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Authority takes legal action on property owners

| Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, 7:36 p.m.

Ligonier Township Municipal Authority officials have filed summary offenses against more than a dozen residents who haven't connected to the authority's sewage line along state Route 30.

The township passed a law more than a year ago that requires owners of property within 150 feet of the line to “tap-in” at a cost of $1,500 plus the expense of installing a private line that connects any structures to the authority's line.

Those who haven't complied could face a fine of $1,000 a day, which for some started in July 2011.

Authority solicitor Don Snyder said in projects like the authority's there's always a certain number of people who refuse to connect.

“For the size of this project, I would say this is a normal amount of people,” he said. “But if they don't tap in, they're going to have to pay the fee and pay for the service anyway, so they're not saving any money by waiting.”

Ligonier Township began installing sewer lines in a multi-phase, $22 million project after a mandate from the state's Department of Environmental Protection.

The project is mostly funded through PennVEST, a state-governed, low-interest loan service. Money collected from the tap-in fees is required to go toward repayment of that loan.

“All the authority is looking for is simply compliance,” Snyder said. “We're in the business of keeping the pollution out of the waters of the Commonwealth, as required by the state. That's the reason we did this project in the first place.”

Residents who received a notice of the summary offense will have to plead guilty or not guilty. Those who plead not guilty will be required to attend a hearing before Ligonier District Judge Denise Snyder Thiel.