CLEARFIELD – While it is becoming mandated in more rural areas across the county and state, obtaining public drinking water is not cheap.
Two residents from the Muddy Run Municipal Authority presented the Clearfield County Commissioners with problems they and others in the authority’s area are facing. Area resident Debra Lumadue stated that her financial situation, as well as others in the area, keeps them from obtaining grant or loan money to help them purchase required laterals and pay for tap-on fees for the water project. Lumadue presented a petition to the commissioners with names of others in similar situations.
Lumadue said that the residents have 120 days to come with $3,500 for the required work to be done.
Lumadue stated that the Muddy Run Municipal Authority said that the residents should contact the commissioners about additional funding.
Rex Reid, county commissioner, explained that the county does not set the guidelines for income levels for the low-income assistance, that it is a federal issue.
“The county does not govern the loan program,” said Mark McCracken, chairman commissioner.
Clearfield County Solicitor Kim Kesner pointed out that the problem facing the residents in the Muddy Run project’s area is not unlike the problems facing residents in other areas where municipal services are being forced by the Department of Environmental Protection. According to Kesner, DEP compels the municipalities to take up these projects without caring for a community’s inability to pay for the project.
Kesner noted that it was very misguided for the Muddy Run board to send private individuals to solicit the county for funding.
“They should know better than anyone that the commissioners don’t have the funds to draw upon,” said Kesner.
McCracken, chairman commissioner, stated that there have been misunderstandings between the county commissioners and the authority in the past.
McCracken noted that in the past, the authority’s board alleged that the authority was promised $340,000 in Community Development Block Grant funding. McCracken pointed out that in a letter sent to the authority on May 12, there was no verified information that anyone involved in the CDBG program in the county promised specific amounts to the project.
McCracken stated that prior to Tuesday’s meeting, the Muddy Run municipal project had been awarded $89,200 in competitive CDBG funding. That amount did not count $50,000 in CDBG funding awarded to Glen Hope that was carried over to the Muddy Run project.
“What makes me angry is we were at this meeting and they (the municipal authority) talked around corners,” said Lumadue, who added they heard more about how the process works from the commissioners.
“We’re working to get as much money as we can for the project,” said McCracken. “We’ll be taking money away from another project that hasn’t gone forward for a number of reasons.”
To that effect, the Clearfield County Commissioners approved a modification to 2003 CDBG funding and reallocated $154,000 from the Ansonville Water Authority to the Muddy Run Municipal Authority to assist low-income families with sewer laterals.
While that action might not affect families such as the Lumadue’s, it will provide more funding for the area. Lumadue was urged to try re-applying for grant assistance, as well as contacting banks about loan programs.
McCracken noted that the Muddy Run Municipal Authority needed to be more considerate of the area’s economic situation.