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Fuel oil spill to cost Palmerton $15,000

Published June 25. 2010 05:00PM

A ruptured fuel tank from a fire truck that resulted in a spill of fuel oil as it responded to a fire last week in Washington Township will cost Palmerton about $15,000.

Borough council on a 4-0 vote Thursday agreed to make a motion to declare the matter as an emergency response action, and also agreed to ratify action to sign a contract with Rapid Response of Northampton.

Councilmen Chris Olivia, Jason Behler, Richard Nothstein, and council President Terry Costenbader approved the measures. Councilmen Randolph Gursky, Kris Hoffner and Councilwoman Sheri Malik were absent.

Borough Manager Rodger Danielson said the borough fire truck that responded to a fire in Slatedale on June 18 sustained a ruptured fuel tank that spilled between 40-50 gallons of fuel oil on a dirt lane.

Danielson said the state Department of Environmental Protection agency is aware of the matter, and said it holds the borough responsible for the incident.

As a result, Danielson said he signed an agreement Thursday morning with Rapid Response, which has agreed to remove the contaminated soil, conduct sampling of the soil, and bring in new fill.

"The estimate is about $15,000 for repairs," Danielson said. "We do anticipate being able to put that under insurance."

Mayor Brad Doll asked whether the cost could be higher, to which Danielson acknowledged that it could.

Also on Thursday, council agreed to accept a $905,855 Local Share Grant for a new firehouse.

Earlier this month, it was announced that a total of $12,506,892 in Mount Airy gaming revenues generated by the Pennsylvania Horse Race and Gaming Development Act or Act 71 would be distributed to Monroe County and counties contiguous to Monroe during this round of funding.

Under the act, counties contiguous to Monroe are eligible to receive some of the revenue that is generated at the casino. The money that is being released will help fund a total of 34 projects that range from library construction and improving and creating parks to road repairs and restoring buildings.

In all, Carbon County will receive over $700,000 from gaming revenue at Mount Airy Casino in Monroe County to help complete two projects in Carbon.

Of that amount, nearly $600,000 will be used to create a turning lane from Route 209 into the Packerton Business Park Project in Mahoning Township. The remaining $108,450 the county will receive from the gaming funds will be used for the Stoney Ridge Park and Recreation Center Project (phase I) in Lower Towamensing Township.

The funding is distributed by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development's Local Share Assessment account.

To qualify for funding, each project had to show that it will serve the public interest and promote economic and community development.

In an unrelated matter, council discussed current and upcoming road repair projects.

Olivia said road repairs have recently been completed in Residence Park.

"It was not what I thought it was going to be, but I'll take it," said Olivia, who resides in Residence Park. "There's a lot of bad roads."

Danielson acknowledged Olivia's assertion.

"Most of our roads were paved in the early [19]90s," Danielson said. "The bond issue we took out to pay for the roads is up in about four years, and in approximately three years, we will be looking to initiate another bond issue."

Danielson told Olivia the road repairs that were done in Residence Park was essentially a "fix-up thing."

"Structurally, our roads are fairly sound," Danielson said. "We're looking at some processes right now, and I think three years down the road, we will be re-entering the bond market."

Olivia told Danielson that would be a wise move on the borough's behalf.

"We must," Olivia said. "Third Street and Fifth Street are starting really to show."

Regardless, Danielson said the borough has gotten its money's worth out of its roads.

"We were hoping to get about 20 years out of them," Danielson said. "That's what we got."

Finally, Olivia asked why council wasn't approached about the new benches that were installed earlier this month in the borough park.

"Shouldn't they have come to us? Do you know what they're [kids] doing with their skateboards?

Danielson acknowledged the situation.

"We've solved one problem, and maybe created another," Danielson said.

Olivia reiterated that he felt council should have been approached.

Danielson said he understood his concern, and added "that was my gaffe."

Mayor Brad Doll then asked whether the benches would remain in their current locations.

Danielson said that not all of them would remain where they are.

Doll said his concern for the benches stemmed from the recent actions of several juveniles.

"A lot of them are right in the walkways," Doll said. "Three juveniles were caught in the act, and within hours of that, those three and their parents were in the park painting them."

The Concourse Club of Palmerton sponsored the benches program, in which 109 new red benches were installed in the park by volunteers.

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