Ice Lakes Dam Repair Still On Hold

The Ice Lakes dam repairs are still on hold, but Rice Township supervisors hope that won’t be the case for long.

Supervisors voted at their Nov. 8 meeting to table the awarding of a bid until they can seek additional funding sources.

The lowest bid, submitted by A. R. Popple of Wilkes-Barre, came in over $50,000 higher than supervisors had banked on.

The township has a total of $118,000 in grant funding for the repairs, but the Popple bid will fall between $168,700 and $179,500, depending on whether the existing sluice gate is repairable.

Resident Marty Wentz expressed concern over the supervisors’ decision to table awarding the bid. The state Fish and Boat Commission has said the work must be completed during the winter months before the Northern Cricket Frogs’ breeding season begins. The project is expected to take about 90 days. Wentz advocated awarding the bid and allowing Popple to complete as much of the job as the township can afford while supervisors are securing additional funding. He suggested getting a bond to fund the rest of the work.

Township engineer Andy Pasonick thought it wouldn’t be safe to start work because the grant funders might withhold payment if the job isn’t done exactly as planned.

“The grant might be for the scope of the work, not just for part of the work,” he said.

In moving to table the bid decision, Supervisor Rick Arnold added a stipulation that supervisors would make a decision before the end of 2017.

“We’re not postponing thisindefinitely,”

Arnold said, addingthat a bond could “put the taxpayersin jeopardy.”

Chairwoman Marcia Thomas saidSen. Lisa Baker and Rep. GeraldMullery have assured supervisors thatthey will be able to secure additionalfunding for the township to get theserepairs done.

But “the state wants to see progress, and they want to see it in the way