Thursday, March 21, 2019

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Written by Ernie Quatrani, Correspondent
March 20, 2019

            The business of the monthly Marlborough Township Board of Supervisors meeting on March 13 began with the swearing-in of police officer Carlos Cartagena who becomes Marlborough's fourth full-time police officer.

            With Cartagena's mother, Iris Robles, holding a Bible, Chairman Brian Doremus administered the oath in front of a large contingent of Cartagena's family, friends and fellow police officers from other area municipalities before Cartagena was presented with his badge.

            Cartagena was hired after an extensive application and interview process. According to the minutes of the supervisor's work session, held on February 25, Chief Darren Morgan, Doremus and Supervisor Billy Hurst interviewed candidates and rated them using a point system. Cartagena scored the highest.

            "We felt that he was the best candidate and will continue to be an asset to the department and community for many years to come," Morgan said of Cartagena who was working as a part-time officer for Marlborough.

            "As the years went on," related Morgan, "I saw how much of an asset he was to the department from being a bilingual officer to building a bond with the children of Marlborough elementary as he went on multiple occasions and played with the children at recess."

            In addition to the full-time staff, Marlborough employs a ...

Written by Larry Roeder, Editor
March 20, 2019

            Last week state officials announced that the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has committed $500.7 million in liquid fuels payments to help certified municipalities maintain their roads and bridges.

            "Pennsylvania has the fifth-largest state-maintained road system in the country, and the locally owned network is even larger" Transportation Secretary Leslie S. Richards was quoted as saying in a PennDOT press release.

            This year's distribution is a $11.7 million, or 2.4 percent, increase over the $489 million distributed last year.  Act 89 of 2013 made more funding available for locally owned roadways. Before the law, municipalities received $320.8 million in liquid fuels payments.

            Act 89, also known as the Transportation Bill, was signed into law in 2013 by Governor Tom Corbett to fund road projects, bridge repairs, and public transit.

            Act 89 switched up the formula for generating revenue. It eliminated the $0.12 per gallon state retail gas and diesel tax, but raised how much can be collected by the Oil Company Franchise Tax (OCFT), a wholesale tax on gasoline and diesel distributors. The wholesale price of fuels the OCFT has been capped at $1.25 since 1983. 

            Wholesalers could then pass on their increased tax burden to retailers and ultimately drivers could end up paying the difference.

            Act 89 also increased vehicle registration and driver licensing fees.  Additionally, some traffic violation fines rose. 

            PennDOT's annual distributions assist with municipalities' highway and bridge-related expenses such as snow removal and road repaving. There are 120,039 miles of public roads in Pennsylvania. There are 72,992 miles owned by municipalities and eligible for liquid fuels. The formula for payments is based on a municipality's population and miles of locally-owned roads.

            To be eligible for liquid fuels, a roadway must be formally adopted as a public street by the municipality, meet certain dimension requirements, and be able to safely accommodate vehicles driving at least 15 mph.

            Many municipalities have agreements with PennDOT to perform required bridge inspections for them.  The municipality's share of those costs is deducted from the Gross Allocation. 

            Each year, a municipality may use 20% of their net allocation for the purchase of major equipment.

            Municipalities in the Town and Country readership area and their gross allocation are as follows:  Berks County – ...



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