Reynoldsville council reverses decision to dissolve the water authority

In a long meeting that included an hour-long executive session, the Reynoldsville Borough Council took care of business at its regular meeting on May 20, including reversing its decision to dissolve the Reynoldsville Water Authority.

Gordon (l) and Venture (r)

Before that action was taken, council heard from Jeff Gordon, the solicitor for the water authority, and James Venture, Jr., of PVE, which provides engineering services for the authority.

In his address, Gordon said the council had the right to do what it did, but it had to be done in the proper fashion. For example, he said the authority’s debt has to be resolved first. The Reynoldsville Water Authority’s debt totals $1.7 million dollars, more than twice the amount it has in the bank. If the borough were to take over that debt, it could put future borough project financing in jeopardy.

“I think you (the council) should think long and hard about the debt you’d be taking on and how that would affect your ability to borrow going forward,” he said.

Gordon added that since the authority provides services to some residents in Winslow Township, if the borough were to take over, the Public Utility Commission could get involved.

Venture, who also agreed that council could do what it did, voiced his concern about the dozen or so permits that are currently held by the water and sewer authority, issued by state and federal regulators.

“So by extinguishing the authority, what you essentially have done is you no longer have permits to operate the water and sewer plant,” he warned council.

There is also the fact that the water plant is in the process of being upgraded, Venture pointed out, which further complicates the matter.

Both Venture and Gordon warned council about the cost and time it would take to meet state and federal requirements. They encouraged the board to rescind the previous motion and approach the situation cautiously. They also had high praise for the people currently operating the system

With that in mind, council later went into an executive session for what it described as legal matters. After almost an hour, which included council member Billy Cebulskie having to leave the session due to an ambulance call, council returned and entertained a motion to rescind resolution 5-6-2020-1, which dissolved the authority, with the intent to revisit the matter once all legal issues were resolved. Darren Scolese made that motion, and it was seconded by Mike Popson. The motion was carried with council president Bill Cebulskie voting in favor and John Burkett and Robin McMillan abstaining.

5 thoughts on “Reynoldsville council reverses decision to dissolve the water authority

  • May 20, 2020 at 11:07 pm
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    Why is the Water Authority 1.7 million in debt? I guess that explains in part why the monthly water bill for such a small town averages $95 per month. I think that is extraordinarily high considering my highest gas bill this winter was not that much.

    Reply
    • May 21, 2020 at 7:02 am
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      Not unusual for a water or sewer authority. The constant process of upgrading systems requires the debt. Reynoldsville is in the midst of major upgrades required by government regulators. The authority actually is saving millions of dollars by how it is doing the upgrades.

      Reply
    • May 21, 2020 at 9:19 am
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      I absolutely agree we have a home in a retirement community in Florida our garbage and water and sewer bill for that same amount of usage with garbage is $62.50 a month

      Reply
  • May 21, 2020 at 6:42 am
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    1.7 million in debt and my water bill is almost $100 a month? You have to be kidding me.

    Reply
    • May 21, 2020 at 7:03 am
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      See below.

      Reply

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