As mayor, I believe the residents of this great city deserve to know the facts regarding the compact fee. My priority is to protect the city taxpayer’s pocketbook. Over the past several months, there have been countless instances of incomplete and inaccurate information regarding the compact. The following facts and figures are an attempt to clarify and correct any misunderstandings you may have.
It’s all about fairness:
If your home or business is located in the city, you receive city services, you pay a monthly sewer bill, city taxes, township taxes and county taxes.
If your home or businesses is in the county and choose to receive city services, you pay a monthly sewer bill, township taxes and county taxes but you do not pay city taxes.
It is therefore reasonable for the people of Elkhart to ask those outside of our city receiving city services to pay a compact fee since they do not pay city taxes. In fact, many have been paying compact fees since 1998.
As early as the 1960s, county customers who were in need of city sewer service were subject to a sewer service agreement law, those receiving the service agreed to accept annexation.
In 1998, the city along with significant input from land developers and local city and county businesses, agreed to update the premium for county customers receiving city sewer to a compact fee. The outside-the-city customer would pay 75 percent of the city tax rate as a fee for the city providing the service.
In 2009, as mayor I sought a more fair and equitable fee for residential customers. I had the compact fee revised to a flat rate of $50 for each residential customer. This resulted in lower compact fees for the majority of those living in Valley View and others.
In 2010, the Indiana Legislature imposed a property tax cap. For most commercial and industrial properties, their property taxes cannot be more than 3 percent of their assessed property value.
In November 2012, an ordinance revision was passed by the Elkhart City Council to transition customers from expired sewer service agreements to compact agreements so all county customers would eventually pay using the same calculation. ·
In February 2013, I proposed a resolution to phase-in commercial customers who would need to transition from the sewer service agreement to a compact in 2013; this resolution was passed by the council in March 2013. During this process, I realized that due to the property tax caps implemented in 2010, the original formula no longer met the intention of the original compact. So in April, I proposed to lower the calculation to 50 percent of the city tax rate; The council assigned this proposal to committee, where it remains.
In May 2013, I created a task force in an effort to formulate ideas which I could then choose to make use of or not in the drafting of a new proposed ordinance which would provide a fair and equitable method to calculate a fee for county businesses to pay in lieu of paying city taxes.
I am hopeful the task force will have finalized and formulated its ideas in June 2013.
The task force is not evaluating the fee for residential customers. For most county residential customers transitioning from the three-times rate, the compact fee plus the city sewer rate will be an overall savings.
These are the facts.