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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Council hears compact complaint

An Elkhart businessman complained bitterly about the proposed commerical compact fee he and others are being urged to sign and warned such a plan could hurt the city.

Posted on Feb. 11, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.

ELKHART — An Elkhart businessman sharply criticized plans to move his business and 74 others to compact agreements for sewer service and urged the city council to take action before it results in what he predicted could be a loss of jobs.

Rocky Enfield, an insurance man whose office is on C.R. 6, disagrees with the city’s outlook that customers outside the city who use city sewer should pay more for the service in lieu of taxes.

Business owners are upset with the plan by the city to shift them from sewer service agreements to compact fees, which shifts the formula from usage-based to assessed value.

Enfield said his current monthly bill is about $20, but that will rise to $243 under the compact fee plan.

Enfield said the policy is unfair and doesn’t make sense and compared it to having a shirt laundered and then being charged extra as if he had trousers cleaned, too.

He warned implementing the policy could hurt the city.

“This compact has the potential to be a job killer in the city of Elkhart,” Enfield told the council. “I call on you to take action so that if that goes through and jobs are lost, the people of Elkhart will know who stood for the jobs and who did not.”

Some business owners worry their bills could rise 500 percent.

As a compromise, Moore proposed last week that fees be phased in over two years beginning next month.

The mayor points out that 63 other commercial properties have been on compact agreements for years.

The city sought to have the property owners shift over by Jan. 1, but delayed plans because of complaints. The city council needs to vote on Moore’s proposal, but a formal ordinance has not yet been prepared.

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