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Washington Residents Balk at Increased Sewer Rates
Written by Mary Gibbs Kershner, Correspondent

Spring Valley Village residents say they will only pay old rates

      The residents of Spring Valley Village in Washington Township, in a letter read to the board of supervisors Monday night, told officials they will only pay the old sewer rates of $925 per year. Sewer rates were increased to $1,381 back in February.
        While stating they would pay the old rate of $231 per quarter, Dave Starnes, a representative from the development, also told officials the homeowners requested a proportionate credit once increased EDUs are issued for sewer use in the development. 
        Additionally, the letter asks that the 2 mil real estate tax increase, recently enacted to fund the authority’s $12 million debt, be applied solely to offset the debt of the sewer authority and be removed as part of the general fund as is currently noted on the township’s website. 
        The letter, which was also sent to the Washington Township Municipal Authority (WTMA), said the residents are a demographic group hit severely by difficult economic times. The letter notes that low interest rates, a depressed economy, high cost of living, and Boyertown School District’s indifference to the positive financial impact of Spring Valley Village residents have all contributed to making it difficult to make ends meet.
        Spring Valley Village is a senior community that has been vocal in its opposition to high sewer rates and increased real estate taxes in the township. 
        The letter says the residents will “act accordingly” once there is a response by the township. 
        Township Solicitor, Dan Becker, questioned if “act accordingly” was meant as a threat to the township. Starns replied, “We want a response from the board of supervisors. It is not intended as a threat. However, all options are open, but I cannot commit until Spring Valley Village residents agree.” 
        Residents questioned if there is a difference between the WTMA and the board of supervisors because members of the board of supervisors also hold positions on the WTMA. Becker explained there is no requirement that only one supervisor can serve on the sewer authority at a time. It is legal to have all the members of the board of supervisors serve on the WTMA. 
        Becker emphasized the WTMA is a separate legal entity from the township and when the board of supervisors serve as residents on the sewer authority they act in a different capacity from their position on the board of supervisors. 
        In other business, Township Manager, Jason Ganster, announced PennDOT has agreed that a light on Route 100 and Gehringer Road is necessary. The road will be widened and a left turn lane will be added. However, road work is not scheduled to begin until next year. 
        Washington Township Fire Marshall, Matt Bakes, has resigned his position. The board accepted his resignation with regret. Eastern Berks Fire Department has requested Jason Ganster be appointed as Washington Township’s and Bechtelsville’s fire marshall.
        The board accepted the resignation of George Lewis from the Washington Township Municipal Authority board.
         The next meeting of the Washington Township Board of Supervisors is Thursday, May 24 at 8 p.m.





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