This article was funded by LebTown donors as part of our Civic Impact Reporting Project.

The Cornwall public works department was reestablished by the Cornwall Borough Council at their April 10 meeting.

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The public works department is made up of the highway and water/sewer departments.

It was dissolved in 2021 partially due to miscommunication issues. Several members of council said at the April meeting that the dissolution of the department was done without their knowledge at the time.

The council has been discussing recombining the departments since late 2022.

It has been discussed alongside the possibility of acquiring the Open Pit as a water supply, which would be a major change for water and sewer.

The Open Pit in Cornwall is currently used as a water source by the Elizabethtown Area Water Authority. Cornwall Borough has been looking into purchasing the Open Pit to supply the borough with water. (Will Trostel)

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The primary change, township manager Cody Rhoads said, is that now both water and sewer and highway employees will report to public works superintendent Tom Smith.

“This change will allow for more cross training,” said Rhoads in an email. “The employees who were strictly in the highway department will be learning the water and sewer operations as well, while the water and sewer employee will be available to assist on highway projects.”

With four highway employees and only two employees in the currently understaffed water and sewer, the change will enable more cooperation, chairman Ed Brensinger said.

The reestablishment of the department was approved with all in favor except council vice president Bruce Conrad.

Conrad said that while he is not opposed to the reestablishment, he believes the council should take a more planned approach rather than suddenly recombining them.

Cornwall Borough Council meets the second Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. The meetings are open to the public and do not require prior registration.

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Emily Bixler was born and raised in Lebanon and now reports on local government. In her free time, she enjoys playing piano and going for hikes.


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