Harford Twp. roads getting repairs

BY PAT FARNELLI

Harford Township Supervisors discussed storm damage to township roads as well as new technology Tuesday at their June meeting.

After much rain, several projects turned into do-overs after rain material surged down roads and into driveways and ditches, and the Richardson Road project needed a time extension to Nov. 30 after flowing water furthered the damage. Wolf Lake and Oliver Roads were complete wash-outs.

The Richardson and Stearns roads have been closed, and there is much work to be done on the Orphan’s School Road as well.

The plan is to work the main roads first, and to work in a circle rather than going from one location to another, to save wear and tear on the equipment.

The Upper and Lower Podunk roads need work, as do Grinnell, Plank, and others.

Supervisor Garry Foltz asked, “Do you know you’ve got people borrowing equipment and fixing the roads themselves? People are putting material from their driveways into the middle of the roads so that they can get out onto the roads.”

Supervisors reported that since they sent a response to Southwestern Energy, with corrections and notations, they have yet to hear from the natural gas drilling company concerning the proposed road agreement
for the township.

In the meantime, Foltz noted that Houlihan Road, a marginal road that the township does not maintain, does not show signs of road work underway.

He explained that Southwestern Energy had attended township meetings and said that their plan was to build up the roads before beginning pad construction and drilling activities.

However, aside from a little tree trimming at the New Milford end of Houlihan Road, the road
condition is still deplorable, and pads are already being constructed at several sites.

“It’s not something we want to take our equipment through,” Foltz said. “I moved trees and rocks out of the way just to get through with my pickup. It’s a nightmare.”

The township’s Case roller had a malfunctioning temperature gauge, and the supervisors were looking into getting it replaced. Mowing and berm work is underway, but Foltz pointed out that the road report showed 12 days were spent berming two roads.

Hol Adams is working on an as needed basis. He is the township’s only casual laborer. He attended the meeting, and said that he noticed while mowing that the tractor works, and the great boom mower works, but the clutch is “brutal for the operator.”

“You have to stand on it,” he said. The sickle bar mower has a problem with a flat plate that needs to be either doubled or reinforced. The township’s radio system, used particularly during snowstorms while plowing, has been woefully inadequate for years. “We’ve had a horrendous communications problem,” Foltz said.

Three different vendors were brought in, and all three recommended a new system, in
the $10,000 price range.

The supervisors were relieved to hear, after Purosky and Tuckerman of Dickson City stopped in to take a look at the
radio system, they found that 99 percent of the problem was the
antennas and axle wires, according to Supervisor Terry VanGorden.

VanGorden and Foltz said that hopefully, the township was saved a lot of money. The control box was fried, and the power inverter was replaced. Part of the problem was that the controls were switched to the wrong station, as well.

At the May meeting, Foltz brought up the matter of the time clock recommended by the township auditors, and made a motion that one be purchased. There was no second then and the motion died.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, the time clock was brought up again.

VanGorden is still strongly against having a time clock, and
Supervisor Sue Furney said that no borough or township in the county uses a time clock system.

Foltz looked over the time accounting for the other two supervisors, and said that VanGorden’s report of Furney’s hours differed from her account for the month of May. “I have not requested any pays for any time this year,” Foltz said, “and it does not look proper to track your own time.”

Furney said that she had followed through on other recommendations of the auditors, including employee manuals for each township worker, and has talked with Jeff Flynn about setting up compatible checks for the computer.

Foltz is concerned about two properties in the township that are eyesores and could fall down into the roads. He said he has sent a letter to find out if the Blight Reclamation Act or the township nuisance ordinance would cover these situations.

The township’s equipment fleet is aging, and Foltz said that the F350 truck will have to be replaced, as it will not pass inspection.

“It is at an age where it is biting us in fuel and repairs. The F550 is seven or eight years old and is wearing out too.” Foltz said that the township grader will be paid off in a year and a half, and that they should use gas lease money to put a hefty down payment on a new vehicle.

The township has an upcoming cleanup, and residents wishing to participate must have their refuse ready by June 20. Items can also be brought to the township building by residents. Items will be picked up at the roadside and will be taken by dump truck to the township
property. The items will be sorted and loaded into dumpsters.

VanGorden said that the township can average 20-25 loads on a good day. Foltz said he would like to start a township recycling program in the near future.

A noise meter has been purchased and received, and included everything needed to monitor industrial noise, which will be regulated by the township ordinance.

Foltz recently checked the sewer building, and said that the heating unit was damaged, and that none of the breakers were labeled.

The township’s website is still being developed by Dave Oakley.