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Hunters Creek Bridge repair costs less than estimated

Published February 09. 2011 05:00PM

The repair of Hunters Creek Bridge could cost Lower Towamensing Township over $43,500, significantly less than initial estimates indicated.

Nine companies submitted bids to the township on Tuesday, which were opened and later tabled by the township's board of supervisors.

The project is for the underpinning and wing replacement for the structurally deficient bridge, located on Covered Bridge Road over Hunters Creek.

The apparent low bid of $43,590 was submitted by F.A. Rohrbach, of Allentown. That bid was $5,290 less than the next lowest bid of $48,880 turned in by Barletta Materials.

Other companies that bid were Bi-State Construction ($49,435); Minichi, Inc., ($49,900); Professional Construction Contractors ($51,685); Grace Industries ($55,640); NuPump Corp ($61,100); W. J. Castle ($75,000); and Bill Anskis ($96,014).

Supervisors Chairman Ron Walbert, said prior estimates suggested the project could cost the township somewhere between $80,000 to $100,000.

"These bids came in very reasonable," Walbert said. "I think we should table the bids and have them reviewed by our engineers."

Walbert previously said the township has $240,000 set aside in this year's liquid fuels account to address the bridge, as well as a five-year plan to repair township roads before they're eventually replaced.

Also on Tuesday, supervisors agreed to look into the possible creation of a garbage collection ordinance.

Walbert suggested that the township needs to make the penalties more rigid for those who choose not to pay.

"We continually have a problem with people not paying their garbage bills," Walbert said. "It's not fair for some people to pay their garbage bills and other people don't."

Walbert estimated the township is owed about $50,000 in unpaid garbage collection fees.

"I think we're talking about $50,000 that's not in the township's coffers," he said. "I think we need to have our solicitor develop an ordinance that has some teeth."

Supervisor Todd Solt said he agreed with Walbert's assertion.

Last month, Walbert said township secretary Christine Wentz conducted a cursory review of the township's garbage collections in which it was discovered it had another large outstanding balance.

Based on the fall garbage bills that were mailed out as of that time, Wentz said there were 216 delinquent notices out of the 1,111 that the township bills for.

At a rate of $125, that equates to $27,000 owed to the township.

In September, supervisors adopted a garbage exempt form in order to grant relief to residents on their garbage bills who have unoccupied properties for six months until the unit is again occupied.

However, as per the form, residents must notify the township in writing immediately and request that garbage fees begin as soon as their property becomes occupied.

In the event residents fail to notify the township that the property is occupied, and the township finds out by anybody other than that particular resident, they will not only owe the garbage fees from the date that the property becomes occupied, but will also owe the garbage fees from the date of the request and that any exemption granted by the supervisors shall be null and void.

That decision came after supervisors in August tabled a motion to grant residents a six-month waiting period to pay their garbage bills on unoccupied properties after it was defeated due to a lack of a second.

In July, supervisors said they might make an amendment to the ordinance. That came after supervisors in March agreed to hold residents who are delinquent on their garbage bills accountable by billing them for garbage rates on empty properties.

At that time, supervisors agreed that township residents who owed $500 or more on their garbage rates would be sent to the district magistrate. Walbert said at that time the township was owed $31,408 in delinquency bills, and that out of 63 residents who were delinquent on their garbage bills, 18 owed $500 or more.

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