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Year in Review: Road work, sewage systems among year’s concerns

Here is a roundup of what happened in some communities in our coverage area:

East Penn Township

Since the start of 2017, East Penn Township’s road crew has laid down more than 2,000 tons of asphalt in its mission to repair more than 12 miles of under maintained streets in the township.

The township’s road crew worked closely with board Supervisor Steven Heckman to complete a list of tar and chip and gravel and dirt road projects. Included on that list of work was Municipal, Saint Peter, Smith Hill, Summer Mountain and Troxell roads.

The board has begun to look forward to the new year setting aside $462,950 for future repair work on 17 township roadways.

Following several complaints, the board voted to give residents and potential developers an option to choose from a list of Uniform Construction Code Inspector. Carl Faust, of Blue Mountain Inspection, was appointed as zoning officer and UCC inspector and building code official for the township with Marge Faust appointed as alternate zoning officer.

Penn Forest Township

With the exception of the prospect of a wind turbine farm on the horizon, Penn Forest Township has had a relatively quiet year. In 2017, a number of improvements were made to the Route 903 Park including a sewage system, new scoreboards and the awarding of the concession stand contract.

The recreation committee hosted a Massing of the Colors on Flag Day and a successful baseball tournament in September.

The township will enter 2018 with two newly-elected supervisors. Roger Meckes, who was appointed to replace supervisor Phillip Shedaker, was elected to fill the two-year slot, and Tom Cross was elected to fill the seat being vacated by Supervisor Christine Fazio, who did not run for re-election.

Rush Township

Whether or not a pair of fire companies would merge was perhaps the biggest news maker in Rush Township this year.

About 50 people — among them residents and firefighters — attended a public meeting on Oct. 31 to discuss fire protection in Rush Township at the Hometown Fire Company in Hometown.

The meeting was held to review changes in fire protection to the township and to discuss the facts about the changes.

In October, township supervisors agreed to provide township firefighting funding only to the Hometown company. That action cut all township funding to the Quakake Volunteer Fire Company.

Supervisors agreed to remove the Quakake Volunteer Fire Company from being called out for emergencies through the Schuylkill County 911 communications system.

Barry Messerschmidt, fire chief and president of Hometown Fire Co., said the intention was to keep Quakake’s fire equipment and fire station open under Hometown.

Messerschmidt said there’s no fire company in Quakake. The fire house is still there, but it’s inactive because it’s been decertified, he said.

If the fire companies would merge, the combined entities would receive $200,000 over 10 years, said treasurer George Gerhard. Gerhard said in the event no merger occurs, Hometown state funding would still be maintained at a rate of a minimum of $10,000 a year.

Nearby, members of the Brockton Fire Co. and Mary D Volunteer Fire Co. in Schuylkill Township are also considering combining operations.

Walker Township

Walker and West Penn Township officials agreed to meet with the Department of Environmental Protection at DEP’s Northeast Regional Office in Wilkes-Barre over their previously submitted Act 537 sewage facility plan.

Both townships previously adopted resolutions for their revised Act 537 sewage facilities plan.

Last month, Brian Book, service area director of Rettew Associates Inc., met with West Penn Township supervisors during a meeting at the West Penn Fire Co. to review the status of the Act 537 plan.

Book said DEP had issues with several items. One of the requirements of the plan is that the township has an on-lot septic maintenance ordinance in place. The preferred plan is an on-lot disposal system, because there are no big infrastructure costs.

DEP wants a solution presented in the plan for every user. If there are any users that cannot do on-lot systems, they have to have access to a community system.