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Elizabeth Twp. Sanitary Authority mostly silent on dissolution plans

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Friday, April 5, 2013, 4:36 a.m.
 

Elizabeth Township Sanitary Authority has yet to set a course of action in response to township commissioners' decision earlier this week to take steps toward terminating the authority.

At their regular meeting on Thursday, authority board members barely discussed the township's action three nights earlier to have the township solicitor draft an ordinance dissolving the authority.

Authority solicitor Thomas Barry reviewed the situation briefly before the board scheduled a special meeting for Wednesday at 6 p.m.

That will follow a special meeting the township already has scheduled for Tuesday to vote on the ordinance.

“I got to see what they do,” Barry said after the meeting. “I don't know what they're bringing.”

Barry said he only received word of the proposed termination on Thursday and had not researched the subject.

“I have no idea why they would want to terminate an effective unit of their government,” Barry said.

Less than three months ago, the township voted to add two members to the authority board by amending the article of incorporation.

That subsequently was overruled by the Pennsylvania Department of State. The department said it did not conform to state law because the authority did not propose the amendment.

The township says it is legally authorized to terminate the authority.

Township and authority officials say a previously existing authority had been dissolved by the township years ago; the current authority was formed in 2002.

Bob Similo, who formerly chaired the authority board and now is working as a consultant to the authority, said the township doesn't have the expertise to manage the sanitary system.

“If they are capable (of terminating the authority), and do that, the sewer rates will triple in Elizabeth Township,” he opined. “I don't think they did much research on what has to be done.”

Commissioners say it is too soon to discuss who will oversee the system if the board is dissolved.

Similo, who was on the authority board for about a decade until this year when commissioners appointed Gary Stetar to replace him, said there's no way the board of commissioners would ask him to oversee the system.

Similo is earning $75 per hour as a consultant.

The township has hired attorney Jack Cambest to oversee the procedure of terminating the authority at a rate of $95 per hour.

Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1966, or eslagle@tribweb.com.

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