Whitehall officials aim to clear up questions about planned sewer fee
Whitehall leaders outlined plans on Nov. 5 to implement a fee some property owners could be required to pay beginning Jan. 1 to help fund improvements to the borough’s storm water system.
The questions are simple, according to Whitehall’s borough manager — he said they simply want to know why it’s happening and where the money is going.
“Once we tell them, most people are accepting of it,” James Leventry said.
The fee comes as leaders are planning to make improvements to the storm water system in an effort to curtail flooding, fix old piping and perform routine maintenance to aging lines, Leventry said.
The fee likely would bring in about $625,000 a year to offset the cost of storm water projects, he said. The average homeowner would pay $8 per month, or $96 per year. The fee would be charged to residents on a quarterly basis, paired with the sanitary-sewer bill, Leventry said.
Borough council members voted 6-0 last week — with Councilman Ryan Barton absent — to put an ordinance outlining the establishment of the fee on display for public review.
Council likely will vote on the adoption of the ordinance on Nov. 19 at 8 p.m. in council chambers, 100 Borough Park Drive.
As of Monday afternoon, Leventry said he had not received any calls from residents about the proposed fee. Representatives from seven larger properties that would see the most impact from the fee attended a special meeting last month.
The other question residents are asking, Leventry said, is whether the fee is permanent.
“It’s here for the foreseeable future,” he said.
Mandates through the state Department of Environmental Protection’s storm water permitting process, along with the need for improvement to the system, led Whitehall leaders to broach implementing the fee, Leventry said.
The borough has $5 million in storm water projects in the works.
Borough leaders want to offset the new fee for the average resident by decreasing sanitary-sewer bills, Leventry said. How that will play out remains undetermined.
Whitehall has a $5 million fund balance in its sanitary-sewer fund.