December 28, 2012
WILKES-BARRE TWP. – Council on Wednesday passed two resolutions to apply for $1.36 million in gaming funds for new police cars and sewage transmission improvements.
Township Administrator Michael Revitt said fine print in the application for gaming funds from the Commonwealth Financing Authority states that copies of resolutions authorizing the grant applications passed by a municipality's governing body must accompany applications this year.
Even though there were multiple cancellations of meetings on Wednesday because of the snow and ice storm that hit the area, Revitt said the council meeting couldn't be canceled because the grant applications are due Monday.
One resolution authorizes Revitt to apply for a grant for $110,000 toward the purchase of four Ford Police Interceptor vehicles. The township's matching share will be $23,872.
Revitt said the township has about 14 vehicles in its police fleet, the newest and most dependable of which is 10 years old and has 160,000 miles on it. He said the new vehicles will provide substantially better gas mileage; the old ones will likely be junked.
The second resolution authorizes Revitt to apply for $1 million to be used toward sewer line and infrastructure improvements. The township's local match will be $250,775.
One sewage improvement project entails the installation of new lines and upgrading a pump station to accommodate a 120-unit senior housing development at Wilkeswood Apartments behind Lowe's Home Improvement Center.
Another project entails upgrading sewer lines along East Northampton Street, which will allow Clearbrook Manor in Laurel Run to tap into the the new lines and operate at full capacity.
Revitt said Clearbrook has invested more than $10 million into revamping facilities there, but the drug and alcohol treatment facility can't increase residential clients because it's on a septic system that can't handle the flow.
In addition to benefiting Laurel Run, Revitt said upgrading those lines also will benefit the township because doing so will make the former Penn State Belt & Buckle Factory site more attractive to developers. The factory has been demolished and the township owns the property.
Councilmen Jerry Shinal, John Jablowski Jr., Michael Wildes and President Michael Sromovski voted to approve the resolutions. Councilwoman Katie Arnone was absent.
Before the meeting, Revitt noted that the township received about 100 calls from residents who said they paid their Wilkes-Barre Area School District property taxes but received notices in the mail stating that they did not.
He said the township does not handle school taxes and inquiries should be directed to the district or to Berkheimer, the district's tax collecting agency.
Council meets at 7 p.m. Jan. 7 in the municipal building.