Springdale Township residents form committee to air grievances
Some Springdale Township residents say they have had it with the current board of commissioners and have formed a citizens committee to address their issues.
The group, lead by residents Carrie Appollonia and Angie Hare, will hold its first meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday at a private residence at 701 Stanley Ave. They’re inviting anyone who has a grievance they’d like to air about the township’s leadership to attend.
“We’re taking back our township,” Hare said. “Our commissioners are not doing everything by the book — we are tired of being uninformed of everything.”
The five-member board of commissioners is made up of three new members, Tim Sweet and Shirley Redman who were elected in last year’s election, and Charles Common who was appointed to the board in May after Commissioner James Biery resigned. The other members are President Tony Rozzano and long-time member Henrietta James.
Residents have packed the monthly commissioners meetings this year to take the commissioners to task for the following decisions:
• The township started the year under fire when they took a fire truck out of service from the Allegheny Valley Volunteer Fire Company without notifying or getting any input from the public. The township bought the truck for the township’s fire company in 2001, years before its 2012 merger with Harmar. The township sold it for $55,000 in June. Officials said they needed the money for other projects in the township.
• Residents also blasted the commissioners when it came to light that about 200 residents had been receiving inaccurate water bills for months as a result of the township’s meter reader falsifying the books last year. Officials allowed residents to get on payment plans, but required them to pay the full amount of the overcharged bills.
• After the water meter issue came to light, officials also discovered there were about 150 meters that weren’t working. The township bought the new meters, but are requiring residents to pay for a plumber to install them. Residents have said they don’t believe they should be responsible for the cost.
• At the June commissioners meeting, officials tried to implement a new policy that prohibited residents from asking questions about agenda items as well as bring up issues outside of the agenda. Officials said they were trying to keep residents from getting into fights, but residents said they felt they were being silenced.
Appollonia said the commissioners’ behavior is rude and inappropriate at meetings and residents often are not provided with an explanation of their decisions, a copy of the agenda or previous meeting minutes.
Hare said they are expecting about 50 people to attend. She said the commissioners are not invited to the meeting because they don’t want anyone to feel like they can’t voice their concerns.
Hare said she will take notes at the meeting and then report the residents’ concerns at the next commissioners meeting.
Hare and Appollonia said they would like to see a complete overhaul of the board whether they resign or are removed from office.
Messages left for Rozzano, James and Sweet were not returned. A number listed for Redman was disconnected. A number listed for Common gave a message that it didn’t accept incoming calls.
Emily Balser is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Emily at 724-226-4680, [email protected] or via Twitter @emilybalser.