RIDGWAY – The Ridgway Township Municipal Authority (RTMA) has reluctantly agreed to raise water rates for its customers following a steep price increase by the Ridgway Municipal Authority.
“In 2017 Ridgway Borough also increased water costs,” said RTMA Chairman Edward LaValle, “but at that time we did not increase rates but absorbed the costs with no increase in price. However, the tariffs cannot be absorbed in the budget this time.”
It was a unanimous vote to raise rates, although many expressed displeasure with the measure but saw no other options. The new rates, which take effect April 1 and will be reflected on May bills customers receive, will be increased by approximately $1.57 per 1,000 gallons of water.
4,000 gallons New rate $59.96
6,000 gallons New rate $83.12
15,000 gallons New rate $190.72
40,000 gallons New rate $582.42
90,000 gallons New rate $1,172.22
These new tariffs will help the RTMA absorb new supply costs from the Ridgway Municipal Authority (RMA).
In other news with the Borough of Ridgway, there may be an ongoing settlement for the ongoing dispute with the RMA over surcharges on customer bills. The RTMA maintained a savings account for almost three years due to a disagreement with the Borough of Ridgway over a surcharge still awarded on water bills. This is an EDU surcharge designated for many years on water bills to cover the construction costs of the new factory in Ridgway Borough. Nearly three years ago, the Authority ordered its attorney, attorney Matt Taladay, to ask the borough why the surcharge was still in place when the loan had been paid off. The Authority met with Ridgway Borough on several occasions regarding this outstanding issue, and no resolution of the issue was brought to the meetings. In the meantime, the RTMA has not paid the bills directly to the borough but has deposited the money in an escrow account until there is a resolution to this dispute. The board voted every month for nearly two years to have its lawyer contact the borough to resolve this issue. Currently, the Borough’s bill is over $400,000, which includes a 10% late fee that the Authority is also contesting. The escrow fund now stands at $571,490.37.
Seth A Field Tax and Accounting LLC now manages the day-to-day finances of the RTMA and submitted its report without highlighting any significant issues, and the Board quickly approved the Authority’s bills.
RTMA staff told the board that they had applied to Elk County Commissioners for a $10,000 grant as part of the Law 13 funding offered by the county. If approved for disbursement, the funds will be used for the maintenance of the water reservoirs.
Water meter replacement is a necessary part of any municipal authority, and the RTMA decided on Thursday night to switch to a slightly more expensive meter (Sensus) compared to its current meters (MasterMeter) due to long term compatibility. term of Sensus meters. Unline Master Meeters Sensus meters can have components swapped and replaced at a cheaper cost than Master meters, which require a complete unit replacement. The RTMA Board also voted to purchase the necessary meter reading equipment from Sensus for $5,637.42.
The next meeting of the RTMA will take place on April 7 starting at 7 p.m. at the Ridgway Township building at 1537B, chemin Montmorenci. The public is invited to attend.