Proposed vote to double Scottsburg sewer rates delayed after community input
More than 100 people packed into City Hall on Monday night to hear what they thought would be the third and final vote on the $18.5 million proposal.
SCOTTSBURG, Ind. (WDRB) -- Scottsburg residents could see an increase of more than 100 percent to their sewer bills.
But first, Scottsburg Common Council would need to approve a proposed $18.5 million sewage overhaul. More than 100 people packed into City Hall on Monday night to hear what they thought would be the third and final vote on the proposal.
Indiana Department of Environmental Management found the city out of compliance with a number of issues, including sewage overload steaming from 2013. To remedy that, the city proposed a new sewer plant to change the collection system and infiltration.
Residents who spoke at Monday’s meeting said the new plant is not needed.
“IDEM’s facilities inspection report of last year states that the facilities do not appear beyond their useful life,” Scottsburg resident Mike Guthrie said.
To help pay for the project, rates would go from $32 to more than $70 per month for households with an average sewer rate of 4,000 gallons a month.
WDRB News approached Mayor William Graham to discuss IDEM’s concerns regarding the sewer system, but he refused to comment.
For many Monday night, an extra $500 to pay a year for sewage treatment is too much for a family to afford.
“I really don’t know what to say about it anymore. It’s just outrageous. It’s going to be too much money going out,” said Daniel Amos, who lives in his Scottsburg home with six other family members. “[That money] can go for more food in the house. That can go to pay extra bills off.”
After more than an hour of debate and resident comments, the common council decided not to vote on the project. Instead, they will now have an addition meeting with IDEM officials and consultants to discuss options.
“Let’s look at less-expensive alternatives, because we care about everybody in this room," said Scottsburg resident Tanna Guthrie-Holmes. "We all want the same thing. Don’t we want good sewer lines? It’s just how do we go around it that doesn’t make it such a burden on everybody else?"
The city has not set a date when the next vote could take place, but the hope is to meet with IDEM in the next month.
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