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Borough delays sewer decision

June 16, 2004|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, PA.

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

The Chambersburg Borough Council will take another two weeks to decide between a $700,000 sewer project in the borough's south end, or an expanded project that could cost approximately $1.2 million and accommodate more future development.

In December, U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., announced that $530,000 in federal funds were available for the project, which involves a sewer line extension down South Main Street and along Miller Road that would include a pumping station on Mill Road. The project would cost more than $700,000 and put 33 properties on the system that have failing septic systems.

The council was to have considered a proposal for engineering services on the project from Buchart-Horn, a York, Pa., engineering firm, but the proposal was to widen the project to pick up undeveloped properties, particularly south of Mill Road. That would have increased the cost of the project to $1.2 million and moved the pumping station from Mill Road south to a lower elevation that would take in the undeveloped area.

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The borough has pursued additional funding from the state for the project, but has been unsuccessful up to now, Oyer said. Once the engineering begins, additional state grants for a project are usually unavailable, he said.

Oyer estimated that the property owners could be assessed $3,000 or more for the project, but said that number was a "rough guess."

Some council members were concerned that changing the scope of the project could delay the project beyond 2005.

"I thought that was to give the people that live there now some relief," Councilwoman Sharon Bigler said of the federal grant.

Oyer said that if the borough decides to go with the $700,000 expansion, it may one day need to spend more to build another pumping station south of Mill Road.

"We told these people back in December ... it was an early Christmas present," said Councilman Robert Wareham.

"If they need to build a pumping station one year, two years or three years down the road, we can worry about that then," he said.

Ronald Bowman of Chambersburg, who owns properties on Mill Road, said delaying the project will mean further delays in improvements to Mill Road, which cannot be done until the sewer lines are underground.

Oyer said that obtaining rights of way and conducting required environmental and archaeological studies could change any projected construction schedule and costs. He said the borough spent about as much on studies as it did on engineering for one water line extension project.

Water and Sewer Superintendent Carl Rundquist said he could not be sure that leaving the pumping station on Mill Road would move the project along any faster.

Several residents at the meeting want sewer service as soon as possible.

"The grant money was obtained for 33 people on Mill Road, not this undeveloped property," said Mill Road resident John Farrell.

The council decided to delay a decision until its June 28 meeting. In the meantime, the owners of the undeveloped properties will be contacted to see if they have an interest in participating in the project.

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