Bond will pay sewer authority debt
By Brian C. Rittmeyer
Thursday, December 7, 2006
West View will issue a bond to pay a $7.3 million debt to the Girty's Run Joint Sewer Authority, the borough council president said.
The debt stems from a court ruling that found West View responsible for 25 percent of the cost to build two holding tanks intended to prevent sewage overflows on a 30-inch trunk line that carries sewage from West View and Girty's customers to Alcosan.
The tanks were finished in 2001. The total now owed includes about $3.9 million in actual construction costs and $3.4 million in interest, fees and other costs.
An agreement reached Dec. 1 gives West View 90 days to make the payment. During that time, the interest accumulating at $56,000 per month would be forgiven, said Bill Youngblood, executive director of the McCandless Township Sanitary Authority, which has been temporarily managing the Girty's Run sewer system.
If the payment is not made within that time, the accrued interest of $168,000 would be added to the debt, Youngblood said.
West View Council President Dan Daugherty said he is confident the borough will be able to issue a bond within 90 days. He said the borough is examining alternatives and considering issuing a 20- or 30-year bond.
The cost of the judgment will be borne by West View's sewage customers, who now pay 81 cents per thousand gallons. Daugherty said it is not yet known how much rates will have to be increased to pay for a bond.
Daugherty said he still does not agree with the court decision, which was upheld when the state Supreme Court in September refused to hear West View's appeal.
"There's no way we should be paying for those retention tanks, but that's spilled milk," he said. "Now, we have no other choice. We have to do what we have to do, and we're going to do that and do it the best way we possibly can."
The Girty's Run sewer system serves Ross, Shaler, Millvale and Reserve. Youngblood has called on the authority's members to form a task force to examine restructuring it.
Youngblood said the authority is in dire condition because of its debt load, poor past management and lack of communication with its member municipalities.
Brian C. Rittmeyer can be reached at email@example.com or (724) 779-7108