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Owl Creek Reservoir project hits snag

Published April 18. 2012 05:01PM

The Owl Creek reservoir rehabilitation project has hit a small snag that may end up costing the borough additional money.

Borough manager Kevin Steigerwalt informed council that he had been contacted by the project engineer, who alerted him to the fact that an area of soil has been deemed "unsuitable" and will have to be removed and replaced. The estimated cost for the additional work is $21,000.

According to Steigerwalt, despite the fact that several soil tests were done prior to the start of the project, this area was not included in the initial studies.

"DEP feels we need to do this," he added, "The representative is on site at least once a week. They've seen this; they feel it needs to be replaced."

Steigerwalt said that the $21,000 was a worst-case scenario.

The number was based on a per unit price for moving the soil. Council voted to approve spending up to the $21,000.

The borough will be on the hook for 20 percent of the total cost, as they can submit 80 percent of the cost to the state for reimbursement.

The borough has received approximately $5 million in grant money to complete the projects on the upper and lower reservoirs through the PA H2O unsafe dam grant.

In other business, several matters were referred to the parking and traffic committee for review, including the placement of a "children at play" sign in the 200 block of Penn Street, several "no parking" signs throughout the borough, and a consideration for "clergy only" parking at St. John's Evangelical church on the corner of Pine and Mauch Chunk streets.

In other traffic-related matters, Steigerwalt advised council that PennDOT representative Dennis Toomey, along with the construction engineer, the contractor, and the inspector for the traffic improvement project in the downtown, have been reviewing the issues.

"It is progressing, albeit slowly," he said.

Council appointed Benjamin Beckett to the Citizens Advisory Committee.

Council approved a request from Alexandra Miller to use the Tamaqua Community center later this spring for a career fair, as part of her Girl Scout project.

Council approved the lease agreement with the Tamaqua Area Baseball Association for the Dutch Hill playground site.

Council heard from resident Justin Startzel who informed them that the Willing Skate Park organization has found a lawyer who is willing to do pro bono work to help them draw up papers for the park association.

He hopes to have them completed by the end of May.

Startzel also questioned whether or not borough council had endorsed state Sen. David Argall in the upcoming primary election. Council President Micah Gursky said that each individual member of council had personally endorsed Argall, however, the body as a whole did not.

Startzel also questioned whether recent rumors of an investigation into misappropriation of funds had any foundation.

Gursky said that if there were specific questions, he would be happy to answer them.

"We run a very tight ship. We get audited on a regular basis multiple times a year, and it's all available to the public," he said.

Councilman Brian Connely added that any citizen could contact the Attorney General's office to inquire about such an investigation.

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