Sewer authority to vote on budget in December

The Lycoming County Water and Sewer Authority anticipates a rate increase from $131 per month to $161 per month per equivalent dwelling unit, or single family residential household, for Beaver Lake residents, said Christine Weigle, executive director.

She added a partial rate increase also has been discussed, increasing rates to $145 per month instead of $161.

Weigle briefly summaried the authority’s 2018 budget Wednesday, saying the authority has been meeting with Beaver Lake residents, county planning and other groups in an attempt to find solutions to that area’s high sewer rates and hopes to continue to do so.

“They have a lot of issues there. We would certainly like to see that community marketed and become more viable,” she said. “The sewer rate at $161 is not going to help that cause, so we’ve been trying to bring all these people together to address these issues.”

Weigle said, due to losses, maintenance demands, regulations and other issues on both sides, current debt service for that system is over $250,000.

“We’re going to continue to work with everybody we can,” she said. We don’t want to set the rate at $161, we’re simply trying to balance a budget that has been operating in the red for four years now.”

The regional water system may also face a rate increase. Weigle said a rate increase of 8 percent on consumption only is proposed, which would allow consumers to control their rates through conservation.

The budget as discussed Wednesday is a proposal that may face changes in the next month. The board is expected to review and take action on the proposed budget at it’s next meeting, which will be held at 6 p.m. on Dec. 6.

In other business, the authority approved two change orders for the Fairfield Tank Project at no cost in order to extend the project contracts with DN Tanks and Tra Electric on Wednesday.

After experiencing delays earlier in the project due to a utility pole needing moved, the authority and contractors felt it best to extend their timeline in case of inclement weather. Substantial completion, meaning the tank is useable, is expected to be Jan. 27 with total completion, which includes landscaping, by June 6.

Erin Threet, water and wastewater engineer, said they are hopeful the weather will hold out and the project will be complete sooner than those “conservative” dates. The tank itself should be complete by mid-November, she said.

The board approved bill payment in the amount of $332,073 to DN Tanks for its work on the project.

In another matter, the authority approved an amendment to a 2012 agreement with DuBoistown Borough, changing an older policy requiring that both parties maintain $1 million of pollution liability insurance policy for their respective facilities.

The change gets rid of the dollar amount, instead requiring both parties to maintain insurance as required by state law and other reasonable coverage amounts “which shall be reviewed from time to time between the borough and the authority,” Weigle said.

Weigle later reported that Verizon Wireless expects to complete its wireless facilities on a tower on authority property by mid-December, which is expected to improve cellular service in the area.