The Bradford Era

Bradford City water rates remain the same

Posted: Wednesday, December 17, 2014 9:00 am
By ALEX DAVIS Era Reporter

Water rates will remain the same next year for customers of the Bradford City Water Authority.

On Tuesday, authority members approved a multi-million dollar budget that means residential customers will continue to pay $2.30 per one thousand gallons, in addition to a $17 per month fixed residential meter fee. A typical monthly bill for a family that uses 5,000 gallons of water would pay $28.50 a month.

Our rates continue to be among the lowest in the region,” said executive director Kim Benjamin.

During the authority meeting, Benjamin passed out information on commercial and industrial bulk water rates for other communities. Bradford City’s $2.30 beats out Lewis Run Borough, which is $3.10; Johnsonburg, $5.98; St. Marys, $3.57; and Olean, N.Y., $8.72.

The water authority’s last rate adjustment occurred in January of 2014.

The budget includes more than $2.463 million in expenses and more than $3.507 million in income. Higher industrial customer consumption equates to more revenue for the water authority, Benjamin said.

“It definitely means good things are happening,” Benjamin noted.

In 2015, several capital projects are on the table.

The authority plans on replacing a meter service van via trade for $30,000 and replacing a boiler at 28 Kennedy St. for $23,000. The authority is looking to spend $17,000 in leak detection equipment; $5,000 for an outside storage building; $4,000 in various computer upgrades; and $3,500 for laboratory equipment upgrades.

But the biggest projects are the $4 million rehabilitation of the Gilbert Dam and $1 million in filter bed replacements and upgrades at the water treatment plant.

The expected two-year rehabilitation project would bring the earthen dam up to date with state and federal regulations. The Gilbert Dam reinforcement is critical for damage prevention and possible embankment breach if a major storm strikes.

A good portion of the project will be funded by grants. A $5.2 million H20 PA Act Grant will be used to pay for the work. The authority in June approved a $4.297 million contract with Bob Cummins Construction Co. of McKean County.

Meanwhile, the filter bed replacements and upgrades will be funded from the authority’s capital budget.

Also at the meeting, Benjamin provided a compensation listing for board of directors for 2015, which remains the same as last year. Chairman Ron Orris will make $12,000; vice chairman Thomas E. Arrowsmith, $2,400; treasurer Richard W. Luther, $3,600; and assistant treasurer-secretary Robert P. Douglas, $2,400. Benjamin will earn $106,997.

The assistant secretary-treasurer position is vacant. That position had been held by Cornelius J. Murphy, who recently died, and will be replaced by an appointment by Bradford City Council. At Tuesday’s meeting, members held a moment of silence for Murphy.

In other matters, the water authority unveiled the cost estimate for a water line brought to Gates Hollow in Bradford Township. E&M Engineers estimate that a line extension of about 4,500-square-feet of water main to 45 potential residential customers would cost $543,300.

But the project is riddled with problems.

There’s a certain amount of sticker shock involved in this,” Benjamin said.

Plus, no funding is available, he said. The figures are also on the high end and are based for 2016, Benjamin added. And part of the issue is reaching Gates Hollow.

But Orris suggested seeking assistance from the city’s Office of Economic and Community Development.

Also at the meeting, the authority approved Shetler Lumber Co. Inc.’s bid of $127,329 for the water authority’s final timber sale of the year. The company is from Waterford and would get 188,440 net board feet of marked sawtimber and 12 cords of pulpwood on authority property.

The authority will next meet at noon Jan. 28.