City of DuBois considers its natural gas options|
Friday, January 11, 2013
By Josh Woods Staff Writer
DUBOIS - The City of DuBois does not have the ability to participate in a program to convert its municipal fleet to compressed natural gas, but purchasing natural gas trucks in the future could be viable.
Redevelopment Authority Director Joe Mitchell at yesterday's city council work session said he reviewed a program to convert the city's municipal fleet to compressed natural gas. However, the program didn't apply to the city's smaller vehicles. It would have required the city's vehicles to be 15,000 gbw or more and most of the city's vehicles are less than that, he said. It also would've required a commitment of nine vehicles.
"We were approached with a grant from a local fueling station that's working at putting in a compressed natural gas facility," said Mitchell. "They hope to have that in the third quarter of this year. It's a viable option for us in the future, if that would go in."
Mitchell said the fueling station provided an estimation of what the city fleet approximately runs on a truck. The payment for ordering a natural gas truck, because it's an additional cost over a diesel one, would be about 4-5 years, he said.
"So, if we keep our fleet for any longer than that (4-5 years) it's beneficial, at the current market rate, to order natural gas trucks," said Mitchell.
Mitchell said the redevelopment authority applied for a Discover and Develop in Pennsylvania grant for start-up businesses and incubators. The authority is seeking approximately $550,000 for the 35 W. Long Ave. property. The authority has committed a match for the grant, but one isn't required, he said.
Code Enforcement Officer Zac Lawhead gave a brief report. A judicial sale is scheduled for later this year and would include approximately 15 DuBois properties, Lawhead said. Lawhead attended a county housing task force meeting where he learned advertising might run by February and the judicial sale by June. However, Lawhead spoke to the Clearfield County tax claim office yesterday who said abstractions have just been completed.
Everything is finished up with the city's building permits for 2012 and the information is ready to be turned over to the courthouse, Lawhead said. Eighty building permits were issued within the city in 2012, totaling $5 million worth of construction in the city.
"There wasn't a whole lot of new construction, but a lot of it was renovations," said Lawhead. "I think $5 million was pretty good. This is the first full year that we've done it in house here, so I don't any real comparison from previous years."
The property at 503 Wood St. has been sold and would be smoke tested next week, Lawhead said. Lawhead hopes the property would be cleaned up shortly.
Lawhead reminded business owners to clear their sidewalks of ice and snow. Residents have been doing a good job of clearing sidewalks, he said, but a few business owners have not.
Councilman Randy Schmidt asked Lawhead to take a look at the sidewalk on DuBois Avenue near Penn State DuBois campus. Schmidt said someone spoke to him and there are tree roots causing the sidewalk to heave upward. Maintaining sidewalks is the responsibility of the property owner, Lawhead said.
Authorization was given to Borough Manager John "Herm" Suplizio to sign an agreement for bridge repairs at the sewer treatment plant. Suplizio is authorized to sign a design contract with Geotech Engineering. The city obtained quotes for the project because the plant's bridge is "on its last leg." Geotech would recommend whether or not to replace the bridge or make certain repairs, he said.
Suplizio asked council to look at the intersection of Scribner Avenue and Rose Alley. The intersection is not a good location for a stop sign, he said, because there are fiber optic cables under the ground. Placing the sign across the road isn't an option either because the city has to follow proper regulations for posting it. Councilman Ed Walsh asked council to inform resident Jack Dugan of the snafu. Dugan had previously requested council take a look at the intersection.
Two phases of the city's state Route 255 water line extension project are one, Suplizio said. The next phase would be up for bid in March, he said, and construction would tentatively begin in May. The final phase would include the portion of SR 255 that runs under both Interstate 80 bridges and interchanges toward Snappy's Convenience Store, he said.
In other business, council appointed Susan Ford to a 5-year term on the DuFAST Transit Board. Ford would replace James Jackson whose term expires Jan. 22.
Council voted to change the city's bank signature cards to reflect deputy treasurer Tom Nowak's signature. Nowak would replace Janet Caruso who plans to retire.
Schmidt thanked Suplizio, Mayor Gary Gilbert and the city's street department for successful handling last week's snowstorm. The storm brought the first significant amount of snowfall in a few years, he said, and the street crew did an excellent job.
Councilman James Aughenbaugh was absent from the meeting.
The next meeting is Monday at 7 p.m. at the city building.