The Borough of Conshohocken Authority is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a PA Small Water and Sewer Grant by the Commonwealth Financing Authority to fund the completion of Phase III of the Authority’s Liner Project
The Authority is the recipient of $423,175 in grant funds, which will be used to complete the final phase of the rehabilitation of the Regional Sanitary Sewer Interceptor. The grant was extremely competitive, and the Authority received one of the highest awards in this grant cycle. “I’m ecstatic that the Authority was awarded this grant so that it can continue to proactively maintain its infrastructure at such a low cost to its ratepayers,” said Chairwoman Carol Smith, adding that local legislators should be applauded for their efforts in helping the Authority obtain the grant funding. According to Authority Engineer Fred Ebert, this grant, combined with other grants received during earlier phases of the project, will allow the Authority to complete the entire project for around 15 cents on the dollar.
This project involves the installation of a protective lining in the interceptor pipe that will significantly reduce unwanted inflow and infiltration and allow the sewer system to operate more efficiently for Conshohocken, West Conshohocken and Plymouth Township residents. Through the Pennsylvania Small Water and Sewer Program, grant funds are available to eligible municipalities and municipal authorities to assist with the construction, improvement, expansion, rehabilitation or repair of a water supply or sanitary sewer system. The Authority’s Liner Project is an important investment in our community’s infrastructure and by securing this grant, the Authority has protected its ratepayers from the need to fund the majority of the cost of this critical project.
Q: Is the fee already approved or will it be considered after the two public meetings?
A: It is anticipated that the fee structure will be considered at the Authority’s December public meeting, for implementation January 1, 2024.
Q: Why is the authority moving forward with the stormwater fee, while the PA Supreme Court is actively considering whether it is a tax or not?
A: The case currently pending with the PA Supreme Court will not affect the Authority’s ability to implement the fee. The question before the Court is whether the stormwater fee implemented by West Chester Borough is a fee or a tax, as applied to state owned properties within the Borough. As state-owned properties are exempt from local taxes, a holding that the fee was a tax would mean that such properties were exempt from payment. The Court will not be deciding whether a municipal entity can charge the fee, but only whether certain state owned properties are responsible for paying fees that are implemented.
Q: I always thought the borough was responsible for managing and maintaining the stormwater sewers. Was there an ordinance or another type of law passed that moved this responsibility to the authority?
A: The Borough currently owns and maintains the stormwater management system. The proposal would involve the transfer of the system to the Authority, who would then have ultimate responsibility for maintenance of the system. It is the intent of the Borough and the Authority to enter into an agreement whereby the Borough will serve as a contractor for the Authority that will perform the required maintenance functions.