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Coaldale council nixes plan to sell joint water authority to company

Published June 13. 2012 05:02PM

The possible sale of the Lansford-Coaldale Joint Water Authority to a large private company is apparently dead in the water.

Coaldale Borough Council on Tuesday voted unanimously in favor of dropping plans to meet with representatives of Aqua Pennsylvania of Bryn Mawr, Montgomery County, a subsidiary of Aqua America Inc.

The move comes eight months after Lansford council voted to meet with Aqua and with Pennsylvania American Water, Mechanicsburg, to discuss the possible sale of the water authority.

Lansford council on Oct. 26, 2011, had by a split vote agreed to meet with water company representatives.

Lansford Council members Tommy Vadyak, Andrew Snyder, Danielle Smith and then-president Adam Webber had voted to meet with the companies, while Rose Mary Cannon, Mary Kruczek and Lenny Kovach were opposed.

But since then, Coaldale council reappointed Robert Demyanovich to another term on the authority, and neither borough met with Aqua or Pennsylvania water.

Some council members in both boroughs were concerned that Aqua would siphon off the boroughs' water to supply other customers, while others were worried about rate increases.

Tuesday's vote followed a motion by Councilman Joe Hnat to not pursue the sale of the water system. Council mentioned a recent decision by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to approve a lower rate increase, $16.7 million, or 4.1 percent, than the $38.6 million, or 9.4 percent, that Aqua had wanted.

The company provides water to more than 404,000 customers in 27 counties, including Schuylkill.

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