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WTMA accused of not planning for future

Washington Township Municipal Authority defends actions

Washington Township Municipal Authority defends actions

November 29, 2007|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, PA. ? Some of the Washington Township Supervisors have accused the entity managing the municipality's water and sewer systems of not planning for the future.

The Washington Township Municipal Authority (WTMA) only worries about homes almost under construction, Supervisor Carroll Sturm said Wednesday.

He said he totaled the number of homes being built, shown on sketch plans and possible through rezonings.

Sturm said the WTMA will be 2,600 equivalent dwelling units (EDUs) short when those are built, which, he admitted, could be two decades from now.

"There's no real plan to see how that's going to be covered as far as I can see," Sturm said.

Supervisor John Gorman asked what assurances the supervisors have concerning water availability when they are approving land development plans.

"If there's a deficit, I at least want to see a plan with buildout scenarios," he said.

Benchoff says no one was ever refused water

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"It burns me when you say we're not planning for the future whenever we have a well in reserve and are drilling another one," said Paul Benchoff, who is both a township supervisor and member of the WTMA board.

The WTMA is not going to raise current customers' rates to "invest millions of dollars into sinking a hole in the ground" when it can wait and use new houses' tap fees for future water sources, Benchoff said.

He said that, thinking over the past 15 years, the WTMA has never refused anyone water, even in drought conditions.

Tensions have been mounting between the two boards, which function independently although the supervisors have limited governing controls over the municipal authority.

"We didn't have these problems except for the last one or two years," Benchoff said, alluding to the

2005 election of Gorman and Sturm.

McCleaf accuses supervisors of micromanaging municipal authority

C. Stewart McCleaf, who also is both a supervisor and WTMA board member, said Sturm just wants to micromanage the municipal authority.

"It's all about control," McCleaf said.

Gorman, however, thanked Sturm for his efforts.

"Things are getting more complicated in the township. I applaud you for going down there and asking questions," Gorman said.

Christopher Firme, the fifth supervisor, got into the argument Wednesday by criticizing the WTMA for proposing to build its new administrative building near a water source.

"I have a real problem when you're building next to the spring you protect. It's common sense that you don't build next to your own spring," he said.

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