City Council hung up on water, wastewater ordinance changes

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Two lengthy workshops haven't been enough to make members of Craig City Council comfortable with changes to city water and wastewater ordinances. Changes were presented to Council Tuesday night as an introduction, the first step in a three-step process to approve an ordinance.
Despite previous discussions, Council members were not ready to adopt the changes and suggested they hold another workshop to iron out differences.
The biggest point of contention came from Mayor Dave DeRose who said if the city plans to claim ownership of water lines from the main to the curb stop, it should also be the entity that installs them for all existing properties. Installation of lines for new development would continue to be the responsibility of the developer, he said.
"I think we need to install the lines to the curb stop. I'll always think that and I'll fight for that until the day I die," he said.
City Public Works Director Bill Earley doesn't favor the city taking over that responsibility because it doesn't have the manpower or the scheduling capacity two arguments dismissed by DeRose.
Few lots remain that need this type of work, he said, and the city would have up to six weeks after a property owner gets a permit before the work has to be completed.
"I'm afraid with the other workload we have we're going to have a problem and a problem getting it done on schedule," Earley said. "The work is very inconsistent; it's hard to predict where it's going to go."
DeRose believes contractors shouldn't be working in city streets, but Earley said contractors are afraid to lose the work. Plumbers, on the other hand, won't.
In a survey of area plumbers, done by Earley, most said they didn't want to do that type of installation work.
"I hate to be hardcore about it, but I'll always think this way," DeRose said.
Councilor Bill Johnston said it was an issue Council still needed to discuss and asked that the ordinances be withdrawn, allowing further discussion.
Other changes to the ordinances are:
The sewer tap fees will increase from $1,000 to $2,000 for Craig residents and will be doubled for out of city residents. Out of city residents will also pay double the water tap fee charged to residents.
Residents who are connected to the city system, but have had it turned off for some reason will pay $6.25 per month for sewer and $8.80 per month for an "availability" fee.
Ordinances give all officers and employees of the city access to all premises or right-of-ways at all times when necessary. In the event of a non-emergency, the city will attempt to notify the occupant before accessing private property which is not subject to utility easement.
When a septic system fails, that resident will have to connect to the city sewer system. It would be the responsibility of that resident to pay to extend sewer lines to their home or business if the lines don't already reach.
None of these changes will be made official until drafted into ordinance and voted on by Council twice during its regular monthly public meeting.

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