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Sewer hook-up rates to increase in borough of Waynesboro

December 02, 2004|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Developers who plan to tie into the borough's sewer system will have to dig deeper into their wallets. The Waynesboro Borough Authority on Wednesday raised the fees to more than $4,000 per dwelling unit.

Later this month, authority members will vote on raising the fees for using the borough's public water system, said Jon Fleagle, authority chairman.

The current sewer fees, which have been in place for about 14 years, charge developers, or any new building owner, $482 per dwelling unit to use the main line, pumping station and treatment plant and another $400 to collect sewage and send it through the system. The cost of running from the main line to the curb, or tap fee, is $118.

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The new fees, which take effect immediately, will cost developers $2,000 to use the system and another $2,000 to send sewage through the lines.

Tap fees will be based on actual cost.

"The current rates were set years ago based on what the state allowed the borough to collect," Fleagle said. The fees also were based on growth conditions, which were minimal in the borough at the time.

The authority last month told two developers, Brim Builders of Chambersburg, Pa., and local developer and Realtor Ronnie Martin that they could have public water and sewer service.

Brim is developing a multi-unit, 557-home Hollengreen planned residential development off State Hill Road, while Martin plans a 90-unit, medium density project on 29 acres at the end of Frick and Tritle avenues.

"That's quite a big jump for two major developments," Martin said of the fee hike. "Would you like to be sitting here with $1 million on the line?"

Martin asked if he could prepay his sewer fees before the new rates go into effect.

Fleagle said the new fees "go into effect immediately."

Martin tried again with the proposed hike in water system fees. Fleagle said the authority won't vote on the increases until the members receive a study on the fees later this month. The authority plans to vote on the increases on Dec. 21, he said.

Current fees for water service include $400 to use the system, $300 for the treatment plant, $325 to connect to the system and $250 for a meter.

Brim Builders and Martin will build their own lines for water and sewer in their developments so they will only have to pay the $2,000 collection fee plus the tap fee.

"There's no good time for an increase in fees," Fleagle said. If the authority doesn't raise them now then the existing sewer customers would have to subsidize home owners in the new developments.

Municipalities are raising fees all over, Fleagle said. "Quincy Township did it and the Washington Township Municipal Authority is reviewing its fees, he said.

The mean price of a home in the borough in 1990 was $80,000 to $90,000, said Councilman John Cook. "Today it's $200,000. Everything has increased except these fees."

According to an impact study done for the Hollengreen project, the cost of a single-family home in the development will range from $250,000 to $285,000.

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