Mt. Pleasant Township sewage project nearing an end

| Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012, 9:50 p.m.

With the final letters to connect about to go out and some customers receiving their first bills for service, the Mt. Pleasant Township Municipal Authority's sewage project is nearing an end.

Chairman Jerome Yasher reported that the final 200 letters to connect will be mailed out prior to the Thanksgiving holiday and around 180 customers received their first bill for service for October.

“Hopefully within the next 30 days we will have another 600 customers included in the billing,” Yasher said.

Solicitor Les Mlakar informed the board that the Mt. Pleasant Township Supervisors had decided to waive sewage fees for those living in the Century Farms subdivision for the period of services beginning in June and ending in September. The residents who live in that area previously received sewage service from the township and were billed quarterly for that service. When the new sewage system was put in place by the municipal authority, those customers were switched to the new system and the old plant was shut down.

“The supervisors did not want the clients to get two bills at once so they have waved the bill for the last quarter of service,” Mlakar said.

Prompted by questions from residents, the Mt. Pleasant Township Municipal Authority reaffirmed its policy on extensions to connect and associated fees.

Once residents receive their letters they have 60 days to pay the $1,500 tap-in fee and connect. If they are unable to connect during those 60 days they can fill out a form at the authority office requesting an extension.

Extensions will be brought before the variance committee and voted on an individual basis. A 30-day extension may be approved at no extra cost. If a second 30-day extension is granted there will be a $50 administrative fee. If either extension is granted the property owner is still responsible to pay the tap-in fee with in the first 60 days and on day 61 they will be billed for services whether they are connected to. It is not set by the authority,” Mlakar said.

When questioned why residents were being charged a flat fee instead of having the bill based on consumption, Mlakar explained that the board voted on a flat fee to ensure sufficient cash flow to pay the debt incurred to create the system and the authority may in the future go to a consumption-based fee.

Resident Greg Dorundo of Larkspur Circle informed the board that in an attempt to tap in he discovered the tap was not installed properly and there would be insufficient rate of fall for his line to his home.

Project engineer Doug Regola of Victor P. Regola and Associates, Inc. said the tap was one of the last things done by Savage Heavy Highway before the company walked off the job last fall. He said the authority will contact the bonding company to correct the matter and Dorundo would not be penalized for not connecting within the 60 days nor would he be billed until the situation was corrected.

Yasher said every property with an equivalent dwelling unit or EDU is being looked at by the variance committee to be sure the customers are being charged fairly.

“I want to thank the variance committee. They have been really putting in a lot of time and I think it has been a great help to the customers,” Yasher said.

In other business the board approved a motion allowing Mlakar to pursue condemnations against the Merle R. Ray property on West Laurel Circle, the Diane Zufall property on Route 981 and Dorundo's property.

Mlakar will also attempt to contact West Penn Power regarding power fluctuations which have been affecting sewage plant equipment.

After much discussion the board also approved final payment to Port Vue Plumbing for work on the sewage project. The $70,869 payment was approved less liquidated assets. The liquidated assets would cover the time from the end of the contract extension on May 10 to within a week after the company requested an inspection in July due to the inspector from the United States Department of Agriculture not being available at the time of the request. An additional $3,000 will abe held for maintenance of grass that has not yet been completed to the authority's satisfaction.

Linda Harkcom is a freelance writer.

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