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Changes anticipated on MVJSA board
Tuesday, December 10, 2013

By Tyler Kolesar Staff Writer
PHILIPSBURG - Starting in January, one municipality loses a seat and another gains a spot on the Moshannon Valley Joint Sewer Authority, as well as a new chairman will be in charge.
At last night's meeting, Solicitor Winifred Jones-Wenger said each year the authority reviews its equivalent dwelling unit usage as well as how the board is proportioned. Of the 13 board members, there are four representatives from Philipsburg Borough (Fred Grauch, Brian Bailey, Keith Blake and Merlin Bock), three from Decatur Township (Andy Rebar, Bill Vogle, and an open spot left vacant by Bud Stiner, who sent in a letter of resignation last night), three from Morris Township (Vic Couturiaux, Theresa Couturiaux and Randy Ames), two from Rush Township (Tom Bainey and Kathryn Couturiaux) and one from Chester Hill Borough (Deb McCafferty).
Jones-Wenger said they annually calculate the deviation based on EDUs each municipality has on a specific date, which is Sept. 30. Jones-Wenger said on Sept. 30, the authority had 5,336 EDUs, with Philipsburg Borough equating for 28.1016 percent of those. She said that Philipsburg Borough was .3468 over what it should be, while Decatur Township was .774 under what it should be, in terms of board representation. By adding a member to Decatur Township and subtracting one from Philipsburg Borough, Jones-Wenger said Philipsburg Borough would be under .6532 and Decatur Township would be over by .226.
Since a Philipsburg Borough seat is expiring at the end of December, Jones-Wenger recommended dropping a Philipsburg seat and adding a Decatur one.
Grauch said he thinks getting rid of the seat would be unfair. Jones-Wenger also said seats cannot be legally taken away if they're in the middle of a term. If that were the case, Morris Township would also be in danger of losing a seat.
Grauch then said he thinks the authority's Articles of Incorporation/bylaws were "not up to snuff." Grauch said at the time they were made in 2005, South Philipsburg was its own municipality. In the bylaws, a permanent seat is still given to South Philipsburg (as each municipality has one permanent seat). Grauch wondered if that permanent seat would technically go to Rush Township since it absorbed South Philipsburg. Vic Couturiaux said he thinks if the municipality is no longer in existence, that permanent seat is in fact vacated, to which Blake said he agreed.
Grauch admitted he started looking into the bylaws whenever he got word Philipsburg could potentially lose a seat, but said things in them need fixed regardless. Grauch suggested forming a committee to look at issues to n report back to the board.
Vic Couturiaux said he would like to see each board member take the bylaws and look them over for next month's meeting so changes/suggestions can be made in January. Jones-Wenger also said if the process of proportioning MVJSA members is altered, each municipality would have to pass resolutions that are identical to each other. If one municipality disagreed with the new process, they could not pass it.
The board unanimously voted to inform the municipalities the Philipsburg seat will be terminated and a new Decatur Township seat will be created.
The board also had to select officers for 2014. During nominations, current chairman Couturiaux and Grauch were nominated for chairman. However, the first vote resulted in a 6-6 tie. Voting for Grauch was himself, Bailey, Rebar, Ames, Bock and Blake. Voting for Couturiaux was himself, Theresa Couturiaux, Kathryn Couturiaux, Vogle, McCafferty and Bainey. When asked about how to resolve the tiebreaker, Jones-Wenger technically said they could keep voting until someone changes a vote.
After some discussion, Vogle changed his original vote from Vic Couturiaux to Grauch, giving him chairman by a 7-5 vote. Bailey was voted vice chairman by a unanimous vote, as did Blake as treasurer.
Meetings will once again be the second Monday of each month at 7 p.m., and the next meeting is Jan. 13 at 7 p.m.

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