CLARKS GREEN — At the Sept. 19 Clarks Green Borough Council meeting, Councilman Dave Rinaldi introduced Rebecca Kennedy, project manager of PENNVEST, whom he met at a MS4 meeting at the Lackawanna County 9-11 Center during in the spring.
“We were talking about funding for the stormwater projects because we (council) had just submitted, the year before in September, our pollution management program or stormwater plan,” Rinaldi said.
Rinaldi said Kennedy agreed to speak to the council about how PENNVEST can help the borough implement the projects financially.
Kennedy explained PENNVEST is a state agency, which funds capital waters infrastructure, stormwater infrastructure, and non-point source pollution control infrastructure.
“The entire commonwealth, and really the whole historically built-up northeast are facing a crisis when it comes to stormwater management,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy said one of the reasons is that most of the boroughs and small cities in northeast Pennsylvania have infrastructure that was built over a century ago. She explained another reason is a lot of the borough and small cities were built in valleys and river valleys and the federal and state government has been determining that the waters of the commonwealth and waters of the US are primarily polluted by sediment pollution, which is carried in stormwater.
“They (government) are stepping up, asking urbanized areas to bring the stormwater infrastructure into a condition where it’s not polluting waters of the commonwealth,” she said.
Kennedy mentioned the Pennsylvania legislature has enabled most municipalities to create stormwater authorities. She said regional stormwater municipalities on a geographical basis would be better because water sometimes flows through municipal boundaries.
“That is, hands down, the most efficient and cleanest way to deal with funding stormwater infrastructure,” she said. “But in a lot of cases, it turns out to be very politically complicated or logistically complicated for reasons that have to do with there being 2,500 municipalities in Pennsylvania.”
Kennedy said PENNVEST offers funding at 1 percent and does an affordability analysis by looking at the census bureau listing median household income at a municipality. She said the median household income for Clarks Green Borough is in the mid-$70,000s. She counted about 600 households and $175 a year per household is considered to be an affordable rate if a stormwater authority charged a fee.
Kennedy said that, since Clarks Green Borough is looking at the range of $200,000 to $250,000, an amortization for that is a monthly payment of about $1,100 a month for 20 years or $2 per household a month for a $250,000 loan. She did a back calculation of how much money the borough would have to borrow in order to be eligible for a grant under the affordability index, which is a little more than $2 million.
“So, in order to come to PENNVEST, your project needs to be shovel-ready,” she said.
Kennedy asked the council members if they had any projects they were implementing in the borough. Rinaldi mentioned plans for bioswales near the Tunkhannock Creek Water Shed and bioswales near the Leggetts Creek Water Shed. Kennedy encouraged the council to put together a comprehensive plan.
“Your loan will not just cover the construction costs,” she said. “It will cover costs for design, administrative costs and finance costs.”
In other business …
• Mayor Patty Lawler announced the Clarks Green Shade Tree Commission is operating again after a summer hiatus. She said according to the commission, the borough of Clarks Green has enough trees from the residents that it has itsown order and doesn’t have to piggyback off another borough.
“They (commission) were very pleased with that,” she said.
Lawler also the Shade Tree Commission offered the borough “backyard” trees for a phenomenal fee. She said the 300-400 block of Evans Street is having an uptick of stormwater with the new development.
“I suggested maybe we can offer to those residents to plant on their borderline to protect them,” she said.
• In his health and safety report, Rinaldi mentioned that on Sept. 17, PennDOT approved the plans of the Green Light Go project to upgrade the traffic lights and signals in the borough. He recalled hiring L & V Engineering to do the design work.
“She (Gerilyn Luben, engineer of L & V Engineering) has submitted an invoice in the amount of $4,800,” he said.
Rinaldi reported the council approves the payment.
• In his ARWA (Abington Regional Wasterwater Authority) report, Rinaldi said flow meters were supposed to be installed Sept. 18 and 19 but because of the weather, the project has been postponed until Sept. 28 and 29.
• The council voted to advertise a request for proposal (RFP) for engineering services for Clarks Green Borough with submissions due at the end of October.
• Councilman Jim Dougherty mentioned that Clarks Green Borough received a $200,000 grant to complete its sanitary sewer line investigation for the portion of the sewer system that has not already been evaluated and to rehabilitate ections of the sanitary systems that require repairs.
“I wish I can say I was a part of this,” he said. “But I’m happy to be able to report it.”
Reach the Abington Journal newsroom at 570-587-1148 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.