RIMERSBURG – Rimersburg Borough Council on Monday night discussed the possibility of assessing a monthly maintenance fee for fire hydrants located in Madison, Toby and Brady townships.
Council president Roger Crick said that the borough adopted a tax three years ago to collect money from borough residents for fire hydrant maintenance, and now may be the time to approach the remaining three municipalities on the Rimersburg Municipal Authority water lines to collect similar fees.
Crick said the practice is standard in the industry, and Pennsylvania American Water currently collects $17.11 per month for each fire hydrant located in Sligo Borough.
Currently, the borough covers the cost to flush and repair the hydrants, and to replace them if they are damaged.
“We never did impose the fee,” he said, noting that some of the hydrants in certain areas are 30 or more years old. “It’s a ticking time bomb.”
Crick said that if the townships opt not to pay the fee, the authority could remove select hydrants. He noted, however, that the hydrants are there for the township’s property owners, and help bring down home insurance costs.
Borough secretary Dana Solida said that if the borough does decide to assess a fee, it would be best to begin at the start of 2019 so that the townships can factor the additional expense into their budgets.
Crick did note that he feels Toby Township should get some kind of discount or respite from the fee because the hydrants there were only recently installed as part of the water expansion project.
The council said it would refer the matter to the Rimersburg Municipal Authority for further discussion.
In other business at Monday’s meeting, Rimersburg officials agreed ask the borough solicitor to review a couple of changes to the town’s rental inspection ordinance.
Councilman Scott Myers said that following a Feb. 15 meeting with new rental inspector Rick Renwick, the Public Safety Committee recommended two changes.
First, the said, the ordinance would require the property owner or manager to accompany the inspector on all inspections.
The other change, Myers said, would set fines at a minimum of $100. He noted that property owners would continue to receive warnings and time to make repairs if needed.
“We’re not in this to make money, but for safety,” Crick said.
• Crick told the council that plans are moving forward to convert a piece of land the borough owns along Route 861 in Toby Township into a new brush dump, or better phrased, an “organic material recycling facility.”
While the borough land does not have access to Route 861, options exist for working with adjacent landowners to access the property, Crick said.
The land also runs adjacent to the former railroad bed, which is now under the direction of the Allegheny Valley Land Trust and the Redbank Valley Trails Association. He said information for the surveyor is being forwarded to the trail’s engineer for review.
• Officials noted that this summer’s street paving project — which will include paving on portions of Baker Street and Blue Row, and seal-coating on portions of School Street — will be put out for bid this month, with the awarding of the bid expected in April.
• The council unanimously agreed to contract with Public Alert to provide an automatic notification system to be used during emergencies in the borough and throughout the Rimersburg Municipal Authority customer area.
Officials noted that the borough will soon seek contact information from residents and water customers to enter into the new automatic calling system.