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Whitehall Twp. official questions PennDOT's integrity

WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. - Don't count Phillip Ginder among fans of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

"I do not believe these people. I do not trust these people."

The vice president of the Whitehall Township Board of Commissioners made the comment on Monday night during the body's workshop meeting regarding the first reading of an ordinance that would authorize Mayor Edward Hozza Jr. to enter into an agreement with PennDOT for the commonwealth agency to acquire a small parcel of township land for the Route 22 improvement project.

Ginder asserted Monday night that PennDOT officials have a dismal track record of being responsive to the will of the people in the township, citing the Fifth Street Bridge episode as case in point, and of being a seemingly rogue entity of the commonwealth's government.

Should commissioners decide to reject PennDOT's land acquisition request at their regular board meeting, the commissioners would in essence cast a vote for "litigation" according to administrative officials, and the matter would be decided in court.

Hozza noted an upcoming meeting with PennDOT officials that included five items for review and consideration related to projects in the township.

Two other ordinances read during Monday night's meeting involved commissioners approving the waiving of the required installation of sidewalks for about 65 feet along Washington Avenue bordering the property of 5010 and 5012 on the avenue.

The second involved sidewalks and curbing for about 985 feet along Bridge Street and Ruchsville Roads frontages of the Grist Mill Estates, which is "just the intersections of the two roads," according to comments made by township Engineer Frank Clark.

And should commissioners approve it, an ordinance noted during the meeting would authorize the purchase of a 2015 Ford F-250 pickup truck for the township's public works department.

President Linda Snyder was absent from Monday night's meeting.

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