Grant could help some Antes Fort residents connect to new sewer system

The Tiadaghton Valley Municipal Authority will receive a $450,000 competitive Community Development Block Grant, once the Lycoming County commissioners approve the Department of Community and Economic Development contract Thursday.

The funds will assist low- to moderate-income homeowners that must connect to the authority’s sewer collection system in Antes Fort. Construction for the lateral connections will begin in the spring, said Kristin McLaughlin, SEDA-COG Community Development project coordinator.

The $89,000 left over from the 2011 CDBG entitlement allocation also will go toward the project, McLaughlin said.

In another matter, homeowners in the county’s 18 zoning partnership areas will be able to build accessory buildings such as garages much closer to their homes, if the commissioners approve the county’s zoning ordinance.

Currently, the minimum spacing between houses and garages is 20 feet. Dave Hines, zoning administrator, is requesting that be changed to 5 feet. Hines said in Jackson and Jordan townships, he hasn’t heard negative feedback about this.

Commissioners Tony Mussare and Jeff Wheeland spoke positively about the change.

“Why make a homeowner pay $300 for a variance,” Mussare said about the existing ordinance.

Wheeland suggested Hines access records where some homeowners weren’t allowed to build closer to their homes, and alert them of the coming change.

The commissioners may approve a federal fiscal year 2013 Federal Emergency Management Agency grant in the amount of $110,766.

The county and the agency each matches 50 percent of the benefits and wages for four county Emergency Management Agency employees, said Tommie Smith, county Emergency Management Agency administrative assistant. Federal fiscal year 2012’s amount was $99,826.

The county may enter into an intergovernmental agreement for solid waste implementation pending the commissioners’ approval. Lycoming, Columbia, Montour, Snyder and Union counties’ regional solid waste plan was approved by the Department of Environmental Protection in February. Since then, those counties have been working together to enter into waste capacity agreements with landfills, said Megan Lehman, county environmental planner.

This agreement will allow these five counties to continue working together formally, and outlines roles and responsibilities, she said. All five counties have to sign it, beginning with Lycoming.

The county also may enter into one-year nutrient trading agreements with four county farmers, which allows the county to market and sell nutrient credits generated by the farms, Lehman said. The agreement would apply for the 2013 water year, Oct. 1, 2012, to Sept. 30, 2013, she said.