Northampton Press

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Lehigh supervisors discuss maintenance building plans

Wednesday, April 11, 2018 by Elsa Kerschner ekerschner@tnonline.com in Local News

During the March 3 meeting of the Lehigh Township Board of Supervisors, Chip Hazard, building committee chair, discussed the township maintenance building with Watkins Architects, and a preliminary contract was written for the new building.

Solicitor David Backenstoe found some wording that had to be corrected.

Hazard and others will meet with the architect and get an estimate for the building the township wants. Watkins will give ideas, and the township will give input on what is needed.

“Do we really know what we want?” Supervisor Cindy Miller asked. “When I see it, we may have to make changes. For a $3.5 million building, where will we get the funding?”

Supervisor Darryl Snover said it comes under the prevailing wage.

Hazard has been working with township Manager Alice Rehrig, and they have considered installing solar panels to cut the anticipated $1,700 a month in electricity costs. An 80- to 90-kilowatt system will be enough, with an excess to go to the power company. It would cost a total of $270,000, but if that is split over 12 years, it would cost $22,500 annually. Snover said that is not a quick-enough payback, but they should get more information. The state may provide grants and low-interest loans.

Backenstoe said the MS4 plan to reduce pollution in streams has been in place, and it is required to be renewed. Hanover Engineering has been working on a plan to control silt and sedimentation from going into the Lehigh River.

Street sweeping, infiltration and stream restoration are some ways that can be improved. The road crews can do a lot of the work. The numbers being thrown around for the MS4 plan are $500,000 over five years. After five years, if goals are not met, there will be a fine of $27,500 per day.

There was a question regarding how the township will get the necessary funding. There are two methods of paying, with the easiest being to increase millage. The second would be to set fees dependent on the amount of impervious coverage. Impervious cover roads have to be taken care of by the townships. The plan will be advertised, and comments will be accepted for 30 days.

There are to be no exceptions except for the state exempting itself. Snover said he would like to sue the state for exempting itself, which pushed its share of the cost down to the township.

Miller said they should file a right-to-know petition to find out how the numbers were decided. Superintendent Keith Hantz said they should ask neighboring townships to join.

An ordinance for adoption of a warehouse criteria was accepted.

When Hanover Township tested roads for weight restrictions, it decided it would be better to mark specific roads as “no trucks.” Scott Fogel, police chief, said he preferred the weight restrictions. There is a lot of commerce on Cherryville Road. Fogel said the shoulders on Cherryville Road are collapsing because of the heavy trucks.

Miller said the township would have to pay double because Hanover Township was told to study for weight restrictions and will have to change its engineering to match the weight reductions.

Blue Mountain Quarter Midget Association was allowed to increase the size of its structure from 10-by-12 feet to 24-by-30 feet. It is used for equipment storage.

Lehigh was named first in the Lehigh Valley and 54 of 100 in the state as a “safest city.”

Blaine Holden resigned from the vacancy board. The opening will be advertised.

Fogel said Tim Minnich was an incredible help in keeping things organized during the bad storm.