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Penn Township officials consider borrowing up to $5M

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By Chris Foreman
Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
 

Penn Township commissioners might borrow as much as $5 million to help repave and improve the worst roads in the township.

Commissioners on Monday authorized finance manager Linda Iams to seek potential financing from banks or state-government programs for road work.

“Go find us some money,” Commissioner Paul Wersing told her after the vote.

Officials have acknowledged for a while that the township has fallen behind on maintenance of roads throughout the municipality. In December 2012, the commissioners' decision to impose a new fire tax was couched as a way to set aside a dedicated funding source for the volunteer fire companies and enable the township to devote additional funding to road projects.

Commissioners are in the early stages of determining which roads will be targeted for work in the 2014 paving program and in the project covered by the loan. The length of the financing term, in part, will be affected by the interest rate.

The township's ability to repay the loan principal and interest with liquid-fuels funding from the state also will be a factor. Commissioner Ed Sullivan said a $5 million loan for 10 years might be too expensive for the township to repay but that a 20-year term could mean the township would be paying off the work longer than it will last.

Still, getting a loan would take “a big bite” out of the township's immediate paving needs, which would enable commissioners to spend less on maintenance of roads in subsequent years, Sullivan said.

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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