Rice Twp. May Avoid Costly Study, Ice Lakes Dam Repair

It looks as if Rice Township is in a money-saving phase.

At the July 5 supervisors meeting, the first piece of good news came from township engineer Andy Pasonick, who said the planned repairs to the Ice Lakes dam might not require a costly study to determine whether the Northern Cricket Frog inhabits the lake area.

In recent e-mail communication between Pasonick and the state Fish and Boat Commission, Pasonick was told that the study could probably be circumvented if the lake is drained and repairs are completed during the winter, after the frogs’ breeding period ends. Pasonick is now drafting a proposal to present to the state Department of Environmental Protection outlining the scope of the work and the proposed dates. It may be possible to drain the lake only halfway in order to complete the repairs, Pasonick said.

Depending on the timing, lake access gates may need to be locked and ice fishing prohibited, Supervisor Bob Pipech said. Supervisor Rick Arnold asked Pasonick to clarify with the Fish and Boat Commission exactly when the frogs’ breeding period ends in hopes of completing dam repairs “before the first hard freeze.” The schedule could be tight because the township must secure both state agencies’ approvals and solicit bids before a contractor can begin work.

The township also saved money on insurance this year. Liability insurance through the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Risk Management Association for August 2017 through August 2018 will cost $67,000, about $2,000 less than last year’s premium. And Rice Township’s share of Wright Township Fire Department’s workers’ compensation also decreased to $9,800, which is over $3,000 less than the township paid last year.

The township also saved money on the recent paving of Henry Drive because the project came in at $125,000, a savings of $3,000 less than the original bid of $128,000.

However, lines still need to be painted on Henry Drive. Pipech asked Pasonick to determine whether painting could be done on several other roads that need it as well.

Supervisors also asked Pasonick to examine Nuangola Avenue (a township road, not to be confused with Nuangola Road, which is a state road) with an eye toward soliciting bids for repairs. Pipech noted it would be good to use some of the township’s recent financial savings to complete needed road repairs.

Chairwoman Marcia Thomas gained her fellow supervisors’ blessing to send a letter to the state Department of Transportation to complain about the fact that state crews spent money to tar and chip Nuangola Road without first fixing potholes.

In other road news, Polonia Estates builder Weichert Realtors wants to turn General Pulaski Street and