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$65,000 generator purchase draws criticism in Rush Twp.

Published February 17. 2012 05:01PM

A decision to purchase a $65,000 generator for Rush Township had many audience members at odds with the board of supervisors during the meeting Thursday evening.

There is $40,000 budgeted for payment of the generator and a balance in the building fund that will cover the other $25,000. Because the generator is for the municipal building, the money has to come out of the building fund, according to Vice Chairman Robert J. Leibensperger.

"During the past year, we lost power for several days at a time, which stopped our road department, police department and our administration from doing our jobs," Leibensperger said. "That's why this was needed, so we had standby power."

"With the generator, we know from public review here, nobody really wants a $65,000 dollar generator in this township; legally, there's nothing we can do now" Chairman Shawn Gilbert said. "We tried."

"Quite frankly, the situation is that at the time the legal, loftily elected board put it out for bid, made the decision to accept the bid and committed themselves to a contract, and the entity that won the bid to steps in reliance on that contract to make purchases and orders in good faith," Solicitor Chris Reidlinger explained to the room. "There is no termination clause in this contract. This board is bound by that contract that was entered into by the prior board," on which were Gilbert, then vice chairman, and Leibensperger, then supervisor.

"That was a big mistake," said resident Pat Tracey.

"So, the last administrator that was here screwed us," an angry crowd member said.

"You're right," Tracey agreed.

"He wasted the tax dollars," the angry man added.

Leibensperger tried to explain the board's decision for approving the purchase: "We have to maintain control for the safety of the residents of the township. Rush Township is listed as a designation if Berwick Nuclear Power Plant goes down. What do we do when there's a disaster and we say to them, 'Look, we're stranded here. Who the hell cares if we have nuclear fallout?'"

Gilbert had to calm the situation down several times during the back-and-forth arguments between Leibensperger and the several irritated crowd members.

Some voiced complaints about the size of the generator, others about how the fire company is as good a place for residents to go during disaster situations.

"This is our central government, right here," one township resident argued against the room's prevailing notions. "And this is where all our emergency situations are handled, right here. This is where we need it."

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