The Towamencin Board of Supervisors remained deeply divided and deadlocked over the potential sale of the sewer system.

It was at the very end of the first formal supervisors meeting of the year on Jan. 10 when new Supervisor Kofi Osei proposed “to authorize staff to terminate the sewer sale,” he said. “Put that resolution on the Jan. 24 meeting agenda.”

Supervisor Joyce Snyder quickly seconded the motion. When votes were tallied, the motion tied 2-2. Osei and Snyder voted in favor, while Board Chair Chuck Wilson and Supervisor Laura Smith voted “no.” Supervisor Kristin Warner missed the meeting.

The tie vote meant Osei’s motion failed. He portrayed it as a positive on social media, posting “Closest yet!” about the sale.

Osei, who made his opposition to the sewer sale well known during last year’s campaign for supervisor, said people shouldn’t be frustrated by the tie vote, meaning the motion didn’t go forward.

“[J]ust the way it is, absolute majorities to take action,” he also posted. “Probably to avoid weird attendance situations where the tie wouldn’t be reflective of the whole body…”

Sewer opponents lobbied supervisors to cancel the sale earlier in the meeting.

“Please cancel the sale,” said resident Joe Rumsey in comments submitted to supervisors online. “Aside from making many residents broke, the sale will hurt home values.”

Rumsey argued selling the sewer system would cause rates to jump. “Nobody wants a sewer bill the size of a Homeowners Association fee…People have spoken multiple times.”

Other residents suggested supervisors didn’t apply for Pennsylvania state grants that they suggested could alleviate some costs related to sewer management.

“[Board of Supervisors Chair Charles Wilson] told [now-former Supervisor Rich Marino] there was no money for [the sewer system],” said Jenn Foster. She read off a list of grants given to other municipalities for wastewater, stormwater, and water management. “Did we apply for any of these grants?”

Wilson bristled at the idea the township didn’t try to find money to fund the sewer system. “First of all, those weren’t stormwater grants,” he answered. “We regularly apply for grants. They go in cycles…we received a grant last cycle…Yes, we do get those grants regularly.”

He also argued that Towamencin diligently looks for state taxpayer-funded opportunities whenever it can, but there’s no guarantee.

“You’re not going to get one every time,” Wilson promised. “All of our consultants and township staff have instructions to apply for every grant that comes available. Whether that’s wastewater, highways, parks…whatever.”

Wilson and Smith did not answer an email from DVJournal asking if they were surprised by Osei’s motion.

The township has faced multiple legal headaches ever since it approved selling the sewer system to PA American Water in 2022. Residents voted in favor of changing the township charter and instituted a Home Rule Charter. Supervisors vowed to keep the sale going anyway, causing Osei and others to go to court. The case remains tied up in court.

Osei defeated incumbent Rich Marino for Towamencin last November. The race ended in a tie, and Osei picked the lowest number tie to win. Marino is challenging the election results.