McKees Rocks Council may raise rates to balance sewage account
By Jamie Wiggan
Council may consider raising sewage rates after holding off last year to avoid hurting residents struggling with the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
Substitute Manager LeeAnn Wozniak said the borough may land “in the red” once a pending payment to the county sanitary authority comes due early next year if more revenue cannot be sourced.
“We’re discussing again, you know, do we have to raise rates,” she said during a Nov. 9 meeting. “And to what amount.”
Last year, Manager Ruth Pompey urged council to consider raising the borough’s per gallon sewage rates from $4.32 to $6.00, but the measure was voted down. Pompey is currently on an extended leave of absence.
According to the monthly controller’s report, the borough has so far collected about $1.68 million in sewage revenue and has paid out $1.43 million with some billing still outstanding for the year.
Wozniak said an approximately $365,000 bill will come due early January.
Council President Archie Brinza, who voted to keep the rates the same last year, indicated there may be a raise factored into next year’s sewer budget.
“We’re trying to do everything we can not to raise it, but we’re getting pushed to the wall here,” he said.
Controller Bill Beck said he would work with the council's finance committee to generate a sewage budget proposal.
“We should have a pretty good grasp on it after that meeting,” he said.
Council must pass a 2022 sewage budget before the new year.
The raise is being considered on the back of another round of rate hikes announced by the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority (ALCOSAN) beginning January 2022 and continuing by 7% annual increments through 2026.
McKees Rocks residents pay separate fees to the borough and ALCOSAN in their combined quarterly sewage bills.