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Mt. Pleasant utility customers want extension of sewer tap-in fee

| Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012, 12:16 a.m.

Making the sewage transition easier on residents was front and center at the Mt. Pleasant Municipal Authority's monthly board meeting this week.

Contractor Bob Hudak told the board on Tuesday night that he is concerned about getting all of his customers' transitions completed within the 60 days required from receipt of their letters. He asked the board if there is any type of extension available.

Resident Dave Reno of Larkspur Circle in Norvelt also asked the board if there was any way he could have an extension connecting to the new sewage system until the spring.

“I'll pay the tap-in fee and the monthly fee, but I would like to wait to connect until winter is over because I don't want to have my driveway torn up all winter,” Reno said.

The board approved an extension schedule for residents. Once customers receive their letters, they have 60 days to pay the $1,500 tap-in fee and connect. If they are unable to connect during the 60-day period, they can complete a form at the authority office requesting an extension.

Extensions will be brought before the variance committee and voted on an individual basis. A 30-day extension may be approved at no extra cost. If a second 30-day extension is granted, there will be a $50 administrative fee. If either extension is granted, the property owner still is responsible to pay the tap-in fee within the first 60 days. On Day 61, customers will be billed for services whether they are connected to the system or not.

“This board works for the people of the township, and what I can tell you is there is no one on this board who wants to make things any harder on the residents,” Vice Chairman Paul Kraisinger said.

Businessman and resident Harry Prue asked the board to reconsider the $7,500 tap-in fee set for his laundromat on Main Street in Norvelt.

“I'm asking for leniency on this because I think it's a little steep. Plus I'm going to have to pay a $300 connection fee and six times the monthly fee compared to the residents,” he said.

Prue told the board that his business doesn't make a lot of profit and that he may have to consider closing it, depending on how the numbers add up.

“A lot of people use it because they do not have sewage and they have to do their laundry there so please take that into consideration,” Prue said.

Resident Robert Sanner of Calumet asked the board for an extension in paying the $1,500 tap-in fee. He and his wife moved to the area in July from New York and weren't informed of the impending sewage fees by the Realtor. Sanner said he is disabled and his wife was just laid off.

Sanner and Prue were told their situations would be discussed in executive session and that written notice of the decisions will be mailed to them.

Several residents had questions regarding restoration work still to be completed or done improperly.

Kraisinger and project engineer Douglas Regola, of Victor P. Regola and Associates Inc., assured residents their properties will be restored properly.

“Our job is to make sure all of the complaints are satisfied before we make final payment,” Kraisinger said.

All residents were encouraged to file a second complaint form if they had not done so yet.

“We have not signed off on anything yet. We will have to go out and check ourselves before we sign off,” Regola said.

The board also approved a contract with Nationwide Payment System to allow the authority to begin to accept credit-card and online payments.

Business Manager Carol Davis said the new system should be up and running in about two weeks. An undetermined convenience fee must be paid.

Also during the meeting, Regola reported that work in Hecla is nearing completion and expects issuing a certificate for substantial completion. Davis said letters notifying residents to connect should go out in about two weeks.

Linda Harkcom is a freelance writer.

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