Future Of Mountain Top Council In Doubt As Fairview Looks To Exit

September 14, 2018

FAIRVIEW TWP. — Township officials are planning to withdraw from the Mountain Top Council of Governments, a move that creates an uncertain future for the 17-year-old organization. Supervisors voted at their Sept. 4 meeting to advertise plans to adopt an ordinance withdrawing from the COG. “Over the years the COG has cost us a lot of money,” board chairman Michael Iorio said. “And we get very little out of it.” He said the township currently pays $5,000 annually toward operation of the COG. In addition, member townships are responsible for costs of repairs to equipment. “Some of those (equipment repair costs) have been pretty substantial,” supervisor Robert Orloski said. “The cost/benefit ratio just isn’t worth it.” Wright Twp. also pays the annual $5,000 fee. Both municipalities are responsible for sharing labor costs when the composting facility in the Crestwood Industrial Park is in operation. The organization’s articles of agreement allow member municipalities to withdraw from the COG at the end of any calendar year by giving 12 months prior written notice. The withdrawal must be done in form of an ordinance. Iorio said it’s the township’s intention to submit a withdrawal notice in December and to live up to its membership obligations for 2019, including its $5,000 membership assessment. The next COG meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 9 at Wright Twp. Municipal Building. Iorio said it would be up to Wright and Dorrance Townships to decide if they want to continue operating or disband it. Iorio said the township has not yet explored options for residents to dispose of yard waste. Wright Twp. supervisors were taken by surprise when learning of Fairview’s plan. Wright Twp. Supervisor Michael Marshall, board chairman, indicated the move could mean the end of the COG. Another Wright Twp. supervisor, Matthew Howton, who also is the township’s road foreman, said he is hopeful the municipality can continue operating the yard waste composting facility in the Crestwood Industrial Park after Fairview Township withdraws. “I think we would have to seriously consider doing this on our own,” Howton said when asked if the composting facility would close after Fairview Twp. withdraws. “But, that will depend on whether our budget can support it. The facility has not been profitable.” Howton said he believes because of its population, Wright Twp. is required by the state to have a location for disposal/recycling of yard waste. “That’s one of the reasons we have a no open burning ordinance,” he explained. “Fairview is not mandated because its population is smaller, but we are.” The supervisor pointed out Wright Twp. conducts leaf collection throughout the municipality in the spring and fall, using the composting site to dispose of the leaves. He said he does not want to see that program stopped. “We are faced with deciding a couple things,” Howton said. “Can we do it ourselves; are we mandated to have a leaf disposal facility; and what will we do with the materials we collect.” Officials from Fairview and Wright townships formed the COG in August 2001. The goal of the organization is “to combine our total resources for regional challenges beyond our individual capabilities while retaining and strengthening our local municipalities and the high quality of life enjoyed by the residents of Mountain Top.” Contact the writer: citydesk@citizensvoice.com