The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

July 21, 2013

Cheers and jeers

Daily Item

---- — Cheers: To state Sen. Gene Yaw, who has introduced a bill to raise the prevailing wage threshold on public works projects in Pennsylvania from the $25,000 set in the 1960s to $180,000. The bill from Yaw, R-23 of Loyalsock Township, follows legislation introduced in April 2011 by state Rep. Fred Keller, R-85 of Kreamer, which seeks to raise the threshold to $190,000. Yaw said Senate Bill 1059, referred to the Senate Labor and Industry Committee in the past two weeks, would allow local governments to stretch public works dollars, which have tightened in recent years. "At today's cost levels, the $25,000 prevailing wage threshold virtually applies to every infrastructure project," Yaw said. Pennsylvania's Prevailing Wage Act requires all public works projects to pay the prevailing minimum wage. Few public works projects come in at $25,000 or less, which triggers the payment of prevailing wages.

Jeers: To Danville, for leaving thirsty Councilman Scott Richardson swinging in the wind for charging $3.75 for a Black and Tan to his borough account. Richardson added the drink to his meal expense while attending a training session Feb. 17, 2012, at the Gettysburg Hotel. "Isn't it enough taxpayers are forced to pay for food and lodging?" asked Danville resident Michael Kuziak, who filed a Right to Know request to receive the information. If Danville has a no-alcohol expense policy, new council members should be advised early enough to avoid embarrassment.

Cheers: To Sunbury, which Tuesday held another in a series of public auctions to rid the municipality of blighted properties. The Sunbury Redevelopment Authority held auctions for properties at 700 N. Seventh St. and at 1106-1116 Miller St. for a double lot. Sunbury Mayor David Persing said the city has at least 25 properties in the Northumberland County Court system waiting for a judge to rule on whether the city can take control of the homes.

Jeers: To the state Legislature, for failing to address Pennsylvania's crippled roads and bridges, leading our commonwealth to be ranked No. 1 Wednesday by CNBC as the state with the worst bridges in the nation. Pennsylvania topped the business news cable network's ranking with 26.5 percent of the commonwealth's bridges rated "structurally deficient," meaning the spans need rehabilitation or replacement. We are in good shape. According to PennDOT data, Northumberland County has the highest percentage of structurally deficient bridges in the Valley, with 6.2 percent; Snyder County is second, with 4.5 percent; followed by Union County with 4.1 percent and Montour County at 2.2 percent. But we are all Pennsylvanians. It is time for us to get it together and build some bridges.