A civil lawsuit by the Central Mainline Sewer Authority against Lilly will remain in place until the federal agency financing construction of a wastewater treatment plant weighs in on interest due on a delinquent payment.

Lilly officials had hoped the $154,083 check it paid the Mainline authority last week as final payment on its $1.79 million share of the plant’s construction costs would be enough to end the lawsuit filed last month.

“Rural Utility Services (the funding agency) approved our contract with Lilly, we can’t (forgive) anything without RUS approval,” authority Solicitor William Barbin, said last week. “We owe them money for 40 years.”

Lilly officials have been at odds with the authority for some time with both sides saying they are unable to talk to one another.

The mainline system, serving Lilly and Cassandra boroughs and parts of Washington, Cresson and Portage townships, was built in 2003, and while all of the other municipalities became part of the authority, Lilly chose to remain independent, serving as a bulk customer of the authority.

The collection lines through town are maintained by Lilly and all customer billing is done by the borough.

In a 2002 contract with the authority, Lilly agreed to pay 43.8 percent of the cost of the treatment plant and future capital improvements.

The contact also spells out a 1 percent interest levied on all delinquent balances, and the borough has been in arrears on some of the balance since July 2006.

Borough officials said they were waiting for a PennVEST loan on the final installment. While documentation shows the loan disbursed Aug. 31, 2007, Councilman Dick Sweeney said paperwork issues delayed receipt of the money until December.

The authority last week instructed its engineer, Steve Sewalk of The EADS Group, Altoona, to calculate the interest due the authority and provide cost estimates on construction of a building over the screening area at the plant. The building was in the original design but deleted because of cost.

It also wants some assurance from Lilly that payment for future capital improvements will be forthcoming and not require court action.

“We’ll take a look at it, our engineer will look at it,” Sweeney said.

In a related matter, the authority agreed to use a $670,000 federal grant, originally slated to reduce customer rates, toward future growth.

“This money will be used for expansion of the collection system and hopefully for economic development,” Barbin said.

Lilly officials questioned the authority’s decision late last year to reduce monthly rates by $3.15 for everyone but Lilly.

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