Monday, August 19, 2019


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Water Connection Questions in Washington Township
Written by Mary Gibbs Kershner, Correspondent

            Rich Mingey, a Berks County developer, came before the Washington Township Municipal Authority (WTMA) last Thursday night to request information on the possibility of a water connection for a property he owns in Washington Township that would be serviced by Bally Borough's water. 

            Mingey's property, located at 1606 Main Street, Washington Township has a potential commercial zoning and is approximately 10 acres. 

            Washington Township and Bally Borough have a long standing contract that provides water from Bally to 104 properties located in Washington Township.  The contract expired in September, 2018, but the municipalities agreed to extend the contract for one more year until September, 2019.  Part of the contract states no new connections could be added by Washington Township.  However, if there were a new connection, the fee Bally would charge the new customer would be three the times what current Washington Township customers pay for water to Bally. 

            Mingey questioned that if he requested a water connection from Bally for his property located in Washington Township would his request trigger an automatic triple rate increase for the rest of the properties located in Washington Township that use Bally water? 

            Township Solicitor Dan Becker read the agreement between the borough and the township municipal authority aloud. Becker noted the agreement was "silent" on whether all other properties would be charged a higher water rate immediately.

            The 104 customers in Washington Township who use Bally water pay approximately $27 per quarter for a base usage of 10,000 gallons.  Customers whose properties are located in Bally pay a water rate three times higher.  Although Washington Township customers pay a low quarterly rate to Bally, Township Manager Richard Sichler noted Washington Township pays Bally $35,000 for the entire year for water usage by Washington Township customers. 

            Bally borough has informed the township that it intends to charge Washington Township customers the same rate as Bally water users once the contract between the municipalities expires in September, 2019.  Bally has the option to take over the WTMA or purchase it.  To date, Bally has not made a decision on how it wants to proceed – thus a reason for the contract extension.

            The municipal authority board members agreed to research Mingey's question before they give an answer.  As a result, instead of adjourning, the Washington Township Municipal Authority meeting was continued until Thursday, February 28 at 6:30 p.m. when the Authority hopes to present an answer.





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