Money to ‘waste’

Pennsylvania will be putting some money to ‘waste’ in Warren.

At a special meeting Monday, Warren City Council approved a state grant and loan package for improvement work on the city’s wastewater treatment system.

Funding will go toward completion of improvements to the city’s wastewater treatment plant and pump stations, which are projected to cost approximately $24,525,000.

On Jan. 22, the city was awarded a $4,508,277 grant through the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) program. The grant is accompanied by a low-interest loan of $19,491,723 provided at a one percent interest rate over 30 years.

According to council member Dr. Howard Ferguson, council “approved the whole package. Both the grant and the loan portions” on Monday.

PENNVEST funding is being supplemented with a local contribution of approximately $525,000 toward the project.

Council member Sam Harvey explained that the city has spent, “about $300,000,” on engineering work for the project, noting that the figure was not an exact number. He said the city has more money earmarked for further engineering expenses, which will make up the bulk of local contributions for the project.

“This is a project that has to be done in order for us to be compliant with the environmental laws,” Harvey added.

In a press release dated Jan. 22, State Sen. Joe Scarnati praised the project saying it will, “protect local water supplies.”

The project, according to the release, will bring the city into compliance with Pennsylvania’s Clean Water and Clean Streams Acts.

The Scarnati release also claimed the project would generate 100 new jobs in the area.

“This PENNVEST financing is an extremely significant investment in our region,” the release said.

Following the award of the funding, city had only 30 to 45 days to accept the investment package.

According to Ferguson, Mike Holtz, the city’s director of public works, will serve as the city’s representative on the project.

The meeting also marked council’s formal receipt of the resignation of council member Chris Park.

Park wrote the city in late January explaining he had purchased a home outside of the city limits, making him ineligible to serve.

While discussion of appointment of a replacement for Park was on the agenda for Monday night, according to Ferguson, “We did not come to closure on that issue.”

Council will hold a special meeting to handle the appointment in the coming weeks. The position must be filled within 30 days of Park’s Jan. 22 resignation.