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By: Andy Mehalshick
(WBRE/WYOU-TV) “We hear you” Is the message today from officials at the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority. It concerns a controversial stormwater runoff fee.
Eyewitness News has been reporting on the controversy since last week when bills first went out.
Today, for the first time since the controversy broke, we hear from the authority on camera.
The I-Team’s Andy Mehalshick has our story.
“We have heard you and we are going to look into this to make sure that it’s done in an equitable and fair manner,” Said Sam Guesto, Chairman Board W.V.S.A. Board of Director
It has not happened in recent memory. The board of directors of the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority holding a news conference to speak to the public to address concerns. And in some cases outrage about the new storm water runoff fee.
“We’re getting the run around so we decided to get together and see what we can do as a group to eliminate this fee ourselves” Noted Marian Dengelis, Jackson Township.
Residents are packing meetings like this one Thursday night in Jackson Township lambasting the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority and up until today–the authority has been quiet.
“Our apologies for not communicating the message clearly on sending out bills that might have been confusing or have frustrated people and brought out angst among you” noted Guesto
The stormwater runoff fee is the result of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency mandate ordering requiring communities to reduce contamination flowing into the Susquehanna River.
The fee will fund storm runoff control measures. But many residents suffered sticker shock when they opened their bills.
“This is a complicated issue and solutions are evolving. So we ask you to bear with us be patient while we work through this and get the answers that you want to have” added Guesto.
The authority also hired a law firm to investigate the possibly reducing fees or even eliminating them. “We are going to look at every legal option we have whether it be a governmental agency or any other agency that we can possibly lessen the financial burden on authority customers,” said Attorney Ed Ciarimboli, Ciarimboli and Fellerman.
Despite Friday’s news conference. The sanitary authority reminded customer. They still have to pay the bill.
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