Officials: Reade supervisor tries to disband RTMA

Member says Hollis’ motion failed to pass

A Reade Township supervisor reportedly requested that a board governing a local water authority be disbanded, allowing supervisors to oversee its operations, local officials claim.

At a Monday-evening meeting, Supervisor Tom Hollis made a motion to do away with the Reade Township Municipal Authority board, which oversees water-related operations, according to those who were in attendance.

Messages left Tuesday and Wednesday for Hollis, seeking confirmation that he made the request, were not returned by Wednesday afternoon.

Ultimately, Hollis’ motion to eliminate the authority board failed, not receiving support from Reade’s other supervisors, Jim Igou and Don Rickard. That is according to Lew Wagner, a member of the Reade authority board who attended the Monday meeting.

Igou and Rickard also did not return messages left Tuesday and Wednesday.

Hollis’ alleged request came after a letter was sent to neighboring Glendale Valley Municipal Authority customers.

The Glendale authority purchases water from Reade. That water is then sold to Glendale customers.

Hollis also sits on both the Glendale and Reade authorities’ boards.

In the letter, Glendale officials explained to customers that bills were based on usage readings provided by the Reade authority. They also claimed a number of those readings are incorrect.

“Each month, we are receiving between 25 (to) 60 inaccurate or estimated usage readings,” the letter said. “Because of these inaccuracies, the (Glendale authority) is losing approximately $1,500 per month in revenue.”

Both Jim Thompson and Kate Malon — Reade authority members who attended the Monday meeting — disputed Glendale’s letter, saying Glendale’s claim that $1,500 in revenue is lost each month is untrue.

Glendale authority customers pay a base rate of $46 each month, as well as an additional $4 per every 1,000 gallons used.

Thompson said at least a portion of the claimed $1,500 loss stems from Glendale properties that do not use 1,000 gallons per month. Glendale officials did not confirm that claim.

Thompson accused Glendale officials of being unwilling to accept that not all area customers are all-year residents, who regularly use large quantities of water.

“They are refusing to accept the fact that there are buildings that have zero use in them,” Thompson said. “They just don’t want to hear it.”

Some properties in the Glendale area are vacation homes and hunting lodges, which are used only a few times per year, meaning they do not exceed the 1,000 gallon minimum requiring them to pay additional charges, Malon said.

“They are finding it very hard to accept,” she said. “We are working hard to prove that our numbers are not wrong.”

Whether numbers are right or wrong, Glendale officials are mulling a change to the authority’s water billing system.

“This letter is to inform you that based on this loss in revenue, the (Glendale authority) may have no alternative than to go back to a flat monthly rate,” the letter reads.

Attempts to reach the Glendale Authority’s manager Tuesday and Wednesday were unsuccessful.

Officials within the Reade and Glendale authorities have long been at odds, finding it difficult to cooperate with one another even when grant funding is at stake.

On Monday, Reade Township Municipal Authority solicitor Jeffrey Miller — who has served the authority for only a few weeks — said he did not know what rules were in place to allow or disallow supervisors to abolish the authority’s board.

Reade Township solicitor Bill Barbin could not be reached Wednesday.