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Supervisors hope grants will ease sewer hookup fees

January 29, 2003|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

QUINCY, Pa. - More than half of the residential customers who will be served by the new $11.3 million public sewer system being built in Quincy are in the low- to moderate-income range, Quincy Township Supervisor Robert Gunder said Tuesday.

Gunder said a survey of the 837 residential customers the new 21-mile sewer system will serve shows that 56 percent fall in that range - a fact that makes the township eligible for Community Development Block Grant funds.

The township is applying for more than $671,000 in Community Development Block Grant grants, including $200,000 from Franklin County and $471,000 from Pennsylvania's block grant program, Gunder said.

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The grants, if they come in, will be used to pay the $1,400 hookup fee that property owners along the system have to pay.

Gunder said the supervisors' survey showed there are many older residents living on Social Security who could have a hard time coming up with $1,400. In addition, property owners also will have to pay to have their lawns dug up, pipes laid and the plumbing required to hook their homes to the sewer system.

"That's why we're going for the grants, for the people on the very bottom of the income levels," Gunder said.

Other homeowners will have to come up with the money on their own, he said.

In extreme cases "when push comes to shove," Gunder said, the township has legal authority to attach liens to properties whose owners can't or won't pay to hook onto the system.

The township would pay for the hookups and be paid back when the homes were sold and the liens paid off, he said.

Gunder said township officials feel the state, which mandated the sewer system in the first place, should have come up with money to help the town pay for it.

The township did receive $2 million in grants from the federal government, but the rest of the $9.3 million that the new system costs is being borrowed on loans that will be repaid over the next 40 years from user fees, Gunder said.

Monthly user fees have been set at $42.50.

Township officials have said that once the new sewer system, Quincy's first ever, goes on line, residential development will follow.

White Rock Inc., owners of the Penn National Golf Course community in adjacent Guilford Township, recently paid $1 million for land owned by Knouse Fruitlands Inc. on Orchard Road in Quincy Township, according to Franklin County records.

The new purchase is contiguous to Penn National's existing holdings.

Gunder said it could mean that 400 or more new homes could eventually hook onto the system.

Dennis Zimmerman, spokesman for Penn National, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

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