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BLAIRSVILLE: Officials scale back street project due to cost

by on July 17, 2014 10:55 AM

BLAIRSVILLE — The spiraling cost of road paving materials has forced Blairsville Borough officials to scale back the planned summer street resurfacing project.

Bid prices came in at least 37 percent higher than last year, based on figures that suppliers offered Tuesday to sell Blairsville 421 tons of asphalt for paving four local streets.

The borough council accepted the low bid from El Grande Industries, of Monessen, Westmoreland County, at $107 a ton, and at Borough Manager Tim Evans’ recommendation, curtailed paving of West Ranson Avenue because they won’t be able to buy the planned amount. The borough planned to spend only $30,000, but the cost of 421 tons, based on El Grande’s bid, would be $45,047.

Last year, Blairsville paid $78 a ton, Evans said.

Bentley Drive, Comcast Drive and Serrell Drive remain the target areas for community resurfacing work. Council also approved a request from the Young Men’s Volunteer Fire Department for a $9,700 share of “Act 13” money — the borough’s allocation of impact fees collected by the state from natural gas well drilling companies. The fire department will use the money for repaving the parking lot at the fire station, using material from El Grande at the same price offered for the street paving project.

Evans updated council on the study of recycling program options, reporting that the Indiana County Solid Waste Authority has offered to start a curbside collection of cans and bottles at a monthly fee of $2 to $3 per house.

Evans said he would ask Waste Management Inc., the area trash collector, for an estimate for recycling pickup.

Council has been exploring choices in light of the rising cost of maintaining the current recycling program, which has town residents dropping off recyclable materials in trailers stationed at the municipal building.

The borough originally covered all the costs of the program by selling the materials to the recycling center. But combining the loss of recyclable cardboard with the closing of the BiLo supermarket, with the higher labor expense of having borough workers sort out rubbish that’s been deposited in the trailers, the project now is draining money from Blairsville’s budget.

“At a cost of $15,000 on a little borough like us, when one mill of tax brings in $22,000, that’s quite a bit of man-hours,” Evans said. Even without the recycling program, the borough has been paying more wages for maintenance of additional park and trail property, he said, so the additional cost of the recycling project has become prohibitive.

“We sometimes have to put up signs saying ‘no dropoff’ because the trailers are full and we can’t get to them,” Evans said. “I guess if we had no recycling program close, we would keep plugging away. But since it’s right there in Homer City, we have an option.”

Evans said council probably would be asked to choose among four possibilities: Set up curbside collection through the solid waste authority, start a collection program with Waste Management, keep the trailer drop-off program as it is, or end it all and direct residents to take their recyclables to the county center along Route 119 in Center Township.

In other business,

• Council accepted the resignation of police officer Eric Callen and authorized Mayor Ronald Evanko and Police Chief Michael Allman to screen applicants and hire two part-time police officers.

Evanko told council that several part-time officers have left the department over the past year, and that the department sometimes has trouble scheduling officers because many part-timers also work at other departments.

• Learned from Leann Chaney, of the Blairsville Community Development Authority, that the BCDA website,, is now “live.” The site features a community events calendar and a form allowing users to submit information for the calendar.

Chaney also reported BCDA continues to accept applications from vendors for the Knotweed Festival on Aug. 16.

• Accepted a letter of interest from Jennifer Nadzadi and appointed her to the BCDA board.

Chauncey Ross is the Gazette’s fixture at Indiana Area and Homer-Center school board meetings, has been seen with pen and notepad in area police stations and courts, and is something of an Open Records Act and Sunshine Law advocate. He also manages the Gazette’s websites and answers your questions about them.
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