TREVORTON - Zerbe Township residents face a 36 percent increase in sewer bills starting in 2014, mandated by the state to pay for a proposed $2.947 million sewage treatment plant.

Supervisors voted Monday to raise quarterly rates from $88 to $120. The motion was approved 3-0; supervisors Michael Schwartz, Mike Mazer and Gene Geise voted yes.

"We want the public to understand this is what we were mandated to do by the state in order to get the funding for the new sewage treatment plant," Mazer said. "Without the plant, we would be facing substantial fines."

Also, it was noted that part of the projected $3 million cost is being paid for with a $1.1 million grant.

"Without that, the rates would have been significantly higher," Mazer said.

Citizen Dean Whary asked supervisors if the high increase was due to those who don't pay their sewer bills, but board chairman Schwartz said the increase is across the board.

"We live in the township just like you," Schwartz said. "We don't like paying higher rates either, but this is what we are ordered to do."

The township's other construction project, rebuilding the First Street culvert, began Monday. Workers, however, found a potential problem.

"The construction crew dug up a water line that wasn't on the charts, so we are waiting to see if it will have to be moved," Schwartz said.

The company doing the work, Mid-State Paving, was granted a provisional burning permit to remove brush and trees in the work area. The project is expected to be completed in early October.

In other business

Plans were announced for the annual Zerbe Township Fall Festival and Parade to be held Saturday, Oct. 5.

Registration for the parade will be held starting at 10 a.m. behind the VFW; the parade starts at 11 a.m.

The parade will leave the VFW and travel on Market, 10th and Mahanoy streets and end at the Foundry.

The festival will begin at noon with more than 30 vendors participating.

Before the meeting started, supervisors met with Line Mountain Elementary School principal Jeanne Menko to discuss several safety and traffic concerns at the school.