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Official touts BASA vote on potential sale

Butler Area Sewer Authority.

BUTLER TWP -— Butler's city engineer attended Tuesday's Butler Area Sewer Authority board of directors meeting to support a vote last month that moves the sale of the authority one step closer to fruition.

Joe Gray, who also is a business owner in the city, commended the board for voting in December to allow Pennsylvania American Water Company 60 days to estimate the value of BASA's sewer system and assets for a potential sale.

The board in December voted 3-2 in favor of a confidentiality agreement submitted by PAWC that allows the company 60 days to asses the system's value.

While the vote does not bind BASA to a sale of the sewer system, the board could consider the sale to PAWC or any other potential buyer, according to Mike Hnath, BASA solicitor.

The potential sale of the sewer system has been a controversial issue, with residents and elected officials from all areas covered by the system advocating for and against selling.

Gray commended the three BASA board members who voted in favor of allowing the value estimation.

“It is unfortunate that this simple motion was met with such opposition and stonewalling,” Gray said Tuesday, “but the current board had the strength to move this opportunity forward.”

He said the vote will reveal the sewer system's financial worth plus the terms of PAWC's offer and how the company proposes to manage the system.

“If the price is fair and equitable and the terms benefit the community, customers and all employees, we should all support the sale,” Gray said.

He said if selling to PAWC is not feasible for BASA at this time, the experience will have been educational.

PAWC officials have publicly confirmed that customer service rates would double over 10 years, which has been the argument of many who oppose selling the system to the company.

BASA serves nearly 15,000 customers in 32.5-square-miles, which includes Butler, Butler and Center townships, East Butler, parts of Connoquenessing, Summit and Oakland townships and a small portion of Penn Township.