Council plugs leak in water ordinance

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Up until the Craig City Council's 4 to 1 vote to approve the final changes to its water ordinance, there was debate over whether the proposed change was the best way to go.

Councilor Kent Nielson, who voted in the minority, asked that officials hold off passage of the ordinance until it was determined that the changes offered the best solution to what's become an ongoing problem.

"Whatever we do, it needs to be the best decision for future development and the addition of paying customers to our water system," he said.

The ordinance changes the distance required between the bottom of a water tank and the water tap it serves from 80 feet to a minimum of 65 feet. It also allows service to homes within 35 feet to 65 feet of the water tank, but requires those homes to have pressure pumps installed.

Though the ordinance has been under discussion for several weeks, last-minute options were considered including eliminating any elevation standards as long as a property owner could engineer adequate pressure.

There was no solution council members could find that would prevent residents from asking for water even though they didn't meet the requirements and no way to guarantee the council wouldn't face a group of citizens asking for better pressure.

"We can't predict in 20 years what residents in (a subdivision) are going to want," City Manager Jim Ferree said.

What he did recommend is that the council be willing to back its decision.

"When you pass a law and set a standard, that's it.Ã: he said.

The city spent more than $600,000 in 1999 to boost water pressure to the Glen Erie and Craig East subdivisions after a group of residents complained about inadequate water pressure.

An ordinance establishing a minimum elevation from a water tank was passed in 2001. Ferree told the council there were few things that could be done to prevent something like that from ever occurring again.

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