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New Connellsville Township solicitor faces pile of issues

| Friday, Oct. 15, 2010

Changes and improvements are coming to Connellsville Township.

At their regular meeting Thursday, supervisors approved several personnel matters and announced progress on a building project and a grant facilitated by state Rep. Tim Mahoney.

Supervisors voted 3-0 to hire Ben Goodwin as the new solicitor after Richard Bower resigned.

He has not been able to attend several meetings this year. Supervisors yesterday thanked Bower for his work.

Goodwin will be paid an annual retainer of $1,875, as well as an hourly wage for services.

One of Goodwin's first responsibilities will be sorting out the situation with a grader signed over by prior supervisors without a vote at a public meeting.

Although supervisors did not name the municipality or the two supervisors who authorized the transfer during the meeting, they said afterward that former Supervisors Donald Hann and Sally Stoots signed a letter to turn the inoperative grader to Bullskin Township. Bullskin has had the equipment repaired.

"The other municipality has a letter signed by a prior supervisor turning it over. They put a ton of money in this. They did it in good faith. They thought it happened at an open meeting. They thought they were given an inoperable piece of equipment," Supervisor Chairman Rick Adobato said at the meeting.

"Neither municipality can use it full time," said Superintendent Robert Carson, the roadmaster.

He confirmed that another copy of the letter with Stoots' signature exists.

Both Stoots and Hann resigned. Adobato and Thomas Cesario replaced them.

In other action yesterday, supervisors:

• Hired Joseph M. Ambrose Jr. as a supplemental code-enforcement officer. He will be used as needed and paid $10 per hour.

• Reported progress on the new municipal building. Work began in September. Footers, block work, perimeter drain and a perimeter foundation have been laid. Plumbers are installing the sewer line, and electricians are getting ready to work.

K2 Engineering of Uniontown approved a bill of $14,863 from Fleeher Construction in Cecil for general construction. The building should be completed before the end of the year.

• Announced that state lawmaker Mahoney called, saying that money is available. The start representative facilitated a $5,000 grant, which supervisors will use to replace two overhead garage doors at the maintenance building. Two of the three doors are broken.

"We want to publicly thank him," Adobato said.

• Noted that a daytime fireworks show will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 23 for Geibel Football Senior Day.

• Reminded that leaf pick-up begins Tuesday. Bagged leaves will be collected Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The following week, loose leaves raked to curbside will be collected on the same days. The collection classifications will be alternated weekly through Dec. 2.

Carson cautioned residents to keep limbs and flower pots out of leaf piles. If such materials clog the hose, workers must clean out the hose at the residence and leave the debris.

• Announced that recycling bins are available. Recyclable materials are collected the first and third Friday of each month.

• Set trick-or-treat for 4 to 6 p.m. Oct. 31 — the same time and date as Connellsville City and South Connellsville.

• Advised anyone on oxygen or who will need emergency power during outages should call the township at 724-628-6882.

• Reminded residents to use care whenever burning to prevent brush fires.

• Explained that residents can help the township clear snow-covered streets by parking on the odd-numbered sides on odd-numbered days; and parking on the even-numbered sides on even-numbered days. Carson said the plows can push snow onto sidewalks; residents must push the snow into their yards, not back onto the streets.

• Announced that 700 tons of ash will be purchased from Belmont Aggregates of Belmont, Ohio, for $17 per ton delivered. The firm was the lowest bid.

• Said that a 1990 Peterbilt oil-distributor truck for $5,000 from AC Moyer & Co. The truck will allow workers to tar and chip roads faster so that more road repairs can be completed.

• Agreed to allow Connellsville Township VFD to fuel its trucks at the township pumps. The township doesn't contribute to the fire department. The department used 875 to 900 gallons of fuel a year from 2006 to the (estimated) end of 2010.

Supervisors will turn over $13,736 in foreign-fire payments to the VFD. The state requires a payment of 2 percent of premiums for policies written outside Pennsylvania be turned over to fire departments. This was state money, not township money.

• Addressed two concerns raised by resident Ron Gallo. Supervisors will survey alleys near the Poplar Grove Playground that are not aligned and explore the possibility of volunteers continuing to mow grass at the playground. Gallo said he and his neighbors have mowed the grass for more than 30 years, but the township took it over last summer. Liability and union issues must be resolved.

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