Borough council is prudent to keep MABL

To the editor:

Since I have been a consulting water treatment specialist for in excess of 30 years and have business interests in Mifflin County, I feel compelled to comment on the article published Feb. 8, 2021 entitled “Searer: County water authority is best way to go.”

The article tends to focus on Mr. Larry Searer’s responses to the proposed sale of the Municipal Authority of the Borough of Lewistown (“MABL”). Based on the title of the above article, one would think it to be chocked full of good and convincing reasons to sell the MABL. In contrast I do not see any good reasons for Lewistown Borough Council to sell the MABL. In the article Mr. Searer is asked to answer basic questions over specific issues on which he may disagree with Lewistown Borough Council and what he would like to see done differently, etc. It appears that his main reason for wanting to sell the assets of the MABL is that “it is just not right.” He cites a litany of facts to sell which includes the fact that various entities spent thousands of dollars on lawyers and the fact there was a memorandum of understanding (“MOU”). However, are his reasons compelling to sell such an asset?

As a side note, it seems to me that a non binding MOU, which Mr. Searer mentions, may be a place to start a complex proposed deal, however, if the parties discover various problems after the exchange of information, the responsible thing to do is to reject the MOU unless there are very prudent reasons to accept it. After that the terms may be memorialized in a contract, which should be binding. Nevertheless, in the instant matter it appears that the some of the parties or entities discovered that what may have looked good at first blush, was not a good deal at the end of the day. For that I commend them in making a good decision, not based on how much was spent, but on well reasoned decisions.

As a side issue, does anyone know why all the money has been spent on lawyers? What did those entities obtain for their legal fees? Would private citizens spend thousands of dollars if it were their money?

I could analyze this article paragraph by paragraph, however, the writer of the article offers Mr. Searer numerous opportunities to go on the record whereby he could provide persuasive arguments to sustain his position. Although Mr. Searer seems very sincere in his beliefs and is probably a devoted civil servant on some level, his arguments seems to fall painfully short of supportive, well throughout, reasons for what was the proposed multimillion sale of MABL.

Moreover, after reasonable investigation, it seems the assets of MABL may be worth $80 million and the offer on the table is $10 million. If the aforementioned is true, who would sell the MABL for $10 million? Again, is there a good reason? If so I have not heard it.

In conclusion, even considering the cited Sentinel article, to date I have not heard of any compelling grounds to sell the MABL. Given the above discussion as well as other common sense reasons, I think Lewistown Borough is making an excellent choice to hold on to the MABL and they are to be commended.

Robert D. Kline



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