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Chambersburg council weighs tapping fees

March 20, 2002|BY STACEY DANZUSO

The Chambersburg Borough Council is moving ahead with plans to establish water and sewer tapping fees for new developments.

Council members agreed Tuesday to advertise the proposed ordinance, but it could still be a couple of months before they ultimately adopt it.

"The general purpose of capital charges is to provide some method for new customers to buy into the system you build for future generations," said Daryl Ackerman, an engineer with Gannett Fleming, a Chambersburg engineering firm.

The council has been discussing tapping fees since at least 1998, when Gannett Fleming completed a study of what rates the borough could charge based on state guidelines.

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The study determined the borough could charge a maximum of about $5,000 for combined water and sewer tapping fees for a single-family dwelling, according to figures Ackerman provided Tuesday.

Water and Sewer Superintendent Carl Rundquist is recommending the borough charge about $3,000 to remain competitive with surrounding municipalities that have tapping fees.

However, because the council wants to discuss the fees further, the ordinance will be advertised with the maximum fees, which the council could then lower in the ordinance it adopts, Council President Bill McLaughlin said.

"This is not something new you are venturing into. As far back as 1977, I was doing tapping fee studies," Ackerman said.

The fee only pertains to new developments tapping into the borough's water and sewer system, Borough Manager Eric Oyer said. The revenue would go toward future capital water and sewer projects, like a multi-million dollar project to remove or repair the Birch Run Dam, which forms one of the reservoirs supplying water to the borough.

"This is another example of something we've been talking about for four years," McLaughlin said. "The fees are competitive with those around us. I feel the prudent thing is to adopt and implement it and at some point do a new study that will show us the new maximums."

Ackerman said conducting a new study now would take two or three months and is not necessary right now because the council is unlikely to implement the maximum rate.

Rates would be significantly higher for commercial or industrial development, Oyer said.

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