Big Run War Memorial

The Big Run War Memorial.

BIG RUN — The Big Run Borough Council discussed funding and grants for the War Memorial stormwater drainage repairs, and how to make the building better benefit the taxpayers.

Big Run Secretary Dawn Kopp explained the borough had not yet heard back about the grant application for American Rescue Plan funds for the storm drain repairs. The council discussed using the allocation of ARP funds it had received already for the project, but decided on tabling the issue for another month.

“We could wait, but I don’t know how long it’s going to take and it’s a job that I think needs done sooner than later, but that’s up to the council to decide,” Kopp said.

Councilman Wayne McKee said it wouldn’t hurt to wait a bit longer if it meant they received the grant money to pay for the project, and could use the ARP funds for other necessities in town. He said there is still three or four months of nice weather during which the project could be completed.

“I just hate to see all the work you do to try to apply for the grant if you’re only going to wait a month… “ McKee said. “It really hasn’t been that long, what’s another month?”

Kopp also said the government would be auditing the borough on the use of the ARP funds.

The council agreed the stormwater drainage would need to be addressed, but that it could wait another couple of weeks for possible funding. The council also said they could use some of the $31,348 the council received as the first half of the borough’s ARP allotment.

The borough was quoted the drain repair would cost about $17,000 to $19,000.

Council President George Bedell also gave an update on the roof project, saying the roof contractors had said the repairs were completed, but Bedell has yet to hear from the engineer and inspector. He said he will not be signing off on anything until the engineer returns again.

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“It should be final, but when I came down here I was told the roof guys were here and left and they OK'd it. Well I said I’m not going to do anything, I’ve got to hear this from the engineer,” Bedell said.

The engineer was busy at the time, but the roof has to be verified by Bill Setree before anything can be taken care of.

He also said there are still some housekeeping things to be taken care of that the company is contracting out like the ruts in the grass and some wire to be fixed.

Councilmember Kathy MacAulay also mentioned trying to find a better way to make taxpayer money worthwhile.

“I know that the building is a pivotal part of Big Run, but we have to somehow make a way that all the taxpayer money that's being dumped into the care and upkeep and the maintenance that as a taxpayer, even myself, how am I benefitting,” MacAulay asked.

She said that in a year where no repairs were done, and only the cost of upkeep was considered, the building cost about $22,000. She said the council needed to find a way that the building wasn’t “just eating up taxpayer's money just to exist.”

Mayor Joe Buterbaugh agreed this was an issue, but said he did not know the answer to it, and that council has struggled with this issue for several years now.

“We’re in a council that is kind of a pickle when it comes to the War Memorial. The War Memorial, as far as I can remember in my lifetime here, is the centerpiece of the town… We have to somehow keep the money situation to where people aren’t complaining we’re spending too much on the building, and I don’t know how exactly,” Buterbaugh said. “We lost the school, we’ve lost so many things. If we lose this we might as well pull the cork on Big Run as far as I’m concerned.”

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