Water, sewer flows discussed in Akron

By on February 8, 2012

By: MILAN VRACARICH Review Correspondent, Staff Writer

Sewer flows continue to be a problem for the borough of Akron.

The borough received its reserve capacity and was in a penalty phase as of the January meeting. Part of the issue may be the excess rain the entire area has received over the past year.

"I alerted our staffing and if our flows don’t subside we’re going to move our springtime inspections up and find out where the problem areas are," said Borough Manager Dan Guers.

In other water-related news, Guers met with FEMA representatives on Jan. 6. Akron should receive its reimbursement in the coming weeks. Excluding mitigation, the total cost for the borough was around $57,000.

"We want to weather-proof the building," said Guers. "(This) includes water tight doors and raising the generator room louvers four feet off the ground and include automatic shutoff switches in the event we get water (in there).

"We wouldn’t have to go through another episode like we did with the Lee storm."

Mitigation is separate from the repair costs of disaster relief. FEMA partners with municipalities to reduce the risk of future losses from disasters. Akron hopes these efforts will reduce the risk of the main sewage station’s generator from being damaged in another flood.

New Council member Jeff Shirk oversaw his first meeting as the head of the Water and Sewer Committee. Despite not being able to fully ‘digest all the numbers’ in such a brief time, Shirk was able to set up a meeting with the Ephrata Area Joint Authority to discuss water for customers outside of the borough.

The newest council member replaces longtime member Ronald Boltz, who stepped down at the end of 2011. Councilman John Taylor took over Boltz’s position overseeing Parks and Personnel, and Shirk is in charge of Taylor’s former responsibility.

Terry Reber, while reviewing the borough’s 2011 finances, stated that the water reserve funds are not nearly enough for where he would like them to be. Because of this, Reber believes Akron made the right decision to raise the water rates for 2012. The idea for the rate increase is to strengthen the reserves for unexpected projects and repairs, which inevitably occur.

"(2011 was) a very tough environment," said Reber. "We came out all right. December 2011 is finished and we’re off to 2012, so we’ll see how the year goes."

In other news, Taylor’s first act in his new post as chair of Parks and Personnel, was to set up an employee review schedule.

He also discussed moving forward with ongoing "Rail Trail" plans. President Thomas Murray chimed in on the topic, stating Akron should try to do anything it can now that doesn’t require waiting until the end of the project. The purpose of his list was to bring the items to the committee’s attention so it can do whatever it can to get tasks out of the way now.

Police Chief Thomas Zell submitted year-end totals for 2011 with his monthly report. Zell told the council it was a relatively quiet year for the police force and that its percentage of crimes solved, 61 percent, was higher than in past years. There were no major issues other than one police vehicle needing repairs.

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