Scottsburg council fails to vote on sewer rate increase, opening itself up to fines
Residents of Scottsburg, Indiana, will not be getting the sewer rate increase they were dreading after the city council failed to pass it Monday night.
SCOTTSBURG, Ind. (WDRB) -- Residents of Scottsburg will not be getting the sewer rate increase they were dreading after the city council failed to pass it Monday night.
After Mayor Bill Graham asked for a second motion three different times, the council sat in silence for nearly 30 seconds, and Graham declared the proposal dead.
The proposal would have increased sewer rates by more than 100 percent so the city could make changes to capacity limits and phosphorous levels required by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
“What has been proposed was just more expensive and a bigger chunk than we felt the citizens could handle and we as a city could handle at this time,” Councilman John Konkler said.
The city suggested a less expensive fix of $9 million which would still require rates to increase by 30 percent, something some residents said they just can’t afford.
“We have a lot of older citizens that live on a fixed income, and we only have so much money to go so far,” said Joi Furnish, who moved to Scottsburg less than three months ago.
Unlike at previous meetings, residents were not allowed to speak at Monday night’s meeting. That did not sit well with one resident who was escorted out of the room by Scottsburg Police for not quieting down.
Graham said he wasn’t sure which way the vote would go but was surprised it never even got a second consideration.
“I think anybody that asks for a second three times probably had some idea that and some inkling that yes, there would be a second,” he said.
IDEM has already warned the city of a possible sewer ban if the problems to the sewer system weren’t up to compliance with federal regulations.
“Do we go in debt, do we borrow money? I don’t know," Graham said. "I don’t know the answer to that yet."
IDEM can now soon start fining the city if the sewer problems are not corrected, but no timeline was given. However, the fines can start at anywhere between $10,000 and $25,000 per day.
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