Lehigh Valley

South Whitehall begins transferring water authority powers

S. WHITEHALL TWP., Pa. - South Whitehall Township commissioners on Wednesday continued the process of dissolving the authority responsible for water and sewer operations in the township.

Commissioners took a series of actions to begin transferring the Board of Authority's powers and responsibilities. The board unanimously voted to advertise ordinances to adopt procedures for calculating water and sewer usage to determine tapping fees and water and sewer capacity allocations to ensure water is available before a development receives final approval from the township.

Township Solicitor Joseph Zator II said the ordinances would transfer the Board of Authority’s powers to commissioners.

In related action, the board also voted to approve five resolutions to establish various rates, charges and fees for furnishing water and sanitary sewer service to consumers; establish administrative and public works fee schedules for the operation of the water and sewer system; establish requirements for food services and auto repair shops to hold a permit and maintain records for grease traps and set fees for the township to sample and monitor discharges.

The board voted unanimously in May to begin the process of disbanding the five-member Board of Authority, an appointed body that oversees the township’s water and sewer systems and manages a $5.5 million budget.

The commissioners have stressed all along that the move was not being considered for personal reasons but to improve the efficiency of township government for the benefit of residents and businesses. At a special meeting in January between the commissioners and the Board of Authority, the commissioners revealed their intention to consider dissolving their board. It is expected to take months to disband the board.

In other business, the commissioners voted to award a $187,664 contract Ace Electric Inc. of Allentown to install two 300-kilowatt emergency water pump generators at the Jacoby and Cornerstone well stations.

Ace Electric was the lowest of the six bidders, but it’s bid exceeded the $156,500 budgeted for the project. The commissioners agreed to move money from the water main equipment account, which has a $56,380 non-expensed balance, to the major machinery and equipment account to cover the overage.

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