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Concerns, confusion continue over Brockway intersection

BROCKWAY — Another drawing of the Routes 28 and 219 intersection in Brockway has created new concerns among the borough’s residents.

The state promised Brockway money to redo the intersection where Sheetz is located, potentially linking Route 219 straight through between Brockway Drug and Bill’s Place to Evergreen Street. Business owners were first concerned by a drawing with the intersection superimposed over a Google Maps image. That confusion had a new layer added when another map appeared, more detailed and official-looking than the map that initially caused concern.

That drawing, according to PennDOT District 10 is not a final design, but a reference map to help plan the project and get it off the ground.

“Conceptual drawings were completed in late 2016 and December 2018 as part of a grant application,” David Layman, civil engineering manager at PennDOT District 10, wrote in an email. The drawing was dated January 2019. “It’s a conceptual/preliminary drawing. And the borough was given a copy of it a few months ago at a coordination meeting.”

Brockway Borough Council President Chris “Smoke” Benson reiterated that there are no official plans, designs, maps, or images of the intersection project.

“That’s not new information,” he said of the map. “It’s not official. It’s a preliminary drawing that the engineer uses for reference. We first saw that map two months ago during a meeting.”

Layman said the project is still in its infancy, and the reason there have been no public design meetings is because the design is still in its earliest stages.

“The project is in the early stages of development consisting of budgeting and planning,” Layman wrote in his email. “Preliminary engineering has not started yet. The process of selecting a design firm will be started over the next few months to advance the preliminary engineering and final design phases of the project.”

That budgeting process may be where the project seems stalled to the residents. According to Benson, the borough was awarded the grant, but the grant needs money.

“There’s about an $800,000 shortfall,” Benson said. “I talked to Sen. Joe Scarnati within the last week and asked if he’s heard about the money. He said that as far as he knows, they’re still working on it.”

Benson said the borough is not going to cover the shortfall.

“We haven’t talked to the property owners yet because PennDOT still needs to fill in that financial gap,” Benson said. “When PennDOT gives us the okay, we have letters ready to send to the property owners.”

Layman said public meetings will happen in 2020. Additional questions about the project were answered by stating that the project is still in its early phases, so no studies have been done, no engineering firms have been consulted, and no plans are official.

“Potential intersection improvements will be evaluated and determined during preliminary engineering,” Layman wrote. “The goal is for improved traffic flow and safety through the intersection.”

Benson added that the map is nothing official.

“PennDOT has never sent us a map and said that this is the official design,” he said. “This is just a reference map that the engineers had.”

Working together: DuBois, Sandy Twp. officials pleased with 30-year sewer service agreement

A long-term sanitary sewer agreement between the City of DuBois and Sandy Township became effective Sept. 1.

After months of Sandy Township-DuBois sewer committee meetings, the township supervisors unanimously approved the agreement at their Aug. 5 meeting. The city council then unanimously approved the agreement at its Aug. 12 meeting.

“I’m very pleased that we were able to get a long-term sanitary sewer agreement with the City of DuBois done,” said township Manager Shawn Arbaugh. “The sewer committees from both Sandy Township and the City of DuBois worked extremely long and hard to get this agreement executed. I commend the Sandy Township Board of Supervisors and the DuBois City Council for working together to get an agreement done that will improve the economy and water quality of the region. The agreement gives us long-term sustainability for the operation of our sanitary sewer system, and allows for a significant amount of future development within Sandy Township. I’m excited that we were able to put past issues between the municipalities aside, and create a positive solution for the residents and businesses of the area.”

“This was a joint venture both by the city officials and with the township officials, meaning that this was the committee that actually met several times and went back and forth with different ideas, different ways to handle this,” said city Manager John “Herm” Suplizio. “Although it may not be perfect for either community, it’s once again a good way to show that we can work together and do what’s best for the area that we represent.”

Suplizio noted sewer rates are going to continually increase.

“The city has to build a new sewage plant. Our sewage plant is over 50 years old, it’s pushing 60 years old,” said Suplizio. “With technology it’s probably over 70 years old. It’s time that we have to upgrade our sewage system and our plant is a big part of that. And this is going to cost in the neighborhood of about $45 million.”

Part of the 30-year sewer agreement between the two entities included the township enacting a resolution approving the city’s Act 537 Plan within 10 days from the date of the agreement. The township approved the resolution at its Aug. 19 meeting. The resolution was to be forwarded to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

The city’s present plant, located at 96 Guy Ave., was built in 1960. The plan will determine how large the city needs to construct its new sewage treatment plant because Falls Creek and the township are municipal customers of the city.

New sewer rates detailed in 30-year agreement between DuBois, Sandy Twp.

Details of a 30-year sewer service agreement between the City of DuBois and Sandy Township have recently been released.

