Muncy Township building project takes another step

PENNSDALE — After months of discussions, the Muncy Township Fire Co. and the Muncy Township Board of Supervisors signed a memorandum of understanding at the board meeting Wednesday night, to proceed with the subdivision of property on Pond Road and the eventual transfer of the Township Building to the township.

Under the memorandum, the fire department will retain ownership of the house and barn, which will be subdivided from the property. A township-owned property on Quaker Church Road will be sold, according to Board President Tom Schaech.

In announcing that an understanding between the fire company and the board had been reached, Schaech said the board is pleased with the process which resulted in the agreement.

“It’s been good, it’s been very good,” he said. “We as a board think it is a mutually beneficial agreement which is good for the township, the fire department and the township citizens.”

He commended the fire company for sitting down and agreeing to make it work.

In addressing concerns about the need for raising taxes to finance the renovations that will result from the township taking over the building, Schaech said the board is looking at every austerity measure to keep costs down.

“It is the hope of the board to maintain the line on taxes. We have no intention of raising taxes in 2018,” he stressed.

Fire Company President Butch Dauberman echoed Schaech’s assessment of the negotiating process with the township.

“I believe there’s been huge progress made between the township and the fire company,” he said.

He noted that the fire company had approved the memorandum by a vote of 17-1.

“The people in the fire company are behind it,” he added.

The supervisors officially voted in favor of accepting and countersigning the memorandum. The transfer of the deed is expected before the end of the year.

In other actions, the board voted in favor of continuing the Keystone Opportunity Zone designation on two township properties for another seven years. The properties are a 20-acre parcel at the Marcellus Energy Park and an 80-acre property at the Turkey Run Industrial Park. Under the designation, a property pays no taxes during the seven year period. Both properties are unimproved at this time.

The supervisors said they had some reservations about keeping the properties in the zone because of the loss of tax revenue, especially since the owners of the Lycoming Mall are appealing their property’s tax assessment.

An agreement with the state Department of Transportation to perform winter maintenance on two township roads was approved by the board. The agreement provides for a payment of $14,150 to the township from PennDOT for snowplowing of Middle and Quaker Church Roads. In the event of heavier than expected snowfall, PennDOT would provide additional money for the work.

The board also approved a request from the fire company to participate in the Mummers’ Parade in Williamsport and the Homecoming Parade at Muncy.

The next board meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 8 at the Township Building, 1922 Pond Road.