As the second batch of the county’s bridge consolidation program kicks off, Lycoming County commissioners have pointed to the program as an example of communities working together to accomplish work that would otherwise be financially out of reach.
“We’re coming together as a community to help each other with the $5 we’re paying debt service on the PIB (Pennsylvania Infrastructure Bank) loan,” said commissioner Rick Mirabito.
The levy is attached to vehicle registrations collected by the state and accrues to the county, earmarked for the repair and replacement of bridges. A certain amount of funding comes from individual municipalities.
Following the recent launch of the second batch of the county’s bridge consolidation program, two commissioners shared that they had received calls from residents wondering why they had to pay the $5 fee because they lived in a municipality. where no bridge was being repaired.
“They would like us to end the $5 fee…one person said, ‘We don’t fix a bridge in our township, so why should I pay it?’ » said Mirabito.
“You know, everything is going around, including bridges that are deteriorating, and eventually there will probably be a bridge in every municipality in this county that will be fixed,” he added.
Commissioner Tony Mussare also shared that a constituent asked him about the fees, but once she realized 100% of the money was going to rebuild bridges, she understood the benefits.
“It’s been that way from the start…they questioned it, argued and once you explained it, it was like it was probably the best tax we’ve ever had,” said Mussare.
One municipality, Franklin Township, has about 900 residents and a bridge needed to be repaired, at an estimated cost of $340,000. Because the program is designed so that participating municipalities pay only 20% of project costs, the township is able to replace the bridge for $17,000, according to Austin Daily, the county’s transportation planner.
In its update on the bridge consolidation project, Daily told commissioners at their weekly meeting that work on the Franklin Township Bridge began earlier this month and the bridge is expected to be reopened by the end of the month. at the end of May.
Not only does the bridge consolidation program reduce costs for municipalities, it also relieves local authorities of the burden of managing a construction project of this magnitude.
“The project management work is very important. County staff, Bassett Engineering, PennDot, who would fall on the shoulders of supervisors and municipalities who almost serve as volunteers and run a construction project like this is a lot,” said Mirabito.
Securing funding for a large project could also go beyond a small community on its own, Mirabito pointed out.
“I hope people in the community will realize that’s what the word community means, right?” It means we help each other,” said Mirabito.
Daily also noted that municipalities not involved in current bridge protection projects asked how to get involved.
In other actions, the commissioners approved the following expenditures:
• A change order with RLS Construction Group for the construction of the Health and Wellness Center, $1,300.
• Purchase of landfill tarps from AAA Tarps, $13,958.
• Purchase of Carbonate Scale Control for Resource Management Services from General Products & Supply, Inc., $22,572.
• A change order with Fairbank Scales for the landfill scale reconstruction project, $33,883.
• Purchase of a replacement CAT generator control panel for Cleveland Brother Equipment Company, Inc. Resource Management Services, $30,055.
• A change order with Skyhook, Inc., for radio tower work, including labor, $28,300.
• A change order with Larson Design Group for work on the access driveway at the Timber Run Industrial Park, extending the contract to the end of July, $4,877 for design work.
All of the above expenses were 2022 budget items.
Commissioners also approved agreements with Citizens and Northern Bank Wealth Management for an updated fee schedule on accounts and a subrecipient agreement with Old Lycoming Township for a clean water action plan grant for Bottle Run Creek Restoration Project.
They also approved the municipal waste planning grant project with the Department of Environmental Protection. It was noted that this is updated every 10 years.
The next meeting of Commissioners will be April 28 at 10:00 a.m. in the Board Room of Commissioners, First Floor Executive Plaza, 330 Pine St.