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Mayor breaks tie over street lights

Some say it happened in the 1800s. Others say maybe as early as 35 years ago.
Regardless of when, leaders in Bellwood Borough and Antis Township did shake hands one day with the agreement that Bellwood would resume financial responsibility for five street lights located on township property, but used by borough residents.
That all changed a few months ago when Bellwood officials decided they no longer wanted to foot the entire bill.
Last night, in a split 3-3 vote, with Mayor Jim Bonsell breaking the tie, council agreed to pay 50 percent of street lighting costs for five lights, located on West Logan Street at four separate intersections and one near the Myers Elementary School.
“This really does benefit everybody,” said Wayne Snare, council president. “The poles may be in the township, but the light they produce do benefit our residents a little more. I think that’s the least we could do.”
The decision came on the recommendation of Penelec Area Manager Beverly Green, who told both municipalities in mid-January that if an agreement couldn’t be reached as to who would pay for the service, it would be discontinued.
“In fairness, I feel we need to pay for half this service,” said Bonsell. “We shouldn’t let the residents down and decide not to help pay this.”
According to Bonsell, it would cost about $600 to continue with the service. He said each township paying half of that bill would compute to about $25 each month for both municipalities.
Council members Patty Krier and Fred Sweigert animately expressed their displeasure with the idea of sharing the costs, both noting that Bellwood has been burdened with the costs since “the handshake” many years ago. Krier and Sweigert, along with Tom Lechner voted “nay.”
Those voting “yes” were Wayne Snare, John Gunsallus and Don Walker.
Council woman Sue Johnson was not in attendance.
Ray Amato, vice-chairman of the Antis Township Board of Supervisors, attended last evening’s meeting and told council the subject is expected to go to vote at the Thursday meeting of the supervisors, which is scheduled for 7 p.m.