Urbana council to review plan for residents' sewer repair costs

Urbana council to review plan for residents' sewer repair costs

URBANA — A proposal that city officials say would help make sanitary sewer repairs a bit cheaper for some residents will be back for a vote on Monday night.

City council members will take a second look at the proposal when they as the committee of the whole on Monday at 7 p.m. in the Urbana City Building, 400 S. Vine St.

Since 2008, the city has reimbursed property owners for a portion of sewer repairs when those repairs require that workers tear up a city street, alley or sidewalk. The city repays the property owner 50 percent of the cost to repair the street, up to a maximum of $3,000.

According to city documents, 24 property owners have been reimbursed nearly $45,000 since the program began in 2008.

The cost of sanitary sewer repairs gathered more attention this year when residents of the Ellis subdivision in northwest Urbana came to the city council seeking relief for work that they said was too expensive.

Mayor Laurel Prussing has proposed upping that cost-sharing percentage from 50 percent to 75 percent and raising the maximum to $4,500, and the city council is scheduled on Monday to look at a policy that would do just that.

The discussion on Ellis subdivision sanitary sewers turned somewhat political last month when Rex Bradfield, a Republican candidate challenging Prussing in an April 9 election, got involved in the conversation.

Bradfield's suggestion was that the city should pay for sewer lateral repairs up to the property line, and the property owner should pay for repairs to the portion of the sewer that runs under their property.

Bradfield, who has decades of engineering experience, was not allowed to attend a meeting between city officials and the residents who asked him to be there. City officials offered Bradfield an invitation to a separate meeting, but he turned down the offer and said a separate meeting was not what Ellis residents want.

But during a Feb. 25 city council meeting, Bradfield was given 20 minutes to submit his proposal to the city council on behalf of the residents.

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rsp wrote on March 11, 2013 at 9:03 am

This sounds like the city holding the residents responsible for a city "design flaw". They didn't decide where to put the sewer lines, the city did. They should only have to pay to the property line. 

parkmymeterelsewhere wrote on March 11, 2013 at 10:03 am

The Goad Lady with her stick prodding/stealing money out of the pockets of taxpayers who already paid for the sidewalks/sewers with their tax dollars many years ago; local government gone rogue.

Sid Saltfork wrote on March 11, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Would Urbana's policy on sewers apply to all of Urbana?  Would it apply to downtown Urbana?  Would it apply to banks, hotels, restaurants, and other businesses?  Would it apply to south Urbana?  The vast majority of municipalities are responsible for sewer lines on public property; and the residents are responsible for the line on their property to the public sewer line.  Do the residents in the neighborhood already pay a sewer tax to the City of Urbana?

It makes one wonder why the City of Urbana does not have the money to care for it's sewer lines while subsidizing hotels, and other businesses.