2009-02-26 / Front Page

Ayr Township "Just Says No"

To PennDOT road offer

Ayr Township said, "Thanks, but no thanks" to PennDOT Monday evening in response to an offer by the state transportation agency to have the supervisors take over and maintain Union Church Road.

The 1.469-mile road runs east and west from the White Church at Union Cemetery and connects with the Cito Road. The offer is part of PennDOT's Highway Transfer "Turnback" Program that allows the transfer of local state-owned roads, serving a local traffic purpose, from state government to local government ownership. According to PennDOT, "roads that are candidates for transfer are those that have low average daily traffic, or would benefit the municipality both socially and economically."

After the road is turned back to the municipality, PennDOT provides money to the municipality each year to cover the costs associated with maintaining the roadway at a rate of $4,000 per mile.

PennDOT offered the township up to $293,000 to bring the road up to township standards for township takeover. After that, the township would receive $5,876 in liquid fuel funds annually to maintain the road.

According to township supervisor, Marlin "Sonny" Harr, taking over the road would be a hardship and a losing proposition rather than a benefit to the township. "We don't have any full-time road maintenance employees nor do we have the equipment needed to maintain the road," he said. He went on to say that it would only take one or two bad storms to go through the annual allotments just to buy and put down anti-skid on the road. None of the three supervisors expressed an interest in accepting Penn-DOT's offer. The road also has three bridges on it, but the offer indicated that PennDOT would maintain maintenance of the bridges.

The supervisors made the decision at their regular monthly meeting on Monday evening.

In other business, the supervisors finalized plans for three bulky item days in 2009 and one tire recycling day. Bulky item days are scheduled for April 24, 25 and for September 19, 2009. Bulky items should be dropped off at the township building on those dates.

Ayr will also participate with the borough of McConnellsburg and Todd Township in a tire recycling day on May 9, 2009. Tires may be taken to the township building. All tires from the borough and from Ayr must be taken to the Ayr Townshsip building, while tires from Todd will be taken to the Todd Township building, where they will be collected and then taken to Ayr Township. Only automobile and small truck tires will be accepted.

In recent years, the county has received a $5,000 state grant to pay one-half of the tire recycling costs. Although it was announced earlier this year that the grant would not be available, the county has now been informed that the $5,000 grant will be available for county use.

The supervisors approved a request from the U.S. Census Bureau to use the township building from March 23 - April 20, 2009, to do training for Census Bureau employees.

The township also reviewed a letter from the county commissioners requesting the first $10,000 payment of three equal payments agreed to by the township as its share in building a turn-lane into JLG Industries from Route 16. After making the agreement, the supervisors were informed that it would not be legal for them to contribute to the project. They have since received a clarification stating that they may not contribute liquid fuel funds for a state road project, but can contribute from their general fund. Following discussion, the supervisors tabled the request pending a further meeting with the commissioners.

The supervisors also reviewed a letter from PennDOT stating that the Central Fulton School District has requested a bus turnaround at the top of the mountain on Route 16, very near the Franklin County line. PennDOT will review the request and, if approved, it will be the township's responsibility to erect the signs. Harr questioned the liability of the township's erecting signs on state roads and asked solicitor Stanley Kerlin to further research the request.

The Ayr Township supervisors meet the last Monday of each month at 7:00 p.m. at the township building. The next regular meeting is scheduled for March 30, 2009.

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