Mansfield discusses regional water authority, makes no decision

MANSFIELD – Borough council went into executive session at the end of its meeting Wednesday to hear what solicitor Terra Koernig thought of the resolution supporting the effort to find more water for the Route 15 corridor south of the borough presented last month by regional water task force representatives Bob Wood and Chris Lantz.

Forming a regional authority is expected to throw more weight behind efforts to obtain grant funding in the search for water to support the commercial and residential growth happening in the corridor.

Borough council member David Cummings brought up the request from the task force and said he thought council should support its efforts, but new council member Evan Perry, who replaces Steve Gee, seemed dead set against it.

“How would it benefit us to join this when the borough already has enough water?” he asked Cummings, who did not answer.

Council member Bruce Dart said it would make for a continued good relations with the other municipalities who have already signed on and with whom the borough already has a multi-municipal agreement, including Blossburg and Richmond, Putnam and Covington townships.

“Anytime we feel it will affect us negatively, we can back out, but I think we do need to support the rocess,” Cummings added.

“Did they help us get our water system? And now they are using our water,” Perry said.

“It seems to me they want us to form another layer of government to tell us what to do,” he added.

Perry said he talked to Chris Lantz and was reassured it will not cost the borough anything to support the effort.

“But he couldn’t tell me what advantage it would be to us either,” he added

Koernig suggested the executive session to further discuss the matter, with no action being taken.

In other business council:

Heard from director of codes and public works Shawn Forrest that the search for the cause of extra phosphorus in the borough’s effluent has still not yielded results, and in order to treat it alum must be pumped into the mix at a cost of $12 per day.

He recommended using the alum between April and September, when phosphorus levels seem to be at their highest.

Approved moving forward with a multi-municipal agreement update with surrounding townships by RETTEW, which did the water study for the task force, at a cost to the borough of about $6,626.

With a Department of Community and Economic Development grant of $16,000 and $8,000 from the Betterment Organization of Mansfield, the total cost of the update will be just over $37,000, Forrest said.

The first agreement was done in 2004.

Heard in sewage treatment plant chief operator Rich Correll’s report that the sewage treatment plant had shut down due to an electrical surge that ran through the Penelec’s system Dec. 23, causing an overflow situation at the plant.

Because the overflow was captured by the wet water well, the overflow did not enter the Tioga River. About 40,000 gallons of solids was pumped back into the plant for treatment using a trash pump, according to the report.

Heard a report from YMCA director Lis Miranda that membership at the Y is 17 percent higher than last year at this time, and that a membership drive featuring a free trial week is underway.