ELKHART — Elkhart County Sheriff Bradley Rogers no longer has his cruiser parked at a house in Valley View Hills, but he’s keeping a close eye on any attempt by the city of Elkhart to cut off sewer service in the subdivision.
Rogers, along with county highway transportation manager Jeff Taylor, was in the neighborhood south of the city on Wednesday, March 20, the morning that Elkhart officials had threatened to begin disconnecting sewer lines hooked up to houses where residents refused to agree to the city’s new compact fee policy. Since then, Rogers, who was at a youth summit Thursday, March 21, said he has not received a response from the city.
Rogers decided to step in after the Elkhart County Board of Commissioners sent a letter to Mayor Dick Moore and city council members explaining that the county would not issue right-of-way permits to allow city workers to shut off sewer service in the area. A phone call to the mayor’s office was not returned Thursday.
“I’m backing up the commissioners’ decision on this and county highway’s decision, so I was just there to support the residents,” Rogers said. “In this day and age, I think there is a better way to get this accomplished. It’s one thing to shut water off if a person hasn’t paid their bill, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard of shutting sewer off, especially when they don’t have an alternative.”
Rogers said county officers and command staff are aware of the city’s plans to sever sewer lines in the subdivision. The sheriff told residents to call 911 if they see unauthorized construction crews in their neighborhood.
“I’m sure if a backhoe ends up on the street,” Rogers said, “somebody will start calling.”