SHARON Council bans street cuts by National Fuel Gas

Emergency repairs of gas-line breaks would be excluded from the ban.
SHARON, Pa. -- City council has banned National Fuel Gas from cutting into any more streets until it finishes restoring its previous work sites in town.
Council voted unanimously Thursday to forbid street cutting permits, except in emergency repairs of line breaks.
Councilman Lou Rotunno introduced the motion, saying he was tired of getting complaints from residents whose property and neighborhoods have been left a mess as a result of work done by the gas company.
He said the Maple Way and Harris Street areas on the city's West Hill were left in particularly bad condition.
Some of the unfinished cleanup and landscaping dates back more than a year, Rotunno said.
He's brought the issue up at council meetings before but nothing has been done about it, he said.
Enforcing the ban will require the city to change the way it deals with the utility company's street cuts.
The gas company doesn't normally come to the city each time it needs to cut into a street, said Mayor Robert T. Price. The city has been billing the company after the fact monthly, tabulating how many cuts are made and then charging the company for the permits instead of issuing the permits first, he said.
Other business: In other business, council voted to give the Mercer County Area Agency on Aging Inc. $100,000 over a three-year period to help it expand its new senior community and geriatric center on North Buhl Farm Drive in Hermitage.
The agency had asked for the financial help last year. The money will be taken from Sharon's annual federal Community Development Block Grant at the rate of $33,333 each year, beginning next year.

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