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Jay Twp. Board hesitant to back $220,000 Water Authority project

May 18, 2012

Photo by Colin Deppen The Jay Township Board of Supervisors at Thursday's meeting during which they discussed whether or not to back an estimated $220,000 in loans for a Water Authority project.

WEEDVILLE – The Jay Township Board of Supervisors at Thursday's meeting were reluctant to offer guarantees that the township would back an estimated $220,000 in loans for an upcoming Water Authority project.
Water Authority Board Chairman John Friday said in order to secure the loans needed to implement updates to the water treatment plant, the loaner bank is requesting a third party to act as cosigner, guaranteeing the loan would be repaid if the Water Authority were to default.
"We have upgrades coming up soon to the water treatment plant and both First Commonwealth Bank and Pennsylvania Infrastructure and Investment Authority (PENNVEST) need for us to have the loan secured. They wish that the township would make sure that they would sort of cosign," Friday said.
Supervisor Jeremy Rippey in responding to Friday's request expressed concern which he explained was derived from the perceived financial risk the Water Authority poses.
Rippey said in looking at the operating budget he has lingering questions and doesn't want to back bad debt saying "If everything fails, the township has to pick up the pieces."
"I just got this today and I looked at the operating budget and I have questions and I don't want to back bad debt," Rippey said.
Rippey said the financial instability and troubles facing the Water Authority were evident in his review of the authority's budgets.
"I have your operating budget and I see that you ran $50,000 in the red last year. I see you're projected to run $6,000 in the red this year although you're already $13,000 in the red at this point. I also see that your consumption fees have doubled, in 2010 you raised rates. So you took in $50,000 in consumption fees in 2011 and you're estimating $100,000 in consumption fees for 2012. My concern was your budget doesn't even balance the way it's proposed for 2012 and you doubled consumption fees for 2012 are you anticipating raising your rates," Rippey said.

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