Antrim supervisors prepares to meet ATMA

PAT FRIDGEN

The Antrim Township supervisors may have their minds made up before a joint meeting with Antrim Township Municipal Authority. The two boards will convene Jan. 30 to discuss the lease agreement for the sewer system, which the authority owns and the township operates. The present agreement is considered cumbersome by both sides, and ATMA especially would like some changes to the responsibilities of each body. It handles repairs and improvements while the township covers operations and maintenance.

At the Jan. 17 supervisor worksession, Rick Baer, John Alleman, James Byers and Pat Heraty discussed some of the points ATMA put in a revamped proposal. The four were reluctant to put excess funds into the capital reserve fund at the end of each year, as ATMA desired, preferring to keep the money for emergencies. Township secretary Mary Klein also wanted assurance Antrim would have the proper cash flow for loan payments.

ATMA owes the township a $580,000 balance on money it took from the landfill account for various improvements. The supervisors said the authority could not become an independent entity since it just did not have a strong enough financial footing. They also were not interested in assuming ownership of the system, one option on the table.

"It's all control issues with certain (ATMA) members," said Baer. "That's all it is. My vote is the status quo."

Byers was satisfied with the current delineated status, since it had worked OK for many years. Alleman foresaw legal ramifications in making any changes. Heraty said the board should give the authority more direction.

"The biggest issue is lack of communication," continued Baer.

He was named to ATMA during the township's reorganizational meeting in early January, so he will sit on both boards with the intention of facilitating the flow of information.

The supervisors told administrator Brad Graham to send their counterproposal to ATMA and its solicitor, so that ideally at the joint meeting a final decision could be made on the status of the authority.

In other business, Graham explained how paperwork could be reduced by adopting a previously considered technology upgrade of placing computer monitors on the meeting desk. What was visible to read at any given time would be controlled by himself or zoning officer Sylvia House, so everyone was on the same page at the same time. The supervisors pushed for laptops instead, since the prices had dropped over the years.

Graham told them to think about how they would use them. "We want you to do all of your township work on the township network. That almost eliminates the risk that your personal computer would ever be subpoenaed."

He planned to get quotes on traditional and wind term laptops, the latter similar to those used by the staff and connected to the inhouse server.

Byers expressed some dismay that at the last meeting of 2011, supervisor Fred Young III had brought up the landfill agreement, currently under negotiation with Waste Management. The topic was not on the agenda and Byers could not attend the meeting.

"Something of that magnitude, I didn't get to talk about it."

He asked for a copy of the final township version sent to Waste Management, owner of Mountain View Reclamation.

Graham reported that Waste Management wanted a copy by the end of the year, and that John Wardzinski, senior district manager of the landfill, had some concerns about Antrim's verbiage in the agreement.