Export officials: wastewater surcharge will remain in place for the time being

An additional $ 8 on Export’s wastewater customers was only supposed to be in place for one year. Yet when it was put to a vote in May, council members voted to keep it in place.

With bills totaling over $ 50,000 related to his ongoing long-term flood control project as well as two state consent orders, Mayor Joe Zaccagnini said he didn’t want to keep the surtax but felt that the borough had no choice. A significant portion of the overhead was for the flow controllers who were to stay in place three months longer than expected.

Zaccagnini this week apologized to residents and landlords, including owner Bill Powell, who said residents “basically didn’t learn the truth” when the surcharge was approved.

“You are absolutely right,” Zaccagnini said at Tuesday’s board meeting. “We said we would get rid of it and we kept it. And we have $ 87,000 from the US bailout that they say can be used for sewage and infrastructure. We have received approximately $ 40,000 so far. But we don’t know exactly how we can spend it.

Communities in western Pennsylvania have faced similar challenges in determining how to spend federal pandemic relief funding. In Murrysville, officials hired a consultant in November to help them figure out the right way to spend their allocation of nearly $ 2 million.

“As soon as we can, we hope to remove the $ 8 supplement,” Zaccagnini said.

One of the two consent orders further muddies the waters. A consent order involving the Franklin Township Municipal Sanitary Authority and its nine client communities provides a framework and timeline for addressing long-standing issues with stormwater influx and infiltration into the system. However, it does not provide a cost estimate to fix it.

Attorney Wes Long, who serves as an attorney for both Export and FTMSA, said it was possible that the $ 8 surcharge could continue, “once we determine the final cost of the plan for resolve the issues of the consent order “.

Patrick Varine is an editor at Tribune-Review. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, pvarine@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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