AP NEWS

Hooversville considering water rate increase

May 2, 2019

Hooversville Borough Council members are considering raising the base water rate by 25 percent as officials continue to look for funds for the Quemahoning water project.

Council members are considering a $8 increase to the base rate. Residents who use no more than 2,000 gallons a month may see an increase from $32 to $40. Council President Ken Karashowsky said officials are not sure if they will go through with the increase.

“How soon that would take effect, I couldn’t tell you right now because we are still kicking it around at this point,” he said.

Officials made major improvements to the borough’s water system in 2018, installing $14,890 worth of replacement parts, which included upgrades to the plant. An EADS Group study in 2018 said it would cost an additional $1,189,500 to fix the plant entirely.

During a May 23 meeting, officials said they don’t make enough money for additional costs, which include engineering, and have been taking funds from other sources, including the electric and general funds.

“We kind of knew that last year, but we wanted to test the waters,” council member Paul Gaudlip said during that meeting about the possibility of a water rate increase.

During a telephone call with the Daily American Tuesday, Karashowsky said increasing rates should not affect borough officials’ attempts to get surveys from residents for a potential Community Development Block Grant for the borough’s three-way water deal.

“Those who fill out the surveys have a voice in whether or not we get grant money,” he said.

Under the proposed deal, the Somerset County General Authority would sell Quemahoning Reservoir water to the borough through the Conemaugh Township Municipal Authority’s water lines. Officials need 171 surveys from residents to qualify for aid for the estimated $1.7 million interconnect project.

Karashowsky said the borough has collected about half of the 75 surveys still needed for block grant funding thorough a door-to-door grassroots campaign.

“We’ll be going though this most of the month of May, if not before the end of May, to complete that,” he said.

In February Steve Spochart, Somerset County Redevelopment Authority executive director, said that while there is no deadline to turn in surveys, state officials are saying they need up-to-date surveys for a project that is expected to be completed in five years.

Karashowsky added that EADS Group engineers will finish filing permit applications for the interconnect in May. Officials are also meeting with the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to push the project forward and get more funding.

“We need to move this along, because construction could start as soon as 2020,” he said.