By Paul Chasko
The February 14 regular meeting of the Union Township (UT) board of supervisors was preceded by a public hearing on a Conditional Use Permit that would allow Chesapeake Energy to begin Marcellus Shale drilling on Trax Farm property.
There were a number of Chesapeake representatives at the hearing to answer questions posed by UT Board members. The issue that seemed to be of most concern to the UT board was noise and methods used by Chesapeake for noise abatement during its drilling and fracking operations. Supervisor Tullai commented that the projected noise levels were quite high. Other concerns of the board seemed to have been resolved since the first Conditional Use Permit Hearing held on January 24. Testimony was closed on this hearing at 7:00 pm. The board planned to study the input from residents and Chesapeake and make their decision on the permit known at special meeting that was held at 6:00 pm on February 28.
It appears that Chesapeake wants this first Marcellus drilling project in the area to go as smoothly as possible. The drilling rig and other heavy equipment will be transported to the prepared Trax Farm drilling site just off Route 88 in March. A joint meeting between the UT Board, Chesapeake and Ringgold School Board representatives is being set up to assure that deliveries of heavy equipment and materials will not interfere with school bus trips.
Attendance at the February 14 UT board meeting enjoined after the above reported hearing was very light, with only two attendees. All board members were present as well as the Secretary/Treasurer, Solicitor, Engineer, Zoning and Code Enforcement Officers and the Road Crew Foreman.
Significant motions passed:
• Payment to Woltz-Wind Ford for two dump trucks ($129,660)
• Order a new roller for road patching ($44,240)
• Quotes solicited for a Twp Bldg security camera system (Estimated cost $10,000)
• 2011 payrolls #2 and #3 approved ($19,904.07).
• Payment of general fund bills approved ($77,184.90)
• Resignation of Mr. Bernie Wagner as a member of the UT Planning Commission and the UT representative to the West Elizabeth Sanitary Authority (WESA) Board was accepted with regrets.
• Résumés or letters of interest requested for membership on the UT Planning Commission and for a UT representative on the WESA Board (accepted until March 14).
One of the issues discussed at this meeting concerned the new Elrama Sewage System. A significant number of residents on the new sewage system are failing to keep up with their payments. The problem is serious. According to the Secretary/Treasurer, UT is owed over $10,000 in back sewage bill payments and the amount is building daily. UT must pay a portion of this to satisfy the debt service and obligations to the processing plant (WESA). Letters have been sent out to residents threatening to have their water shut off but UT would be burdened with the costs for the shut-off. The board feels their best option where this situation exists is to shut off the sewage lines to residents not making payments. According to the solicitor, this is a legal option. Of course, if residents continue to attempt to use the system, sewage would then back up into their homes. According to board advisors, UT would not be responsible for any damages. Estimates for installation of shut-off valve mechanisms are being obtained.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 March 2011 20:14