around town

CHANGE IN SEWAGE BILLING For more than a decade, Mt. Lebanon residents have  paid for their water and sanitary sewer usage in a single bill from Pennsylvania American Water Company. But starting this fall, the water company will discontinue billing for sewage nationwide.

Beginning this month, the sewage portion of your water bill has been separated out and is being collected by Jordan Tax Service. Sewage use rates are unchanged. You will just be getting two smaller bills—for water and sewage—that total the same amount as your previous water bill.

Residents should not confuse this bill with the storm water bill sent quarterly from Jordan. That fee also will be unchanged.

“It wasn’t a choice,” says Marcia Taylor, Mt. Lebanon’s assistant municipal manager and finance director. “Pennsylvania American notified us late last fall that they would be making the change and gave us a drop dead date.”

Mt. Lebanon evaluated collecting the fee in-house in conjunction with other communities but found that option to be too expensive and time consuming to implement by September. “We had several other quotes. Jordan was the least expensive,” says Taylor. “We will continue to investigate the option of joint billing with neighboring communities.”

In addition to mailing the bill to Jordan, residents may pay by check in person during normal business hours at the Customer Service Center in the Municipal Building, 710 Washington Road. Those payments will be forwarded unopened to Jordan. Jordan hopes to provide electronic billing options next month.

ENERGY AUDIT COULD EQUAL BIG SAVINGS Mt. Lebanon will be streamlining and upgrading its buildings to make them more energy efficient. Linc Mechanical, an energy service company, has made a number of recommendations to update the buildings, with a guarantee that the changes will save money in utility bills over time. And if the savings aren’t as much as they predicted? Linc cuts Mt. Lebanon a check for the difference.

Mt. Lebanon came into contact with Linc through CONNECT, a nongovernmental organization founded to promote cooperation among Allegheny County communities. The audits are made possible through Pennsylvania’s Guaranteed Energy Savings Act.

Linc employees worked with Public Works Director Tom Kelley to do a top to bottom inventory of all municipal property to get an idea of where energy savings would make the most sense. The inventory included a survey of lighting, heating, ventilation and air conditioning in all of the buildings. Technicians observed energy consuming equipment and studied building plans and operating systems to get a sense of energy use patterns. Once the scope of the entire project was set, Mt. Lebanon put it out for bids. Six energy service companies originally expressed an interest in submitting a proposal, and four attended the offers conference in February. However, Linc was the only one to submit a proposal.

Total project cost is $2,473,325. Linc guarantees savings in the amount of $2,719,161 over 15 years. Recommendations are:

Lighting upgrade  In all municipal buildings, inefficient incandescent and fluorescent lamps and ballasts will be replaced with state of the art high efficiency lighting and electron ballasts. The new lighting will cost $875,768 and generate guaranteed saving of $1,048,309 over a 15-year period.

Public Safety Building  A new central system to control heating and cooling will be installed, which will allow facilities managers to operate the building more efficiently. Existing boilers, chillers and air-handling equipment will be overhauled and returned to factory operating condition. Air flow will be balanced to ensure that the proper flow of treated and fresh air is delivered according to preset room air flow requirements. The project will cost $342,796 and generate guaranteed energy and operational savings of $736,350 over 15 years.

Recreation Center HVAC upgrades. Replace the existing boiler with a high efficiency unit; replace air cooled condensing units and air handling units with energy efficient cooling and unit heating equipment; overhaul the remaining equipment to factory operating specifications and install a new building control system. A wall will be constructed between the ice rink and the concession area to create a rental area. The wall will also keep the cooled air within the skating rink. The project will cost $1,187,750 and will generate guaranteed energy and operational savings of $834,142 over 15 years. Linc could not guarantee the full amount of the project because of the size and scope of the HVAC upgrades to the recreation center.

Street lighting  Existing municipal-owned inefficient metal halide street lamps along the Washington Road Business Districts will be replaced with energy efficient LED or induction lamps. The project will cost $67,011 and will generate guaranteed energy savings of $100,360 over 15 years.

TAKE IT BACK What is lurking in the back of your medicine cabinet? If it’s lots of expired prescription and over-the-counter drugs that you haven’t a clue how to dispose of safely, let the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) deal with it. Just bring all your old, unneeded drugs to the Drug Take-Back Day at Medical Rescue Team South headquarters, 315 Cypress Way, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, September 29, and representatives from the Mt. Lebanon Police Department will collect the items and turn them over to the DEA to be disposed of properly. Last spring’s take-back day brought in almost 500 pounds of unwanted medications that if improperly discarded could be dangerous to people or the environment. Questions? 412-343-4068.

FARMERS MARKET You can get farm-fresh food every Wednesday and Saturday through the end of next month. Sidewalk Saturdays are from 8 a.m. to noon on Washington Road through October 20, and the Lions Club Wednesday market is from 4 to 7 p.m., in the parking lot of the Mt. Lebanon United Lutheran Church, 975 Washington Road through October 24. Products available from approximately two dozen vendors include dairy items like cheese, specialty meats, eggs, wine, fresh-made bread and all sorts of produce.