Two hours of discussion ended with the city of Warsaw no closer to adopting an ordinance establishing stormwater utility rates and charges.
For the second time, Ordinance 2014-03-01 topped the discussion of the Warsaw Common Council, but once again, the matter stalled on possible credits and an appeals process for stormwater users.
While city officials did approve the rate schedule at the March 3 meeting on the first reading (See related), some minor changes to the ordinance were introduced Monday night. However, with continued discord from Lewis Salvage which, like most industries, are required under federal Rule 6 to receive permits for storm water runoff and establish their own treatment systems, the council still failed to act on the ordinance.
“Three simple changes,” said Cary Lewis. “I emailed you three very simple changes that can be dropped in the ordinance with very small impact … if changes are not made as we want, we will still oppose the ordinance.”
Lewis Salvage has 23 acres of impervious surface area and, in compliance with Rule 6, has installed and operates its own stormwater system. City engineer James Emans repeated at Monday’s meeting that regulations under Rule 6 are irrelevant to the city’s stormwater utility.
Project manager Sheila McKinley of Christopher Burke Engineering told the council, “Not a lot of communities even have credits,” and it was noted by city attorney Mike Valentine during the previous meeting, that the purpose of the ordinance is to establish rates and charges, not to discuss credits.
Stormwater coordinator Theresa Sailor advised the council against two of Lewis’ changes, but did agree that some verbiage under the appeals section referring to system users could include the words “whether it is entitled to a credit.” The language simply would allow the council, in the future, to consider credits.
Councilwoman Elaine Call made the motion to accept the ordinance with the minor language change, but the motion died for lack of a second and, seemingly irritated, Mayor Joe Thallemer abruptly called for adjournment.
Valentine told StaceyPageOnline.com after the meeting that the process will now have to start over. Warsaw is an MS4 community based and is mandated by federal government to establish a stormwater system.
The system will take $1.1 million to manage the program the first year. Under the proposed ordinance that died last night, of that amount, 45 percent of the fees would come from the Warsaw Public Works operations, 10 percent would have come from the Wastewater Utility and 44 percent would have come from user fees.