LCWSA systems, except Beaver Lake, see rate increases

The Lycoming County Water and Sewer Authority board unanimously approved a 2019 budget Wednesday evening with rate increases planned for all of its systems except Beaver Lake.

The increases are as follows:

• Armstrong Sewer System rates will increase by $5 to $70 per dwelling per month.

• Limestone Water System rates will increase by 3 percent, the first increase approved since 2013. A customer using 12,000 gallons per quarter would see a $24 annual increase.

• Mifflin Manor Sewer System rates will increase by $10 to $130 per dwelling per month.

• Montoursville Regional Sewer System rates will increase by $5 to $70 per dwelling per month.

• The authority’s Regional Water System’s consumption rate will increase by 5.3 percent, or by about $24 annually for a customer using 4,000 gallons of water per month.

“The budget process this year was lengthy and challenging,” said Christine Weigle, the authority’s executive director. “Our industry has historically kept rates low and misled customers to believing the services that we provide are inexpensive. They are not.”

Water, wastewater and stormwater systems industrywide are struggling with operating costs “rising faster than inflation,” aging infrastructure, more stringent state and federal regulations, workforce competitiveness and a dwindling pool of qualified employee candidates, Weigle said.

For each of the systems to experience a rate increase, the reasoning revolves around operation and maintenance costs, upcoming repairs needed and bolstering each system’s capital fund.

Beaver Lake Sewer System rates will remain $161 per dwelling per month — $50 per month for unimproved lots — thanks in part to a partnership between the authority and Penn Township. The township will contribute $11,473 this year toward Beaver Lake’s capital and also will contribute $10,750 for each year following through 2026.

The goal of these payments is to allow the authority to continue paying down the debt it inherited with Beaver Lake’s system while also putting funds aside for capital projects there without raising rates any further, Weigle said.

In another matter, the board approved contract renewals with the following companies: McCormick Law Firm, increasing the attorney rate to $145 per hour; engineering firm HRG; auditing firm Baker Tilly; and insurers the Zigmund Co. with a 3 to 4 percent increase for certain coverages.

The next meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Jan. 9 at the authority’s administrative office, 380 Old Cement Road, Montoursville.

COMMENTS