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Hooversville gives engineer OK to work on multimillion-dollar water project

November 29, 2018

Hooversville Borough officials gave engineers the green light Tuesday to design the town’s massive water project. Borough officials, however, are still waiting on more details for a three-way water deal to be finalized.

Council members on Tuesday approved an engineering agreement with The EADS Group for a water project that includes the $1.7 million interconnect. The complete water project is estimated to cost $7.1 million in total and will take several years to complete.

Under the proposed deal, the Somerset County General Authority would sell Quemahoning Reservoir water to the borough through the Conemaugh Township Municipal Authority’s water lines.

Council President Ken Karashowsky said the agreement with EADS also includes replacing borough water lines.

“That’s our first big step, is getting that and showing we are seriously moving forward,” he said.

Officials said the next steps for EADS include finding funding sources and obtaining permits for these projects. Karashowsky said there is no timetable for when the projects will get started.

“As things progress we’ll have a better idea as to when,” he said.

EADS Group engineer Jeff Najjar said preliminary design work and permit preparation will take at least six months. While officials wait for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to approve the permits, engineers will be finalizing the designs and getting the project ready for companies to bid on it.

“We’ll start by flying this area with our drone, develop some base mapping, start with a design and get permits in,” he said.

Najjar said the interconnect project will take at least two years for design and construction. While the interconnect and the line replacement projects would be bid out separately, Najjar said it’s possible for both to be done at the same with enough funding.

“If we get a decent funding package from Pennvest, like we are hoping for, those projects could go on simultaneously and get completed within a year,” he said.

Borough officials still need a finalized agreement with the general authority and the municipal authority to apply for Pennvest loans and grants. On Nov. 8, general authority solicitor Michael Barbera said there are parts of the three-way agreement that need to be worked out, including the rate the borough will pay once it connects to the system.

“Basically whenever they are ready for that agreement, it’s going to be reflective of the times,” he said at a general authority meeting. “There will have to be updates whenever the agreement goes into effect.”

The township would charge the borough 50 cents per 1,000 gallons of water, and the general authority would charge $2.79 per thousand. According to county officials, most municipalities using the general authority’s line are charged $2.76 per 1,000 gallons.

Karashowsky said he plans to meet with Conemaugh Township officials soon to show the borough is serious about moving forward.

Council members also passed a $261,535 preliminary budget, keeping taxes steady at 3 mills, and a preliminary $261,535 electrical budget.

While council members did not budget for any large projects, several council members said there are areas of the borough that need to be addressed next year.

“We need the playground done (and) the church done,” council member Rick Hause said. “A lot of stuff is going to need to be done by spring.”

The proposed budget is on display in the borough office along Main Street. The council plans to pass the spending plan during its meeting on Dec. 11.

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