Municipal authorities in Shenango Township and West Middlesex are wrangling over payment for a $300,000 bill that has gone unpaid for more than a decade.
Shenango Township Municipal Authority is moving to collect the payment, which it says West Middlesex Municipal Authority owes for a drive belt at the wastewater treatment plant that treats sewage from both communities.
The Herald reported in 2009 that Shenango Township operates the plant, but under a 1989 agreement, West Middlesex’s authority pays 48 percent of the plant’s operating and equipment costs, and the township’s authority covers the remaining 52 percent.
West Middlesex has disputed that payment ratio.
The payment apparently predates members of both authorities, and Shenango Township Supervisor Tom Hubert, a member of the township’s municipal authority, said authority solicitor William Madden informed members of the $300,000 debt.
Attempts to contact Madden were unsuccessful.
“They were supposed to pay that years ago and it hasn’t been paid,’’ Hubert said.
The total gave West Middlesex Councilman Ron Preston sticker shock. Preston confirmed that the bill was for West Middlesex authority’s share of a drive belt.
“That must be one hell of a belt,’’ Preston said.
Hubert, who has been a township supervisor since 2012, said he didn’t know what the bill was for, but it was generated before his tenure on the authority or the supervisors.
“I think it goes back to over 10 years ago,’’ he said of the bill. “I’m betting most of them (West Middlesex officials) didn’t know that bill was still due.’’
Preston confirmed Hubert’s assessment and said West Middlesex council and authority members didn’t know about the bill.
“Nobody has heard anything about this,’’ he said.
Preston said West Middlesex council has no plans on taking any action until it receives additional information.
Hubert said Shenango Township Municipal Authority made attempts to collect the $300,000 through the mail, but he couldn’t say specifically when.
“They kept getting letters and letters but they never paid it,’’ he said.
Preston said he had a difficult time imagining a belt that cost that much money.
“How can it be that one part – a belt, costs $300,000,’’ Preston said.