Wrightsville official: 'Let's get out of the water and sewer business'

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch
Wrightsville Borough Administrative Center in Wrightsville, Tuesday, May 19, 2020. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Increasing debt service charges tacked onto monthly sewer and water bills have resulted in Wrightsville officials considering selling the borough's assets, an official said Monday.

A meeting slated for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the John Wright Restaurant, located at 234 N. Front St., invites borough residents and municipal officials to discuss the issue.

The meeting is to provide information, and no official government deliberation will occur, according to Borough Council President Eric White, who organized the meeting.

"I believe there is no future in owning the water and sewer business," White said Monday. "(The residents) know I'm trying to lower the water and sewer bills. Our people need relief now."

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New regulations from the state Department of Environmental Protection forced the Wrightsville Municipal Authority — which is a separate entity from the borough — to turn to a bond and a loan to make a $5.2 million upgrade in 2011.

As a result, the authority added a debt service charge to customers' monthly bills, White said.

"That hit our customers with a $26.43 payment for every meter in the borough," White said. "That now put our rates higher than some of our surrounding people." 

In 2019, the authority again added to its debt service — another $9 on top of the $26.43.

For Wrightsville's residents, many of whom are elderly and on fixed incomes, the sewer and water bills were becoming a burden, White said.

Eric White, who sought reelection on the Wrightsville Borough Council in Tuesday's election, said he wasn't yet sure if he held his seat, during Board of Elections meeting at the York County Commissioner Chambers
Friday, November 8, 2019. Bill Kalina photo

One resident White spoke to, for example, said she was using up every penny toward bills. 

"She was scared because she had to decide whether to pay food, medicine or utility bills," he added. 

In April, the Wrightsville Borough Council passed a resolution ordering the authority to begin looking into the potential sale of the water and sewer assets.

On Monday and Tuesday, Wrightsville Municipal Authority officials did not return inquiries for comment.

White said he hopes Wednesday's meeting will help officials determine the best way forward for Wrightsville residents. 

"Let's get out of the water and sewer business," he added.

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.