It seems an issue to remain at unrest for awhile. During a joint meeting on Thursday between the Muncy Borough Council and Montgomery Borough, the focus was on the possibility of regionalizing sewage treatment plants. A discussion was open to the public of about fifty in attendance. Most of the responses felt that more information was needed to make a decision.
A consulting firm, Herbert, Rowland and Grubic, Inc. HRG) was hired by Muncy Borough to help with the process and it was noted by some residents that more data was needed to make a sound decision.
"Is this an urgent matter?' said a taxpayer in the audience. It looks expensive and I'm glad Muncy did not act immediately," he said.
After discussing a timeline to set up the 537 Plan which is the framework or study for the sewage plant, Brian Book, representative engineer with HRG, gave the council one option to narrow down to before DEP can review it and adopt the final plan.
Many wanted to look at other options that might be more financially sufficient for Muncy and Muncy Creek Township including one with Lycoming County. One of the main concerns would be the loss of revenue within the borough if there was a regionalized plan. "Rates may triple and tax rates may double," said Vivian Daily, council borough president.
In the meantime there is a sense of urgency for Montgomery to make a decision for regionalization and a new treatment plant in Clinton Township.
A deadline of October 9 was given to Muncy by Montgomery for a decision to merge sewage plants due to Montgomery's high nitrogen content.
A decision to make a more comprehensive cost analysis on the process and other options was decided. A new plant would currently cost 25 million to build in Clinton Township according to a proposal by Larson Design Group. "What costs will be the duty of the borough and the township?' asked a resident. The original proposal was incomplete. " More regionalization and their levels of costs should be explored," said Eric Moore of Larson Design Group. "This is a once in a life time chance to get two plants into one. It will be a long term benefit because Montgomery will eventually go with Lycoming County who is exploring the possibility of merging the entire plant down the river. Kellogg's is a big shipping plant. Consider their waste and costs and revenue in your decision making," he encouraged the council. The plan is not adoptable yet and he felt that Montgomery would give Muncy the time to make the necessary evaluations to regionalize. It is not a matter of good and bad or lowest cots options, but a matter of loss of income and revenue.
It was noted to explore other communities to see how their assets and debts are handled with sewage costs.
"Let's look beyond the borough limits. We are already beyond our borough limits," commented Tom Gardner from the Muncy Water Authority. "The Act 357 plan is simply a study for us to look at. We have alternatives. Let's put our resources there," said Gardner. "What is the five year plan?"
In the meantime, Muncy Creek Township opted out of the merger said Karen Richards, board council member.
A new regional plan should be adopted by all interested parties. Richards said a new plan will be developed to evaluate all the regional options agreeable to DEP. She asked that the county planner representative and all elected officials also be involved with the borough to take part in the study as well as Hughesville and Wolf Township. "There aren't enough facts in the current plan to move forward," she said. Daily added that she is concerned about taxpayers and will take the responsibility to make revisions.