City hires counsel on sewer contracts

The City of Warren has agreements with Conewango, Glade and Pleasant townships for wastewater treatment services.

With the city in the midst of a $26.5 million wastewater treatment plant repair, the city thinks the townships should pay for some of the cost of renovation.

During Monday’s meeting of city council, council unanimously approved an agreement with MacDonald Illig Jones and Britton LLP, an Erie-based law firm, to receive a legal review of the Inter-municipal Sewer Service agreements currently in place.

Department of Public Works Director Mike Holtz told council that the agreement would have the law firm “read the three inter-municipal agreements and a couple other pieces of correspondence” to provide the city an “opinion to make sure we are on the same footing” in terms of their interpretation.

Councilman Gregory Fraser clarified that the agreement, which will cost $3,850, will allow “for them to meet with us up to three times and tell us what we should do.”

“That’s correct,” Holtz said.

City Manager Nancy Freenock said that the legal fees would be paid from the sewer fund.

The Times Observer reported last month that the city sent letters to the townships in March breaking down each municipality’s financial responsibility.

Conewango Township’s share is $552,277, Glade Township’s is $940,919 and Pleasant Township is on for $1,018,853. The city will take on the rest, approximately $19.5 million. According to the letters, the city is asking for quarterly payments of $5,328 from Conewango, $9,078 from Glade, and $9,831 from Pleasant until their portions of the loan are paid off.

The reserved capacity for Pleasant will increase by about 40 percent and for Glade about 33 percent. There is no proposed increased in the capacity reserved for Conewango.

“Please note that the reserved capacities for Pleasant and Glade township have been increased since current reserved capacities were previously exceeded,” the letter read. The townships may opt to modify their reservations. In all, the townships will reserve about 12.7 percent of the 6.5 million gallon per day “peak month” flow through the treatment plant if there are no changes to the new levels.

The city has contracts with Conewango Township (1994), Glade Township (1995), and Pleasant Township (1996) regarding the existing sewer system and how its capacity and costs are to be shared.

The city hopes the project will be complete in two years.