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November 15, 2013

Westmont plans sewer bill hike

JOHNSTOWN — Tentative 2014 spending plans for Westmont Borough will require no increase in taxes, but residents will be paying more.

The preliminary budgets approved Tuesday include a $20 increase in sewage surcharge fees to prepare for major work expected to begin the following year.

As approved Tuesday, the new sewer budget would double the $20 surcharge to $40

each quarter.

“I think we ought to increase the sewage bills gradually,” Councilman Lee Williamson said earlier in the meeting, proposing a 100 percent increase in base sewer rates.

The proposal would have added $30 a quarter for most customers.

“The purpose here is to begin preparing for what we want to do,” council President Don Hall II said.

Westmont, like all other municipalities on the Johns-town Regional Sewage network, faces expensive upgrades to comply with DEP standards.

Sewage-system owner Johns-town Redevelopment Authority faces stiff fines if the overloads at the Dornick Point treatment plant and sewage overflows  into area streams during heavy rains are not eliminated.

The authority is pressuring municipalities to remove storm water infiltration and inflow from the sewage system to avoid astronomical sewage rates to cover expanded treatment facilities.

Westmont plans to borrow about $8 million through Pennsylvania Infrastructure and Investment Authority to cover the work, Hall said.

Tentative budgets and tax ordinances approved Tuesday are available for review at the borough office. Final approval is required before Dec. 31, but could come as early as the council’s regular meeting on Dec. 10.

Randy Griffith covers health care for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at


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