JEFFERSON COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) – Punxsutawney is examining the possibility of selling its sewage plant to a Pennsylvania-based water company Aqua America.
The possible sale comes as the borough looks to find ways to save money for the town and find ways to avoid raising residents’ taxes. And one potential way they could do this is by selling the town’s sewage plant.
“To receive a huge amount of money for the sewage department would give us a lot of leverage to do other things that we need to do,” said Jim Bianco, president of the Punxsutawney borough council.
Conversations with Aqua America water utilities are still in the early stages, according to Bianco, but the borough council president hopes that if a sale goes through, the dollar figure would be greater than $4,000 per treatment unit, which he says the town has approximately 4,200 total units.
“The rising prices and the decreasing population of our town are making it a tighter squeeze to keep our head above water,” Bianco said.
The reason the borough is exploring a potential sale of the sewage plant is that the Punxsutawney is looking to go green, and buy solar panels for the town.
“We have 662 street lights in our town. And for our population that’s more than any other town in Pennsylvania,” Bianco said.
With a street light budget of more than $75,000 this year, Bianco estimates that the higher initial cost of solar panels could pay dividends in the long run. While also allowing the borough to designate funds to improve other avenues in town.
“The police department always needs another car, the fire department always needs to get equipment,” Bianco said.
Right now, Bianco said the borough is simply weighing this possibility. He added that if after further research and discussions they decide this route is what’s best for the town, they’ll do it.