DEP halts some fines against Ford City
As Ford City Council members prepare for a special meeting on Monday to discuss monthly bills — they can do so knowing that at least one daily fine levied against the borough has ceased.
However, even as one batch of fines related to its aging water plant cease, new penalties accumulate.
The daily $250 penalty levied by the Department of Environmental Protection for failing to make a decision by Feb. 2 about how it would provide water to residents has stopped adding up.
Council voted to build a water plant after a public forum on March 24. An official letter, signed by council President Kathy Bartuccio, was sent to the DEP the following day.
The vote was tied, 2-2, with Mayor Marc Mantini tipping the balance in favor of building the plant. Councilwoman Vickie Schaub and Councilman Gene Banks voted to build. Councilman Josh Abernathy and Bartuccio voted no.
Councilman Jerry Miklos abstained, and Councilman Scott Gaiser was absent.
But, as late as last week, DEP officials could not verify if the fines associated with council's late decision had stopped until they received clarification from borough Solicitor Anthony Vigilante that the mayor's tie-break vote was valid.
Vigilante said on Tuesday that he has spoken with Gail Guenther, assistant counsel of the southwest regional office for the DEP, and referred to the state borough code, which says a mayor can break a tie vote.
“She is satisfied — it's my understanding that the fine is no longer applicable after the March 24 vote,” Vigilante said.
The borough had originally amassed $21,000 in penalties — calculated through March 31, said John Poister, community relations coordinator for the DEP's southeast office.
That amount was reduced when the official notification from Ford City was received by the DEP.
“Those fines stopped, and based on that, the borough owes $19,500,” he said.
But, a $250 daily fine continues to add up against the borough because of a permit application delay.
As of Tuesday, the DEP had not received a permit application regarding the new water plant, and the borough will be responsible for whatever accumulates per day from April 1 through 31. Those fines amount to $5,250 and are due by May 15.
Borough Engineer Jim Garvin confirmed on Tuesday that he had not completed the permit application last week as expected.
“Some unforeseen minor modifications had to be added to it,” Garvin said.
He plans to have it hand-delivered to the DEP by Friday.
Although council members last week said they wanted to meet with DEP officials to negotiate a reduction in fines, no meeting has been scheduled.
“At this point, we're going to let Mr. Vigilante take the lead on it rather than individual members of council,” Miklos said.
Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- ACMH Hospital unveils emergency room renovations
- Primary write-in votes tabulated in Armstrong County
- Ford City told to correct problems with pension plan language
- Labor board files complaint, sets trial date for union charges against ACMH Hospital
- River traffic ‘cause for celebration’ on first weekend of open Armstrong locks
- Boaters expected to represent at Kittanning’s free summer concerts
- Rayburn offering tax breaks to businesses along 2 roads
- Labor board rules in favor of Kittanning union’s complaint against hospital
- Dayton man charged with stabbing friend
- Memorial Day marked with several events in Kittanning
- Belmont Complex work nearly done