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June 12, 2014

Line Mountain dealing with unexpected bills totaling nearly $300,000

— MANDATA — Line Mountain School District officials are waiting to hear the status of two financial obligations totaling nearly $300,000.

The Lower Mahanoy Township Municipal Authority demanded in a May 23 letter that the district pay a $140,934 bill within 30 days for the cleanup of 1,250 gallons of heating oil. The fuel leaked from the former Dalmatia Elementary School into the authority’s wastewater treatment plant in February.

Thirty calender days would put the deadline at June 22, two days before the next district board meeting.

Additionally, the attorneys for Brian and Angie Beattie, who successfully sued Line Mountain to allow their daughter Audriana to join the all-male junior high wrestling team, are demanding the district pay $140,682 in attorney fees.

Fuel leak drains coffers

While district solicitor Rich Roberts is still researching the fuel leak, school board members at Tuesday night’s meeting did not sound optimistic that the insurance policy would cover the cost.

In renewing several insurance policies Tuesday, the board members tabled a policy approval for environmental liability through Admiral Insurance Co. at a cost of $7,324.86, which provides a $1 million limit of insurance with a $10,000 per claim deductible for pollution coverage at the elementary and middle/high school.

Director Lauren Hackenberg jokingly asked insurance broker Nathan Troutman, of Deibler, Straub and Troutman, Elizabethville, whether the environmental liability was retroactive several times.

For the particular insurance they were considering on the agenda, Troutman said Dalmatia would not have been eligible because it was operating on an old system.

At the time of the heating oil leak, the district was paying $62,598 for insurance coverage, which includes property, crime, inland marine, general liability, professional liability, automobile, umbrella and accident.

The sewer plant, located at 132 River Road, is approximately a half-mile from Dalmatia. Servicing 234 customers, it processes approximately 30,000 gallons of sewage a day.

The Dalmatia building was not in use by the district for educational purposes when the leak occurred. It and Leck Kill Elementary were closed at the end of the 2012-13 school year as part of a consolidation plan.

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