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WTMA to increase rates slightly

October 14, 2004|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - A family of four served by the Washington Township Municipal Authority pays around $45.30 to use about 14,000 gallons of water every three months.

It's been that way since 1999, the last time the WTMA raised its water rates.

Come Nov. 1, the same family will pay about $1.80 more every three months to use the same amount of water, said Gene Barnhart, WTMA manager.

Residents served by WTMA's sewer system will see their rates go up Dec. 1, Barnhart said. Sewer rates were last raised in 2003, he said.

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Current rates are $65 per quarter for each equivalent dwelling unit, or $260 a year. On Dec. 1, they go up by $3.25 per quarter to $68.25, or $273 a year.

Barnhart said his utility and the Waynesboro Borough Authority, which supplies water to Waynesboro residents, are discussing a deal under which Waynesboro would provide water to some customers on the township's proposed new relief route or bypass around the borough.

The new road will connect nine contiguous tracts of farmland that the Washington Township Supervisors rezoned last year for residential and commercial development.

The commercial development includes a major shopping center on Pa. 16 in Rouzerville, Pa., anchored by Wal-Mart and Lowe's.

Residential developers who bought the tracts plan as many as 2,000 single- and multifamily homes.

The WTMA will have to provide water and sewer service to the new developments, although the developers will install the main lines, Barnhart said.

The utility has hired a consultant to study the needs versus the demands on water and sewer service for the new developments, he said. "It's going to be a large amount of growth in a short period," he said. "We don't know how many houses they're going to build a year."

The WTMA recently was told by state Sen. Terry Punt that he has secured a $1.1 million grant to build a 1.3 million-gallon water storage tank. The WTMA gets its water from four wells and four springs, with a fifth well being developed.

The current water supply will be adequate to handle the growth that's coming, Barnhart said.

"When we calculate the availability of water we have to calculate it under the worst conditions, such as if a well fails during a drought, to make sure there is always enough water," Barnhart said.

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