

Last year was the first year since 2006 that commissioners had to solicit bids from contractors for the road program because a 24-year-old paver no longer worked. The township's road crew has done at least some of the summer paving since 2002.

Engineer Don Black said he is working on a list of roads that the township might work on.

New fire truck

The Level Green Volunteer Fire Department is using a loan from S&T Bank to finance a new pumper truck.

Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the department's borrowing of $386,264 to pay for the truck.

Though the commissioners reviewed the borrowing at a public hearing, the township is not obligated to cover any debt if the department defaults on the loan.

Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8671, or cforeman@tribweb.com.

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