BURRELL TOWNSHIP: Officials look on bright side in gauging winter's burden
BLACK LICK — The bitter cold and snow-laden clouds that have brought mayhem to the region this winter do indeed have a silver lining.
Almost 70 percent more snow has fallen than last year, and the number of subzero temperature readings exceeds that of any winter in memory — yet there is a bright spot.
Get ready for this.
The cold has been so consistent that there have been no freeze-thaw cycles that usually leave mud and potholes in their wake.
“That’s the only plus to it,” said John Shields, of the Burrell Township board of supervisors.
At their monthly business meeting Wednesday, the supervisors assessed winter’s burden on the township.
“We haven’t crunched the numbers exactly, but we definitely are over budget for manpower and materials,” said Supervisor Chairman Larry Henry. “The overtime has been high.”
In the battle against the winter weather, Henry said the township crews still hold the upper hand.
With about 30 days remaining before the official arrival of spring, the township remained two steps ahead of the game with the delivery of two truckloads of road salt Wednesday, he said.
“The supply is not as good as we would like it to be, but we’re doing all right so far,” Henry said. “Fortunately we had enough stockpiled before the bad weather; we kept up with it and never ran out.”
Long before winter began, the township contracted with American Rock Salt for 250 tons of road salt but has had 426 tons delivered so far this winter — including approximately 50 tons that arrived Wednesday, Henry said. The township has spent $28,000 on road salt this season.
Next year, Henry said, the township will reserve 500 tons, but hope not to use it all. Under supply contracting, the township is committed to buy 60 percent of its order.
He does not expect the township to have any difficulty putting 300 tons to use next winter.
In further good news for the township, the supervisors reported that Indiana Insurance and local agent Charles Houser have refunded a dividend of $11,523.12 to the township as a reward for filing few claims.
“This is based on the good overall claims experience as measured over the last three years,” Houser told the supervisors in a letter accompanying the check.
Others like it were sent to seven other municipalities in Indiana County, for a total of more than $25,000 in good-customer dividends.
The township has its business auto, property, workers compensation and general liability policies through Indiana Insurance. Combined with policies for the other municipalities, the plans are bundled through EMC Companies and Best Insurance Group, which share their profits with public entities that have a good claims history.
“I can assure you that dividends of this type are hard to come by,” Houser wrote. “I hope to be able to deliver another one next year.”
The supervisors also reported that plans are under review for a new restaurant along Route 22 to replace the Pizza Hut/KFC that was heavily damaged by fire March 22. The building later was declared a total loss.
The design calls for Pizza Hut and Taco Bell to operate independent restaurants in a building of about the same size as the former one. The restaurants will run separately, unlike the hybrid Pizza Hut and Kentucky Fried Chicken eatery that used one kitchen and one dining room to serve both menus, the supervisors said.
The township’s consulting engineer, James Garvin, of Blairsville, reported in a letter to the board that the developer’s plan complies with the township’s subdivision and land development ordinance. The plan next needs approval of the Burrell Township Sewer Authority and a sewer tap permit before work can begin.
The developer also owes the township a $750 plan review fee, according to the engineer’s letter.
The supervisors approved agreements with Sunoco Logistics, of Harrisburg, which plans to excavate and replace pipelines along Lintner Road and Villa Road. Sunoco reported in its application that the work would require three days of good weather to complete, and should be finished by April 1.
In their public announcements, the supervisors reported that suppliers’ bids on summer road maintenance materials would be opened at 1 p.m. March 13, and encouraged residents to support the Black Lick fire department’s fundraising submarine sandwich sales this year on April 5, May 3, July 12, Aug. 2, Sept. 6 and Oct .4
This story edited at 3:40 p.m. to include rock salt amounts, costs and contract information.