Water system sale takes a step forward

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot

Discussions between Greencastle Area Franklin County Water Authority and Antrim Township Municipal Authority gained a little momentum this week.

The two parties are in negotiations over the purchase of the ATMA water system by GAFCWA. In April of 2009 both entities endorsed the sale at a joint meeting with the township supervisors and borough council.

Greencastle presented an offer in early June 2010, after completing due diligence on the real estate value and financial status of the smaller system. Both authorities met within the past week. On Aug. 25 Greg Rock from GAFCWA said with a smile, he would have liked the deal sealed “last month.”

On Aug. 30 ATMA discussed the issue in executive session. Administrator Brad Graham said the result was its solicitor Linus Fenicle would add some final touches to Greencastle’s offer and return it. Once GAFCWA responded in turn, the matter would go before ATMA and the board of supervisors for final approval. Despite the timing of both authorities’ meetings, Graham expected the sale could be completed by the end of the year.

GAFCWA has operated with just three members this year, holding off on appointing the final two members until the authorities became one. Member Robert Miller hoped for a speedy conclusion to the merge or they would, as necessary, fill the seats to conduct business. One issue on the back burner was the requirement for residents of the Hess Development to connect to public water because a line had been installed within the required distance from the homes. GAFCWA met with resistance from the residents using wells. Miller wanted the matter settled. “We have danced around for so long.”

Greencastle has 1,700 borough customers and 455 township customers, and is permitted for 1.6 million gallons daily. ATMA has 340 customers and will soon have a capacity of 800,000 gallons daily. The township is in the middle of constructing a new water plant, and borough manager Kenneth Womack said the purchase agreement would close after the project was finished.