AlliedNews.com - Grove City, Pennsylvania

September 13, 2013

Officials respond to paving complaint

By Monica Pryts/Staff Writer
Allied News

SLIPPERY ROCK — Slippery Rock officials have responded to the complaint that halted the now-abandoned paving project at the municipal building, an issue initiated by borough landlord Frank Monteleone.

Council President Dave Miller, who previously wouldn't comment except to say the project wasn't going to happen, issued a news release after Tuesday's council meeting that addressed what's been said at public meetings and in the press.

"What has been said implies some ill motive on the part of the borough, its staff and elected officials. As a policy, the borough avoids replying to every comment, remark or article, and routinely the local papers' 'no comment' when asked. And most of the time, common sense and facts prevail. Not this time," the release said.

Tim Bruno, watershed manager of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, came to the borough July 29 to check out the gravel part of the lot after receiving Monteleone's complaint, which said the borough didn't have the required stormwater management plan in place.

DEP requires municipalities to have stormwater management ordinances for paving projects, and Slippery Rock's ordinance says areas larger than 5,000 square feet that are going to be paved must have a stormwater management plan; the gravel lot at 306 E. Water St. is about 12,000 square feet, Bruno told Allied News.

He later explained his findings to borough solicitor Neva Stanger, telling her the borough is bound by its own ordinance, and Stanger confirmed the paving would not be taking place, Bruno said.

The borough's news release continues by saying the parking lot has been gravel for more than 15 years and little money has been put into the municipal property itself because of limited funds and a long list of more deserving projects.

Planning to pave the gravel portion this summer was to be an efficient way to add a needed but not critical improvement to the facility, which also houses the police department and the local office of state Rep. Jaret Gibbons, D-Beaver/Butler/Lawrence.

The borough for many years had benefited from a state program where PennDOT helps prepare paving specifications for borough projects at no cost to Slippery Rock.

The program does not provide engineering for appurtenant structures, such as stormwater, so the borough's 2013 paving projects, including the parking lot, were bid through the state program as a package, and a contract was approved and awarded.

When the stormwater management issue came up, the parking lot project was "immediately abandoned" because studying, designing and installing stormwater management facilities for a "non-critical project" was cost prohibitive.

"No borough elected official or staff member benefited from the paving project. No borough elected official or staff member intentionally avoided complying with an applicable law or regulation.

The decisions concerning the paving are the types of decisions that are addressed every day in local government. These routine decisions only become news when the motives of those reporting them are questionable," the release said in closing.

Published Aug. 24, 2013, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.