Tyrone Borough approves agreement with paper mill

What’s the deal?
During yesterday’s meeting of The Tyrone Borough Authority, members approved an agreement with the American Eagle Paper Mill.
The agreement involves the rate the mill will pay for sewage treatment, capacity and violations at the facility during the last few months. The issues had been discussed in executive session at a previous authority meeting last week.
After yesterday’s meeting, few details of the agreement were available. The approval was made contingent on language being worked out between the borough and the mill.
Solicitor Larry Clapper said that municipal boards often take action to approve things contingent on certain details being worked out. He told the press, “You’ll see it as soon as it’s finalized.” He said the approval is subject to his “agreement” with the mill owners.
He also offered an example of how things often work with board approvals.
“You get a bid bond, you approve the bid bond subject to my review of it, if I say no, then the action is dismissed,” said Clapper. “I think this is no different.”
The mill is being subject to fines for exceeding their permitted biochemical oxygen demand. The mill has the right to appeal those fines. The mill was given an extended time period for the appeal until March 31 in order to allow time to complete the new agreement.
Clapper said if the deal fell through, “They’d have their rights and we’d have ours.” The reason for the executive session last week was the possibility the mill could sue the borough.
“The official action takes place when I give the consent, then we release the documents,” said Clapper. “We’d prefer to have the language now, but unfortunately the way it worked out we didn’t get it that way.”
The language was received on the day of last week’s executive session with the authority and council meeting. Clapper said the borough and the mill had earlier decided on “suggested terms” that he could recommend to the authority and borough council.
“The day of last week’s council meeting I received (word) of various changes to the language (from the mill’s attorney),” said Clapper. “There was no way I could get back to him, that’s why we are in this situation.”
Just a couple of hours after the Tyrone Borough Authority met yesterday, Borough Council held their meeting, which was preceded by an executive session. They approved the agreement with the mill contingent on the language being worked out.
The mill had a two-year agreement with the borough that ended on Dec. 31. Under that agreement, their sewage charges were capped at $429,000 per year. Without a cap, the borough would have taken in an additional $229,000.
Other users saw a 65-percent rate increase beginning in 2004. If the borough imposed the same increase on the mill, American Eagle could see their costs increase to $953,000 with the increase and other factors.
The Borough’s engineer Ray Myers said the maximum was based on a 65-percent increase on what the mill would have paid during the two years if there had been no cap. It was also suggested the borough recoup the $229,000 over a five-year period at about $45,000 a year.
The rate the mill will pay under the new agreement, whether or not it will receive increased capacity and the issues of the fines remain unknown.
Mill officials were unavailable for comment this morning.