“Dire Financial Situation:” Fairlawn Sewerage System Faces Crisis

sewer pipe

The Pulaski County Sewerage Authority (PCSA), which controls the sewerage system for residents of Fairlawn, is in terrible financial condition, according to a member of the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors.

In Monday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Joe Guthrie said, “when I joined the PCSA board in January of this year, I found that it was in the most precarious and dire financial situation I have ever seen in any organization I have been a part of. ”

Guthrie said the situation is dangerous for such a vital community function. “A financial crisis as bad as the PCSA is facing would be problem enough for a non-profit board or a local association that may not be able to continue to function, but for a local utility which provides one of the most essential services for a community to get into so profound a predicament is unacceptable and requires immediate corrective action.”

“The people of Fairlawn need and deserve a stable and sustainable sewerage system and right now they don’t have one,” Guthrie said.

Guthrie said residents of Fairlawn have had some of the lowest sewerage rates in the state for many years, but the low rates have left the organization with no money to fall back on.

“The PCSA has little if any margin for error,” Guthrie said. “Any large unexpected expense for a repair or replacement could lead it to a negative financial position. Also, the revenue each month is barely sufficient to cover expenses.”

Guthrie says the only solution is to increase rates. “We have laid out a rate increase for the purpose of stabilizing the PCSA’s financial position and to provide for continuous, sustainable, uninterrupted service to the people of Fairlawn. ”

Without the increase in rates, Guthrie says it is only a matter of time before the PCSA fails. “Without a rate increase, the PCSA could struggle along, hope for the best, and if the repairs are not too costly, it might stay afloat for a few years, but it will never be able to replace its aging pipes.”

Guthrie said the PCSA’s past goal of keeping rates low is no longer sustainable. “From what I have heard from some former PCSA board members, their primary objective in setting rates was to keep the rates low. That mission was accomplished. Fairlawn residents pay about as little as anybody anywhere for sewerage service. As a result, however, it also has a sewage system that can barely pay its bills, has no money saved for the future, and has no ability to replace its 50+ year-old pipes as they fail with age. That’s simply not acceptable and not in the best long-term interests of the people of Fairlawn.”