Supervisors Discuss Camptown School, OK Purchase of New Truck
Wyalusing Township supervisors met on June 7 and expressed concerns over what might happen to two properties within their jurisdiction—the former Welles Mill site, the clearing of which is nearing completion, and Camptown Elementary School, which has recently been put on the market by the Wyalusing Area School District. Chairman Marvin Meteer told school board president Deborah Stethers, who was one of only a handful of residents in attendance, that recent reports that the school board might consider selling the Camptown building (and three other elementary schools to be closed) through a realtor troubled him.
“Our concern as a township is that handling this through a realtor could create a situation where the property is sold, then the purchaser decides what they want to use the property for,” Meteer suggested. “Sometimes they come to us, and sometimes they just go ahead and do it, which may not be compatible with our zoning laws.”
A private sale, he surmised, would give the school district more control over how the building and property might be used, and he asked Stethers to reaffirm the school district’s interest in doing what is best for the community, which she did.
“I’d hate to see anyone spend a tidy sum of money on that property and find out that they can’t do what they want with it,” township secretary Maxine Meteer concurred, before suggesting that perhaps the township should draft a formal notice to the school district to express their concerns.
The school district has, in fact, decided to initially negotiate private sales of all four buildings, noting that there has been significant interest in each one. “Even if we (eventually) decide to go with Century 21,” Stethers explained, “we still have the final say.”
The supervisors would also like to know more about the intentions of Shoval Enterprises of Wilkes-Barre for the Welles Mill site along Route 6. “We have no idea what they are going to do with it,” Marvin Meteer related. “We want to see things happen. We want progress. But there’s a good way for those things to happen.” He noted that one drawback for developers is that the township does not have the infrastructure in terms of sewer and water hookups that would “make us better neighbors.”
“It’s much easier to be welcoming if (potential developers) come to you ahead of time and tell you what their plan is,” Mrs. Meteer added.
Tennessee Gas has contacted the township recently to update its plans to complete two gas pipeline projects through the township, which are slated for installment this year and next. The proposal includes a list of access roads that the company promises to maintain at a cost shared by the various companies that will share in its construction and use. One new element of the contract raised eyebrows among the supervisors, including Arthur Allyn and Lanny Stethers. Henkels & McCoy Contractors, who are partners in the project, have agreed to reimburse the township for road repair projects, Marvin Meteer explained, “But they want us to provide maintenance and repair estimates to them prior to any work being done. Typically, a road agreement says that they are going to maintain it,” he said, referring to the current contract with Tennessee Gas. The problem with the new wording, he suggested, “is that they won’t fix it right away.” The chairman sought the approval of the other supervisors to inform Tennessee Gas officials that they are not satisfied with the new clause and that the township would prefer to maintain the terms of the former contract, a proposal with which Stethers and Allyn readily agreed.
Chesapeake Energy spokesman Jeff Scarborough notified the township with a two-year plan for building a pad at the Merryall Well on Township Road and the Wildonger Well on Valleyview Road, both of which they will need access permits from the township. Permission will likely be granted, Marvin Meteer related, “But we’d like to see them do something with Township Road before they do that. It’s a very dirty, dusty road now.” Overall, Meteer noted later in the meeting, Chesapeake has a very good track record with the township in reconstructing roadways before and after drilling activity in a given area.
One of the final acts of business was the approval of purchase of a 2011 GMC Sierra 3500 truck with a nine-foot plow, step bars, rotating top light, and steel deflector. Stethers congratulated Allyn for his efforts, which included months of research and bargaining through a state agency called COSTARS, which helped the township save about 32 percent on the retail purchase cost of the truck. Even with the extra-wide plow and the step bars, the much needed winter maintenance vehicle will cost the township only $28,534.
Allyn also discussed the needs for some general repairs and the addition of downstairs interior lighting at several of the township’s buildings, all of which Marvin Meteer suggested would fall below costs that would necessitate solicitation of bid.
In an update on the problems associated with creeks and streams in Camptown, Meteer noted that nothing had yet been done, although several agencies had committed to doing some work. Meteer admitted that he coupled the damage to streambeds and subsequent erosion in Camptown with FEMA assessments of more recent storm damage in an attempt to help the county reach the monetary level that would trigger federal funding to address all of the problems. In the meantime, he noted, most of the homes’ owners in the Homets Ferry area that were affected by a violent windstorm had sought permits and repaired their own damages.