first to cost $105,000 to $120,000.
But during the permit process for the dam repair, the state Fish and Boat Commission weighed in, saying the lake area might play host to the Northern Cricket Frog, an endangered species. Supervisors hired a reptile research firm to investigate, and the firm concluded –for $1,743 –that it is indeed possible that the frog inhabits the area. To find out for certain, it would cost another $14,000.
Seeking to avoid that cost, supervisors decided to proceed on the assumption that the frog does inhabit the area. Township Engineer Andy Pasonick began trying to negotiate a solution that would satisfy both the DEP, which wanted the lake drained before repairs began, and the Fish and Boat Commission, which thought draining the lake could endanger the frogs. Pasonick finally got the agencies to agree that the lake could be drained halfway rather than all the way, and the work could be done before the frogs’ summer mating season.
Meanwhile, the township received Local Share Account gaming grants –one for $85,000 and another for $34,000 –to cover the dam repairs. At least it looked like the township wouldn’t have to foot the bill for the costly project.
But when supervisors advertised bids in October 2017, the bids came in over $50,000 higher than expected.
Because of the frogs’ mating season, supervisors couldn’t put the project on hold for long. But they didn’t have all the funding in place. So they authorized Beck to apply for a loan as well as continue to seek other funding sources.
But now it appears the township won’t have to cover any overage after all.
“We worked on this for two years, and it finally came out for us,” Bob Pipech, chairman of the township supervisors, said in a phone interview.
In a press release, he added, “These [state grant] funds will allow us to complete the project without endangering the frogs and without breaking the backs of our taxpayers. Rep. Mullery is a great friend to the township and our residents, and I know that he worked behind the scenes tirelessly to get these funds for this project.”
At the Feb. 6 supervisors meeting, Pasonick said contractor A. R. Popple would begin work around March 1. Pipech confirmed that March 1 is still the projected start date.