Sewer

 

WHY THE SALE OF THE YORK CITY'S TREATMENT PLANT WILL IMPACT YOU

Dear Residents

Recently, there has been much discussion in the press about the sale of the City of York's wastewater treatment plant, which comes up for a vote for approval in the next few weeks. While this may appear as a City issue, this sale will impact our residents and our sewer bills. Therefore, we felt it was important to share critical information including background on the sale, what we are doing to protect our residents as well as how you can help.

 

Background on the York Area Regional Authority and the Request for Proposal (RFP)/Sale Process

The York Area Regional Sewer Authority was formed in response to information that the City was considering selling the wastewater treatment plant. The Regional Authority is comprised of five municipalities that utilize the City system and whose residents would be impacted by the sale. The member municipalities include: West Manchester Township, Spring Garden Township, Manchester Township, York Township, and the North York Borough.

On July 10, 2020, the City of York solicited bids from investor-owned utilities to purchase the York City Sewer Authority's sewage collection system, interceptors, and wastewater treatment plant. The City has awarded the sale to PA American Water for $235 million. If approved by the York City Sewer Authority, this investor-owned utility will own and operate the City's collection system as well as the treatment plant, and bill residents and business owners for sewer service.

Based on the parameters of the RFP, the Regional Authority did not meet the requirements to submit a response as bid documents only allowed for the purchase of all assets (the collections system and treatment plant together). When the City was asked to consider an alternative bid structure that would allow for bidders to separate the assets, this request was denied (as were multiple requests to meet), so the Regional Authority could present an alternative approach that would maintain local ownership of the treatment plant.

With over 50 percent of the flow coming from the Regional Authority's municipalities, maintaining local authority control of the City of York's wastewater treatment plant is critical to keeping rates low for the residents and the companies who operate within our townships.

 

How this Impacts You

To provide an investor-owned public utility the anticipated return on its $235 million investment, rates must increase to pay for this purchase and provide a return to its shareholders. The current proposal by PA American Water is to freeze rates for three years for City residents only. All customers outside of the city (including residents/businesses in the municipalities and boroughs of the Regional Authority) are not included in this rate freeze. Furthermore, as a state-wide public utility, PA American Water would be allowed to raise rates throughout its entire service area to pay for future purchases and upgrades in other parts of the state.

The current rate agreements with York City Sewer Authority are not transferable to PA American Water; therefore, customers in the Regional Authority's municipalities are subject to tremendous uncertainty. Will you be subject to immediate rate increases and not be protected until new agreements are finalized? Neither the City nor the York City Sewer Authority has explained how they intend to address these existing sewer agreements with the municipalities and boroughs of the Regional Authority (despite the fact we will apparently be asked to pay for half of the bill for the $235 million purchase price, we have been left in the dark).

The Regional Authority is ready and willing to purchase the treatment plant for a fair market value that will benefit the City, City residents, and the communities we serve. A purchase by the Regional Authority will provide more rate certainty, local ownership and accountability which results in a heightened sensitivity to utility rates and annual increases. The people impacted by this purchase live in our communities, which is why the Regional Authority is also looking into customer assistance programs that could help our neighbors in their time of need. An authority is accountable to its customers, not its investors.

 

The Regional Authority's Next Steps

The members of the Regional Authority are passionate individuals with over 200 years of combined experience who have deep roots in our community and care about the constituents they serve. In response to this sale, we have compiled a team with decades of financial, engineering, and legal talent. Unfortunately, we have been left out, left in the dark and thus left with no choice but to protest this sale to protect the communities we serve.

In addition to the PUC protest, the Regional Authority is considering all options when it comes to next steps, including moving flow to other systems and other opportunities that may be available. All the Regional Authority has wanted from the beginning was a fair outcome for the City, city residents, and the communities we serve.

 

How You Can Help

Time is running out to ask the questions that could stop this transaction from happening. The City is moving very quickly to approve this deal, so fast in fact that the York City Sewer Authority who owns the treatment plant (and also was not involved in the sale process or decision making of the RFP) has asked for a delay in the approval process to ensure they have the time to review all aspects to make a responsible decision.

Questions that need to be answered include:

To keep rates low, we need your help. Please visit our website at YorkRegionalSewer.com and help protect yourself and your neighbors by taking one (or all) of the following actions:

Thank you for your consideration.

Best regards,

Richard Shank
President
North York Borough

 

Sewer

Sewer is billed quarterly and to the arrears. Bills are sent out in the middle of the month following the quarter ending date. Billing quarters are as follows:

1st Quarter ends March 31, bills sent in the middle of April,
2nd Quarter ends June 30, bills sent in the middle of July,
3rd Quarter ends September 30, bills sent in the middle of October,
4th Quarter ends December 31, bills sent in the middle of January.

The Sewer Rate is $85.00 per quarter. Beginning January 1st, 2020 the sewer rate will increase to $95.00 per quarter.

Sewer payments should be sent to:

North York Borough
350 East Sixth Avenue
York, PA 17404

Send a check or money order payable to North York Borough.

Sewer bills and other borough fees, with the exception of taxes, can be paid by credit card at the borough office.

Sewer Blockage

Read the North York Borough sewer blockage policy for residents with sewer issues.

 

Refuse

Penn Waste is the current contracted waster hauler for the Borough.

Billing is handled directly by Penn Waste.

Trash pick up is Monday and Thursday of each week with a limit of 4 bags or cans, and not over 50 pounds in weight.

Large item pick up will be on Thursdays. No stoves, washers, dryers, refrigerators, or water heaters.

 

Electronics Recycling

The York County Solid Waste Authority's Residential Electronics Recycling Program is free and open to York County residents ONLY.

Visit the York County Solid Waste Authority recycle electronics page for details.