The city plans to collect all past due fees for two apartment complexes that were not charged for wastewater services. The total owed to the city is more than $30,000.
Mary Lou Plummer of the Warsaw Wastewater office, came before the Warsaw Board of Public Works and Safety this morning to explain the situations.
Eastgate Apartments is currently being billed for 76 units when there are 86 apartments. “That’s one entire building that was missed,” she explained. The problem had been traced back to as far as 2000, but according to mayor Joe Thallemer, the city can only legally go back 6 years to collect the fees. Those costs total $23,238.
In the second case, the Briar Ridge Apartment complex has one entire building that was not enrolled at the billing office when construction was completed one year ago. That building accounts for 12 apartments at a total of $4,694.40 in unpaid fees.
B.O.W. member Jeff Grose asked who is “more at fault,” the city or the apartment complexes? City planner Jeremy Skinner said that, while “especially with Briar Ridge” the management should have known they were collecting rent for 10 buildings but only paying wastewater bills for 9, the Eastgate Apartments situation is a little different.
Skinner surmised it would be unfair to place blame on any specific party in the Eastgate Apartments case since the problem goes back so far. “It may have changed hands and the problem could have easily been missed.”
Plummer said there is a new system in place in the wastewater billing office and in the city planning department that should prevent such problems in the future. Now, in addition to the normal construction permits, occupancy permits will now be required. “It’s going to be really difficult for things to fall through the cracks from this point on,” said Thallemer.
B.O.W. member Charlie Smith said the complexes should have to pay because the services were provided. The board voted unanimously to bill both Briar Ridge and Eastgate Apartments for the back fees. Briar Ridge will have 6 months to make up the payments and Eastgate Apartments will have a year.
In a separate order of business, the B.O.W. approved a construction route for traffic going to the site of the new Kosciusko YMCA. The route will be North Pointe Drive from Husky Trail. Directional signs will be installed.