Troy Council sewer ordinance second reading, discusses rate increase

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The Troy City Council had a second reading of its new sewer policy ordinance and heard questions about the increase to the sewer base rate at their April 17 meeting.

The new ordinance, Ordinance 2019-761, will go into effect 30 days after the second reading.

The ordinance empowers the city to levy unpaid sewer service charges that have become delinquent as a tax on the lot to which the sewer service is furnished.

The ordinance also prevents permanent sewer service from being provided to any newly constructed or newly remodeled structure until the structure fully complies “with all specific project requirements, and all city ordinances, codes, and rules and regulations.”

Temporary sewer service can be provided to such a structure, but for “construction purposes only.” That service can be terminated by the city with a three-day notice, and granting of temporary service “does not in any way entitle a structure to receive permanent sewer service.”

Occupation of a structure without an occupancy permit from the city building department can lead to termination of the temporary sewer service.

There are special circumstances — such as construction delayed by adverse weather — under which permanent sewer service can be granted to a structure that does not yet comply.

However, even under such special circumstances, the owner will have to establish a bond, letter of credit or cash deposit equivalent to 150 percent of the cost of bringing the structure into compliance. And, if the deadline for compliance is past, the city can draw on that in order to bring the structure into compliance.

The new ordinance lays the expense of extending sewer mains on the property owner, as well as expenses related to laying and maintaining service pipes.

However, extensions of the main are also required to span the property, so as to make the main available to any adjoining property.

The new ordinance also establishes the power of the city to require any private septic system or drain to be connected to the city sewer if it is on a lot “adjacent to any main trunk sewer or lateral sewer in the city.”

In order to do so, the city council would pass a resolution once it “deems it necessary to the health or sanitary condition of the locality.”

Failure to comply with the resolution within 30 days is a misdemeanor and a municipal infraction under the ordinance.

The ordinance also specifies catch basins and grease traps for relevant drains connected to the sewer.

During the reading of the ordinance, the subject of the 5 percent increase to sewer rates came up.

That increase will be discussed at a public hearing on Monday, May 15 at 6:30 p.m.

City Clerk-Treasurer Tracy Rebo said that residents are to receive notice of the meeting with their city utility bills, which will be in an envelope as a result.

Troy Mayor Dallas Carr responded to questions from local resident Paul Olson, saying that the increase was recommended by the city’s auditor.

“You don’t have to agree with the auditor,” Olson replied.

Rebo said that the city is not currently meeting its bond requirements, which is why the increase is recommended.

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