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Curwensville authority questioned about rates
Thursday, January 10, 2013
By Dianne Byers Staff Writer
CURWENSVILLE - A question of how rates are determined by Curwensville Municipal Authority topped last night's meeting.
Jeff Shaffer, business owner and landlord, attended the meeting to ask questions about the method used establish and calculate monthly rates. He said he has a tenant who recently decided to expand her space for her dance studio by removing a room divider. She has received two separate wastewater bills for the room even though a previous tenant who utilized both sides of the room received one.
There is only one water meter for the entire room, he said and noted the bills the tenant received are for different amounts.
"If she has to pay both bills she is going to leave and then both the authority and I lose out," Shaffer said, noting later he receives quarterly wastewater treatment bills of varying amounts for all his tenant properties and said he would "like to eliminate some of the mystery of how things are billed (by the authority)."
Larry Opalisky, chairman, asked Shaffer to write a letter to the authority with his questions and concerns saying it would have time to research its rules and regulations and question its engineer and solicitor if necessary. He said the authority prefers to have a paper trail whenever issues arise and noted if Shaffer is not satisfied with his written response from the authority they can sort out the matter then.
Additional discussion by Shaffer with both Opalisky and Andy Glitzer of CET Engineers, Huntingdon, the authority's engineer, determined criteria for determining how much a property is charged is found in the authority's rules and regulations which stipulates how many equivalent dwelling units are needed for homes and business which varies depending on the purpose of the use of the space. Various state agencies have given mandates concerning what the authority may charge, Opalisky said.
Shaffer presented a letter to the authority and said he was making his request under the state's Right to Know law which states an agency, such as authority, has five business days to respond to a request for records or to deny a request and provide the legal basis for a complete or partial denial.
It may also invoke a 30-day extension for certain reasons according to information on the state's office of open records Web site.
In other business, the authority:
• noted it has received a draft National Pollutant Elimination Discharge System permit from the state Department of Environmental Protection which establishes pollutant limits and specifies monitoring and reporting requirements. Glitzer said he has written several comments on the draft on behalf of the authority and asked members to review them so that he can submit them to DEP before the public comment period opens on the permit.
• reviewed bills and photographs submitted by a customer from damage from a manhole that overflowed. Opalisky said the information would be submitted to the authority's insurance carrier for a determination.
The authority's next meeting is Feb. 13 at 6:30 p.m.
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