Hooversville may disband municipal authority; major water leak found

October 11, 2018

Hooversville Borough officials are considering dissolving the municipal authority even as they deal with another water leak in town.

Officials spent most of Friday and Saturday evening repairing a water leak near the Family Dollar on the corner of Grove Avenue and Barn Street. Council member Paul Gaudlip said the 6-inch line was leaking water into the storm sewer drains.

“This pipe has been leaking for years,” he said at a council meeting Tuesday. “The whole bottom of the pipe was gone, and it wasn’t just split. It was rusted out to where it was an open hole.”

Officials were not sure how much the repair will cost Tuesday night but said fixing the hole would be a major step in dealing with the borough’s water loss.

EADS Group engineers reported the borough lost around 60 percent of the water produced at its plant in April. Borough officials have been working with the engineering firm to lower that number.

“I think this a huge improvement, and I think we are going to find our water loss is a lot less,” Gaudlip said.

Borough officials also spent their meeting discussing the implications of disbanding the municipal authority and what impact that would have on future projects such as a possible interconnect with the Conemaugh Township Municipal Authority.

“When it was formed, there were five people on there,” Gaudlip said of the authority. “Slowly, up until just recently, there has only been three.”

Officials received a letter from solicitor Jeffrey Miller saying there is legal precedent for council members to dissolve the authority.

“According to the Municipal Authorities Act, once the authority has paid all of its debts, it can convey its property to the borough and submit a certificate to the borough requesting termination,” council President Ken Karashowsky read from the letter. “In the event the authority fails, or refuses to initiate the process, the borough may adopt an ordinance or resolution directing the authority to pay its debts and convey the project to the borough.”

Officials said the authority was created in the 1970s to obtain federal funding for the water treatment plant. Karashowsky said that debt has been paid off.

“The borough has assumed all the other debt and expenses of the water system, so it appears there is no need for the authority,” he said.

The authority approves rate changes and the water budget, even though the council suggests rate increases and puts the budget together.

Officials have not finalized a three-way deal with Conemaugh Township and the Somerset County General Authority.

Under the proposed deal, the general authority would sell Quemahoning Reservoir water to the borough through Conemaugh Township’s water lines. The township would charge the borough 50 cents per 1,000 gallons of water, and the general authority would charge $2.79 per 1,000 gallons.

Borough officials have sent their concerns about the proposed deal to the general and municipal authority solicitors but have not received a response.

“We haven’t heard anything more from our solicitor on where it stands,” Karashowsky said.

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