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Ford City to move forward on plant

| Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013, 12:21 a.m.

FORD CITY — Construction of a long-discussed water plant facility may begin in the spring provided the borough council gets all of its ducks in a row.

Borough engineer James Garvin told council during Monday's meeting that one of the crucial initial steps is the submission of a water allocation permit to the Department of Environmental Protection.

“There never was one done here in the borough,” Garvin said.

He said the permit is required so that the state can track how much water is taken from rivers and aquifers across the commonwealth in order to prevent the depletion of water basins.

Garvin said work could commence in March but that council needed to first vote on a consent order and agreement with DEP.

Borough Solicitor Frank Wolfe noted that in the past, the borough had discharged industrial waste into the Allegheny River. But as part of the consent order and agreement, the DEP would not levy any fines against the borough.

“Part of that has to do with the good work of Mr. Garvin,” Wolfe said, adding that “there are no time limits within the proposal that (Garvin) can't meet.”

Council voted 5-0 to enter into a consent agreement with DEP. Councilman Rob Mohney was absent.

Garvin moved on to discuss the “unsafe and deplorable condition” of the borough's garage roof. He said he was concerned that this winter could cause severe leaking and a partial roof collapse and urged council to authorize emergency roof repair.

According to borough superintendent Larry Coffey, the roof was deemed in need of repair two years ago. At that time, he said, the borough had received an insurance check of about $32,800 to make the repairs.

Council President Lou Vergari said that money had carried over to this year's budget and could be used for the emergency repairs.

In other business:

• Councilman Jerry Miklos raised a concern about an increase in transient-related crime within the borough. He said borough police had brought the matter to his attention.

Councilman Eugene Banks suggested the borough resurrect the Crime Watch Committee.

Miklos said he wanted council to approve the creation of a citizens task force to address issues including transient-related crime and problems resulting from unscrupulous absentee landlords.

Council voted 5-0 to approve the creation of the force.

• Borough resident Hank Commodore said he thought it was a good idea to have citizens involved in issues.

“I'm a landlord myself,” he said.

He said his purpose in attending Monday's meeting was to object to a recent borough action that shut off water service to his rental property without any prior notice. He claimed that when a former tenant moved out, someone else moved in illegally without his permission.

He said he went through the proper channels to get the new illegal tenants evicted. In the meantime, he said, he did not receive any notice that the water would be turned off at the rental property. He said he was concerned for the welfare of the children living there and about an inflated water bill, which he was now expected to pay.

“The water's in my name,” he said. “I'm told I have to pay the bill.”

Assistant borough secretary Patty Hornyak told Commodore that the borough was authorized to take such an action (of stopping water service) and that his outstanding bill had been paid by an outside agency.

• Council announced that Trick or Treat will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 30, from 6 to 8 p.m.

• The town's Halloween parade will take place on Thursday, Oct. 31, and participants will line up at the Borough Building at 7 p.m.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or bbeatty@tribweb.com.

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