The regular meeting of the Starrucca Borough Council was held Monday, with the focus being balancing the 2013 budget and the opening of the bids on the Shadigee Creek Wall project.
The Emergency Watershed Project, which is the repair of the Shadigee Creek Wall that has plagued the borough for years, went out for bid on Nov. 20.
"We had 19 firms show up, and we've received 10 bids," president Paul Everett said.
He also said current council "got lucky" and went "begging for dimes" to fund the project and that "we are damn lucky to find what we did.."
Everett also said the project "is fully funded by NRCS and DEP" up to a certain amount, and that the borough is only "responsible for routine repair, not catastrophic failure."
The meeting continued with the opening of the 10 received bids. Everett said "we are announcing bids tonight, not accepting" them. He also said after the bids were opened they "must be turned over to NRCS."
He added if the bids were to exceed the amount of grant money the borough received, council will ask for the agreement to be modified to reflect the bids received. The borough is currently slated to receive funding for approximately 75 percent of the project from NRCS with DEP picking up the remaining 25 percent up to a certain amount. The dollar amount of funding received was not announced, Everett said, was because he "didn't want bidders influenced by the dollar amount" the borough received.
The bids were received in sealed envelopes and opened during the meeting. The total of the bids are as follows, and appear in the order read at the meeting:
* ME Soden, Inc: $188,000.00
* Rutledge Excavating: $107,700
* H.B. Sproul Construction: $181,610.00
*Stracka Construction Co.: $210,160.00
*Adams Enterprises (Endless Mountains Business Holdings): $187,617.00
* Leeward Construction: $198,475.00
*Pioneer Construction: $277,405.00
*James T. O'Hara, Inc.: $330,000.00
*Minichi Contracting Group: $238,000.00
*Hayden's Construction: $182,191.00
All of the bids received came in over the NRCS/DEP grant price. Everett said they will "go back to the funding agencies" and attempt to receive more funding for the project.
Secretary Pat Schneyer presented the Auditor General's report on the PennDOT liquid fuels audit for Jan. 1, 2009-Dec. 31, 2010.
Schneyer said "there was a discrepancy found in the 2009 account," which was compounded by there being "no documentation for certain transfers to and from liquid fuels."
She read a letter received from PennDOT, stating their review of the audit report. The letter read the audit was "reviewed" and it has been determined "the borough should reimburse $7,679.91" to PennDOT. The letter also stated that "future liquid fuels allocations are contingent on reimbursement."
Schneyer said the dollar amount in question is "equal to the exact amount of three checks written out of the General Fund" to cover winter maintenance.
Everett said the 2008 council chose to spend $18,000 on the Buck Bridge project from the general fund. He went on to say "when the 2009 liquid fuels came in, the government chose to transfer the money" from the liquid fuels account to the general fund.
He said they will make the argument "that the transfer was for winter maintenance," and that they should not have to reimburse PennDOT for the funds.
Schneyer said "there were two outstanding invoices, one for Miller Brothers and one for Pennsylvania Department of Transportation."
This situation "is just a small part of the mess that was the 2009 report," she said. There is also "nothing in the minutes" and "they never even motioned to pay winter maintenance out of the general fund."
Council is also optimistic that with the explanation, accompanied with the copy of the invoices, that PennDOT will not make the borough repay the funds.
After receiving the review from PennDOT, the 2013 budget needed to be amended.
"It is our duty to present a balanced budget," which must now have the added $7,679.91 to the expenses for the borough. If that money does not have to be repaid, the budget can be modified later.
After discussion by council, it was decided to adjust the amount alloted for the solicitor.
The solicitor fund was adjusted from $5,000 to $2,607.09, which brought the budget to dead even with incomes and expenses zeroing out at $55,843.
A motion was made by council to accept the amended budget for publication.