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Hydro project status in limbo

Published July 23. 2013 05:02PM

The status of the proposed hydroelectric project for Lehighton borough is unknown.

The borough council was told by the investment company financing the project that unless a positive decision on the project occurred last night, it would withdraw its financing offer.

At the meeting of the council, no decision occurred.

Only five of the seven members of council attended the meeting, so it was agreed to table any action until the Aug. 26 council meeting.

Absent were council members Scott Rehrig and John Creitz.

One of the members who was present, George Kogut, abstains from all votes on the hydro project.

Summit advised the borough that if it doesn't take action on the hydro project, it risks losing its license issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

One of the main concerns of the council members at the meeting was that the financing proposal was being provided by a firm which has no accrued assets.

Attorney Thomas Nanovic, borough solicitor, added, "There are no guarantees in the agreement."

He told the council that Summit officials told him if they don't approve the agreement last night, that they will withdraw their proposal.

"I feel, in all fairness to the council and public, I feel we should have the full council (to vote on it)," said council member Darryl Arner. "I have reservations, but we should have the full council."

The vote to table the matter was 4-0 with Kogut abstaining.

The plant is proposed to be constructed near the overflow area of the dam at Pohopoco Creek in Franklin Township.

In other matters:

• The council by a 3-2 vote accepted the resignation of Councilman John Bird as the borough's representative on the Central Carbon Municipal Authority.

Bird complained that he served six months and no longer wanted to attend the meetings.

He made the motion for his resignation, which eventually was seconded by Kogut. In favor of the resignation were Bird, Kogut and Bessie Bauchspies. Opposed were Arner, who had been a representative on the authority for 12 years, and council President Grant Hunsicker.

Hunsicker said he will make an appointment at next month's meeting.

• Mary Lou Brophy, a member of the borough's Zoning Hearing Board for years, submitted her resignation because of a family matter.

The borough has sent her a letter of appreciation for her service.

Borough manager Nicole Beckett was instructed to advertise for someone to fill the vacancy created by the resignation.

Beckett will also advertise for any other board vacancies which exist.

• Beckett reported that no major street reconstruction projects are planned in the borough this summer. She said a larger program is planned for 2014.

• The Storm All-Star Cheerleading team was given permission to have a coin drop fundraising event at First and Iron streets, providing it's not against PennDOT regulations.

Representing Storm was Tonya Schafer, a coach of the team, who said the squad has participated in national competition.

She added the cheerleaders are raising money to open their own facility.

• A woman complained about high weeds in a yard in the 100 block of North First Street. She said the yard is emitting odors and is infested with snakes and mice.

The borough will send an enforcement letter to the property owner.

• Becketts said there are five to seven properties in the borough which need clean up. She said because she hasn't gotten responses from property owners, borough workers might clean up the lots and then the borough would bill the property owners.

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