City water authority to purchase Millvale system
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The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority is set to purchase the Millvale water system for $1.55 million in an effort to temper the cost of upcoming infrastructure improvement projects. Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Millvale Council President James Porter announced the purchase at a news conference in the Millvale Council Chambers Wednesday morning.
"We have to find unique ways, as government officials, to be efficient," Mr. Ravenstahl said. "We're confident we can provide the residents of Millvale with high-quality water service."
Millvale Council is expected approve the takeover at its meeting Tuesday, and the city authority will accept terms of the agreement July 31. After that, officials hope to complete the takeover in 90 days, PWSA Executive Director Michael Kenny said. The buyout will bring 1,800 customers and $700,000 in revenue to the city authority.
The city's acquisition of the water system is expected to increase costs for Millvale residents, at least initially. The average Millvale resident now pays $27.50 per month for water; after the switch, it will go up an average $5 more per month. Still, Mr. Kenny said, the rate increase would be significantly higher for Millvale residents if the community had to pay for its own construction projects to improve its water system.
The sale was a long time in the making; negotiations about a potential takeover began 10 years ago.
Mr. Kenny said the city authority is considering buying other water systems in surrounding communities. Right now, though, PWSA is only "communicating" with officials from these other towns, he said.
The city authority's purchase of Millvale's system will mean a difference in rates and a change of hands for financial responsibility, but it will mean very little in terms of service -- the city has been providing water service to Millvale for 25 years through Millvale's system.
First Published July 10, 2009 12:00 am