The Department of Environmental Protection is fining Souderton borough 84-thousand dollars in connection with sewer violations. The fines are accessed regardless of how the sewer system is impacted. According to Borough Manager, Mike Coll, two separate incidents, one an accident the other an act of nature led to the fines. Leidy’s meat packing plant suffered a problem with its pretreatment system, sending solids to the sewer plant. the other fine related incident levied by the DEP was brought on as a result of a lighting strike, which cut power to the sewer treatment plant. Coll says, the Borough was able to stop discharge into a stream during the outage. Souderton Borough is looking to get the fine decreased to 14-thousand dollars. If a compromise falls short, the Borough is expected to request a hearing.
Souderton Area School District officials are paying down what's owed on the new high school in Franconia with $700,000 realized from the sale of the parking lot across the street from the old high school in Souderton Borough. The remaining $33,000,000 debt will be restructured with a new bond issue to take advantage of lower interest rates. District officials expect to save about $1,000,000 in debt service costs over the 20-year life of the new bonds. The school district still has more than $6,000,000 coming from the sale of the old high school campus. Settlement on the building and nearby stadium is scheduled for next March while the closing on the remaining property is expected 14-months after that.
Road repairs on Erie Avenue in Franconia Township have been finished at under the estimated cost of 275-thousand dollars. The construction included the addition of sidewalks, new storm drains and repaving. The two year project also focused on widening and straightening at the intersection of Erie Avenue and Cowpath Road.
The effort to keep costs down in smaller communities is a task that often falls on the shoulders of council and the town manager. Hatfield Borough Manager, Mike Definis says, the borough faces challenges with health insurance, but has also been able to lesson the burden on borough taxpayers.
“We struggle with the rising costs of the things that we can’t control. Healthcare, when it rises 15 percent, you have to find a way to pay for it. Fortunately right now, Council has drafted a budget that does not include a tax increase, electric rate increase or sewer increase for 2014.”
Definis says, a program was put in place several years ago by the state mandating that the county develop a tax collection agency where one tax collector collects for all the municipalities and boroughs, the tax proceeds are then distributed to the various townships and boroughs, including Hatfield borough. Definis was a guest Tuesday afternoon on Comment Please By Univest on AM 1440 WNPV.