The quasi-public Lehigh County Authority emerged as the winning bidder of a 50-year lease of the sewer and water system in Allentown, Pa., beating out several private firms including two in the final round.

According to Mayor Ed Pawlowski, Lehigh’s last-round “best and final offer” of $220 million exceeded expectations. The city intends to apply the funds to offset its pension liability, which Pawlowski said could consume more than 30% of Allentown’s general fund by 2015.

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