After the recent heavy rain, water runoff is a big issue in the little Borough of Bally. On Tuesday night, Bally resident Victor Verdi came before borough council to request some relief from water runoff that comes onto his property from a neighbor's land.
Verdi asked council to apply for a grant that would fix the runoff problem at his house on Chestnut Street and around the borough. However, Borough Manager Leo Mutter explained that the borough cannot enter private property to fix water runoff unless the borough has an easement onto the property.
In addition, Mutter said applying for a grant would require the borough to do an approximately $100,000 engineering study; but the borough does not even have enough money to borrow funds to repair its aging infrastructure – a pressing concern in the borough. Borough Solicitor Matt Doll said Bally has a very old water and sewer infrastructure that is made of terra cotta pipes. To replace the entire system with PVC pipe would cost millions of dollars that Bally does not have.
However, Rich Mingey, Kelly Builders Group, said he would like to offer some money to correct the borough's sewer moratorium. Mingey told council that he has purchased the Park Place Development site located on Dogwood Street, and he will meet with the borough's planning commission later his month to will present a formal updated development plan. According to Mingey, that plan reduces the number of townhouses from 68 to 60.
Mingey said the houses are three times farther away from the stream near the property and there is less impervious surface in the new plan. He also promised to clean up the site. Mingey requested a meeting between his engineer, Fred Ebert, and Bally's engineer, System Design Engineering, to work out the problem with the borough's sewer moratorium, which was imposed by the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
Also at the meeting, Rob Fausnaught said he would like to build a house on a lot directly across from Bally's municipal building and asked when he could be connected to the sewer. However, council explained that because of the sewer moratorium, no one can connect to sewer at present.
According to Doll, Bally will update its Corrective Action Plan (CAP) if Mingey provides some money in escrow. However, Doll noted, DEP, which oversees sewer problems across the state, must approve the borough's plan. "DEP is a state agency and the state moves slowly," he said.
Doll also said that because Mingey is expected to provide some money to repair at least a part of Bally's sewer problem, he has the right to request all the EDUs for which he has paid to go to his building site, not someone else's.
In other action, council agreed to seek bonded bids for site work at the planned borough reservoir located on Crow Hill Road in Washington Township.
"Right now, we can't provide EDUs for people to connect to sewer, but if something happens and we can't provide water to the residents who already live here, we are up a creek without a paddle," Borough Council Vice President Tom Leister said.
The proposed water reservoir is expected to cost approximately $300,000 for the water tank and approximately $125,000 for site work to prepare for the water tank.
At the request of Councilman Dave Isett, Doll will look at the borough ordinances to determine if they need to be amended. Isett thinks Bally's zoning code should be modified to enable Mutter, along with the borough code enforcement officer, to inspect a site when a building permit application is filed by a property owner.
Bally Borough Council voted to donate $2,000 to the Eastern Berks Fire Department, which provides fire service to the area. There were 10 incidents that required the assistance of the fire company in the first quarter of this year.