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Antrim Township moves forward toward public water system sale

Supervisors want representation on borough board

December 16, 2010|By C.J. LOVELACE | Staff Correspondent

GREENCASTLE, Pa. — After some delay, Antrim Township supervisors Tuesday night voted 5-0 to move forward with the sale of its water system to the Borough of Greencastle.

The sale, already approved by the borough and its water authority, will consolidate water utility services into one entity that will serve both Antrim Township and the Borough of Greencastle.

Supervisors chose to delay acceptance of the proposed sale because they wanted to ensure township residents would still be represented in perpetuity on the five-person Greencastle Antrim Franklin County Water Authority board.

"The way it was originally written, we were going to have two representatives from the start of this, but after their terms were up, there was no guarantee that the township would have any representation on that board," said Supervisor Fred Young III, who presented changes in the proposal to the board through e-mail last Friday. "We think that's important."

Supervisors updated the proposal to include the change in language for representation as well as added a stipulation that would ensure that the borough would shut off water service to a township resident who does not pay their bill. The proposal also allows for an additional township representative if the borough would increase the size of the board from five members to seven.

The GAFCWA recently purchased the Antrim Township Municipal Authority, which owns the water system by way of a township loan, to allow for increased growth and projected business and industrial developments at Exit 3 of Interstate 81.

"The growth is all in the township, not in the borough," Supervisor Curtis Myers said to the board.

The borough would need to assume the ATMA's $650,000 debt to the township to acquire the system, supervisors said.

The Greencastle system has more than 2,300 customers while the Antrim system about 350. The ATMA system has only grown by a handful of customers in recent years, Chairman Robert Coladonato said.

Triggered by a $1.25 million infrastructure development grant in 2008 to increase capacity, Coladonato said the idea of the merger was to create a regional water system to serve everyone in the area.

"It will provide more opportunity to expand service to industrial development (at Exit 3)," Coladonato said.

By purchasing the Antrim Township facility, the GAFCWA would get a "huge increase" in overall capacity, doubling after the water plant expansion is complete, Coladonato said.

The next step of the agreement will take it to the desk of the GAFCWA for approval before coming back to the Antrim Township Municipal Authority and borough for the same.

Once the sale and transfer of loans is completed, the ATMA would likely dissolve, supervisors said.

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