Apr. 22, 2024

Legislative Update
The latest news from the State Capitol
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The House of Representatives stands in recess this week but will return to session April 29h.

Tomorrow is primary Election Day, and as such our Mountain Top and Nanticoke District Office’s will also be closed for the day and will reopen on Wednesday. Voters will have the opportunity to choose their party’s candidates for president, U.S. House and Senate, state House and Senate (in odd-numbered senatorial districts), PA attorney general, PA auditor general, PA treasurer and convention delegates.

Voters may cast their ballots in person at their local polling place. You can find your polling place by clicking here. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Additional information about in-person voting is available here.  

Only voters registered as Republicans or Democrats are eligible to vote for candidates in the primary election.  
Road conditions at the Kriby Ave Railroad Crossing in Fairview Twp

A permanent repair is coming to the Kirby Ave and Church Rd railroad crossings in Mountaintop!

For those who travel Kirby Ave in Mountain Top, this intersection has been a source of frustration and safety concerns for residents and commuters due to its deteriorating condition. Following emergency track repair by Reading Railroad, which took place two weeks ago, temporary measures were implemented, including the placement of stone at the crossing. However, the use of stone caused turbulent conditions for vehicles crossing the tracks, resulting in inconvenience and, for some, damage, which led to my office getting involved.

After hearing from the community, I engaged with the Reading Railroad Government Affairs office to expedite the repair process. Last Tuesday, Reading Railroad mobilized crews to bolster the temporary measures with additional stone, further improving safety conditions at the intersection.

A comprehensive plan for a permanent repair has been established, with crews and materials being assembled for deployment within the next two weeks. This forthcoming solution will involve the mobilization of paving equipment not only at the Kirby Avenue crossing, but also at the Church Road crossing, ensuring a smooth asphalt surface for both intersections.

Residents and commuters are encouraged to stay informed about further developments through my weekly e-newsletter or on my official Facebook page at Facebook.com/RepRyncavage.
Unfunded Sewer Mandates Threaten Mountaintop Community

Residents of the Glen Summit community in Fairview Township have found themselves in a state of distress as they received notices from the Mountain Top Area Joint Sanitary Authority (MAJSA) mandating the replacement of their sewer laterals. These notices, which arrived last week, have sparked outrage among residents who are now facing the possibility of significant financial burdens and property damage.

The unfunded mandate, issued as part of MAJSA's $3 million sewer main project, requires residents to replace their sewer laterals, regardless of their current condition. The authority insists that these replacements must adhere to arbitrary criteria, including the use of “approved materials” and a required depth of “48 inches below grade.” Residents are given the option to either contract with the authority's designated contractor, Pioneer, at a rate of $95 per linear foot, or to hire their own contractor. Residents who choose to select their own contractor will still have to coordinate with Pioneer during its construction of the sewer main.

For many residents, this unexpected expense could amount to more than $30,000 and may result in destruction to their yards, driveways, and homes. The letters sent to residents were dated late March, with references to a project start date in May and a completion date in August. Outrage was sparked when some residents were informed they had only 60 days from the completion of the sewer main project, estimated for this upcoming August, to connect the newly constructed laterals at their own cost or face disconnection.

Expressing concern, in a press release I wrote: "These letters are threatening residents with tens of thousands of dollars in unnecessary maintenance or face sewer disconnection. These laterals are in perfect working order. No community should be threatened with major fiscal impact with little notice. This sets a terrible principle that could be applied to any of the thousands of residents in the five-community footprint this authority oversees.

“Moreover, a review of state statues and agency regulations by the House Environment, Local Government, and Consumer Protection and Utilities committees found that there is no law, statute or regulation that addresses these arbitrary standards. Simply put, homeowners are already responsible for these laterals – and there is no good reason to replace something that is already statutorily compliant and operational.”

Highlighting the lack of prior communication, I added, "Over a year ago, the Mountain Top Area Joint Sewer Authority met with my office and Sen. Lynda Culver. While the idea of a sewer main replacement project was mentioned, at no point were there any suggestions of holding nearly 60 residents hostage to tens of thousands of dollars in construction. To homeowners who have perfectly adequate laterals, this leaves only the contractors who are winning in this situation. This is what happens when quasi-government bodies go unchecked.”

I have teamed up with Sen. Lynda Culver to work closely with affected residents and local officials to address this issue and ensure residents’ rights and financial well-being are protected. Together we hope to bring the community and authority together for a positive outcome.

Click here to read my press release and see the letter.