Sewage rates going up in Cranberry Twp.

Contributing writer

Sewage rates are going up for Cranberry Township residents who are customers of the public sewage system provided by the City of Oil City.

On Thursday, township supervisors Harold Best, Fred Buckholtz and Jerry Brosius approved the rate that applies to both residential and commercial property owners.

“The township General Authority has recommended that sewer rates be increased,” township manager Chad Findlay said.

Findlay said the township hasn’t raised sewage rates since 2015 despite having rate increases levied during that time by the City of Oil City that owns the system. In 2018, the township has budgeted $1.3 million for sewage costs that will be paid to Oil City.

Sewage rates are calculated for customers who use public water services.

The rate increases include:

– The base rate for 2,000 gallon usage for residences will go from $49 to $55 a month. Each 1,000 gallons used after that will cost $8, up from the current $6.

– For commercial users, the rate will go from $49 for the first 1,000 gallons up to $55. In addition, each additional 1,000 gallon usage will cost $10, up from $8.

– For sewage customers only, the rate will move from $64 a month to $70.

The higher rates will go into effect for the May 10 billing.

As examples of the rate implications, Findlay said a residence using five units of water will see an average monthly sewage bill go from $67 to $79 a month. He added, though, that “most people don’t use that much.”

For a commercial customer using 90 units of water, the monthly sewage bill will go from $761 to $937.

The numbers prompted a local businessman who owns a car wash business to comment, “That will hit me hard.”

Retirement project moves ahead

Plans to build a senior retirement complex in Cranberry Township are moving ahead.

Findlay said a cooperation agreement has been reached between Cranberry Township and the Venango County Economic Development Authority on a land transfer.

A 3.8-acre parcel on a larger tract owned by the township and adjacent to the UPMC Northwest hospital has been given over to the authority. The transfer allows for the private development of the parcel to accommodate a low- to moderate-income apartment complex with about 30 to 40 units for retirees.

“The authority can now enter into an agreement with the Hudson Group to develop the housing,” said Findlay.

The Hudson Group, a housing developer with completed projects in the region, has expressed an interest in building the complex.

In a related matter, the supervisors voted to advertise for timbering bids for the designated housing tract. McKain Forestry of Rockland Road provided a report that listed the estimated value of timber, based on board footage, on the site is about $105,000.

In other action Thursday, the supervisors approved a change in wording for the public library card reimbursement policy at $30. The current stipulation as to proof of township residency was changed to proof of property ownership in the township.

Road supervisor Ted Williams told the supervisors that township crews have been busy cutting wind-damaged trees, sweeping streets and plowing roads.

“We really just want it to quit snowing,” he said.

Utilities manager Mike Erwin said the fountain at Moody Pond has been turned back on and public restroom facilities there are nearly complete.

Water meters are continuing to be changed at homes throughout the township, he said. There is no cost for the new meters or installation and residents should contact the township office to schedule a day or evening appointment.

Zoning officer Ben Breniman said the township has issued eight building permits in the past month with an estimated construction value of $885,695.

He said his office is “waiting for information” from Sheetz in order to issue a construction permit. The convenience store and gas station at the intersection of Routes 257 and 322 has announced it will expand to allow for a sit-down dining area and beer/wine sales.

No timetable has been set for construction to begin, said Breniman.