- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—DAVIDSVILLE — Conemaugh Township Municipal Authority board members have been talking for years about turning to an outside firm to manage their water system.

On Monday, they took a step toward finding one.

The board voted to advertise for proposals from management companies, giving interested parties until Sept. 28 to submit plans.

“The authority has been talking about this for a long time. Let’s see if bringing in a management company is financially viable,” Chairman Jim Frederick said.

Board members have expressed various levels of support for the idea during recent meetings, with some members urging it needs to be done to position the authority for future system growth and others saying operations have been running well under current oversight.

Still, Monday’s vote to seek offers was unanimous.

The authority’s 13-page proposal request directs interested parties to submit corporate profiles, qualifications, including experience managing similar municipal systems, and proof of financial competence. Audited financial statements for the company’s past three years must be included, the proposal shows.

A system manager would oversee employees, system operations and maintenance but report to the board, the proposal adds.

“We’re telling them to provide a scope of services. To tell us what they’d offer and how much they are proposing to charge,” Solicitor Brendan Moran said.

Authority member Albert Zuccolotto said he’s also looking for a company that will help the board expand into new growth areas, such as the Blough development, and help find ways to pay for such undertakings.

Many regional management companies have years of expertise in those areas — and know how to quickly handle unexpected issues when they come along, Zuccolotto said.

“We need that. Let’s get the politics out of this and turn daily operations over to an outside party,” he said, noting that there have been occasions in the past when the authority has lacked leadership.

The authority didn’t have a full-time manager for years until appointing longtime authority member John Mastillo as an interim manager this year.

David Hurst is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5053. Follow him on Twitter @TDDavidHurst.

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