Elkhart Council approves sewer ordinance, Mayor plans veto - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Elkhart Council approves sewer ordinance, Mayor plans veto

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Applause came from a crowd of people who live and work outside of the city at the Elkhart City Council meeting Thursday night after an eight month sewer fee dispute seemed to end.

"Tonight we promise the public that we are going to address this ordinance," Council President Ronald Troyer told the audience before the meeting.

Troyer let a packed house know early on last night that the council finally would vote on a sewer ordinance.

The dispute about how much people living and working outside of the city should pay for sewer services has gone on for eight months. Mostly because of council meeting confrontations between council members and the mayor as well.

Two hours went by before the vote finally came. Eventually the council approved a proposal councilman David Henke drew up.

People outside of city limits would pay a 15% fee on top of what those in Elkhart pay for a few years. Henke says eventually those customers would be annexed into the city, where they would pay fees that would help the city grow.

"We finally, finally after 8 months have a solution. I am thrilled about this," said David Schemenauer, who owns a business outside city limits.

But is it really "the" solution? With only five votes in favor to four not, the Mayor now holds the power of veto.

"I will veto this ordinance as soon as it comes time down to me in time to do that and we will then have the 75% ordinance which is in effect right now," said Mayor Dick Moore.

The Mayor's current plan has the people outside the city currently paying 75% of what people inside the city pay.

Council members in favor still see an end in sight though. They feel like the Mayor's plan to charge people outside of the city 35% of their property value for sewer service is an option almost no one wants to see.

The Mayor does not believe Henke's plan is good for the city because it will not fund the greater Elkhart fund at the level city officials are accustomed to for the first few years.

Councilman Henke, on the other hand, believes his plan still has the legs to get the six to three majority vote required to pass without veto.

"This is a good thing for the city of Elkhart in the long run," said Henke. "Will it be next year not so much. But three years out and four years out with an appropriate annexation plan, this is growth for the city of Elkhart. This is a good and positive thing."

Henke believes that time will come soon enough.

"We're glad this saga is almost over," said Henke.

Stay tuned to FOX28 News and FOX28.com as this on-going dispute continues.

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