On July 10, 2020, the City of York solicited bids from investor-owned utilities to purchase the York City Sewer Authority’s sewage collection system, interceptors, and wastewater treatment plant. The City has awarded the sale to PA American Water for $235 million. If approved by the York City Sewer Authority, this investor-owned utility will own and operate the City’s collection system as well as the treatment plant, and bill residents and business owners for sewer service.
The York Area Regional Sewer Authority was formed in response to information that the City of York was considering this sale. The Regional Authority is comprised of five municipalities that utilize the City system and whose residents would be impacted by the sale. The member municipalities include: West Manchester Township, Spring Garden Township, Manchester Township, York Township, and the North York Borough.
To provide an investor-owned public utility the anticipated return on its $235 million investment, rates must increase to pay for this purchase and provide a return to its shareholders. The current proposal by PA American Water is to freeze rates for three years for City residents only. All customers outside of the city (including residents/businesses in the municipalities and boroughs of the Regional Authority) are not included in this rate freeze. Furthermore, as a state-wide public utility, PA American Water would be allowed to raise rates throughout its entire service area to pay for future purchases and upgrades in other parts of the state. The current rate agreements with York City Sewer Authority are not transferable to PA American Water; therefore, customers in the Regional Authority’s municipalities are subject to tremendous uncertainty.
The members of the Regional Authority are passionate individuals with over 200 years of combined experience who have deep roots in our community and care about the constituents they serve. In response to this sale, we have compiled a team with decades of financial, engineering, and legal talent. Unfortunately, we have been left out, left in the dark and thus left with no choice but to protest this sale to protect the communities we serve.