New Castle News

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March 22, 2014

Neshannock to lease new equipment

NEW CASTLE — The Neshannock Township supervisors will lease-to-own a new dump truck and mower.

But funds to pay for them will come from a different line in the township’s budget.

Supervisors Steve Demofonte and chairman Joe Gierlach had anticipated using unanticipated capital reserve funds to make annual lease payments of $35,141.31 including 3 percent interest for five years. But when supervisor Ed Stevens opposed the purchase, capital reserve funds could not be used.

Instead, the supervisors will use tax dollars to make the payments, budgeting funds over the next five years.

The supervisors had received an unanticipated tax payment of $100,000 for 2013. They had announced plans to spend about $47,000 of it for a new salt shed and to split the rest between the road and sewer departments. The new equipment would be the road department’s share.

The equipment, purchased through the state costars program, secures a new 1-ton dump truck for $75,550 and a new tractor for $90,622.12. Since the equipment is purchased from the state list, no bid is necessary. The lease-purchase will be through Walsh Equipment.

Stevens questioned if the township should be spending money when officials do not yet know how much they will be paying for road salt and overtime pay due to the unusually severe winter.

“Is it necessary to buy a truck at this time?” he asked.

“We need it for safety,” Gierlach said. The existing truck will not pass inspection, he said, and the township’s mower is about 20 years old.

The supervisors were also asked about Millennium Park and what it has cost the township to date in legal fees.

Township officials said about $150,000 has been spent on lawsuits. One lawsuit is against Kirila Construction of Brookfield, Ohio, which was hired to install part of the Millennium sewer line but allegedly defaulted before the project was completed. Gierlach said a settlement is close with Kirila.

Another lawsuit is pending against the Lawrence County Economic Development Corp. The township contends it is owed about $1.2 million but will not see funds from the development corporation until property is sold. Economic development is considering entering a lease for gas drilling rights and the township will receive nothing from that transaction, township secretary Leslie Bucci explained at the supervisors’ public meeting.

Stevens said the economic development corporation already has paid the township $280,000 to satisfy a lien placed by the township.

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