Newtown Township has published their proposed public sewage facilities plan and residents are now encouraged to review and send questions and comments to Township Manager Mike Trio.
Public comments and questions concerning this plan can be sent to Mr. Trio’s email address at email@example.com or to Manager Mike Trio, Newtown Township, 209 Bishop Hollow Road, Newtown Square, PA 19073.
Providing comments and questions for this plan is important. If you comment or provide questions to the township, the township must provide a response to you. Then, your comments and questions and the township’s response will be sent to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP.
Before the DEP approves the township’s plan, they will give consideration to your questions and comments and the township’s response to them. You can directly influence the outcome of this plan. This plan proposes building public sewage facilities in the township and the cost to residents of these facilities.
The construction cost is stated to be over $24,000,000 and the total project cost is over $29,000,000. The Executive Summary can be viewed from the front page of the township website at newtowntownship.org. The entire plan is available for review at the township building or the township library.
In his summary of the plan, Jamie MacCombie, the engineer who prepared the plan says, “The Plan Update identifies and evaluates various aspects of alternatives in a prudent manner by which public sewer service currently exists as well as the merits of providing future service to residential, commercial, and institutional development within the overall planning area considered.”
Further in the summary, Mr. MacCombie states “some routing locations may not be the most prudent from a residential service area aspect, the coordination with the Business Community will be needed in order to provide for a more regional approach in the most effective manner.”
It is not clear to me that Mr. MacCombie has created a plan that is best for residential areas. But those residential areas will be responsible for costs to build the system. The plan states that "the 'tap in fee' is anticipated to be estimated between $4,500 and $6,000. The annual user fee is anticipated to be approximately $500 to $750 per year, but is dependent upon debt service requirement of the bond issue that is directly related to the construction cost of the project, as well as debt services and operation and maintenance fee of CDCA as well as administrative fees."
It does not say anything about additional fees, including connection fees, grinder pumps, pipes from residents’ homes to connect in the street. It does not provide an indicator if any of these costs will be financed. It does not clearly state the complete cost to the homeowner. It appears as though the plan requires homeowners to finance this project themselves.
Even though the township now has an ordinance which allows those with working septic systems to "opt-out" of connection until their system fails, this plan proposes to change the existing ordinance. The new ordinance allows for the possibility of deferral, but residents must connect if sewers are available when their home is sold. Even if you have a new, working septic system, the proposed change to the ordinance would require connection to the public sewers when you sell your house.
You can provide your comments to the township until Nov. 15, 2012. Please take advantage of the opportunity to provide your questions and comments concerning this plan. In that way, Newtown residents will get the best public sewage facilities plan for the entire township.