Bally borough has a problem with reeds, not weeds.
For at least five years, borough officials have been trying to determine how to remove the reeds from its sewer plant on Gehman Road in Washington Township. The reeds were planted in Bally’s sewer plant years ago to absorb excess moisture in the ground around the facility, acting as like a sand mound system.
But the borough was looking at expanding its crowded garage at the site and would need to remove the reed beds in order to do so. But that won’t come without a big price tag.
Borough Manager Leo “Boots” Mutter explained to borough council at Tuesday night’s meeting that the estimate to prepare the reed beds for removal is $36,200 in engineering fees. Those fees do not include the cost to actually remove the reeds.
The engineering estimate includes research of the township’s title to the property, a survey of the land, a determination of where the old survey markers are located, and a search to find the exact location of the reed beds, among other work.
A borough councilmember asked why the reeds simply could not be pulled up and removed. Mutter explained, “The reeds could have metals in them.” Aquatic plants are known to absorb a wide range of metal pollutants.
In a lighthearted suggestion, one councilmember mentioned over the years someone should have gotten rid of the reeds in a dumpster one bucketful at a time.
Council agreed to look into the cost of building a larger garage behind its municipal building on Chestnut Street instead of doing expensive repairs at the site where the reed beds are located.
Bally moved to advertise an ordinance recognizing Eastern Berks Fire Company as its official fire company. Eastern Berks Fire Company combines Bally, Barto, and Bechtelsville into one fire company.
In a related matter, Borough Manager Mutter explained to the borough council that it is necessary to decide who would determine during an emergency if additional emergency equipment were necessary. Council decided the borough manager would be the most accessible person in an emergency to make that decision.
Instead of purchasing a prohibitively expensive new radio for its emergency coordinator, the borough council decided to ask the Eastern Berks Fire Company to borrow a radio if there is an emergency.
Repairs to Bally’s sewer system will begin shortly and it is necessary to have a qualified inspector on the site when the work is being done. According to the Borough Solicitor Matthew Doll, if the borough pays “a qualified, pedigreed, certified inspector and he misses something, then the borough has cause for action.”
Bally borough has agreed to waive a debt of $16,368 the Bally pool owes to the borough. In an effort to keep taxes down, over the last 10 years the borough has used recreation funds earmarked for the pool to pay personnel salaries and insurance premiums. Doll said there is nothing improper in moving funds within the borough’s budget because Bally owns the pool. Because the debt is waived, the pool will be on firm financial ground. It has a recreation fund balance of approximately $10,000.