Reade Township considering merger

BLANDBURG – With a manager and two board members on their way out from Reade Township Municipal Authority, officials are considering turning day-to-day system management over to Glendale Valley Municipal Authority, with a possible merger in the works.

The two sides met for an emergency executive session Tuesday to address the immediate problem of making sure RTMA’s system continues to meet safe-drinking regulations, after Manager Jim Scott’s announcement earlier this week that he would no longer run the system.

“It is GVMA’s understanding that the RTMA currently has no employees and that only minimal oversight of the water production system is being handled by your engineer,” GVMA solicitor Bill Barbin said to RTMA Chairman Tom Hollis in a letter dated March 10.

GVMA is a public sewer and water system that serves between 1,200 and 1,300 customers, including the Glendale School District and Glendale Yearound, with water purchased in bulk from RTMA. Reade’s system serves about 500 customers.

Barbin told the Mirror GVMA’s never had a problem with RTMA and said “the water’s never not been clean and safe,” but both entities have to remember that customers rely on them to make sure there is proper oversight.

In order to do that, GVMA Manager Tracy Plessinger said solicitors for both parties are looking over a proposed agreement to put GVMA in charge of system management, which is to be discussed at a joint board meeting 7 p.m. Wednesday at the White Township Municipal Building in Flinton.

Plessinger said should the agreement pass, GVMA will directly bill RTMA for its management services based on an existing fee-calculation system, and it shouldn’t impact customers.

Hollis was unavailable for comment, but Plessinger said GVMA and RTMA officials also are aware of the advantages of a merger and will consider the option.

“It is a possibility for the longterm,” he said, “I think everybody involved on both boards is working for both the immediate and longterm benefit of the Glendale area.”

Barbin, who said he previously served as RTMA’s solicitor and even negotiated the original water-sale agreement between the two entities in 2006, said Reade’s water source is one of the best in Cambria County – good enough that GVMA officials abandoned plans to drill its own wells.

“Reade was so good and had so much extra capacity,” it wasn’t worth trying to find another source, he said.

Without advocating for or against a merger, he said both sides know they’d save money by having a single office, billing system and staff.

“It’s a real smart thing for the long run, for them to work together in some form or another,” he said.