During their April 24 general meeting, the Allen Township Board of Supervisors discussed whether or not they want to proceed with their current winter service agreement with PennDOT.
Under the agreement, the township’s public works department treats and plows state-owned roads in the township. However, within the past year, public works overtime has been high and borough manager Ilene Eckhart said there were several complaints lobbied against the township. Plowing the roads for the state, she says, has taken up considerable public works time and resources.
As a result, she asked borough supervisors whether they want to “discontinue the relationship or change services.”
Supervisor Gary Behler said he thinks PennDOT should be responsible for plowing its own roads.
“We have quite a few state roads sucking up time,” he said. “Let PennDOT do their own roads like they do in neighboring municipalities around us.”
Chairman Larry Oberly, however, stressed that state roads make up a significant portion of township roads. Roughly 15 miles of roads in the township, or 32 percent, belong to the state.
He asked his fellow supervisors to consider what would happen should they task PennDOT with caring for its own roads. It would be nearly impossible for the township’s public works crew to plow only local roads without crossing over state roads.
“We are an island,” he said. “Very few of our township roads connect.”
He also mentioned the number of taxpaying township residents living along state roads.
“[They] deserve some kind of service,” he said.
Finally, he mentioned the economic benefits to the agreement.
Currently, the township is paying roughly $16,300 for winter road services. However, PennDOT pays the township $20,000 for caring for state roads.
“We are still ahead of the game,” said Oberly.
Supervisor Dale Hassler said something still must be done to address the workload placed on members of the township’s public works department.
“[Shifts that are] eighteen and a half hours are unacceptable,” he said.
Supervisors voted to table the decision regarding PennDOT while public works puts together a plan that would prove it can care for both state and local roads without workers working extensive overtime shifts. What previously has happened, Hassler said, should never happen again.
The next Board of Supervisors meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 8.