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Authority could take over Gilpin's water, sewer systems

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Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
 

Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County officials said Wednesday the utility will attempt to purchase the water and sewer systems in Gilpin Township.

The Armstrong County community has notified the authority that it intends to sell the agency that provides service to about 800 water and 600 sewer customers, according to municipal authority Manager Chris Kerr.

“We're getting closer to determining a reasonable offer to acquire those systems,” Kerr said.

The county utility currently sells water to the Gilpin authority.

Gilpin Township officials could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

For more than a decade, the authority has looked to purchase regional water and sewer systems to enlarge its operation.

The purchase would come as the municipal authority is readying the largest capital improvement project in its history.

Board members in October approved a long-range plan that called for more than $140 million in improvements to the water system.

To help finance that program, the board last month instituted a 25 percent rate hike for customers that will go into effect in February.

The authority services more than 400,000 residents and has 120,000 water customers in five counties. It provides sewer service to about 5,000 customers.

In 2006, the authority made its last water system purchase when it bought the Ligonier Borough Municipal Authority for $5.25 million, taking on 1,660 water and 1,240 sewer customers.

Last year, the county authority offered $32 million to purchase the New Kensington water system and its more than 14,000 customers. City officials did not act on the offer.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com.

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