Water hookup fees going up dramtically
The water connection fees for customers of Greencastle Area Franklin County Water Authority will go up after the July meeting, when the board is expected to approve a resolution prepared by solicitor Jan Sulcove. Jason Gerhart, Bob Miller, Greg Rock, Bud O’Mara and Rodney Rose accepted a Capital Charges Study on June 16. The document was prepared by Gannett Fleming Engineers to update numbers from 2005.
The new information reflected improvements to the water system and brought previous facility costs to current values. As a result, connection fees for new hookups will rise. The capacity portion will go from $2,655 to $4,448. The distribution portion will go from $2,470 to $3,687; and the connection itself from $880 to $1,389.
Under Pennsylvania Act 57, the fee structure is based on GAFCWA’s costs. The capacity part is so customers pay their share for the facility cost of handling the water. The distribution part applies to a share in the equipment to deliver the water, such as water mains, fire hydrants and other features. The connection fee recovers the cost of extending a service line from a main to the property line or right-of-way.
The residents of the Hess Development who had not connected to Greencastle water since it ran a line in 2007, were notified of the pending price change. The authority assessed capacity fees of $2,655 to 11 households in the path, citing the Second Class Township Code and an Antrim Township ordinance for its ability to require the residents to connect to public water.
Nine households either connected to water or signed an agreement to do so by July 1, 2019. Four of those connections were outstanding, but one resident applied for water service this month at the old rate.
Two households did not sign the agreement. Customers Thomas and Deborah Moore and Mary Ann Young believed the forced connection was not legal. GAFCWA filed suit in Franklin County Court of Common Pleas on Nov. 7, 2012 to force them to comply. Fred Young III added his name to the property deed on Aug. 23, 2012. Sulcove said the trial date has not yet been set.
Engineer Rachel Govelovich reported that aquifer tests had been conducted at Antrim Commons Business Park, seeking additional water supplies for a potential client. Six test wells were constructed, and one pumped at the level the business would need it if located there. When Greencastle became aware of what was going on, it began monitoring Ebberts Spring, since the well was 1/4 mile away.
Board members and authority manager Susan Armstrong were concerned because they had not been given advance notice about drilling in their service territory. They wanted to assure nothing impacted the water supply for Greencastle and Antrim Township residents.
Miller said, “We are all interested in employment for the community, but the hat we wear is to protect the water.”
Sulcove said GAFCWA had to protect its interests and the project could conceivably be land development. Armstrong wanted better communication from the township on activities that affected GAFCWA.
D.M. Contracting, Inc., New Alexandria, was awarded the bid for the Franklin Street and South Carlisle Street Water Main Project. It submitted the low of three bids, with the base $595,346, and contingencies of $14,200.