For Mahoning Township, the new year brings a new chairman and a new engineering firm to the township.

The board of supervisors this week voted 4-1 to oust longtime township engineering firm Carbon Engineering, and replace it with CMX Engineering, the engineer the township retained last year to review the Packerton Yards plan submitted by Carbon County. At the time, the county had retained Carbon Engineering, forcing the township to find another firm at the county's expense to work on the project.

"For near the same amount of money we get a bigger bang for our buck," said new Chairman John Wieczorek. "CMX's rates are comparable with Carbon Engineering, if not a few dollars less, and the one thing I found impressive was the scope of the engineering services. CMX covers every engineering discipline related to municipal needs and that expertise is in-house, whether its traffic studies or plan reviews and so on."

Supervisor Travis Steigerwalt added the firm also has a dedicated grant writing department.

"I think they will be able to keep us aware of what is available in grants. If we need help, their services would also be available to us."

Wieczorek said he believed Carbon Engineering was billing at $95 an hour, while CMX Engineering's base hourly rate was $90.

Not all of the supervisors were on board with the idea however. Supervisor George Stawnyczyj declared that he believed the main engineer should be Carbon Engineering.

"Carbon Engineering is much more liberal with their billing and while CMX reviews are good, I looked at the bills we sent to the county and they were very specifically detailed." Stawnyczyj pointed out that CMX's bills appeared to bill for every little aspect of the project.

"I think it's the wrong time to change engineers with the projects currently going on," said Stawnyczyj. "Let CMX show us something first."

Newly elected supervisor Linda Benner disagreed.

"I think now is the perfect time to change engineers with the projects occurring in the township. We've got to get into the 21st century." Benner said she didn't see any problems with CMX. She mentioned she inquired about the Packerton Yards project and they provided the information in language she could understand, without billing the township to her knowledge.

Wieczorek also mentioned that there were deficiencies in the planned residential development ordinance that did not come to light until they were pointed out by a developer using the PRD to plan a project, and by that time the township couldn't do anything about it. Wieczorek felt the engineer should have discovered those ahead of time, but was not specific as to what the particular problems were to which he was referring.

The other freshman supervisor, Franklin Ruch, asked if there would be any problems changing the engineer at a later date, if they discovered the firm they were using was not satisfying the township.

Wieczorek said the engineer serves at the will of the board and can be changed if necessary throughout the year.

Ruch added that he had not worked with either firm before, but pointed out the majority of the board appeared to be seeking to use CMX.

When the vote was called, the lone dissenter was Stawnyczyj while Benner, Steigerwalt, Ruch and Wieczorek voted to change firms and make CMX the new township engineering firm.