Community Reacts to Snack Plant Delays, Emergency Meeting Planne - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Community Reacts to Snack Plant Delays, Emergency Meeting Planned

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After development plans for the Waterford KLN Family Brands snack plant were halted last Thursday by the Waterford Township Water and Sewer Authority, residents in the community are speaking out against the decision.

"For somebody to make that type of decision, I don't believe it," said Thomas Modeski. "Being a Waterford resident for 23 years, somebody would vote against having jobs? I'm sorry, I just don't agree," he said. 

The two-to-two vote by the authority defeated a motion to develop a water and sewer pipeline for KLN, the snack plant to take over Troyer Farms. "The company needs the one-mile extension of public water and sewer lines to reach its plant in order to be fully operational.

KLN would fund the construction project, but conflict between the Waterford township's and borough's water authorities over maintenance of the extension and water prices led to the no vote.

The Waterford Township supervisors have planned an emergency meeting for Monday evening at 6:30pm at Fort LeBoeuf middle school to see if the issues can be resolved. The meeting is open to the public.

For now, citizens are concerned the water authority's decision could eliminate, or delay, hundreds of future jobs.

"Pat Long, with a vote no, he screwed up and he messed up a lot of people in Waterford Township," said Brian Gregor, a Union City resident who often works in Waterford . "People are hungry, they want jobs, the economy is not good, they're looking for a good paying job," he said.

"I know quite a few people who worked at Troyer Farms who lost their jobs, but they want to reapply (to KLN) and go back to work," Gregor added.

There's even a Facebook campaign asking Waterford residents to share a flyer that reads, "Voting against JOBS for Waterford?" and prompts citizens to contact the two water authority board members who voted against the developer's agreement.

The owner and vice president of KLN Family Brands, father-son team Kevin and Charlie Nelson, are also very upset, calling it a 'crying shame' in a letter that the water authorities weren't able to resolve their conflicts in time.   

County government is also frustrated.

"After five months, the governing bodies could not reach an agreement," said County Councilman Ed DiMatteo. "How does this paint Erie County for everyone else? It's almost like we're not open for business," he said.

Though KLN's deal with their contractor expired on Friday,  they've managed to negotiate an extension until Wednesday.

"We are looking into what can be done by Wednesday if anything, to help us. It gives us a few more days to try and work through this with the Waterford local government to get this done," said Brian Garlick, general manager of the Waterford branch of KLN.

"We really want to be a part of this community and we're still really trying to make this happen," Garlick said.

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