cheltenham chamber of citizens
On May 16, 2018 The Cheltenham Board of Commissioners voted to sell the sanitary sewer system to Aqua PA for $50.25M. Closing is scheduled to occur in April 2019. Details on how the sale will affect you appear in the Cheltenham Township 2018-19 Annual Report and Calendar. We share that information here.
Citing the expense of maintaining the system, interest in retiring the Township debt, and the administrative burdens of ownership, the Cheltenham Township Board of Commissioners is "exploring" the sale of the Sanitary Sewer System.
*Our Internet research for relevant articles revealed mostly those that make that question selling. We welcome articles with an opposing view. Please email us @firstname.lastname@example.org with any articles.
Insist on Answers
Insist on Public Discussion
Attend the Public Works Committee Meetings held the first Wednesday of the month at Curtis Hall at 7:30
The Township has been working under consent decrees to upgrade the aging sewer system. In June of 2013 the Commissioners approved our Act 537 Sewage Facilities Plan. The plan outlines a multiphased, multiyear, multimillion-dollar series of upgrades. Implementation of the plan continues today. To this point, the township has spent $38M on repairs and there is no set figure on future costs. Inspection of private laterals is part of this plan. Lateral inspections occurred in Cheltenham Village and Glenside. Homeowners may be required to make expensive repairs.
The Township has a comprehensive webpage dedicated to the Sanitary Sewer System.Information on the history of this issue, the Corrective Action Plan, the 537 Plan, completed work, the Interim Bypass or "black snake", public meetings, and other relevant documents can be accessed there. Frequent updates on current work is also posted there. Additionally, the Facebook Group Cheltenham Lateral Solutions is an excellent source for the latest information and current developments.
In September 2016 the Cheltenham Board of Commissioners approved Resolution #82-16 authorizing the exploration of the possible sale of the Sanitary Sewer System and granting the authority to negotiate a potential sale. Three agencies were prequalifed through the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process: Aqua Pennsylvania, Bucks County Water and Sewer Authority, and Pennsylvania American Water.
On December 21, 2017 the Commissioners approved Requests for Bids (RFB) for the system. The RFB's were subsequently sent out with a March 23, 2018 response deadline. Aqua PA submitted the sole bid of $50.25M.
Will the citizens be better off in the long run to maintain ownership and control of this major asset, or, sell it off to a private for-profit entity and therefore forfeit control of future sewer rates?
What is the best way to secure the expertise we need to run the system effectively?
What avenues have the Commissioners explored for managing the system?
Is it smart to sell a system in which we are investing millions of dollars?
What are the tax implications for residents for keeping the system?
Is it ever wise to sell municipal assets?
When is the right time to have a discussion on an issue of this magnitude?