Logan Township residents could see their monthly sewer bill go up by as much $7 a month starting in January.
Supervisors are considering the increase, along with a 2013 tentative budget that will keep real estate taxes at 14.375 mills.
A vote on the budget and sewer rates will be part of the supervisors' Dec. 13 meeting.
The township needs to increase monthly sewer rates to cover higher sewage treatment costs from efforts to meet Chesapeake Bay watershed improvement program requirements, sewer department Director David Pozgar said.
Pozgar initially suggested phasing in higher sewer rates over three years, with monthly increases of $4 in 2013, $3 in 2014 and $2 in 2015.
Because that proposal and an alternative option with a $5 monthly increase for next year left the township short of revenue to cover 2013's expenses, Supervisors' Chairman Frank Meloy suggested a $7 monthly increase for 2013. That would boost a typical $46 monthly sewer bill to $53.
Pozgar had proposed using capital reserve funds to cover initial shortfalls. By 2015, the rates would be high enough to generate enough revenue to cover projected expenses.
Meloy said he fears the township may face more treatment-related expenses in the future and expressed reservations about using reserve money.
"It's either pay now or pay a lot more later," Meloy said.
Fellow supervisors agreed on the proposed budget showing a $7 monthly increase, which allows the option of considering a lesser amount.
Solicitor Larry Clapper said that if the township advertised a proposed budget with a lower monthly increase, then decided on a higher one at the Dec. 13 meeting, the budget may have to be advertised again.
"We've been hearing about Chesapeake Bay [improvements] for years," Supervisor Joe Metzgar said.
"And it's not going away," Supervisor Ed Frontino said.
The proposed increase will affect township residents whose sewage treatment service is handled through the township, at sewage treatment plants in Pinecroft and in Altoona and Hollidaysburg, which have undergone major upgrades to meet the Chesapeake Bay requirements.
Township residents whose sewage treatment service is handled through Altoona Water Authority will be affected by any rate increases the authority adopts, plus the township's proposed surcharge increase, from 20 to 25 percent. Pozgar said that would add $1.25 to the $5 surcharge on a typical $25 bill.
The township levies the surcharge to cover billing, bookkeeping and postage expenses, he said.