ATMA customers may see water rate hike

PAT FRIDGEN

Antrim Township Municipal Authority members are concerned about their 2012 budget, since they have no control over a large portion of the expenses. At the Nov. 21 meeting they reviewed income and expenses, and poised themselves for a rate increase for water customers.

Chairman Bob Coladonato expressed his sense of helplessness over decisions made by the Antrim Township Board of Supervisors. "They decide employee raises and benefits and pass them along to us. We just have to accomodate it somehow."

He thought the proposed 3 percent raise "was a little on the high side", and wanted those numbers scrubbed on the water portion of the budget.

"Our income is going down," he said. "Our costs will continue to go up. The supervisors should be aware of that."

Bob Schemmerling agreed. "If I were running the company now, there wouldn't be a wage increase. We can't justify it. (A raise) will cause us some grief. We're struggling."

He also did not want the extra wages applied to water expenses. The panel wanted Antrim to bear the cost of any increases in salary. Manager Brad Graham said the supervisors were planning on that raise plus a 6 percent increase in the benefits package.

Rodney Eberly said all of that could require an increase in rates for customers. Coladonato thought they could be as high as 12 percent, or maybe 6 percent if ATMA compensated by drawing on reserves. The 2012 budget showed a $24,000 deficit.

Graham passed along the concerns at the Nov. 22 supervisor meeting. There was no response except a comment by Rick Baer, "It's the same thing over and over, a broken record."