SHENANDOAH, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A borough drowning in debt is looking for ways to lift its head above water.
One of their options is selling their water authority, but not everyone in the community is on board. There are signs saying ‘No Aqua” along the road outside the Shenandoah Borough Hall.
The borough is considering selling the municipal authority of the borough of Shenandoah, also called MABS, to Aqua America.
“They’re hoping this is going to bail them out, which I don’t think it should be used for that,” Shenandoah tax collector Donna Kulpowicz said.
The reason for selling? To alleviate some of the borough’s debt. Kulpowicz, who was on the water and sewer board years ago, says she isn’t opposed to the sale. However, she isn’t sure if there is a better deal out there.
“If we are going to do it, we should do it for the best of the people, and if we can get a better…If there’s a way of getting a better, better price, then we can look at that avenue,” Kulpowicz said.
She says the borough should also look at selling their sewer department because it carries a greater debt than the water authority. Bob Matta is not involved in the sale, but is a practicing attorney in Shenandoah. He thinks the borough is safe to move forward.
“In my opinion, as an attorney, the borough can probably go ahead and and dissolve the authority and go ahead and sell its assets,” Matta said.
But he’s also worried about the best interest of the citizens and workers.
“My concern would be with the citizens, as it relates to any future increases in their water bills and also what they do with that extra money, the windfall that the borough would receive,” Matta said.
The sale price is more than $10 million. After paying off the millions of debt for MABS and some other debt, the borough should have left over money. Another meeting is scheduled for next Monday to discuss where the money would go if it’s sold.