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Ligonier Township sewage rate remains same across the board

| Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

The Ligonier Township Municipal Authority will not give a discounted sewage rate to seasonal customers.

The authority plans to provide sewage service to about 24 customers along Route 30 near The Road Toad restaurant.

At the board's June meeting, some owners of cottages in the project area voiced frustrations about paying to tap into the system when they use their properties a few times a year.

At a July 2 meeting, Barb McMillan of Gibson Thomas Engineers said she researched the rates for authorities that serve seasonal customers, such as in Bedford and Potter counties, and she came across four ways of charging those customers.

The majority of those contacted said they charged seasonal residents at the same rate as other customers.

Some said they charged half the base rate for the service, plus usage. Others charged two-thirds of the base rate, plus usage, and another authority provided one water line for seasonal residents to split tap-in fees and usage bills.

“The vast majority of the people I talked to, they charge them the same rate,” McMillan said. “And I checked most of Western Pennsylvania.”

The connection fee will be $1,500, and customers will each have to pay to install a lateral pipe, which will vary by contractor.

In addition, customers will be billed $33.35 monthly for debt service. To pay for the service itself, residents can pay a monthly flat rate of $56.35, or they can install a meter on their well and pay for monthly usage. Installing a meter will cost $183.42.

The authority went with the uniform-rate system after board members John Beaufort and Bruce Kemerer expressed concern about how the authority would track whether the properties are used seasonally or yearly.

“How would we monitor it if somebody does permanently move in there?” Kemerer said. “It just opens a whole can of worms.”

The board unanimously passed a motion to keep the rate “the same across the board.”

Regarding the rest of the sewage project, engineer Mark Gera reported that 298 tap-in fees in Darlington have been paid, and 256 customers are connected to the system. In Laughlintown, 80 tap-in fees have been paid and 74 customers are connected.

The deadline to pay a tap-in fee is July 15.

In other business, the authority approved hiring Haidee Street permanently as secretary after a 90-day probation expired July 2. She received a 50-cent raise and will earn $12.50 an hour.

Solicitor Don Snyder clarified a real estate transaction printed in the Tribune-Review that incorrectly indicated that the authority purchased a property along Route 30 from the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy for $900,000. He said the figure came from a 2005 transaction between the conservancy and Westmoreland County.

“The report inadvertently picked up a consideration paid by the county to the conservancy in 2005 in a deed that was attached to the transaction between the conservancy and the authority, where that deed was an exhibit,” he said. “(The transaction) was to release the restrictive covenants for the sewage treatment plant site and the pump station site.”

The next meeting will be held 4 p.m. Aug. 6.

Nicole Chynoweth is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2862 or nchynoweth@tribweb.com.

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