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Residents seeking explanation of sewage project

| Tuesday, July 31, 2001

DUNBAR - Thirty-three residents attended a special meeting called by the Dunbar Township Municipal Authority for clarification of the project.

This project is separate from and not affiliated with the Dunbar Borough/Township Sanitary Authority, which affects residents of Dunbar Borough and those who live in the township on the borough side of Route 119.

These borders for the projects were set by the federal government's Rural Utility Service, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to take advantage of topography. A sewer system operates on gravity and pump stations cost $250,000, so RUS determined that the residents' needs could be met most efficiently with two separate authorities.

The Dunbar Township Municipal Authority was originally created to serve approximately 100 homes in Georgetown Manor. The authority now encompasses about 1,000 homes along Crawford Avenue from the Connellsville city limit to Leisenring, including Ridge Boulevard and part of Oglevee Lane. A new sewage treatment plant will be part of the project's expansion.

The $8 million project, funded with a $3 million grant and the balance in low interest federal loans, will be placed out to bid in September, according to authority chairman John Malone.

Tap-in fees and monthly user fees have not been set, but the authority has received an estimate from the federal government, which will actually set the rates, based on project cost. Tap-in fees will be approximately $750 and monthly user fees approximately $35, according to Malone. 'That's the ballpark.'

Resident Ralph Yezek asked if Georgetown Manor residents will pay the same monthly fee as new customers.

'Yes,' replied Malone. 'Georgetown Manor paid tap-in fees of $800 when this authority was formed several years ago. Georgetown Manor residents now pay $20 per month and will see a 150 percent increase in their bill once this project is complete. They know that.'

Malone said that current Georgetown Manor residents would not have to pay another tap-in fee because their pipes would not be replaced in the expanded sewer project.

'It's not fair,' said resident Elmer Shipley, 'and nine out of 10 township residents will tell you it's not fair (that Georgetown Manor residents) don't have to pay a tap-in fee. People are upset.'

Authority member Dwaine Gordon tried to explain the situation from another angle: 'You folks have put in septic systems and don't have to pay for them after that except for cleaning. Georgetown Manor residents had to pay a tap-in fee years ago and have been paying monthly fees ever since. You didn't have to pay a monthly fee for a septic system.'

'It's still not fair,' Shipley said. He added that he would bring in a petition 'and show it's not fair.'

'You can bring a petition, but the project is going on,' replied Malone.

Malone said that Widmer Engineering would have a current map of the system in the township office by the next meeting, which is Aug. 27.

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