In Brady, group still fighting against proposed well|
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
By Josh Woods Staff Writer
LUTHERSBURG - The fight against a proposed disposal injection well in Brady Township continued at last night's board of supervisors meeting.
Resident Marianne Atkinson spoke on behalf of an overflow crowd who is against locating the well in the Highland Street residential area. Atkinson asked the Board of Supervisors to consider adopting a community bill of rights ordinance to protect the health, safety and welfare of township residents.
The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund would write the bill of rights ordinance and could defend it in court at no cost to the township, she said. The only costs the township might incur are mileage and court filing fees, she said.
"I'm not confident we have anything to present to the Environmental Protection Agency that will stop the injection well," said Atkinson. "It seems like a CELDF ordinance is our best and only hope."
Atkinson said she spoke with CELDF's Ben Price. According to Atkinson, Price said a community bill of rights is not subject to the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code and is not directly preempted by Act 13. More information is available at www.celdf.org, Atkinson said.
Chairman Charlie Muth said he's been doing his homework on CELDF and a bill of rights ordinance. Muth said it's his understanding that a judge would decide whether or not CELDF could defend a municipality's community bill of rights. A similar ordinance was adopted by Ferguson Township, he said. Muth asked Atkinson to provide a sample ordinance for the supervisors to review.
A lot of questions need to be raised before the township proceeds with a bill of rights ordinance, Solicitor Blaise Ferraraccio said. CELDF has written ordinances for municipalities across the country, and none of them have been challenged in court, he said. "But with our luck, Brady Township would be the first," he said.
A public hearing on the proposed well will be hosted by the EPA on Monday at 7 p.m. at Brady Township Community Center's building No. 2. The proposed well is a Class 2D disposal injection well that would accept oil and gas waste.
The Board of Supervisors approved a final 2013 budget. The budget retains a the general purpose tax millage of 7 mills for 2013, reenacts the transfer tax, 1 percent earned income tax, $5 local service tax, and 40-cent front footage streetlight tax. The 2013 budget shows total revenues of $848,370 and total expenditures of $589,065. A resolution to accept Act 13 impact fee monies and to put them in the budget was approved. The township would receive $39,139.90, Secretary-Treasurer Sheryl DeBoer said.
Sherm Bloom of Hess & Fisher Engineers said the final step for township's proposed sewer project is getting money for the sewer system. He said the township is pending approval for a Department of Agriculture grant/loan totaling a little under $6 million. The money would probably come in early next year after the federal budget is passed, he said. The township plans to utilize a pressure system, because a gravity system isn't practical for the area, he said.
Supervisor Darryl Beatty made a motion to accept Clearfield County Sewage Enforcement Agency's $700 sewage application fee, effective Jan. 1, and to charge the full amount. All were in favor. Muth said the township and property owner each paid half of the cost when the state Department of Environmental Protection offered to reimburse the township's portion. DEP no longer offers the reimbursement, and the board elected to have the property owner pay the full amount, he said.
Beatty also reported CenTax has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Residents who own a business that is owed a reimbursement from CenTax should contact the township immediately, he said. The township would notify the tax claim bureau to straighten out what reimbursement money those businesses should get, he said.
In other business, Muth said township officials looked at the community center a few weeks ago and noticed bricks were pushing outward a few inches toward the playground.
The cost to repair the issue came in under $18,000, so the township did not need to put the project out to bid, he said.
A crew was hired to grind out the mortar seems, he said, and it's causing a lot of dust inside the building. He said the township might need to hire someone to assist the janitor with cleaning up the dust.
Muth said money is available to convert diesel equipment to natural gas or propane, if the board is interested.
Brady Township will hold its annual reorganization meeting Jan. 7 at 7:30 p.m. at the township building.