Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Moore’s sewer plan sent to committee
Posted on June 17, 2013 at 1:00 a.m.

ELKHART — Mayor Dick Moore’s latest plan aimed at ending a six-month dispute over commercial sewer service for customers outside of the city was submitted without fanfare to the Elkhart City Council on Monday night, June 17.

The plan is largely based on recommendations from Moore’s sewer task force and calls for an aggressive annexation effort and a significant decrease in user fees.

Moore attended the meeting, but did not address the council on the issue.

Instead, council president Ron Troyer announced he would assign it to committee for review. A date for the meeting was not announced.

Troyer said he wants to give the proposal the same attention an alternative plan was given last week.

Moore proposed two weeks ago that he’ll seek to reduce the percentage of assessed value used in the formula to calculate the compact fee from the current 75 percent to 35 percent.

Eventually, the council will have a chance to choose between Moore’s plan and one proposed last week by Republican councilman David Henke.

Henke’s proposal would charge all sewer customers outside of the city — residential and commercial — a fee based on 15 percent of their usage.

Moore’s plan does not address the residential policy and he’s been resistant to consider changes despite reluctance by some residents to embrace the city’s new policy.

Councilman Dave Osborne earlier said he had hoped Moore’s proposal would not need to be sent to committee because of the extensive debate that’s already been heard on the issue.

But on Monday, he said he thinks a special meeting will be good chance for the mayor to explain his plan.

Osborne expressed hope that the council could take action on the issue sometime in July.

Complaints against the existing policy started to surface late last year after the council approved an ordinance that would shift 75 commercial customers who had been on the old sewer service agreements to the compact fee policy that 63 other companies have been on for years.

Businesses have said they prefer a fee based on usage. Moore has said he believes using assessed value to calculate a payment in lieu of taxes is the best choice.