Sewer rates

Beginning with 2020, the rate year will be April 1 through March 31. The rate year for 2019 will run from Sept. 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020. The city will charge the township the same residential and industrial rates that the city charges its residential and industrial customers.

During the term of the agreement, the city will calculate the township’s monthly bill for sewer service not to exceed the following rates:

Residential rates not to exceed:

  • $11 per 1,000 gallons for rate year 2019 (Sept. 1, 2019-March 31, 2020)
  • $12 per 1,000 gallons for rate year 2020 (April 1, 2020-March 31, 2021)
  • $13 per 1,000 gallons for rate year 2021
  • $14 per 1,000 gallons for rate year 2022
  • $15 per 1,000 gallons for rate year 2023

Usage calculations will be based upon water meter readings.

Industrial rates not to exceed:

  • $5 per 1,000 gallons for rate year 2019
  • $5.31 per 1,000 gallons for rate year 2020
  • $5.62 per 1,000 gallons for rate year 2021
  • $5.93 per 1,000 gallons for rate year 2022
  • $6.25 per 1,000 gallons for rate year 2023

Usage calculations will be based upon sanitary sewer meter readings.

Sanitary sewer rates for rate year 2024 through the end of the agreement:

The rates for the year 2024 through the end of the agreement will be calculated based upon the city’s audited sanitary sewer-related expenses and will maintain equal fees for city and township residential and industrial customers.

  • Auditing sanitary sewer expenses from the previous calendar year for sewer services including a 12 percent reserve fee;
  • Deducting the total non-township and non-city revenue for the sanitary sewer system (including, but not limited to, revenue from other contributing municipalities, bulk users, seepage received and industrial waste received) from the audited sewer expenses to determine the subtotal of expenses to be covered in the city and township residential rate.
  • Calculating a total amount of water consumed based upon end user water meters and reducing that number by the water use of the bulk users and the other contributing municipalities to arrive at a subtotal consumption by the city and township residential rate users.
  • The residential rate for the new rate year is calculated as A/B to determine the cost per 1,000 gallons.

User feeAll customers located within the township and the city who are connected to the city’s wastewater treatment plant will pay a monthly $5 user fee to fund the cost of the new wastewater treatment plant design, or the approval thereof, or until Nov. 31, 2021, whichever event should last occur. The fee will be removed upon completion and approval of the new wastewater treatment plant design.

Those interested in further details about the 8-page agreement may contact either the city or township.

Brandy Camp Creamery open in downtown St. Marys until end of September

ST MARYS — An ice cream truck in downtown St. Marys has taken the community by storm, offering handmade ice cream, created in Brandy Camp, seven days a week.

Brandy Camp Creamery came about around Christmas in 2018, when three local people with the dream of serving ice cream came together, said Co-Owner Meredith Bon.

Bon said the BCC crew is all originally from St. Marys, but had the opportunity to use the space of the Holy Cross Parish Center in Brandy Camp.

“We decided to name ourselves the Brandy Camp Crew, based on the old legendary story of land agent William Kersey, who owned a small camp in the village during its early history,” Bon says. “One day in Kersey’s absence, a work crew drank the bottle of brandy he kept on hand for personal use, and set the camp on fire. Hence the name ‘Brandy Camp.’

“Today the BCC and coffee crew continues the tradition of breaking the rules to enjoy the finest things in life,” she said.

BCC was started in Christmas of 2018 when Bon’s partner, Ray Knight, was approached by his friend and owner of The Sweet Shoppe in Kane, she said. Knight was looking for someone to buy the ice cream portion of his business.

“As a high school music teacher, Ray had a longtime dream of filling his summer vacations running an ice cream stand,” she said.

Knight, Bon and advisor Father Ross Miceli of St. Boniface Catholic Church in Kersey together provided enough team experience to start making ice cream, she said.

“The three of us have always had the ambition to be in business, so when this opportunity arose, we knew it was a great fit for us,” she said.

All of BCC’s ice cream is homemade and handmade, Bon said.

“There’s nothing else like it anywhere in the world,” she said. “We use a special blend of ice cream bases, supplied by Marburger Dairy in Evans City, whole crafting our own unique versions of already-popular flavors.”

BCC can also cater to its customers for special events, creating special flavors for occasions, Bon said.

All ice cream is made at the center in Brandy Camp, Bon said, and is served on The Diamond in St. Marys across from the Apollo Theatre, as well as at local fairs and festivals.

BCC hopes to get its labeling and packaging finalized for retail sales this fall, Bon adds.

“We love creating something special for people,” Bon said. “We love our community and the people we serve. It’s a joy to watch people light up as they try our ice cream for the first time.”

BCC is now open from 3-9 p.m. seven days a week. It will close toward the end of September.