JOHNSONBURG--When asked directly by Johnsonburg Municipal Authority (JMA) Chairman James Reinsburrow if the installation of the new 12" water line between the 3rd Avenue tank and the main supply pipe for the Borough along 219 will solve the problems experienced by the system since it was first turned on, Senior Engineer Andy Johnson of Gwin Dobson & Foreman (GD&F) was cautiously optimistic.
"This will not solve all of the problems on the system, but it should address the pressure issue being experienced by customers in many areas of the town."
At an emergency meeting last Tuesday, the JMA authorized $294,570 for emergency upgrades to the new water plant. As proposed by GD&F and endorsed by JHA Engineer Travis Long and Water Plant Operator Ken Cadwell, the solution involves installing a new 12" water line between the Third Avenue tank down to the main distribution line that follows the old route of 219. The proposal put forward to the board would have the work performed by current contractor Continental Construction. Two 12" lines, 3 12" valves, 2 6" tie-ins, and a new 12" tie-in on the Third Avenue tank would be included in the price of $294,570 and consists of the material, labor, and landscaping after the work is completed. In a rare split vote of 4-2, the project was approved by the JMA.
Several hundred feet of 12" pipe (specifically the exterior diameter of the welded pipe with an interior measurement of around 10 1l2") has already arrived on site from the Contractor. JMA Board members expressed concerns that this project may not be completed before the arrival of winter. While not ideal, Continential Construction said they could perform the job at last week's meeting even if the temperature drops and snow is on the ground.
As part of the project, the JMA agreed to pay $10,000 to the Park's family for the right-of-way permission on their property which is the best path for the new water line to be installed. Earl Park, Vice-Chairman of the JMA, abstained from the vote that passed with only one member dissenting.
Adrina Bevacqua was hired by the JMA Board as a water0distribution technician for the authority at a rate of $20.00 per hour, with full-time status and attached benefits. The JMA also approved the second part of a raise to hourly laborers for the authority of $0.30 per hour. This is in addition to the $.070 raise approved in the spring and brings the total wages for employees up a $1.00/hour. This increase will be shown on next week's check and will be retroactive to September 1.
The JMA General Manager Dan Newell and his office staff have been working diligently to address accounts that are in arrears over the last year. At one time, the JMA had arrears approaching the $300,000 mark, but that has been whittled down to around $75,000. The office staff has been working with customers to set up payment plans for past due balances and has been very successful, with over a dozen people now on a structured program. Those customers who have not reached out to the JMA and past due balances have already been sent out shut-off notices. The JMA will begin performing the termination of water services on October 15. Customers in arrears are urged to contact JMA immediately at (814) 965-4218 to set up a plan, or they would be required to pay a set-up fee to restore service once it has been terminated.
Competitive bids of chemicals, lab work, restoration, and emergency excavation for 2022 have been sent out this month with due dates before the November 10 meeting so that the JMA can award yearly contacts at the November meeting.
The Johnsonburg Municipal Authority and its employees have invited the Johnsonburg Borough Employees, Law Enforcement, and Council members to an employee appreciation luncheon to be coordinated between the two entities. Borough Council President: Alfred J. Maletto, present at the JMA meeting, graciously agreed to the proposal.
The JMA is reminding customers in the Avenues that ongoing valve replacement work may necessitate the temporary shutdown of water to homes in the area. Customers are encouraged to call the JMA if they are without water for an extended period of time.
Copies of the 2020 Audit for the JMA were passed out to the board members and deliver to the Borough Council. The Audit noted no indications of fraud, and JMA Management quickly corrected minor reporting issues with no loss to the authority.
The longstanding contract with Jones Township will be under review by the JMA for 2022, with JMA Solicitor Rick Brown noting that the 42-year contract with the township requires that Jones Township customers pay the same rate for service as customers in Johnsonburg proper.
Financial reports were all reviewed and accepted by the board's unanimous vote, and no discrepancies were noted. The next scheduled meeting of the JMA Board is set for November 10, beginning at 4 p.m. at the Municipal Authority headquarters on Market Steet. The public is invited to attend.