A vote on whether to meet with representatives of two companies that want to buy the Lansford-Coaldale water system dammed up Wednesday when Lansford Council deadlocked.

The six council members who attended the meeting tied 3-3 on whether to meet with. Mayor Ron Hood was absent and so could not break the tie.

Council members Tommy Vadyak, Andrew Snyder and president Adam Webber voted to hold the talks. Council members Rose Mary Cannon, Mary Kruczek and Danielle Smith were opposed.

Councilman Lenny Kovach was absent.

It was not clear Wednesday whether the matter would be considered again in the near future. Coaldale council members said at a public meeting Tuesday they would follow Lansford's lead on the matter.

The system is operated by the five-member Lansford-Coaldale Joint Water Authority. Lansford appoints three of the members and Coaldale appoints two.

For the last several years, salaries and benefits paid to the water authority officers have sparked controversy.

Vadyak has said boroughs long ago had set the officers' compensation at $25 a month, or $300 a year. According to 2009 water authority records, the board chairman earns $15,000 a year; the vice chairman/superintendent $47,000; the treasurer $8,000; the secretary $8,000 and the assistant secretary/treasurer $6,800. In addition, the chairman receives a $2,250 annual stipend; the vice chairman, treasurer, secretary and assistant secretary-treasurer each receive an annual $2,150 stipend.

Hourly employee wages range from $13.50 to $16.21 an hour, and all employees, including the officers, are eligible for medical benefits.

Water Authority chairman Toby Krajcirik has said the officers' salaries were increased in 2006 after they began assuming more responsibilities.

The two companies interested in buying the water system are Aqua Pennsylvania, of Bryn Mawr, Montgomery County, a subsidiary of Aqua America Inc., and Pennsylvania American Water, based in Mechanicsburg.