Wetmore supervisors meet in private on sewer deal

Ted Lutz
Staff Writer

The Wetmore Township supervisors met privately Tuesday to discuss options for resolving a rift with Kane over the division of proceeds from the proposed sale of the sewage system.
Pennsylvania American Water last July offered to buy the sewage system for $17,560,000.
Acting at a joint meeting in January, Wetmore Supervisors Steve Dyne, Elaine Bodistow and Steve Chittester endorsed a proposal that would give the township 30 percent of the net proceeds, estimated at about $12 million.
This proposal was developed by Sean Hvizdzak, a Bradford attorney who is representing the township in the proposed sewer deal.
The sewer system serves Kane and sections of the township.
The Kane Borough Council has met privately to discuss the sewer deal with Tony Alfieri, a Smethport attorney who serves as the solicitor for Kane. Council reportedly has not embraced the Wetmore plan for the division of proceeds from the proposed sale.
Council is meeting tonight for monthly workshop at the borough building on Bayard Street. The workshop at 6:30 p.m. is open to the public.
Council’s regular public monthly business meeting is next Wednesday, March 13 at 6:30 p.m. at the borough building.
The Kane Borough Authority, which oversees the sewage treatment system, is hoping Pennsylvania American follows through with its plan to buy the sewer operation. The authority meets at 4 p.m. March 19 at the borough building. This meeting also is open to the public.
The Wetmore supervisors agreed Tuesday to come up with “two options” to present to the borough council. The options reportedly were discussed Tuesday at the supervisors’ private session.
In public session Tuesday, the supervisors agreed to give their solicitor “two options” to present to the borough regarding the proposed sale of the sewer system.
Meanwhile, the township supervisors have expressed concerns that Pennsylvania American might give up and abandon its offer to buy the sewer system.
Dan Bickerton, the director of business development for the American Water Mid-Atlantic Division, reportedly has contacted the township recently about the status of the proposed sale.
"Their patience in getting thin," Dyne said after the joint January meeting at the Kane Fire Hall.
He said he believes it would be "a terrible missed opportunity” if the proposed sale falls through.
If a final deal is made with Pennsylvania American, it still will take several months or even more than a year to gain approvals needed from the state Public Utility Commission (PUC) and the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
With Pennsylvania American as the private owner, sewer rates would be set by the PUC.