GMA will change water and sewer rate structures

Gettysburg Municipal Authority (GMA) Board of Trustees Chair Dorothy Puhl and Utilities Manager Mark Guise announced at last Monday’s borough council meeting that GMA will change its rate structure for water use beginning in January.

Guise said the average user will see an increase of about $20 per quarter as the authority moves from a structure in which users pay a flat fee for an initial “minimum allowance” of services to an approach in which customers are charged a fixed service charge plus fees for their exact usage.

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Guise said the service fees would be based on the maximum capacity of the user and that the fixed-cost service charge would help GMA prosper.

A similar change to sewer bills is scheduled for 2026.

Guise said that in developing the new structure GMA extensively reviewed all aspects of its operations, including revenues, expenses, supply issues, inflation predictions, capital improvements, as well as its substantial debt service.

“We want fairness for all our bases — residential, customer, and industrial,” said Guise. “GMA is presently in good financial shape but the study did show that rate increases for both water and sewer are needed.”

Guise said business closures during the pandemic “shed a new light on our rate structure,” as businesses that shut down for many months stopped paying almost all fees. “We found out that our structure was based on usage and that when businesses shut down there was no income to GMA. But we still had to provide water and sewer services,” he said.

“Going forward, if you go away, you’ll still get a bill,” said Guise.

Guise said the authority, with a $6.3 million annual operating budget and $62 million in insured valuables including buildings and contents is facing an aging infrastructure and government mandates for water safety and treatment.

“There are lots of facilities, equipment, and buildings,” he said, noting that about half of the system is at least 7 years or older.”

Guise said major projects included developing a new well on Sachs Road as well as installing new water tanks and moving into a new office building.

An important change is that each unit in an apartment building will now have a separate service charge. Guise said that approach was fairer to single-family homes.

“We’re looking forward to serving everybody and continuing to try to do our best to provide high-quality water and sewer for the folks of Gettysburg and the surrounding area,” said Guise.

Guise explains the operation of the sewage treatment plant.

chuck

Charles (Chuck) Stangor is Gettysburg Connection's Owner, Publisher, and Editor in Chief. I would like to hear from you. Please contact me at cstangor@gettysburgconnection.org.

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