By Kaylee Lindenmuth | firstname.lastname@example.org
SHENANDOAH - Road conditions and repairs were once again a topic of discussion at the monthly meeting of West Mahanoy Township's board of supervisors in Shenandoah Heights Tuesday, and Shenandoah Borough Council on Wednesday.
West Mahanoy Township
In the township, supervisors voted to approve their 2019 road program, through which a multitude of roads in the Heights and Altamont will be repaired.
The projects set for 2019 include repairs to Arizona Avenue and Wyoming Avenue near their intersection, and the intersection of Ohio Avenue and Norton Way in Shenandoah Heights. Additionally, portions of Frack Street, Altamont Boulevard in the area of Erie Insurance, Chestnut Street, Industrial Road, and City Shirt Road will all be repaired.
The total cost of the road improvement projects is $110,408.78, to be paid for with the township's liquid fuels fund.
In Shenandoah, the borough streets committee provided an update at Wednesday's council meeting.
"JP [Dombrosky] and myself, we went around, and we have a page and a half of streets that we want looked at," said councilman Gordon Slater. "We just have to sit down and prioritize it. We were talking about putting certain streets out for a bid, to have them filled in professionally, and some that we'll do ourselves."
In the borough, there is no shortage of rough and rugged roadway, though there is a shortage in resources to repair the borough's 18 mile street network. Shenandoah has two streets department employees, who handle general public works duties, including maintaining the borough's three parks, catch basins, collecting cinders and ashes, and more. The borough's streets workers also assist the borough's sanitation and sewer departments as needed.
A pair of residents raised concerns regarding the roads and the borough's efforts to repair them.
Eileen Burke, West Lloyd Street, questioned where six tons of cold patch listed on the borough's streets report went.
"My thing is, the problems we have with the streets are because people are not certified or qualified to do the job," Burke said. "If we're going to find money for part time clerical or anything else, we've got to find money for the streets."
"That's what we just said... we're going to get it professionally done," said council president Leo Pietkiewicz.
"No, he [Slater] said he's going to get our guys to do some of the work," said Burke.
"The minor work," said Slater.
Pietkiewicz added, "you've got to maximize the money available to get the amount of work we're looking at to get done."
Another resident, who was only identified as Bob, said, "we know the roads are terrible in this town. Two guys cannot fix this town up, and you only have two down there. It's a shame."
Bob compared the borough's efforts to Frackville's.
"I watched them up in Frackville, five, six, seven guys they have out there, they have a little roller and all," Bob said.
"That's what we're looking into. We're not saying our guys are going to do this work. If we have to bring in an outside company, we're looking to get the biggest bang for our buck," said Pietkiewicz.
"But another thing is, they get $150,000 in liquid fuels. They use the whole $150,000 on the roads," said Bob. "What we do, is we borrow from it to pay other bills."
"Because we don't get our taxbase paid. You're taking from Peter to pay Paul, that's how it is. You've got to balance a budget," said Pietkiewicz. "I could say I get $125,000 for liquid fuels, I'm going to put it all in the streets, but then when I've got to lay employees off because I can't afford payroll, then I have nobody and I only have two right now."
Throughout the spring, the borough's pair of streets workers have been using cold patch to fill potholes, including recently on East Washington Street and West New York Street, though many roads, particularly alleyways such as portions of West Atlantic, West Mount Vernon, and West Columbus Streets, are worn out beyond traditional patching. Utility repair work and patching in recent years has also posed a problem for some roads, such as West Lloyd near Gilbert.
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