The Muhlenberg Township Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Monday night to adopt a resolution to amend the payments of an on-lot sewer inspection fee increase.
The resolution will enable residents affected by the increase to arrange for a three-year payment plan with a 2 percent discount incentive for early payment.
The bills were to have been due by the end of September, but the board agreed to waive the due date to the end of the year. The resolution comes after affected residents complained over the increase at last month's meeting.
The payment plan will require the affected residents to pay $75 the first year, then $65 the following two years. The fee was increased from $50 to $200 in 2016 to offset the cost from discontinued statewide funding.
Some residents who were at the meeting said they still don't agree with the $200 fee or the payment plan.
Resident, Dale Davis, said, “It’s still two-hundred dollars. It doesn’t make a difference; you can spread it out to six payments, but it’s still out of the pockets of the people.”
Resident, Don Schaeffer said, “You aren’t doing enough to defer the cost.”
Other residents said the township plans to make a profit off of the $200, to which Commissioner, John “Butch” Imhoff responded, “The township is not in the business of making money. We provide services: safety, roads, codes and parks. Those bills have to be paid. [The inspection fee) goes to the state for administration costs and for the people performing the inspections. We’re going to do what we have to do to make sure everyone in this township is safe.”
Commissioner Vice President Kevin Lerch said the fee has always been $200, but it had been subsidized by the state. He added that the sewer runoff affects 19,000 residents.
The septic inspection fee -- subsidized by the state until 2013 -- affects 454 residents.
Residents are required by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to have their systems inspected by a certified Pennsylvania Sewage Officer or another certified inspector every three years to verify their tanks are functioning safely and to prevent well-water contamination.