A Statement from the Willistown Township Board of Supervisors Regarding the Sale of the Township Sewer System
In a recent post on social media it was stated:
“…the Township is selling OUR (the sewer ratepayer's) infrastructure (i.e. pipes, pumps, etc. that was built for the sewer ratepayers using money collected only from the sewer ratepayers) to Aqua, the township will not guarantee that the sewer ratepayers will ever receive more than a small portion of the $16,200,000 net proceeds. Instead the township is setting it up so that it is highly likely that the vast majority of the net proceeds in the years ahead will end up in the Township GENERAL Fund.” (emphasis in the original)
This statement is inaccurate in several ways.
First: The sanitary sewer system is owned by Willistown Township as a matter of law. The sewer system was built and capital maintenance financed by public market bonds issued on the full faith and credit of the entire tax-paying base of Willistown Township, not the sewer ratepayers alone. The sewer rate payers paid for the use of the system and in return received services, specifically the collection, transportation, and treatment of their sewage. The ratepayers did not gain any equity – ownership – in the system as a result of their having paid for the use of the system. As an analogy, the Pennsylvania Turnpike was built and capital maintenance financed by public market bonds issued on the full faith and credit of the entire tax-paying base of Pennsylvania. Drivers paying the toll and gaining in return the use of the Turnpike do not earn equity in the highway.
Second: The Township Board of Supervisors has endorsed and continues to support a plan which will dedicate a minimum of $10 million of the apx. $16.2 million net proceeds to a Customer Benefit Fund (CBF) which will function to provide rate stabilization to the sewer ratepayers for a minimum period of 20 years. Under the CBF plan, no ratepayer will see more than a 3.6 pct. increase in any one year. The balance of the net proceeds, apx. $6.2 million, will be set apart in the General Fund. Any expenditures of this money will be based on the recommendations of a Sewer Advisory Board, to be composed of then-current sewer ratepayers.