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Ligonier Twp. puts $50K toward bridge repairs

| Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Ligonier Township supervisors voted to commit $50,000 of the township's Act 13 money to repairing Zion Church Road Bridge.

“It was a bridge project that was put on the books approximately 11 years ago,” Supervisor Tim Komar said. “It was a federal, state and local split of the cost. ... In the last eight years, the bridge has had six PennDOT project managers, and then it fell through the cracks.”

Komar said he has been petitioning PennDOT, as well as state Senator Donald White, R-Indiana; state Rep. Mike Reese, R-Mt. Pleasant Township; and Westmoreland County commissioners to make the bridge a priority.

He said to get the project back in motion, the township has to commit $50,000. According to Act 13 guidelines, the township can allocate some gas well money, Komar said.

Komar reported that an audit of township finances and some of its computers being performed by Wessel and Co. and Deltron Management Consultants is not complete.

In May, Keith Whipkey suddenly resigned from his posts as supervisor and secretary-treasurer. In July, an audit by Deltron determined that Whipkey allegedly had been viewing “Internet sites that were inappropriate on company time.”

It also determined that zoning officer Cynthia Angelo, who had been appointed interim secretary-treasurer, had been operating an “Internet flea market” on her office computer, according to Supervisor Tim Komar. Angelo's employment with the township was terminated on July 25.

During the board's September meeting, Komar announced that Wessel and Co. had been hired to work with Deltron Management Consultants to help complete the audit.

“There are some specifics we have to clarify,” Komar said on Tuesday. “Things are looking good from a fiscal standpoint. I don't believe our budgets were off that much.”

Resident Phil Fleming asked Komar how much the audit has cost so far.

“Through Wessel and Co., it has cost us approximately $14,000,” Komar said. “Through Deltron, I think we're about at a similar amount. I don't have the exact figures, but we anticipate recovering all of our costs through bonds and (an) insurance policy.”

Komar said the board does not believe there are any “great numbers of money missing,” but flaws were found in the bookkeeping.

When asked if any follow-up had been done regarding county detectives' investigation of the township, Komar said yes, adding that the township has been in contact with the State Ethics Commission.

“They are doing an investigation also, and they are not done with their interviews,” he said.

The next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Nov. 12.

Nicole Chynoweth is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2862 ornchynoweth@tribweb.com.

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