At the 8/9/23 council meeting, ordinance 332 was passed establishing a sanitary sewer user fee. The fee will be $40 per equivalent dwelling unit per quarter. An equivalent dwelling unit is the technical term that generally means a standard house/apartment.
The fee will be billed by an outside agency. The billing agreement has yet to be approved, so details on that will be posted at a later date. This fee will take effect January 1, 2024 and will be billed quarterly, so bills will not come out until later in the year. Again, once the billing agreement is approved, more details on what residents should expect will be posted.
Why do we need this and how is it different from the sewer bill you already receive?
The bills residents currently receive from the Kiski Valley Water Pollution Control Authority are for the authority's cost to transport and treat sewage from the borough. The authority's sewer maintenance only starts at specific collection points and the borough is responsible for getting sewage to those collection points. The vast majority of sewer lines in town are owned and maintained by the borough.
That means the bills residents currently receive do not in any way pay for the borough's sanitary sewer maintenance and improvement costs. This new fee will be used exclusively to maintain the borough-owned portion of the sewer system.
Much of the borough owned sanitary sewer system is reaching the end of its functional life. Terra cotta sewer lines and brick manholes are starting to develop issues. Necessary projects are estimated in the hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. And that doesn't include regular maintenance or emergency repairs.
This fee will allow the borough to carry out necessary repair and improvement projects and to have the funds to match grants.
How was the fee determined?
The amount was decided by the borough based on several factors. It took into account current loan costs for previous sewer repairs, the current cost of maintenance on the sanitary sewers, projected costs like additional engineering, and building a reserve in order to handle emergency sewer repairs or match grants if we are able to get them. A total was added up from all that and then divided by the number of billable equivalent dwelling units and divided by each quarter.
In order to look at the reasonableness of the fee, the secretary contacted several surrounding municipalities to find out what their sewer user fees are. The $40 per quarter fee comes in cheaper than the fees charged in Allegheny Township, Gilpin Township, Leechburg, and Vandergrift.
News and Announcements from West Leechburg Borough.