Water and sewer in Greencastle-Antrim

PAT FRIDGEN

The Borough of Greencastle and Antrim Township provide water and sewer services to residents. While some use private wells and septic systems, many citizens take advantage of public utilities based on their proximity to the infrastructure. Extensive discussions have occurred over the past several years on merging the water system into one unit under Greencastle Area Franklin County Water Authority. However, the township has balked at selling the Antrim Township Municipal Authority water assets to Greencastle. This is a look at the two water and sewer systems.

Greencastle has 1,700 water and sewer customers in Greencastle, and 455 water customers in Antrim Township. The minimum quarterly water rate is $75.60 for up to 9,000 gallons. After that, it is $8.40 per 1,000 gallons. The sewer rate in 2012 is $6 per thousand gallons, with a minimum quarterly charge of $54.

Greencastle's delinquency trend over the past couple years has gone down, because GAFCWA adopted new procedures to collect the money due. If the bill is not paid within 30 days, a five percent charge is added. After two months it goes to 10 percent. In addition, the borough charges $20 if it posts a shutoff notice, and another $50 to turn the water back on. Borough manager Kenneth Womack said people try to avoid those extra costs. He adds that if anyone has trouble making payments, to talk to him before the due date. The borough will work out a plan to help the customer.

Antrim has 350 water cutomers and 3,500 sewer customers. The water fee is $48.70 per quarter, plus $7 per 1,000 gallons. The sewer rate is $115.50 per quarter with a metered rate of $8.40 per 1,000 gallons.

The township first charges a five percent penalty to late water customers, and another five percent after the second deadline. A shutoff notice is also issued. The turn-off fee and reconnect fees are $50 each. Billing clerk Rose Knable said years ago maybe 100 customers would make late payments, but the latest number is 237. Antrim was looking at its ordinances on ways to help people having trouble with payments.

Tardy sewer bills are handled differently, and can end up in court. Municipal liens are also filed on properties.

The Echo Pilot reviewed the delinquency lists of Greencastle and Antrim customers as of Dec. 28, 2011. In the borough, 68 customers owed over $7,000 in late payments. The amounts ranged from 70 cents that someone refused to pay in interest, to $891. Of that, nearly $600 was five months overdue. Two businesses owed about $1,700 combined. In the township, 10 pages of delinquencies included  households owing $115.50, and one customer behind $4,776. In all, the township was owed over $159,600.