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MSATS rates to remain flat

| Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012, 9:18 p.m.

While voting to keep rates steady for 2013, Sewickley Township's sewage authority board is keeping open the possibility of adding an additional usage fee sometime during the year.

Municipal Sewage Authority of the Township of Sewickley's board approved a balanced budget for 2013 at $864,254.

Treasurer Rich Bosko said the authority is now operating with less construction costs, but more operational costs.

“We have more people that are tapped in, more people that are paying now, but more bill payments,” he said at Tuesday night's meeting.

Rates will remain at $58.95 per month and the tap-in fee for new homes will remain at $3,800.

President Brian Merdian said the board may consider an overage charge within the next year for $5.65 per month for every 1,000 gallons over the first 3,000 gallons.

The authority also voted to have engineers conduct a feasibility study and estimate costs of a connection with the Sutersville-Sewickley Sewage Authority.

Engineers will consider a line that parallels Sutersville-Rillton Road and continues near Slaughter Hollow Road before connecting to the MSATS plant on Lowber Road.

The study, which will cost $1,500, will be submitted to the Sewickley Township supervisors if cost effective.

“We'll work with the supervisors in whatever plan the supervisors come up with to resolve the issue,” Merdian said.

The Sutersville-based authority has about 515 customers in the borough and some in the Sewickley Township village of Lowber, but is a separate entity from the Herminie-based authority that services a little more than 1,300 customers, Merdian said.

“Their stressed financial situation is not going to affect our solid financial situation. (The authorities) are two separate things and we intend to keep it that way,” he said.

Engineers should return with the study for consideration by the board at its January meeting, Merdian said.

In other business, the board approved pay increases for office workers Crystal Carnes and Tracy Hampshire.

With Mary Benson dissenting, the board voted 6-1 to approve a $2 raise for Carnes from $12 per hour to $14 per hour and a $2 raise for Hampshire from $13 per hour to $15 per hour.

Benson said she voted against the increases because the two had received one only a few months prior.

“I thought they had just had a raise before and they didn't need another one,” she said.

Merdian said when the workers had increases earlier in the year, they were promised another at year's end.

“If the performance standards were met, they were promised additional compensation,” he said. “Their performance has been exceptional and, in turn, they were rewarded for their work.”

The board also approved $625 to be spent on development of a website for the authority by marketing firm Altris, Inc., set to include a method to pay sewage bills online.

Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at or 724-836-6660.