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Port Vue sewage rate hike approved

| Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, 4:16 a.m.

Port Vue councilors voted on Wednesday to raise sewage rates by 15 cents per 1,000 gallons, retroactive to Jan. 1.

Council's action did not affect the base rate, which remains $54.70 for the first 4,000 gallons, but for each 1,000 gallons that follow the rate rises from $9.55 to $9.70.

On the other hand, council tabled a resolution authorizing the borough to join in commencing a lawsuit over “the illegal increase of the user rate charged by the Municipal Authority of the City of McKeesport.”

On Jan. 1 that user rate rose from $7.85 to $7.95 per 1,000 gallons. The rate is passed along differently among the 11 municipalities tied in to the authority lines.

“We bill them in bulk off of what their water usage is,” authority Superintendent Chuck Schultz said.

The authority serves all or part of McKeesport, Duquesne, Dravosburg, Port Vue, Liberty, East McKeesport, Elizabeth Township, Glassport, North Versailles Township and Versailles.

The tabling followed approval of a motion last month that authorized participation in any suit brought by the North Versailles Township Sanitary Authority and/or others over the $1 million annual host fee the municipal authority pays the city.

The city has argued the fee is needed for security, street openings, infrastructure repairs and shared equipment, and that rate hikes cover a $60 million unfunded state mandate for treatment requirements and sewer separation.

Schultz said the overhaul is “75 percent complete,” even with weather delays. The West Shore pumping station within Port Vue is “98 percent” complete.

“The only thing that is left (for West Shore) is the start-up process,” Schultz said. As for the whole job, “we're looking to be significantly done maybe by summer or late summer.”

In a related matter council approved submission of a third report documenting the borough's compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency's “nine minimum controls” policy.

That report was required two months after submission of a second combined sewer overflow report and will be covered by a cost not to exceed $5,000.

In other action council authorized advertising for an assistant borough manager.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or pcloonan@tribweb.com.

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