Still waiting for hopeful federal money to help pay for damage from the June 30th rain storm in Hawley, Council and PennDOT are working together to try and repair culvert pipes before the next big event.
Wednesday night, October 9th, Council agreed to pursue negotiation with PennDOT on a shared work plan with the aim to correct major blockages in storm water culverts that lead from Prospect Street, through private properties and beneath Route 6 near The Settlers Inn.
PennDOT calls it an "agility" agreement where the state will do certain work to aid the borough if the borough performs other tasks to benefit state road maintenance.
Councilman John Robertson, who chairs the Streets & Roads Committee, reported that PennDOT proposed to replace the pipe on the property of Sharon Gries, 239 Hudson Street, which fronts Route 6. The culvert appears to be completely plugged.
The work plan is yet to be formulated. Robertson related that although Route 6 is a state highway, PennDOT views the culvert beneath Route 6 as the borough's responsibility.
Grant Genzlinger, owner of The Settlers Inn, attended the on-site meeting September 27 with PennDOT and borough officials to review the situation. At the October Council meeting, Genzlinger cautioned that the culvert under 6, which is four and a half feet wide, is "100 percent blocked" and even a modest rain storm will jeopardize the Gries' property as well as the neighboring real estate office of Peter Porter, and the Hawley Medical Center.
Council Vice-president Mary Sanders shared hope that PennDOT could be ready with a draft agility agreement in time for the November 13th Council meeting.
Robertson suggested that two items the Borough could offer the state would be to help clear storm drains and trim back vegetation.
Storm water from the deluge at the end of June swamped storm drains throughout the town, and sent debris, plugging the culverts from the hill section in East Hawley down to Settler's Inn.
Major water damage occurred at the Gries and Settler's Inn properties, as well as damage occurring to various streets in town and numerous homes where basements flooded.
Areas of Palmyra Township (Wayne) were also impacted by the storm, including damage on Garfield Avenue which is shared by both the Borough and Township. Robertson consulted with the Township Supervisors on October 7th and reported to Council that the repairs costs could be split. The Township agreed to spend $2,000, and Borough Council agreed in turn to match that amount. Most of the damage is in the Borough portion, but the Township agreed to do the labor, Robertson said.
Garfield Avenue extends off Highland Street. The road and drains have been progressively deteriorating.
Steve Price, Wayne County Emergency Management Coordinator told The News Eagle on Thursday that official word has not yet been received on the County's application for reimbursement for municipalities and residents impacted by the storm. He said that speculation has been going around that it was approved, but he has not received anything official.
Assessment of damages was collected and filed with the state level, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA). The request was made linked with damage reports in other areas of northeast Pennsylvania impacted by this and a storm a few days before. The National Weather Service reported that the two storms were connected.
With the total assessment reaching the financial threshold to request federal aid, Governor Corbett agreed to apply to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The request was at first denied by FEMA, and then county and municipal officials revised the application based on further damage assessments. The request to FEMA was filed a second time, and Price said that the counties have still not heard if it was accepted.