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JOHN W. MARNICKAS v. TREMONT MUNICIPAL AUTHORITY (06/09/82)

decided: June 9, 1982.

JOHN W. MARNICKAS, APPELLANT
v.
TREMONT MUNICIPAL AUTHORITY, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Schuylkill County in the case of Tremont Municipal Authority v. John W. Marnickas, No. J-161, 1979.

COUNSEL

Stephen P. Ellwood, with him Isadore E. Krasno, Krasno & Krasno, for appellant.

Fred J. Wiest, Williamson, Friedberg & Jones, for appellee.

President Judge Crumlish and Judges Blatt and MacPhail, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by President Judge Crumlish, Jr. Judge Mencer did not participate in the decision in this case.

Author: Crumlish

[ 67 Pa. Commw. Page 118]

Marnickas appeals a Schuylkill County Common Pleas Court order requiring him to pay sewer rental fees to the Tremont Municipal Authority. We affirm.

In 1976, the Authority constructed a wastewater collection and treatment plant in the Borough of Tremont. Residents were notified to connect to the system and sewer rentals*fn1 would be charged as of January 1, 1977. Marnickas did not connect to the system and now refuses to pay the sewer rentals.

[ 67 Pa. Commw. Page 119]

Our scope of review is limited to determining whether there has been a manifest and flagrant abuse of discretion or a purely arbitrary execution of the Authority's duties and functions. Blumenschien v. Page 119} Pittsburgh Housing Authority, 379 Pa. 566, 573, 109 A.2d 331, 335 (1954).

Marnickas contends that the Authority has no authority to collect charges for a service that is not adequate, safe, and reasonable. Since his property cannot be connected to the sewer system by a gravity flow, but instead requires him to install a sump pump, Marnickas argues that the system was unreasonably constructed and is of no value to him.

Section 4 of the Municipal Authorities Act of 1945*fn2 grants a Municipal Authority the power to determine "by itself exclusively the services and improvements required to provide adequate, safe, and reasonable service." The Act specifically vests the courts of common pleas*fn3 with exclusive jurisdiction over suits which question the adequacy, safety, and reasonableness of the Authority's services.

We agree with the court below that Marnickas failed to meet his burden of proving the service to be unreasonable. Yezioro v. North Fayette County Municipal Authority, 193 Pa. Superior Ct. 271, 164 A.2d 129 (1960). Marnickas has presented no evidence which would demonstrate that his cost of connecting to the sewer system would ...


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