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Antrim Township, municipal authority to split the cost of generators

October 29, 2008|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - While Antrim Township continues to move closer to a tax-free 2009, the Board of Supervisors dipped into the coffers on Tuesday when it agreed to split the $158,000 bill to purchase and install a handful of generators at its sewer lift stations with the Antrim Township Municipal Authority.

"This has to be done," Rick Baer, supervisor and interim utilities director, said of the replacement.

In August, the board claimed it "just" learned that eight of its generators needed to be replaced.

Board Chairman Curtis Myers said that before the sudden reorganization of the township on Aug. 21, which resulted in the elimination of six upper-level township staff positions, the board was told everything was fine when it came to pumping sludge.

With those employees gone, Myers said he was hearing a new tune from operators at the lift station.

"We were blind-sided, as were you," he said to members of the ATMA at the joint meeting Tuesday. "I think there was flagrant neglect here on the part of plenty of people."

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Last week, the board sent the ATMA a letter requesting the authority pay the entire bill out of its improvement and repair fund.

Township Solicitor John Lisko said purchasing new generators was a capital improvement and could be paid with ATMA funds, since after 26 years, the old generators were near the end of their life.

ATMA Solicitor Shawn Meyers argued that what led to the decline of the eight generators was a matter of debate and that some of the responsibility belonged with the township as operator of the stations.

Lisko said he could see where the township shoulders some of the responsibility for allowing eight generators to fall into disrepair, but not total responsibility.

"I think we can justify that these were not maintained properly and that part of that is our responsibility," he said. "I could see splitting the bill 60-40, the township paying 40 percent."

After more than 30 minutes of debating who was more responsible for the state of the generators, Curtis Myers moved to split the bill down the middle.

"I am going to go out on a limb here," he said. "There are plenty of people to blame so in the future I would like to see an authority member, a supervisor and the engineer hold hands, take a walk down there and look around to make sure everything is working properly."

Authority Chairman Elwood Myers agreed and said if the boards work together he anticipates the new generators to work for between 30 and 40 years.

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