PITTSTON TOWNSHIP -- Work is underway to give a community in Luzerne County its first sewer line, but is the multi-million dollar project too expensive for homeowners to afford?
Roughly 100 homeowners on Suscon Road have to cough up about a third of the $3.5 million price tag for the new sewer system. Pittston Township officials say the sewer line is necessary, but for some, the expense feels like they're just throwing money down the toilet.
Many of the 106 homes along Suscon Road in this part of PittstonTownship have septic tanks, but township officials think some of those tanks could be leaking. Now, they're getting a new sewer system to replace them.
"We have better things to spend our money on than something we don't want or we don't need," said resident Ron Kielb.
Kielb worries about the cost of the new line. While a state grant will pay for almost $2.5 million of it, homeowners are expected to pay back a $1.65 million loan over about 20 years.
That comes to $65 a month, plus a tap-in fee, a sewer-use fee, and a yearly township fee, totaling roughly $1,100 a year, for something many of these Sucson-area homeowners do not want.
"It's like going out and buying a car, and them giving you the car you don't want. We don't want this car," said Kielb.
Officials from Pittston Township wouldn't go on camera because of ongoing litigation with the sewer project, but they point out that a sewer line could lead to higher property values and more development in the Suscon area.
Still, some residents say they will not pay those fees.
"I can't pay the electric bill altogether so I'm not paying for a bill that I never signed loan documents for," said resident Meagan Galonis.
Another resident lives on a fixed income but plans to pay the fees. To do it, he'll have to make big cuts.
"Buying presents for the family and the grandchildren will be reduced and taking trips will be reduced. Your general lifestyle will change," said Frank Galonis.
Meagan Galonis said she just spent $14,000 on a new septic system five years ago because the township had reassured her there would be no sewer line in her neighborhood.
Homeowners could face fines if they don't pay the sewer fees.