The Lemon-Tunkhannock Twp. Joint Municipal Authority met Thursday night to hammer out some details about where it was in order to get an Act 537 Plan for a sewer system around Lake Carey so it could be acceptable to the state Department of Environmental Protection as well as possible loan programs available through PennVest and the USDA Rural Utilities Service.
The short of it was that the body was running out of money and would need upwards of $300,000 for remaining engineering work.
The Authority was mandated by DEP last summer to come up with a workable and affordable plan, and has already received $25,000 from each of the two townships which include Lake Carey.
The authority has jurisdiction to pursue an affordable sewer treatment facility around Lake Carey and although a Rural Utilities Service federal assistance application had been completed back in January, there was still some environmental work needing to be done.
Thursday’s meeting opened with a notation that aerial photography of the areas involved within the scope of the project had been completed.
It was also noted that of the three proposed sites for an actual sewer plant site, a former sand plant site seemed the only viable option at this time.
Discussion ensued about easements, but quickly shifted to environmental work that needed to be done.
The authority’s solicitor Paul Litwin, who also serves as Tunkhannock Township’s solicitor, bluntly stated, “In order to do the engineering work that’s needed, the authority needs money.”
It was pointed out that Tunkhannock Township had some Impact Fee money and maybe the authority could borrow from Tunkhannock Township.
First, Litwin seemed to balk at the idea, suggesting that Lemon Twp. which has to come up with half the needed costs could take out its own loan.
But he pointed out that because the authority was not operating anything yet, lenders might be suspect without some sort of collateral.
The authority is expecting that when its plan is attractive enough to qualify for Rural Utility Service funding, its monies will be reimbursed.
When told the possible amount of money being sought, resident Betsy Green asked about the $25,000 already forwarded by the townships.
Authority member Dave Smith said it would be paid back.
However, Green said she didn’t see it that way and felt both municipalities were being asked to send even more good money after bad.
Lemon Twp. supervisor John Keefe, who also sits on the authority board, asked the body, “So what do we need to do at our next township meeting?”
Tunkhannock Twp. supervisor Veto Barziloski said that both municipalities would have to put in equal amounts.
Barziloski added, “We know that the plan as it is now is set up for failure, if we do nothing” and he pointed out a state DEP mandate in place.
Dave Smith noted a consent order fines the parties $10,000 a day if nothing is done to prepare a plan.
“That’s the way it is,” he said.
Litwin said that the authority needs to develop an agreement with the two municipalities, and there probably needs to be a public meeting to discuss the terms of agreement.
It was decided to hold the meeting on Monday, Apr. 18, at the Tunkhannock Township building at 6 p.m. with the purpose of amending DEP’s Act 537 plan for Lake Carey Area 1 to address portions of a collection and conveyance system.