Thursday, October 23, 2014

Moore open to revising sewer ordinance

Mayor Dick Moore announced Thursday afternoon he is open to the idea of revamping a sewer ordinance that has upset commerical customers outside of the city.
Posted on March 7, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on March 7, 2013 at 6:42 p.m.

ELKHART — Mayor Dick Moore has agreed to look at revising the recently approved ordinance that is forcing commercial customers outside of the city to sign a compact agreement for sewer service.

Moore’s decision Thursday, March 7, comes three days after the city heard a flood of complaints from businesses and council members who vowed to revisit the issue on their own.

Customers have complained that the switch to a compact agreement will create a hardship because the formula is based on assessed property value rather than usage.

Moore said he intends to seek input from community leaders and some of the businesses affected by the policy.

He said he’ll also seek assistance from council president Ron Troyer and the chairman of the finance committee, Dave Osborne, both of whom are Democrats.

Moore said it is his hope that other city council members will channel their opinions on the issue through Troyer and Osborne.

In the meantime, Moore continued to urge commercial customers outside of the city to sign the compact agreement. A new letter from the city to commercial customers seeking cooperation on the matter would be issued soon, he said.

Some business owners and council members have called for the ordinance to be revamped so that customers are charged for usage and not property values.

Some businesses face huge fee increases of 500 percent to 1,300 percent for sewer service under the new plan.

The new ordinance was approved late last year, but the policy was put on hold after complaints. On Monday, council approved an amended plan authored by Moore that would phase in the new charges over two years.

The compromise, though, did little to quell criticisms by businesses and council members.

The decision will be based on the city’ best interest, but will consider other issues, Moore said.

“Any proposed modifications must be fair to the people of the city of Elkhart, our commercial users inside of our city, as well as those using our service outside of our city,” Moore said in the statement.

The city will also look at whether service should be provided to customers outside of the city, he said.

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