Lehigh Valley

Lighting for Lower Macungie park sparks debate

Ultimately, township saved money

LOWER MACUNGIE TWP., Pa. - Lower Macungie Township and PPL Corp. have reached an agreement on lighting in Quarry Park that will save the township roughly $36,000. While that seems simple enough, it was how those savings came about that irked at least one member of the township's board of commissioners during the legislative body's Thursday night meeting.

The deal was reached by the township's engineering firm, Keystone Consulting Engineers, and the electric company after negotiations and counteroffers. KCE had asked PPL to provide 12,600-volt lighting to the park along the northern tree line of the property, but PPL rejected the proposal.

KCE then worked with the company to find a solution. A revised version would have provided distribution cabling from PPL's primary high voltage line to the distribution panel, resulting in additional cost to the township of $40,000. The increased costs were the result of additional copper cabling.

While the revised project was out to bid, PPL agreed to KCE's initial request to provide electrical power at the originally requested location, thus saving the township the revised costs. However, KCE requested $4,000 from the township for developing new plans and placing the project out to bid three times during the negotiations.

Nonetheless, the net result was a roughly $36,000 savings.

However, the revised drawings and plans were made before the board had authorized any of it. It was a fact not lost on Commissioner Douglas Brown who said "this is the first time I'm seeing this."

Brown added that contractors should keep the township better informed of work they are doing before they do it, not after it's done.

While the issue was deemed procedural, President Ronald W. Beitler and Commissioner Brian Higgins agreed with Brown.

Ronald W. Beitler said the KCE-PPL deal was "ultimately a win for the township" and therefore approval was automatic. However, Brown asked "what would happen" in a similar case where the township lost money. 

The $4,000 KCE project budget increase was then approved by a 4-0 vote.

Located at 7871 Quarry Road on just under 35 acres, the park has four baseball/softball fields with dugouts, two soccer fields and three lacrosse/field hockey fields among other fixtures. 

Other business

In other news, township Manager Bruce Fosselman announced that the township will be hosting meetings on the spotted lanternfly on March 28 and 29. Additional information will be coming shortly, he added.

Commissioner Ronald R. Beitler was absent from Thursday night's meeting.

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