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Conoy Takes Middle Ground on Consultations With Township Engineer

Conoy Township supervisors agreed unanimously that township residents who have questions about storm water management should talk to township staff and supervisors first, and if their questions are not answered, they can get a 15-minute consultation from the company that handles township engineering at township expense.

Some residents had been surprised to get bills for hundreds of dollars after asking questions of Hanover Engineering, the company that contracts as township engineer. When Conoy Township residents talked to Hanover, Hanover would bill the township at its usual rate of $107 per hour and the township would then bill the resident for reimbursement.

Township Solicitor Matthew J. Crème Jr. told supervisors at their meeting on Thursday, June 13, that many local governments forbid their township engineers from talking to residents at all; others require that the resident must sign a form agreeing to reimburse the local government for the bill.

Supervisor Gina Mariani suggested allowing residents to get a 15-minute consultation at township expense, but requiring residents to reimburse the township for anything beyond that. Supervisors Chairman Stephen L. Mohr Sr. said township staff and supervisors should examine storm water management problems first, noting that there are times when professional services are not needed. For example, he said there was a time when he went to look at a resident’s issue and advised the resident that water would not flow uphill.

“Before I was involved, it went to the engineer,” Mohr said.

Also at the meeting, supervisors discussed problems with a residence the township owns next to the township building that is rented out. Supervisors Clyde Pickel, who is in charge of buildings, said there are several plumbing problems including water running in the basement. Mohr said the house needs a renovation for various plumbing and electric problems and said the township should give the tenants about six months to move out because it would be impractical to renovate while it is occupied. Mohr said the township bought the house about 20 years ago to settle a property line dispute between that lot and the township building. Mariani said the township should come up with a list of repairs to be made before telling the tenants to leave. No vote was taken on what to do with the house.

In another matter, supervisors voted unanimously to approve changes to a memorandum of understanding with the Lancaster County Conservancy to allow the township and the conservancy the right to cross each other’s land for maintenance of the township-owned portion of Northwest Lancaster County River Trail and some conservancy-owned land bordering it.

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