Elkhart sewer compact proposals head to committee - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Elkhart sewer compact proposals head to committee

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They're another step closer to finding a solution to the sewer dispute in Elkhart.

County residents and businesses who use the city's sewer service have not been pleased with the compact agreement proposed by the mayor.

Now, there are two proposals before the Council, both were sent to Committees during Monday's Elkhart Common Council meeting.

The first proposal is Mayor Dick Moore's ordinance for county users of the city's sewer system to pay 35% of assessed value of their properties.

The second is from the Council, a flat 15% extra than what city residents pay. Both include a plan for annexation where possible.

Council president Ron Troyer says, he's not sold on either idea just yet, "I'm not there yet on assessed value. Usage is where I was first coming from. I need to hear where there at percentage of assessment. I've heard at least four different numbers on that," says Troyer who is a Democrat.

Councilmembers will get to work soon dissecting the two proposals and making adjustments, before bringing to a vote. Councilman David Osborne says he has faith in the work of the task force that came up with the latest proposal from the Mayor's office. That plan creates more revenue for the city, something Osborne says Elkhart needs.

"The State Legislature has told the cities and towns that they're gonna have to figure out how to come up with revenue other ways and that's charging fees and assessments for services," says Osborne, who is a Democrat.

Business owners in the county support the 15% fee.
They say 35% of assessed value could drive them out of town.

"To set ourselves out as a premium pay to come to Elkhart is gonna make other businesses look at other communities and there's no reason. Elkhart's a great city. We shouldn't be driving our businesses to other cities that aren't as strong," says Dave Schemenauer who owns Marshall Home and Garden.

Six months in and 11 council meetings later, everyone agrees they want and answer soon.

"The council has had enough input and enough direction from a number of venues, that I think we can make the right decision for the city," says Troyer.

No matter what the Council decides, the Mayor has veto power and some folks are saying his plan could lead to lawsuits.

They say his proposal is a tax and anything over 3% is a violation of the state constitution.

Councilmembers hope to make a vote at their second meeting in July.

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