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Connellsville authority keeps sewage rates same

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Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Connellsville residents will not pay higher monthly bills for sewage next year.

The Connellsville Municipal Authority voted Tuesday night to adopt a 2014 proposed $1.6 million budget that includes a $275,775 shortfall.

Even though the spending plan is in the red, authority member and treasurer Rod Gunderson said the authority will not have to raise its monthly rates.

“We plan to use money out of our surplus account to balance the budget,” Gunderson said.

Kim Petko, the authority's office manager, said the proposed budget includes $506,000 for special projects next year.

One of the special projects is monitoring of the authority's combined sewage overflow, or CSO, which is required by the Pennsylvania Department of Environment Protection under the Clean Water Act.

Authority members do not have a cost estimate for the CSO monitoring yet because Widmer Engineering is still in the process of developing specifications for the professional services.

Doug Coffman, engineer with Widmer Engineering, said it will not be necessary for the authority to solicit bids for the monitoring project.

“This falls under the category of professional services, so a bidding process will not be required,” Coffman said.

Petko said an additional $215,000 is earmarked in next year's budget for the South Arch Street Bridge project. PennDOT is expected to pick up half of the project cost, while the authority will be responsible for the remaining 50 percent.

In other business, Petko said an estimated 700 sewage authority customers did not receive bills last month because of problems related to a new billing system implemented by the Pennsylvania American Water Co.

“We just want to let our customers know about the billing problems,” Petko said. “We're working with the water company to correct the mistake. Customers who did not receive bills will be receiving them as soon as possible. We want our customers to remain patient while we work out this issue.”

Cindy Ekas is a contributing writer.

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