Antrim officials wants report, engineer says no

PAT FRIDGEN

During a discussion of the sewer budget for 2012, one topic took Antrim Township supervisors by surprise and dismay. Administrator Brad Graham announced that Brinjac Engineering had refused to come to a meeting to discuss the results of a report it conducted on pretreatment criteria for the wastewater treatment plant. The firm's $28,000 study was complete, and at the last meeting Sam Miller had asked for a formal presentation. He was absent from the Oct. 18 worksession, when James Byers, Rick Baer, Fred Young III and Curtis Myers learned that Brinjac's point man, Stephen Zeller, had declined to appear at a public meeting, preferring to meet privately with a couple supervisors and Antrim Township Municipal Authority members.

Antrim had okayed the study on transmissivity of waste coming to the plant from Mountain View Reclamation, but any standards adopted would apply to all commercial customers. Brinjac had established criteria that was beyond what DEP mandated, and would have required businesses to pretreat their waste at the source. There had been some concern over the years on the clarity of waste coming from the landfill, but while Brinjac was studying the issue, Antrim was also updating the plant. Graham said the changes to equipment and processes were due anyway, and the effect was that the sanitary test results were now "where they need to be." Therefore, it was not necessary to adopt Brinjac's recommendations.

He added that the cost of the study was not a loss, because if transmissivity became a problem later, Brinjac's data would be used.

Myers was appalled that Zeller would not explain his reasoning, so he was not interested in a private meeting. Young was ready to fire the company immediately. Supervisors have expressed dissatisfaction with Brinjac for several years, including timeliness of projects, fees and billing practices. The supervisors planned to discuss the matter at the next regular meeting.

Budget items

Graham presided over a run-through of next year's budget. He had recommendations for some line items in the general fund.

Byers again suggested dropping the amusement tax for the few businesses that fell into that category. He noted that several organizations received waivers anyway, if they were non-profit, and he considered the tax a nuisance for the $6,000 it generated each year. Graham said it could be set at zero, and restored if some large amusement facility came in.

He also wanted document management software for township operations. It would involve training and a labor commitment, but would be good for record storage and searches, he said.

Though no remodeling of the municipal building had taken place though planned for in recent years, Graham put $350,000 into the budget for 2012, as well as $50,000 for capital purchases.

Whether to replace or add a truck to the fleet was considered extensively. Baer said one would be needed for Antrim Township Community Park and Byers favored another to expedite snow plowing. The township tried to get roads cleared within 8 to 10 hours, but some routes didn't allow that. It was also necessary to have the right people available to help out. Some trucks weren't being used for plowing.

"Anyone can drive a truck. Not everyone can plow," said Byers.

Graham sought a tree replacement plan for ATCP, since many had died two years after being planted.

He also asked if roadwork should be delayed because of the expensive upgrade needed on Hykes Road. Normally, $1.2 million would be set aside, but he also thought the board could prioritize projects, and do more paving, patching and tar and chip, for $810,000. The balance could be saved for Hykes. Culverts on Willowdale, West Weaver and Enoch Brown roads also needed repair.

Secretary Mary Klein said health insurance costs would go up 6.5 percent, but the overall expense could still go down based on a refund for low claims. The budget allowed a three-percent raise for employees.

Myers supported looking at other insurance plans, reluctant to see employees contribute to the premiums, now paid for by Antrim. Klein personally preferred a deductible or less coverage, than to have to pay toward the premium.

The sewer numbers showed a likely $400,000 drop in income from what was expected in 2011, but the board did not discuss the matter that night.