Harmony makes no decision on flooding study

Borough council defers until March

February 12, 2020 Cranberry Local News

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Water from the Connoquenessing Creek reached Harmony in May 2019 as it has at other times in the borough. Nine municipalities are discussing whether to pay for a joint study on flooding in the southern tier of the county.

HARMONY — The borough will take its time to consider whether to allocate more than $5,000 for a study on flooding in the southern tier of the county.

That study, which would stem from a series of meetings between nine municipalities in the southwest corner of Butler County on how best to mitigate flooding, would look at the release rates of water in the municipalities to determine if those rates could be managed to help reduce the flooding in the Connoquenessing Creek watershed.

In addition to the study, the nine municipalities — Adams, Cranberry, Jackson and Lancaster townships, and Evans City, Harmony, Mars, Seven Fields and Zelienople boroughs — would agree to perform three small projects stemming from the study; if three projects are not feasible, another municipality would take on another project.

The second part of that agreement — to perform three minor projects — seemed to be one of the major points of contention at the Feb. 4 borough council meeting.

“I’m just not sure about the whole ‘everybody has to have three projects part,’ ” said councilman Dave Szakelyhidi. “It seems like an engineering form guaranteeing business.”

Another sticking point of the proposal for borough representatives was its cost. Although the county will cover 20 percent — $15,275 — of the study’s total cost of $76,380, the municipalities will cover the rest. That leaves Harmony to pay $5,500.

Councilman Don Sims said the study would be superfluous, as the borough already knows the release rates in Harmony.

“We already know where the water comes from. We’re not sitting here wondering where it’s coming from,” Sims said. “We’ve already paid for previous studies regarding the (Connoquenessing) Creek, and we know where the water is coming from.”

Council President Greg Such said the benefit to the study would be that its focus would extend beyond Harmony, including areas upstream from the borough. He pointed to rain coming from Interstate 79 as one example.

“A lot of that water comes off 79 and ends up coming down Spring Street,” Such said.

Sims added that the borough is already allocating funds for another project, the downtown revitalization project. That project is funded through a grant, although the borough will have to match used funds.

The council did not come to a decision last week on whether to pay for that study, postponing its vote until its meeting in March.

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