Elkhart County residents keep sewer service after being told it' - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Elkhart County residents keep sewer service after being told it'd be shut off

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They still have sewer services.  A huge relief for some Elkhart County residents Wednesday night.  The City of Elkhart told them they would cut them off Wednesday, if they didn't sign a new compact agreement with the city.

Elkhart County is now getting involved.  This neighborhood we're talking about lies just outside Elkhart city limits but is hooked up to city sewer services.  The county initially didn't want to get involved. But they stepped in this week because they thought the city's proposed actions would create a health hazard.

Wednesday Valley View Hills Subdivision Resident Jon Nelson said,  "Definitely a sense of relief."  Nelson is happy he still has sewer services.  He is one of the residents in the Valley View Hills Neighborhood who wouldn't sign a new compact agreement on sewer rates with the city of Elkhart.  "I won't sign the compact the way that it's stated."

Nelson said he and 19 other residents refused to sign a new compact agreement.  So the all received letters saying their sewer service would be disconnected Wednesday.  The city started marking the houses to be disconnected with white arrows.  And they stuck flags in their yards to mark cable lines and other underground lines in their yards.  But Wednesday when the city said the work would begin, Nelson said, "no one showed up."

No one showed up because Elkhart County intervened.  County Commissioners sent a letter to Elkhart Mayor Dick Moore saying, "The County Health Department views the disconnection of an existing sewer hook-up to an occupied residential property to be the immediate creation of an unnecessary health hazard."  Because of the health issues, the county says they won't approve permits for the city to work on County roads, something they would have to do to disconnect sewer service.  "That was one method for us to say we're serious too about not doing this," said County Commissioner Mike Yoder.

Nelson said even Sheriff Bradley Rogers even got involved Wednesday morning.  ""He himself sat down here and waited to see if there was gonna be any problems."

There weren't any problems Wednesday but the bigger problem still exists, some residents and the city aren't agreeing.  FOX28 contacted Mayor Dick Moore for comment and his office gave us this statement, "The city regrets that Elkhart County government has taken such action and the city will study its options and act accordingly."

County Commissioner Mike Yoder said everyone needs to reconsider.  "I think the best way to characterize the County Commissions position is let's just everybody take a step back and take a breath and renegotiate this and figure out another way."

For now Nelson is just thankful for the county's actions, "Those that put this together and put a hold on everything or whatever gave us some breathing room."

We did speak with another neighbor who says she's ok with the compact agreement the city offered the residents.  But she didn't want to talk on camera because she's afraid of retaliation from neighbors who are fighting it.

Now everyone is waiting to see what happens next.  Nelson and Yoder said they both have not heard from the city yet.  When we contacted Mayor Moore's office Wednesday we were told they may hold a press conference on the issue on Friday.

 

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