DUBOIS – A Sandy Township supervisor and area resident have plans to revive the proposed consolidation of the township and DuBois City.
Supervisor Sam Mollica and resident Barry Abbott revealed their plans for a citizen’s petition at Monday night’s DuBois City Council meeting.
The proposed consolidation effort was terminated earlier this month when the supervisors voted, 4-1. Mollica was the sole vote in favor of consolidation.
“I really don’t want to see it end,” Mollica said. “The other option available to us is to have a citizen’s petition.”
The supervisors’ vote to terminate the consolidation process followed their receipt of poll results of area citizens.
The poll revealed that city residents were strongly in favor of consolidation while the township had mixed results.
In Sandy Township, 53 percent were in favor but only 49 percent would have voted for the consolidation as of the day of the poll.
Because of the narrow margin, the supervisors – including those in favor of consolidation – voted to terminate the process due to the time/money involved.
“They were worried they’d spend so much money,” said Mollica, adding that on June 7, it was believed the cost to Sandy Township would be $100,000.
However, he said it was learned at the township’s June 21 meeting that it was a combined cost of $100,000 with the township’s share to be $50,000.
On Monday, Mollica told city officials that the cost would have been $36,000 for each municipality to develop plans for a new combined government.
“I can’t see how they would be against a citizen’s petition as it wouldn’t cost the township anything,” said Mollica.
The citizen’s petition route doesn’t require any planning and related costs, he said, unless the measure passes a voter referendum.
According to Mollica, in order to have the proposed consolidation on November’s ballot, there needs to be two identical petitions.
Petitions must be signed by residents of both municipalities, and the number of signatures required is determined by the last governor’s election.
To that end, DuBois City would need to collect 166 signatures in favor of consolidation and Sandy Township would need 219.
The Pennsylvania Economy League will help Mollica ensure both petitions are identical. He said the petitions must be unified in language regarding the:
- form of government of the new municipality.
- name of the new municipality.
- number of elected officials, as well as how they will be elected and when.
Liberty Boulevard Recreation Area
Also, on Monday night, council voted to transfer funds from existing Community Development Block Grant programs to the Liberty Boulevard Recreation Area.
This pools existing funds from the FFY 2018, 2019 and 2020 CDBG funds to complete the recreation area.
The vote also modifies the 2018 CDBG program to “delete” the funds allocated towards the Stern Baseball Field improvements.
And the $249,982 allocated for a new pumper fire truck in the 2020 CDBG program will be reallocated to the recreation area, as well.
Councilwoman Diane Bernardo questioned why city officials planned to “delete” funding for the new pumper truck.
Redevelopment Director and Assistant Public Works Superintendent Joe Mitchell explained that CDBG funds have “use it or lose it” requirements.
He said the funding needs to be used within three years and projects need to be within three consecutive years.
“We are exploring another avenue of funding for the pumper truck,” said Mitchell.