Tipton water group asks township for mediation

BELLWOOD – Antis Township supervisors heard concerns on Thursday from two members of the Tipton Heights Water Association, who said the group’s private water line is reaching the end of its life.

Association President Richard Ward said there are 29 people who use the water line, and they maintain it themselves. There have been a number of breaks over the years, Ward said, and they are expecting more as the ground thaws. Water leakage has been costing members of the association about $47 a month on top of their existing water bills, he said.

The Altoona Water Authority, which supplies water to the association, told Ward and other members of the group that the line could be replaced for $250,000 and an additional $2,600 tap-on fee.

Members of the water association, Ward said, were looking for the township to help mediate discussions between the water association and the water authority. Board members agreed to allow township Manager Lucas Martsolf and solicitor Patrick Fanelli to meet with association members and authority representatives before the end of the month in hopes of reaching a fair solution.

“I think we owe it to these gentlemen as taxpayers,” said Supervisor Kenneth Hostler.

Ward said that water association leaders are organizing a meeting with all of the members for April 9 at the Tipton Fire Hall. He said letters were sent out to all 29 members, but only six responses were received.

Until the meeting occurs, the members of the water association are left to contend with the old pipe, and they’re hoping the potential damage is minimal.

“We’re sitting on a ticking time bomb,” Ward said.

In other business:

– Fanelli received approval to move forward with the township’s codification process, which will examine the township ordinances. He said that an initial review “found that there is some duplication and some areas that need to be clarified or simplified.”

No actual changes to the township’s code were approved at Monday’s meeting.

– The board approved the hiring of Richard Sutter to work on the application for a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The grant, Martsolf said, will help the township develop a comprehensive park plan. If approved, DCNR will also contribute to future construction or land acquisition projects, Martsolf said.

“This is a pretty significant grant that has a lot of potential for the township,” he said.

– The township will replace two damaged mailboxes for $70.33. The mailboxes were struck directly by snowplows during the winter, instead of being damaged by piles of snow.

Martsolf said that plows hitting mailboxes is a rare occurrence and that a number of other municipalities refund these damages. The vote sets a precedent that these damages will be paid by the township in the future, Martsolf said.

Mirror Staff Writer Paige Minemyer is at 946-7535.