Tarentum eyes new utility billing systems with part of park grant money | TribLIVE.com
Valley News Dispatch

Tarentum eyes new utility billing systems with part of park grant money

Brian C. Rittmeyer
File photo
An existing playground at Riverview Memorial Park in Tarentum. A new play area is among the park improvements that would be paid for with a $191,000 state grant. Work is expected to be done this year.

State grant money coming to Tarentum for a dog park may instead be used to update the borough’s outdated utility billing systems.

The borough is slated to receive more than $200,000 in Keystone Communities grants. The bulk of it, $191,000, would pay for several repairs, improvements and additions at Riverview Memorial Park.

A second $14,000 grant was marked for a dog park.

But council is considering using it to instead get new billing systems for the borough’s electric and water utilities, which borough Manager Michael Nestico said are old and antiquated.

The upfront cost is significant — $45,000, Nestico said. And the annual fee would be $33,000 per year over five years.

The borough’s annual cost is now about $11,200 per year, he said.

The borough did not budget for the expense. To help cover it, Nestico said he would use the grant plus money saved from other things, such as the savings expected from hiring a new auditor at a lower cost.

The new system would enable the borough to gather and analyze data the existing system cannot do, Nestico said.

“We are running a business with the electric and the water,” council President Erika Josefoski said. “We owe it to our customers to give them the best service possible.”

It would also allow the borough to make better use of its “smart” meters.

As an example, Nestico said the new system would be able to quickly detect and alert the borough to unusual water usage, such as that caused by a leak or running toilet. The borough could then alert the resident.

That could prevent residents from being hit with massive bills caused when such leaks go unnoticed for a month, officials said.

The bulk of the grant money that would be used in the park would pay for new play and swing areas, the addition of a jax pack, a new fence and gate, replacing the damaged climbing wall, building a new shelter, adding shade to the spray park, and repairs to the band shell.

The work is expected to be done this year, Josefoski said.

State Rep. Frank Dermody, D-Oakmont, was instrumental in helping to get the money to the borough, Josefoski said.

“We apply for as many grants as we possibly can,” she said. “Frank really was the key in helping us to secure these grant monies.”

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or via Twitter .

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.