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Dawson to seek amendment to clean water grant

| Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, 7:30 a.m.

Dawson council directed Solicitor Richard Husband on Monday night to contact the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to make changes to a $20,000 clean water grant that was recently awarded to the borough.

Although the grant was originally allocated to replace storm sewer inlets along railroad tracks owned by CSX, Husband said the project is not feasible because of requirements and necessary right-of-way agreements mandated by the railroad.

“The borough wants to use the grant to replace other storm sewer inlets in a different location,” Husband said. “But council has to make sure that DEP officials will approve the amendment.”

Husband said some of the grant funding has been spent for engineering costs provided by Widmer Engineering, but the majority of money is still available.

Council members expressed interest in requesting the grant amendment so the borough could move ahead with the project, instead of risking the possibility of returning the unused portion of the grant to DEP.

“We may not have to publicly bid out the project,” Husband said. “The bidding requirements were recently changed. We only have to bid out projects that are more than $18,000.”

In other business, Bill Keffer of Lower Tyrone Township said he has been trying to get some feedback about the Power of 32 meetings that were held recently throughout 32 counties in western Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia. The Power of 32 is a movement calling for counties to unite in an effort to secure additional grant funding for various community projects.

Keffer said he recently contacted Bob Junk of Fayette Forward and Fay-Penn Economic Development Council to check on the status of the Power of 32 movement and assistance that may be available in southwestern Pennsylvania.

“I just want to find out what happened at the meetings and get some feedback out to the communities,” Keffer said. “There could be grant funding available for various projects, including playgrounds.”

Keffer said he recently contacted a grant administrator at the Grable Foundation in Pittsburgh who said various foundations in the Pittsburgh area are looking for rural communities to become involved in seeking grant money.

Secretary/treasurer Eleanor Cochran told council members she did not have a treasurer's report available yet because she was just hired several weeks ago.

“I have a lot of work I need to catch up on before I can complete the treasurer's report,” Cochran said. “I will have the February report available for the March meeting.”

Cindy Ekas is a freelance writer.

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