MUNCY - In a controversial decision Tuesday evening, the Muncy Borough Council voted to guarantee 46 percent of the interim debt for construction of the West Branch Regional Authority's new sewer plant.
Councilwomen Tillie Noviello and Linda Stein were the only negative votes on the council, but several community members seemed displeased by the decision as well.
Eric Moore, executive director of the authority, explained that the borough will only need to pay in the event that the authority disbands or is delayed in it's acquirement of the existing sewer structures.
"I don't anticipate any difficulty paying the loan back unless the time period for us becoming the owners of the existing authorities gets pushed back to November or December," Moore said.
Moore was quick to explain that the 46 percent the borough is guaranteeing is only the intermit line of credit, and not a long-term financing plan. West Branch was asking Muncy for 46 percent based on the current data for flow from the existing treatment plant, according to Moore.
"The long-term percentages can still be looked into. You can appoint some people to get together with the other municipalities West Branch will serve and decide on your own way to divide up the debt, if that's the road you want to go down," Moore said.
"I don't think it's fair to place all this interim financing on us. The borough completely agrees that we need a new sewer treatment plant," Noviello said.
"My issue is what the financial ability of this borough would be to pay this 46 percent; especially in the short term. I caution anyone who would approve this percentage to ask themselves whether or not they believe we have the money for it. Our allegiance lies with the taxpayers in this small borough," Noviello added.
"I will be glad to facilitate a meeting between members of the various municipalities to work out different percentages for the long-term financing during the spring and summer of 2012," Moore said.
"Everyone knows that you aren't happy with the 46 percent. They know we're going to need to get together and decide on new numbers," he added.