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Township to pay Palmerton $6,939 in sewage fees

Published July 11. 2012 05:01PM

Lower Towamensing Township will compensate Palmerton for costs it incurred as part of a sewage agreement between the two municipalities.

By a unanimous vote, the board of supervisors on Tuesday agreed to reimburse the borough about $6,939, based upon the approval of township solicitor Jim Nanovic.

The original amount the township was scheduled to pay the borough was $7,033. But, Supervisor Brent Green said he didn't believe the township should have to pay the borough a $94 cost associated with mileage/lunch. As a result, supervisors agreed to reimburse the borough all but that cost.

Resident Herman Bollinger told supervisors to be cautious of the state.

"Years ago, the state came around with [matching] money," Bollinger said. "[But] the state backed out, because they didn't have the money, and everything fell back in our laps."

Bollinger said the state may not have money to repay the township this time around, either.

"If the state wants the township to have sewage, let the state pay for the line, and let the people pay for the hook-up," he said. "They [the state] put the township in the [shape] they're in."

Supervisors Chairman Ron Walbert explained the township's stance on the matter.

"We were told we will be reimbursed 50-percent of the cost, if the state has the money," Walbert said. "But, we have to have an approved plan with DEP (state Department of Environmental Protection) before we can do anything."

In March, supervisors decided to adopt an agreement, in principal, to hook-up the Weiner Trailer Court to the borough's brand new wastewater treatment plant.

However, as part of that motion, supervisors would not sign the agreement until its Act 537 Plan is signed by DEP.

Recently, borough Manager Rodger Danielson stated that construction of the $10 million treatment plant is about two-thirds complete. Final completion is scheduled for late-November, possibly into December, he said.

The borough, in March, granted its consent to allow the township to hook up to the borough's new plant, if necessary.

At that time, council approved a sewage agreement with the township to accept sewage from the Weiner Trailer Court, as well as five homes along State Road, and possibly more units.

Council President Terry Costenbader previously noted the agreement would come at no extra expense to borough residents if a plant extension is required. Instead, it would come at Lower Towamensing's cost, he said.

Danielson previously said the agreement is in the event that portion of the township would require the actual hook up.

The trailer court has about 60 units, with the possibility of expanding by another 30 or more, Danielson said. The cost to the township would be determined at the time of hook-up, said Danielson, who added that any money the borough would realize would be placed right back into its operating fund for the sewer plant.

In September, council adopted an ordinance to authorize the issuance of bonds to finance the $10 million treatment plant and related costs. The borough will borrow $10 million through a 30-year loan to pay for the new plant.

For borough residents, that meant a hike in their monthly sewer rate bills, which increased from $33.50 to $48, or, a $14.50 increase, as of Jan. 1.

Danielson previously said the decision to borrow will result in a $60,000 savings per year over earlier bond estimates, or $1.8 million worth of savings over the life of the 30-year span.

The project got under way in May 2011, and was expected to take 18 months to complete.

The three SBR tanks will be constructed using the precast concrete method and are the main treatment units in the project, David Schlott, of ARRO Consulting Engineering said. The SBR tanks measure 42 feet by 122 feet, and are the largest tanks in the treatment plant, he said.

In Aug. of 2010, council approved the acceptance of Carbon County bond financing after county commissioners approved an interest reduction loan that will issue economic development bonds.

The bonds are available through federal stimulus money, also known as the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.

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