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Ford City water plant plans cause heated discussion

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013, 12:41 a.m.

FORD CITY — Council President Lou Vegari and member Jerry Miklos were at odds on Monday over the projected cost of a planned new borough water plant.

Miklos said he wonders how the original projections for the construction that started at $750,00 eventually grew to the $1.1 million.

He said he had asked Mayor Marc Mantini to set up a meeting with state Department of Environmental Protection officials to discuss the plant project.

Mantini told council he and Miklos went to Pittsburgh on April 23 to meet with DEP and were told that permits should have been signed by Vergari in October.

The report caused Vergari to respond: “Why would you go with a council member without asking the council president?”

Arguments became heated between Vergari and Miklos about delays of at least two years in the project. Vergari said delays were caused by the two previous borough engineers.

“Within a month and a half (current borough engineer Jim Garvin) has turned in all permits,” said Vergari.

Garvin told council that since the permits have not yet been approved, the original plan to break ground in July will likely have to be pushed back to August or September. Garvin, who was hired as engineer in January, said he has been working with DEP to resubmit some information in permit applications and will be doing so as late as this week.

Of the project cost, Garvin said the $750,000 projection might have been too “hopeful.”

In other business:

• Councilman Eugene Banks asked if money could be found in the budget to repair the fence surrounding the statue of John B. Ford in Ford City Park. The railing was damaged by a fallen tree in February.

Vergari asked council to consider selling the borough crane, which he said was obsolete, to do the work. He said the scrap metal might bring in at least $5,000.

In addition to the fence, Vergari noted repairs are needed on the borough garage. The insurance carrier requires that proper wiring be installed and that a leaky roof be fixed, he said.

• Councilmen Miklos, Banks, Vergari, Paul Harmon and Rob Mohney voted 5-0 to appoint Matt Lerner to the planning commission for a five-year term to expire in December 2017. Councilwoman Kim Bish was absent.

• Voted 5-0 to advertise for someone to maintain the Ford City website, either on a voluntary basis or for a nominal fee.

• Voted 5-0 to advertise for interested citizens to serve on each of the following: the municipal sewage authority, the planning commission and the zoning hearing board.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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