MILL HALL — Bald Eagle supervisors are proceeding with Suburban Water connections for Cottage Lane.
Kari Kepler, the county’s grant administrator, returned to Bald Eagle Township this month to talk about more regarding the Suburban Water connection with residents of Cottage Lane.
Residents and members of the Bald Eagle Cottage Lane Association have been trying to push for Suburban Water to add connections through their residences. A portion of their wells have water that has been considered “undrinkable” and others claim they would not even wash their clothes with it.
Last month Kepler said that she and Katherine de Silva, the county’s planning director, were working together on getting extensions in place along with figuring out the proper funding.
The township would need to adopt an ordinance stating anybody within 150 feet of the new line would be mandated to tap on. She added that it would be a hardship on some people in the township during May’s meeting. The water line connections would include about 37 houses.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) needs the township’s support before moving forward, according to Kepler.
The supervisors chose not to motion to proceed with adopting an ordinance last month until they figured out a plan. Supervisor Stephen Tasseli suggested using a portion of their American Rescue Plan Act funds to put towards it once progress was made.
Kepler said during this month’s meeting that she received all of the possible responses from the residences from Cottage Lane — surveys, emails and more. It was more over-income (residents) than under, which changes the ability for the county to fund.
“Of the funds that the county received, we can do 30% of the money received for over-income type things,” Kepler said.
In order to move forward, the county needs the DEP Capacity Program. None of it can happen, however, unless an ordinance is made and approved by the supervisors.
“At the last meeting, we offered to consider an ordinance. I think in order to do an ordinance and be fair to people that have been able to have water for 20 to 30 years, we ought to make it that the people that already have houses don’t need to do anything. If you were building a new house then you had Suburban Water available, then you would be required to hook onto it,” explained Chairman Tuff Rine. Tasseli was in agreement with him.
Solicitor Frank Miceli will be putting together a draft ordinance to be considered during July’s board meeting.
“There are grants we go after but we need a plan in place for the DEP capacity program. Your ordinance and your letter will help,” Kepler said.
The supervisors had their approval letter with them during the meeting.
Tasseli said he felt they were not going to have near as much money as they will need to complete the project, however. If people are willing to pay to tie-in. He added he talked with people that live along Cottage Lane and those with newer wells which are sunk deeper were fine. The older more shallow wells are the ones with issues, he added.
Currently no one knows how much the project will even cost — not DEP, Suburban Water, the county or the township itself.
Kepler said the engineering they were trying to get would figure out the estimated price.
“Hopefully they will design, plan and find a cost. Then they help find the money to pay for it but that is all through DEP,” she said.
In other business, the supervisors decided to sack the proposition of codifying their ordinances.
The service that secretary Marissa Morgan was looking into for the process, eCode360, had risen in price constantly since the topic was brought up. Originally, when the township looked into the process, it was $9,000 to have it done, now it has gone up considerably to $18,000 with a $1,000 annual upkeep charge.
The codification of ordinances would have made it easier to access them through an online outlet, allowing easy accessibility for the secretary and/or the public. Originally, supervisors said they would put ARPA funds toward it if it was approved.
“I’m still a proponent of doing this codification. Marissa spent a lot of time searching for these ordinances and it would be so easy for anybody that wanted to check an ordinance, to look at it if they were codified,” said Rine.
Due to the rising prices, annual subscription and no agreement among supervisors Tasselli, Kenny McGhee, and Chairman Tuff Rine said to leave it off the agenda and never bring it up again.
The board decided to put the ARPA funds toward other issues like Cottage Lane water lines in the township.