Council rejects woman's bid to recoup cost of sewer line

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Craig resident Dianna Goucher left Tuesday night's Craig City Council meeting still muttering under her breath in frustration over what she termed a lack of compassion.

"I felt it was all about the city's needs, not about our needs," she said. "We'll get over it and we'll move on, but it's frustrating."

Tuesday's Council meeting was Goucher's second in an attempt to be reimbursed for an estimated $16,000 she spent to extend a sewer main to her Legion Street modular.

Goucher asked that the council approve a recovery agreement in which homeowners would pay a portion of the installation cost when they tap onto the sewer main she paid to install.

It's something the city hasn't done in more than 25 years and voted against doing in this case.

"We have problems administering recovery agreements," City Engineer Bill Earley said. "We end up in the middle arbitrating."

Earley said recovery agreements are rife with problems. They generally have a five- to seven-year time limit, so developers simply hang back and wait for them to expire.

Additionally, the city has no control -- and no way to verify -- the value of the improvement.

A line the length that Goucher installed should have cost $9,000 to $10,000, Earley said. The cost was considerably higher because the line was installed in the winter, he said.

Most frustrating to Goucher is that she paid to install a line that will belong to the city. Property owners are required to install service lines to city specifications, but when they're installed the city takes ownership -- and the responsibility to maintain those lines in the future.

"I'd like to see them break down my taxes, because all I seem to need to pay for is schools," Goucher said.

"When you pay for something and the city gets all the money from it, it's frustrating."

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