ELKHART — Mayor Dick Moore said eight of the 16 positions have been filled for the task force that will seek a solution to the commercial compact dispute.
The task force will be composed of two members from the city council, including one from each party; two representatives of businesses outside of the city; two representatives from businesses inside the city; two area land developers; two Elkhart County elected officials; two city residents; a state representative; and three members of the city’s utility management staff.
Moore said he hopes to have the panel ready to begin work by mid-May.
“We are confident the task force can find common ground that will give us a draft that we can send to the common council as a new ordinance,” Moore said in a prepared statement.
He added: “We again ask for your patience and cooperation to allow the Task Force time to do its work. This task force will not circumvent the duties, responsibilities or authority of the common council. Rather, it is the goal of this task force to give the common council additional insight and greater perspective when doing its job.”
The task force will seek compromise in how the city should charge commercial customers outside of the city for sewer service. The dispute began in December when some of the 75 companies being shifted to the compact policy strongly objected.
Sixty-three other companies have been provided sewer service through the compact policy for years.
The compact policy is more expensive for customers compared to the old sewer service agreement because it is based on assessed value of the customer’s property. The old, expired sewer service agreement charged customers outside of the city 300 percent of what they would pay inside the city.