Birmingham sells sewer plant

Birmingham Township supervisors Monday night unanimously approved the sale of the township’s wastewater treatment plant and facilities to the Bucks County Water and Sewer Authority. The board also voted to pay off a sewer loan and an open space loan.

Supervisors’ Chairman Scott Boorse said the township has been negotiating the sale for several months. The Bucks County authority approved the deal in its meeting last month.

According to solicitor Kristin Camp, the sale is for $3 million, with closing anticipated for June 30. She said the type of sale did not require bidding, but Birmingham did put the sale up for bid anyway. There had been two bids, but one withdrew, Camp said. She also eased some possible concerns of residents.

“One of the most important things for residents is that Bucks County agreed to freeze the rates for three years, and thereafter they are entitled to set the rate the way they normally do. Right now, the sewer rates that Bucks County anticipates setting are actually less than the Birmingham Township rates…Right now, if [Bucks County] keeps the rates the way they are, the residents of Birmingham will see a cost savings after the rate-freeze period,” Camp said.

Following that decision, supervisors voted to clear out two outstanding debts, one of which dovetailed with the vote to sell the sewer facilities. The township had taken out a $410,000 loan when it initially bought the sewer treatment plant and stills owes $52,000. Of that, $27,000 will be automatically paid this month per the original agreement, according to township Manager Quina Nelling.

The remainder would have been paid off next May, but the board’s vote allows the township to pay off the remaining $25,000 early. Nelling said there could be an early payment penalty of $100 to $200, depending on interest rates at the time it’s paid. The anticipated date is June 25, five days before closing on the sale.

In addition, the board voted to pay off the remaining $10,00 of a $110,00 open space loan.

In calling for that vote, Boorse said, “That way, we get all of our loans and payments off the books.”

Other business

Supervisors decided to consolidate is engineering, zoning officer, and building code officer under one entity, Arro Consulting. Boorse said the move followed multiple conversations about how the township should move forward with all if its consultants. It was decided to consolidate those three specific services to one firm.

“Based on the size of the township as well as the amount of work going on in the township, and the cohesiveness between zoning and engineering, the board felt it was the right time to consolidate those services,” Boorse said.

About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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