Council waits for boards to communicate before taking action

MUNCY– Borough council is holding back on further decisions regarding new management options for its water system until the new agreement runs out at the end of the year, members decided last week.

Members of the Muncy Borough Municipal and West Branch Regional authorities were available to discuss the two options on hand.

“This body has but two options in this process,” Edward Feigles, council president, said. “We can recommend to (the municipal authority) what we would like to see done, we can provide them with the best path forward … or (we can) dissolve (the authority) and form our own water company.”

If dissolved, the council would absorb approximately $8 million in debt, according to Feigles.

“I think that path leads to disaster,” he said.

“While we have spent a lot of money, it’s money that’s needed. We need a system now that protects our great pairs and also promises to deliver, good clean water for the foreseeable future,” said Chuck Leonard, municipal authority chair.

They would also have to look into hiring managers and other employees to run the operation.

West Branch does not approve of the current operational agreement and wants changes, according to Leonard.

Officials agreed there has been a lack of communication between the council, West Branch and the municipal authority, which has lead to projects not being completed and roles not being defined.

“There are certain sides that the operators are responsible for that they can’t control under the current contract,” Leonard said. “Our boards met this week to authorize an approach that we believe would renegotiate this contract. I believe that we can come up with an arrangement that would come up with a more efficient operation, a more satisfactory operation for those at West Branch that will deliver reasonable rates and quality water to the citizens of Muncy.”

Leonard added that the board isn’t certain that West Branch will approve of this plan, but they, MBMA, want to open up the conversation to create a similar agreement with revisions to create a more efficient management agreement.

The council, MBMA and West Branch also discussed making quarterly meetings to discuss projects regarding water in Muncy and Muncy Creek in hopes to open up more dialogue between the boards.

“We want to make the most efficient operation we possibly can,” Leonard said. “We need to work together.”

The borough council decided to wait until MBMA and West Branch meet to discuss the options for revisions and come back with updates to make any further decisions or take action on the matter.

In other business, the state Department of Transportation delayed two construction projects until 2022.

The Route 405 bridge and the traffic signal at Route 2014 were claimed to be historical structures after a study according to Dennis Holt, borough manager. Due to that, there will be a formal meeting coming to the council officially delaying the two projects.

The next Muncy Borough Council meeting will be at 7 p.m. at Sept. 3 at the Muncy Borough Hall at 14 N. Washington St.