The Board of Supervisors discussed requests for funding from two organizations at its meeting Monday night.
Discovery Space of Central Pennsylvania asked for $10,000 each year for the next three years. ClearWater Conservancy requested $150,000 toward its Slab Cabin Run initiative.
Decisions on both funding requests were postponed to the Dec. 5 meeting. Vice Chairman Peter Buckland was absent on Monday.
The Slab Cabin Run initiative is a proactive source water protection strategy. ClearWater is looking to permanently conserve a little more than 300 acres of agricultural land, as previously reported.
Supervisor Janet Whitaker said she wrestles with the amount but thinks the board should “bite the bullet” and fund it.
In favor of the full $150,000, Chairman Steve Miller said providing the money would be the right decision.
Supervisor Rita Graef suggested approving $75,000 now and then putting forth a referendum to see if the citizens of Ferguson Township were willing to have the township put up more later.
Supervisor Laura Dininni said she’s in support of the project but that she didn’t feel the same support from ClearWater when she was talking about protecting drinking water with the Toll Brothers project.
Dininni said she’d like to see ClearWater support Ferguson Township residents’ agenda in return for supporting the Slab Cabin Run initiative.
Miller pointed out that Dininni was expressing her personal opinion and not that of the board.
Dininni also questioned why the State College Borough Water Authority was “low balling” its support.
Deb Nardone, ClearWater’s executive director, said ClearWater requested $750,000 from the water authority and it countered with a recommendation of $350,000.
She added that no financial amount has been set as the water authority decided it wasn’t ready to make a decision on the amount.
The initiative is the people’s agenda, Nardone said.
It’s a “hard ask” for ClearWater to be making of the municipalities and the water authority when money is tight, Nardone said. But, “the payoff is significant down the road.”
Protecting drinking water is a “massive” priority for ClearWater and the region, she said.
“We need your investment now,” Nardone said.
Sarah Rafacz: 814-231-4619, @SarahRafacz