ATMA going after delinquent bill

PAT FRIDGEN

Antrim Township Municipal Authority made plans Oct. 25 to get paid for an overdue bill. Manager Brad Graham said staff had been trying to collect the sewer service bill from State Line Motel since 2008. The tab had run up to $20,000. The owners had shared several reasons why they could not pay, and ATMA had not shut off service, under the impression it was illegal to do so. They had been told that by another township solicitor.

Authority solicitor Linus Fenicle responded that it was within their right to give notice, and discontinue service if the delinquent bill was not paid by a set date.

"I know of nothing in the law that would prevent you from doing that," he said. "I've seen it done before."

Member Elwood Myers was disappointed the matter had been allowed to go on for so long.

Making a choice

The board selected a financial advisor after two companies presented proposals Aug. 30. Graham had tried to compile a fair way to compare the offers, since they were based on different parameters. ATMA wanted to refinance two bond series.

"This has been bogged down by too many issues," Graham said. "Both types of sales have advantages and disadvantages. The decision is often based on the relationship with a firm."

He said Public Financial Management had experience with the borough of Greencastle, the school district and neighboring communities. Royal Bank of Canada had done business with Tuscarora School District. Therefore, Graham recommended PFM.

The board agreed, but wanted the firm to present two plans, one that retained the leaseback agreement of the sewer plant to Antrim Township, and the other that turned ownership over to Antrim. The possibility had arisen as one byproduct of restructuring the debt. Chairman Bob Coladonato preferred to keep the plant, but wanted to see which option was better.

Other business

The panel discussed ways to connect the municipal building to public sewer. One was to hook on to a nearby business, but ATMA policy had been not to allow two parties to share the same line in the past. The second choice was to assume ownership of the now private line. The third, and most expensive, was to put in a separate and larger line to Route 16. No conclusion was reached.

On the advice of Brinjac Engineering, ATMA rejected the bulk of a change order request by Trademark Contracting, which is upgrading the water treatment plant. The contractor asked for $20,454, with over $12,000 coming from the removal of rock. Brinjac said the hauling fell into an unclassified category and was not approved in advance. Another charge was deemed the responsibility of the electrician. The board approved $1,052 of the request.