Montrose learns of PennDOT drain solutions

BY PAT FARNELLI

Montrose Borough Council pored over maps of a proposed drainage system brought by Pennsylvania Department of Transportation representatives to Monday’s meeting.

Debbie Noone and Denise Yorski of PennDOT brought several large maps of the borough to the table, and council members and employees checked out several distinct drainage areas, street by street, drain by drain, catch basin by catch basin, for about an hour.

After their perusal, the council members seemed satisfied that their concerns were being addressed, and that the new catch basins and pipes would not increase the volume or velocity of stormwater flow or misdirect it.

The projects are mostly in the right of way along SR 167 and SR 706.

Some of the work will extend beyond right of ways in problem areas.

There are problems with erosion and with separating end sections in the existing drain work in the borough, and with wide flow areas that PennDOT plans to replace with inlets.

The present pipes are 15 inch, and the new ones will be typically 18 inches, which should not detrimentally increase the flow rate. New catch basins will be installed as well. A series of inlets will be installed at a wide flow area where Ridge Street meets the Methodist church.

Councilman Sean Granahan questioned whether the project is eligible for ARA Stimulus funding.

Noone said that it must be advertised by Sept. 1 for it to be eligible for those funds for this fiscal year.

The borough will be responsible for maintaining the system once installed.

Judy Kelly attended the meeting because of drain issues on her property. She said that she has a little cul-de-sac on her lane off Church Street which PennDOT has told her is state property.

“We plow it, maintain it, mow it, etc. There is drainage, we’ve paid for it and maintained it. It keeps getting higher, it is a foot higher now,” she said. “Can anything be done?”

Noone looked at the map and said that three new drains are being added there on 706. The borough should be maintaining it after the work is completed.

Granahan voiced his concerns with the third lane being added, along with curbs on both sides.

He asked if the third lane was in the plans before the gas companies came to town, and was told it was always part of the plan.

The Montrose Municipal Authority had a few representatives in attendance. They addressed the board about their concerns with obtaining funding for update projects necessary for them to be in compliance with the Chesapeake Bay strategic plan.

Pat Ely of the MMA said that the authority cannot meet the new limits for effluent issue, and must upgrade. He said a compliance schedule will be awarded, and within 14 days, a report must be made on why they are not in compliance and when that milestone will be met.

The MMA has applied for funding for a $10 million upgrade project, and requested that Montrose Borough cosign the loan.

Granahan said that he had extensively researched the borough assets and debts, and said that the borough could not produce $10 million in assets or certify that the borough is debt free, which it is not.

“I went to the courthouse, pulled the borough’s assets,” he said. “For us to cosign would be civil fraud. I’m only one-fifth, but I can’t touch it.”

After some discussion, it was found that the agreement itself did not ask for the borough to certify itself debt-free, although it was mentioned in a letter.

Two young men from the class of 2013 attended the meeting, and offered their services cleaning up around the borough as they did last year at this time. Last year, 40 students from that class at Montrose Area High School cleaned up the park, painted sheds, mulched, planted, and upgraded, said Tommy Krupinsky, class president. Dan English also attended. The council approved the class of 2013′s request to perform public service again this year.

The Chocolate and Wine Festival has requested police presence for the festival. Those organizing the annual event had approached gas companies to help sponsor the festival, and an anti drilling group had heard about the sponsorship and requested a booth to present their information as well. A booth was given to the group, and the festival planners asked for police to be on hand to keep the peace.

There are two vacancies on the borough council. Tony Pickett, whose name is already on the ballot, said he was withdrawing his letter of interest if Alice Walsh was still interested in that seat.

Walsh said that she has a letter submitted. She is an employee of the borough, but that is not a conflict because the borough’s population is less than 3,000.