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Allegheny Township hotline will check on well-being of elderly

| Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2010

C officials believe wishing senior citizens a good morning everyday could prevent them from having a bad, or even deadly, day.

Supervisors on Monday approved a new program called "Good Morning Allegheny Township" upon the suggestion of Emergency Management Coordinator Lee Schumaker.

Schumaker said volunteers will place a quick call to registered elderly residents every morning to check on their health and well-being.

If the seniors don't answer after several attempts, the volunteer will call an emergency contact person.

If the contact person believes the resident should be home, the volunteer caller next will contact Schumaker and the proper emergency services will be dispatched.

The daily calls would minimize the amount of time an elderly person having a medical or other emergency would go without help.

Schumaker said the program also will benefit emergency responders during problems such as utility outages or weather-related incidents because they already will have a list of possibly dependent people to check on.

Schumaker said anyone interested in participating, either as a volunteer caller or a senior citizen who wants to be called, should contact him at the township office, 724-842-4641.

In other business:

• Part of the township's reimbursement for its response to the February blizzard has arrived from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Township Manager Greg Primm said about $42,300 was deposited into the township's account. That amounts to 75 percent of the cost for snow removal during the blizzard.

Primm said the township is expecting some additional money for expenses incurred by the emergency management department, but it is unclear what amount the township will receive.

• Primm said the acquisition of the next portion of the Tredway Trail could be completed by next month.

He said a second appraisal is under way. Once finished, the township can close the sale of the 1.5-mile section of trail in River Forest.

The township received a $155,000 grant through the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to extend the existing Tredway Trail. Primm said the second appraisal is a grant requirement.

The previous property owner, River Forest Partners, had agreed to sell the trail section at half-price. Wailing Holdings LLC, which took over ownership of River Forest in April, upheld the agreement.

• Supervisors touted the amount of money they've knocked off the township's debt in the first half of 2010.

At the beginning of the year, the township owed about $1.85 million on four loans that paid for renovations at the community building, police station and public works building; the reconstruction of the Copeland Road bridge; and public works equipment.

Supervisor Kathy Starr said the debt has been reduced by about $152,000 so far this year. Estimating the township will pay $300,000 per year, she indicated the debt could be almost eliminated within five years.

Supervisors approved a 1.5-mill property tax increase earlier this year in part to reduce debt. Primm also was able to consolidate and refinance two of the loans. The moves reduced the length of time and the amount of interest needed to pay off the loans.

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