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Allentown City Council introduces water and sewer proposal

By Will Lewis, Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published On: Oct 17 2012 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 17 2012 10:44:30 PM CDT

It's the first step to get the ball rolling or should we say the water flowing.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

It's the first step to get the ball rolling or should we say the water flowing.

The Allentown City Council introduced the proposal that seven companies will follow when it comes to leasing the city's water and sewer system.

The City Council announcement comes just hours after Mayor Ed Pawlowski highlighted some stipulations for potential companies.

Council now has two weeks to vote on a lease concession draft for the proposed lease of the Allentown water and sewer plants.

"Now they can see what is expected of them and they can start putting the proposals together," said City Councilman Julio Guridy.

Hours before the meeting, Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski laid out guidelines that seven companies looking to sign the 50 year lease will have to abide by.

"We want to show the potential lessees, concessionaires that there is some agreement on city council moving forward," added Pawlowski.

"If you look at the numbers, there's other avenues of how to get this money," said one resident in the crowd.

Others want council to look at more options.

Pawlowski says this is the best option and without the lease agreement the administration would have to raise taxes.

"We would have to have a tax increase of up to one hundred percent," said Pawlowski.

The guidelines call for no increase in rates for the next three years.

Then each year after that the rate increase will be determined by the Consumer Price Index plus a percentage no higher than 2.5%.

The potential company must offer jobs to current employees according to the union contract.

"If we get good proposals, we will take another look into this and make sure it's the best thing for the city," said Guridy.

The final vote on the proposal is scheduled for October 31st.

However council passed a motion asking the administration for all financial and legal expenses relating to the possible lease.

If they don't get the information, they may delay the vote.