Commonwealth Court Rules on City of DuBois/Sandy Township Sewer Rate Case

DUBOIS – The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court ruled in the City of DuBois’ favor in the ongoing dispute between the city and Sandy Township. The ruling, made June 6, leaves 14 days for a filing of an appeal through a reargument and 30 days for an appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. According to the DuBois City Council the township has paid the money sought, but it wasn’t known as of the meeting whether the township planned to file an appeal.

“I can’t say anyone really won as [this litigation] cost this and surrounding areas a lot of money,” said Mayor John “Herm” Suplizio.

Opinions were varied among the council members who spoke out though.

“DuBois scored a very big victory. For many years DuBois wasn’t in control of its own sewer system,”said city solicitor Toni Cherry.

“At some point you can’t discriminate against a group of people around 51% medium to low income to support the wealthy,” said Cherry.

Under an old “Guaranty and Service Agreement” from 1988 the City of DuBois was bound to a set formula to use when setting the sewer rate for Sandy Township, but the agreement had been made prior to the unexpected expansion of the township. The agreement dictated how much DuBois could charge the township until either 11 years later, December 2009, or paying off financing from Pennvest. So till the agreement could be broken DuBois citizens had to make up the difference, according to Cherry, paying at times twice the township rate.

The Commonwealth Court was hearing the the case on appeal after an earlier ruling in favor in the favor of the City of DuBois, deciding that DuBois was in compliance with the Sewer Rental Act.

“We did not sue Sandy Township. We were just protecting our interests,” said Suplizio.

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