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North Versailles residents upset over sewage rates

| Friday, March 22, 2013, 4:41 a.m.

North Versailles residents have received their sewage bills and are complaining about an almost 29 percent increase, township Commissioner Sam Juliano said on Thursday night.

He said residents have been calling the township office with questions.

“As chairman of the North Versailles Township Sanitary Committee, I feel it is important to inform the North Versailles residents and rate payers of the background leading to the 2013 sewage rate increase,” Juliano said. “The major contributing expense directed toward the 2013 increase stems from treatment charges.”

He said the Municipal Authority of the City of McKeesport adopted a final budget with a rate increase of $1.75 per 1,000 gallons.

Juliano said he's working closely with North Versailles Township Sanitary Authority finance manager Vince Paradine to reduce the township sanitary authority operating costs this year by $8,981, in spite of greater expenses in wages, benefits and insurance.

“In order to allow North Versailles the opportunity to grow, the authority had to consent to expensive tasks required under Act 537,” Juliano said.

“Otherwise, the Department of Environmental Protection would not allow any new sewer taps in the township, which would halt growth. To date, to address consent order and Act 537 tasks, it has taken the authority over $2 million to do so. It is estimated that an additional $2.5 million dollars will be needed in future expenditures,” Juliano added.

“Therefore, it became necessary for the authority to adopt a $1.50-per-month residential surcharge to support this activity,” he continued

He said ALCOSAN, which serves some township homes, said it likely will increase its treatment charges 10 percent each year for the next five years.

Juliano said he's spearheading efforts for other communities serviced by Municipal Authority of the City of McKeesport to join the township and its authority in fighting a $1 million stipend the McKeesport authority agreed to contribute to the city of McKeesport.

“This should not occur at the expense of the North Versailles Township rate payers, or for that matter, any surrounding community rate payers,” he said.

When questioned about the stipend in the past, McKeesport authority chairman Nick Shermenti said the $1 million was covered by funds it had in surplus, before the rate increase, from funding gained from treating Marcellus shale wastewater.

He said the rate increases for communities cover a bond the McKeesport authority had to take out to make DEP-mandated improvements.

Stacy Lee is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1970, or slee@tribweb.com.

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