Officials look for incentives
By Mary Grzebieniak
Mahoning Township officials said they are looking for tax or other incentives they can offer to bring the proposed racetrack in the north part of the township.
Supervisor Vito Yeropoli said that a tax abatement would be well worth it because of the 1,000 to 2,000 jobs the track would bring.
Township Solicitor Lou Perrotta said, “We want to be accommodating and keep our options open.”
Development of the stalled racetrack project could make a significant difference in the monthly user fees township residents will have to pay once they are on the sanitary sewer currently being constructed along U.S. Route 224 in Edinburg.
At Tuesday’s meeting, several residents said they are worried about how high the user fees will be.
Yeropoli said the fee will not be as low as $50 per month, but neither would it reach $150.
The tap-in fee has not been set but money will be available to help low to moderate income residents tap in.
The township will learn July 20 if it has been awarded $7 million in additional grant money in the latest funding round. They have already been turned down several times for the additional competitive grant money although the township has already received $10 million in loans and $6 million in grants for the sewer project.
If new grant money is awarded it will allow the township to build Phase 2 of the sewer and extend the line to side streets which will add 200 more users, thereby lowering monthly fees for the 400 homes in the first phase.
The side streets had to be cut from the first phase as a cost-saving measure.
The third phase would include the racetrack but the project’s future is uncertain since it was sold in bankruptcy sale and the buyer is now negotiating for financing the project.
Some residents questioned why the sewer line had to be built and why residents with faulty septic tanks were not instead given the option to repair them.
Greg DelPrincipe, consultant for RAR Engineering said that once the Department of Environmental Protection tested area soil, it did not even discuss repair of septic tanks but instead ordered the township to proceed with a sanitary sewer system.
Township Solicitor Lou Perrotta said the township would have faced heavy fines if it did not comply.
Some residents questioned what will happen if they do not hook on.
Perrotta replied that the township’s ordinance requires residents to hook onto the line and home-owners who do not hook up could face liens on their property or a court order to comply.
Officials told residents it would help if they contacted their state representatives and urged them to push in Harrisburg for grants for the township.
Also Tuesday, Yeropoli said that cameras are now set up to catch illegal dumpers at the township building. Out-of-towners and those who put trash on the ground when trash receptacles are full could be fined up to $300 for littering.
Supervisors approved random drug testing for township employees who drive trucks and provided that a first positive test will require counseling and suspension from any safety sensitive job and a second will result in job termination. A policy is required by the township’s insurance company.