Conshohocken’s Borough Council taking steps to consider the sale of sewer system

During its January 20th meeting, Conshohocken’s Borough Council will consider taking three steps that are necessary to consider the sale of its sew system.

First, it will consider authorizing advertisement of the sewer authority RFB (request for bids) to seek bids on the system.

Second, it will consider passing an ordinance requiring the Borough of Conshohocken Authority to convey the Sewer Authority System to the Borough of Conshohocken.

Third would be passing a resolution setting the wastewater system rates for customers outside the boundary of the Borough customers (Conshohocken’s system also has customers in West Conshohocken and Plymouth Township).

In recent years (due to the change in a state law), selling a sewer system has become a way for municipalities to obtain a cash windfall. The effort is often met with opposition, which claim that privatization of sewer systems will lead to rate increases.

Norristown recently attempted to sell its system but was met with opposition from an organization called NOPE, which obtained enough signatures to force the repeal of the two ordinances passed by Norristown’s Council (this is permitted under a home rule charter). Aqua, which has bought several systems in recent years, pulled out of the deal. Plymouth Township considered a sale of its system in 2019 and 2020 but eventually decided not to pursue it.

Conshohocken doesn’t have a home rule charter like Norristown, so if an opposition group forms it will need to have another strategy. There are three seats up for election this year on Conshohocken’s Borough Council, so it is likely to become an election issue. Up for election are the seats representing wards two, four, and six. Mayor is also up for election.

We haven’t heard yet if the current officeholders representing those wards plan to run again. Ike Griffin (D) represents Ward 2, Anita Barton (D) represents Ward 4, and Bob Stokley (R) represents Ward 6. Mayor Yaniv Arnonson has announced he is running for reelection.

When discussing this topic during the borough council meeting held on January 6th, members of the council stressed that they were just exploring a sale and had not made a decision.

More to come.