New Castle News

February 19, 2014

Union sewer users must protect funds

Tim Kolodziej
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Editor, The News:

On Jan. 29, the Union Township supervisors held a public meeting to obtain input regarding the sale of the sewer system and certain assets.

A majority of the attendees were critical of the sale. The supervisors had decided that they would approve the sale before the meeting, as evident by a proxy approval letter supplied from Supervisor Robert Eckert.

When asked if there is a trust agreement that would have any conditions for the $2.4 million, township solicitor Jason Medure stated there was no trust agreement. He also stated there were no limits on what the $2.4 million could be used for. This may be true, however, there is/was an account control and trust agreement between the authority and First Commonwealth Trust Co.

The reason for the agreement was to make sure users of the system would be the sole beneficiaries of the $2.4 million that was won through a lawsuit. As stated in the agreement, these funds could be used only for the following three conditions:

•Capital improvements to the system.

•Operation and maintenance charges for the system.

•Application to reduce rates and charges to the users of the system.

Past and present township supervisors have tried to get control of the $2.4 million to use at their discretion. The result was dissolution of the sewer authority in 2010. The authority did not terminate the trust agreement.

Any user who is a rate payer has standing to enforce the terms for the agreement against any successor to the authority,

With the sale of the system, there are now two players involved, users and non-users, who should be concerned with the future development of Union Township. Once the funds are depleted, there would be no way to replace them except a tax increase.

Leo “Dutch” Carlin

Miller Road

New Castle