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BASA sale remains top priority for Dandoy in third year as Butler mayor

Butler Mayor Bob Dandoy said closing the sale of Butler Area Sewer Authority’s assets to Pennsylvania American Water for $230 million remains among his top priorities for 2024. Butler Eagle File Photo
Parks, parking also listed as priorities

The sale of Butler Area Sewer Authority’s assets to Pennsylvania American Water didn’t unfold exactly the way Butler Mayor Bob Dandoy had hoped, but closing the $230 million sale remains among his top priorities in 2024.

As the mayor, now amid his third year of a four-year term, highlighted seeing through the sewer system’s sale, addressing parking and improving parks among the things he’d like to accomplish over the remainder of the year.

The reason BASA’s sale stays positioned at the top of his list is the change it could bring the city, said Dandoy, who served as a councilman from 2020 until he was sworn in as mayor Jan. 3, 2022.

He described the money it would bring into the city as “a generational change for the city,” saying it would allow Butler to invest in and develop resources that administrators have deferred for years because there was no room in the budget.

If BASA sells to Pennsylvania American Water, the $230 million for the sewer system is expected to be split between Butler city and Butler Township.

BASA provides sewer service to about 15,000 customers in a 32.5-square-mile area, which includes the city of Butler, Butler and Center townships, East Butler, and parts of Connoquenessing, Oakland, Summit and Penn townships.

According to Dandoy, city and Butler Township officials originally saw the sale as a way to improve the sewer system’s infrastructure.

“What we were trying to do initially was improve infrastructure and services and financial health of the authority to preserve it and make sure it was functional for many years to come,” Dandoy said. “We had the opportunity to do all that, get rid of debt and help our infrastructure and at the same time get an investment in our community that has been unparalleled.”

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission approved the sale last year, but Summit and Center township filed an appeal against the sale, leaving a potential closing date in limbo.

Last January, Dandoy said improving Main Street was one of his top objectives as mayor, and he kept that initiative as a goal for 2024.

In 2023, the city planted new trees on the street and completed an overhaul of the traffic and walk signals, but Dandoy said there is still more work to do this year.

Parking, in particular, is a matter Dandoy said he would like to address, through the city garages and lots as well as street parking.

“The best use of funds would be to attack the flat lots first, that's the least expensive,” he said. “We'll take one lot, let's get it done, landscaped, equipment so we have a new revenue generating resource in the city.”

Changing the quarter-taking meters to digital ones is also a priority.

“They are breaking down, it's going to be more difficult to get parts for them,” Dandoy said. “We know that it has to be done, because that's revenue for the city. (People) come in, they park, that's the gateway to the city.”

Park improvements are also on Dandoy’s list for 2024. The city has been using grant money to improve some of its parks, including Rotary and Butler Memorial parks, but planned improvements at Father Marinaro Park may take longer than expected.

While he laid out some of his own top priorities for the year, Dandoy said he is typically pulled in many different directions in one day as mayor.

“When I look at my typical day as mayor, I come into the office in the morning and I'm meeting with the police chief and then I'm meeting with one of the nonprofits and then Butler Downtown,” Dandoy said. “It's this smorgasbord of issues, and I don't think I have the luxury as mayor to say I'm going to concentrate on streets.”

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