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Export water shut-off threat prompts payments

| Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, 8:54 p.m.

The threat of turning off water service has prompted money to flow into the Export sewage account.

Borough officials said they received $6,200 in sewage payments after notifying delinquent customers that their water would be shut off if payment plans weren't arranged within 30 days. With the borough trying to recoup about $65,000 in late sewage bills, last month officials passed an ordinance with strict repercussions for those who did not pay.

Of the 39 customers with past-due accounts of more than $100, 27 property owners responded to a letter from sewage secretary Marlene Mahinske regarding the new policy. The other 12 must sign up for a payment plan or else their water will be shut off.

Last month, council approved offering a sewage exoneration to those with balances in excess of $500, if a payment of 20 percent of the balance is made within 60 days. Property owners must pay their normal monthly bill plus 5 percent of the past due balance to receive a 10-percent reduction in their balance. Mahinske said five people have taken advantage of the offer.

The $6,200 in payments the borough received is almost triple what it received in September, Mahinske said.

Councilman Clay Soles said he will meet with Mahinske to create a list of delinquent accounts and how much is owed. That list will be updated each month for council, he said.

According to information released by the borough in June, there are at least 26 residential customers with a past-due balance of more than $700. The highest — and most delinquent— dated back 12 years for more than $7,200.

Franklin Township Municipal Sanitary Authority processes the sewage from Export; however, Export owns its own sewer lines. The borough also handles its own bills and collects $10.05 per account for the authority.

Borough solicitor Wes Long suggested adding a warning at the bottom of new bills that accounts more than $100 past due will be subject to water shut-off.

“We want people to know we're serious about this,” Long said.

Daveen Rae Kurutz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8627, or dkurutz@tribweb.com.

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