Lansford Borough Council on Wednesday voted 4-3 to meet with two companies vying to buy the water system it shares with neighboring Coaldale.
The next step is for council to contact their counterparts on Coaldale to arrange meetings with the companies, Aqua Pennsylvania of Bryn Mawr, Montgomery County, a subsidiary of Aqua America Inc.; and Pennsylvania American Water, Mechanicsburg, to discuss the possible sale of the Lansford-Coaldale Joint Water Authority.
Coaldale council meets next on Nov. 15.
Council members Tommy Vadyak, Andrew Snyder, Danielle Smith and President Adam Webber voted to meet with the companies.
Rose Mary Cannon, Mary Kruczek and Lenny Kovach were opposed.
Webber said the meetings would be open to the public.
"The public is welcome, and that will be the opportunity for anybody who has questions," he said.
"Nothing is etched in stone," Vadyak said. "It's just a sit-down meeting to see where we could go from there."
Before the vote, resident Bob Silver, who is a former mayor and a member of the Lansford Alive! community improvement organization, urged council to make it clear to the companies the borough would not sell its water source.
His caution stemmed from Webber's comments at an Oct. 17 meeting with Coaldale council to discuss whether both boroughs should gather more information from the companies. At that meeting, Webber said "They understand we have a water supply that's not diminishing" while the population is. So they know we have a greater supply at hand. They run multiple municipalities ... so they may be looking for another supply."
"Speaking for myself, I would never want to see our water sources sold," he said.
Silver asked council to let the companies "know up-front that if they are going to sell our water sources, we're not interested in talking to them. We can't afford to lose our water source."
Vadyak, who also attended the Oct. 17 meeting with Coaldale, said that subject surfaced when "somebody compared this with Still Creek Reservoir, that Tamaqua's selling their water ... from there, it was taken out of context."
Webber interjected that "it could happen."
"There's a lot of questions there," he said.
Webber said meeting with the companies would give the borough the opportunity to get some answers.
Vadyak, who has long opposed the salary and benefit packages given to water authority officers, again spoke of them. No member of the water authority attended Wednesday's public council meeting.