Elkhart area businesses drawing attention to their sewer rates w - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Elkhart area businesses drawing attention to their sewer rates with yard signs


New developments Friday in a sewer squabble we've been telling you about for months.  Elkhart County businesses and home-owners have been battling the City of Elkhart over sewer rates.  They live just outside city limits and say the city is charging them outrageous fees for sewer service.

Now the businesses have made about 300 signs and put them up all over Elkhart County.  They're hoping the signs get the attention of people in Elkhart and that local residents will support the businesses.

David Schemenauer the Owner of Marshall Home and Garden said, "Elkhart's kinda closed for business."  He and other business owners are sending that message with signs that say things like , "Mayor Moore Sewer Compacts: flushing Elkhart Businesses down the drain."

"If you want to move in you can't even guess what your sewer fee is gonna be," said Schemenauer.  He and other area business owners have started this campaign to raise awareness about their sewer rates.  "We're not gonna sit there and watch people paying 20 to 30 thousand dollars to access their toilets," said Schemenauer.  He said businesses have been paying outrageous amounts for sewer service.  If it doesn't stop, he said no new businesses will move to the area.  "Elkhart's gonna grind to a halt until something gets resolved."

To further drive their message they've set up an outhouse on Country Road 6, warning the mayor's policy could drive us back to the time before indoor plumbing. 

Reid Burchett of Sherwood Industries said, "long term if it hurts business it hurts everybody here."  Burchett opted for a banner at his workplace.  He said the company is spending way to much money on sewer fees...money that could be put to better use.  "That's salaries for people, that's jobs for somebody," said Burchett.

The businesses aren't just fighting for themselves either.  The Valley View neighborhood South of Elkhart has been fighting the same fight.  "We've all joined up to put a message out there and hopefully people will take a look at this," said Schemenauer.

Several of the red signs specifically mention Valley View.  Homeowner Jon Nelson is happy to see them.  "I'm very very glad that the businesses chose to jump on the side of the residential"  And he shares the same hope as the businesses.  "I hope these signs will let everybody know in the city of Elkhart how we are being abused by the city government," said Nelson.

We did contact Mayor Moore for a response.  He wouldn't go on camera but he told us over the phone that quote, "Everyone has the right to their own opinions."


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