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Export to raise, cap sewer lines running to abandoned properties

Patrick Varine
| Wednesday, March 7, 2018, 10:00 p.m.
The Export Borough building on Washington Avenue.
Patrick Varine | Tribune-Review
The Export Borough building on Washington Avenue.

Export officials are tired of paying monthly sewage fees on properties that have been abandoned.

“What ends up happening is those homes get sold, and we're not able to recoup the fees we're paying to (Franklin Township Municipal Sanitary Authority),” Export Borough council President Barry Delissio said after a recent council meeting.

Council voted unanimously to raise sewer lines running to nine borough properties that are abandoned, and cap the lines. Delissio said the work has been estimated to cost about $450 per property. That money will be paid from the borough's sewer fund, and passed on to future homeowners in the form of a lien on the property.

Delissio said FTMSA officials have agreed to the work, and borough officials will notify the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County.

A notice will be posted on the properties prior to work being scheduled.

The borough is also making headway in collecting delinquent sewage revenue.

“It's amazing how people are able to come up with money once you tell them their service is going to be shut off,” borough secretary Tonia Writt said.

Income surveys needed

Delissio said the borough is also hoping a group of about 13 residents will fill out and mail an income survey that is required in order to secure Community Development Block Grant funding, federal dollars that are directed toward community improvement projects.

The money in this case would go toward paving work on Hamilton Avenue, Penn Street, Pal Street, Puckety Drive and Zecker Street.

Delissio said several residents have refused to fill out the surveys.

“People are citing a privacy issue,” he said.

Rather than filling them out and turning them in to the borough, Delissio said residents can seal them in an envelope and mail them to the county's community development office. c/o Jennifer Woodling, Fifth Floor, Ste. 520, 40 North Pennsylvania Ave., Greensburg, PA, 15601.

“We can't pass that up. That's free money,” Councilman John Nagoda said. “And those roads need paved. People need to understand that if we don't get the CDBG funding, that money is going to have to come from a tax hike or somewhere.”

Grant funds from timbering

Council will also look into a timber management plan for 74 acres of borough-owned property along Borland Farm Road.

Mayor Joe Zaccagnini suggested it as a way to find some additional funding for the borough's matching grant fund, which is being built up to help pay for the future J.M. Hall Jr. Park.

“I'd like to get that park going,” Zaccagnini said. “(Councilwoman Melanie Litz) has put too much work into it to not get it started as soon as possible.”

Nagoda said he would contact the Westmoreland Conservation District about the property.

“You can timber about every seven years once you get it right,” he said. “We should have a forester come in and tell us how we can manage that parcel.”

Concepts for the 15-acre J.M. Hall Jr. Park were unveiled in late 2017. It will be designed to showcase the area's mining history, and will include features designed to replicate certain elements of the borough's coal-mining past.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-850-2862, or via Twitter @MurrysvilleStar.

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