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Chrin prepared to fight business privilege tax

By Stephen Althouse, WFMZ.com Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Sep 11 2013 11:03:52 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 12 2013 12:40:57 PM CDT
WILLIAMS TWP., Pa. -

Williams Township and Chrin Bros. Sanitary Landfill are finished talking and ready to fight over whether the company may owe the township uncollected business privilege taxes.

During Wednesday night's Williams Township Board of Supervisors' meeting Solicitor Jonathan Reiss reported that he had received a letter from an attorney representing Chrin Brothers indicating that in fact the company would be filing a lawsuit against the township for breaches of the agreement settled upon between the two entities in 2009 and that they will cease paying the additional host community fees, which they had been paying under that agreement, effective immediately.

He added negotiations between the two sides have concluded with the advent of the lawsuit.

Last month Chairman George Washburn had noted the two sides were negotiating during the August 14th meeting, remaining evasive about any progress or discussions. Wednesday night he was far more specific and less nebulous in what the lawsuit entails for township residents.

If the township doesn't get the tax money from Chrin, he said. "we will have a dramatic, and I mean a dramatic, tax increase to compensate for that loss of revenue."

Chrin will continue to pay the $1 per ton of trash fee negotiated with the township 25 years ago, according to Washburn. An addition $2 per ton negotiated in post municipal agreements is what Chrin is contesting and will serve as the basis for the lawsuit.

The business privilege tax negotiations had been taking place between Washburn, the township solicitor and manager on one side and Chrin officials on the other. Last month Washburn indicated that he had instructed the township's treasurer to send Chrin a letter stating the business privilege tax remains in effect but Washburn had advised her not to collect the tax until negotiations are completed. Wednesday the negotiations came a dramatic end when Chrin decided to sue the township.

In other business Wednesday night, supervisors voted 2-1 to approve an ordinance restricting the use of open burning by township residents. Supervisors indicated that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania requires the township to take the action since more than 5,000 residents reside there. The ordinance was enacted to control air pollution and to make sure they recycled good are actually recycled and not burned, according to Washburn. Farmers who set fires "in conjunction with the production of agricultural commodities" are exempt.

Supervisor Vincent Foglia provided the dissenting vote.