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Allegheny Township water, sewer rates to fall

| Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, 1:02 a.m.

Allegheny Township residents will pay less for water and sewage service next year.

On Tuesday, the township approved the Municipal Authority of Allegheny Township's nearly $1.5 million budget for 2013.

The almost 2,900 customers tapped into the system will be paying about $2 to $3 less per month for water and sewage service.

Officials say the average customer will pay about $42.34 per month — a savings over this year's average of $44.62.

Broken down, the base rate for 2013 will be $22.41 per month, versus the current rate of $25.14 per month.

But the usage rate will go up to $4.86 per 1,000 gallons, from the current price of $4.75.

“It takes a lot of water to eat up that 10 cents a gallon,” water authority Treasurer Joe Defilippi said.

Defilippi said part of the reason the rates will go up next year is because the water authority will make more money from Washington Township, which pays Allegheny Township to use some of its waterlines and sewer lines.

Next year, Washington Township will have to cough up $3.90 cents per customer, which is an increase of 9 cents.

In addition to the increase, Defilippi says the number of Washington Township users is almost doubling next year.

He also said the municipal authority has been “tightening its belt” a little more, which has helped cut down on costs.

Officials also say they've budgeted more money for maintenance in 2013.

This year the municipal authority went way over budget fixing sewer lines and cleaning storm drains, so they want to be more prepared for next year.

New worker's comp insurer

The township is expecting to pay more for worker's compensation for its two volunteer fire departments.

Its current insurer, Municipal Risk Management, won't cover worker's compensation for volunteer firefighters who develop cancer from exposure to fire-related carcinogens.

Currently the township pays around $20,000 per year to insure its two fire departments.

But it will likely pay more to insure them through Pennsylvania's State Workers' Insurance Fund, nicknamed SWIF.

Township Manager Greg Primm said he doesn't know how much more it will cost, but says other municipalities he's contacted have said they're paying around 10 percent to 20 percent more using SWIF.

Since the state Volunteer Cancer Presumption law was passed, insurance companies have decided to drop or drastically increase rates for most municipalities, which has left municipalities scrambling to find an alternative.

Because of that, Primm says SWIF has been overwhelmed with the amount of applications it has been receiving.

He said initially the agency was going to require a separate policy per fire department, which would require a lot of extra work and administration fees.

But recently it decided to issue one policy per municipality.

“I'm so happy they did,” Primm said.

Primm said the municipality has not had to make any claims in the past and hopes it will help to keep the cost of insurance low.

The township plans to submit a SWIF application in the next week or so.

Sarah Kovash is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media. Comments regarding this story can be sent to 724-226-4666 or vndcity@tribweb.com.

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