The city of Elkhart can add residents of Valley View Hills subdivision to the list of commercial customers outside of the city who are upset with the new compact fee
More than 120 people turned out for a meeting at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer south of the city limits Tuesday to learn what can be done about the city’s request that they sign compact fees in exchange for continued sewer service.
Many of the residents are on the old “three times rate,” meaning they pay three times the city rate since they live outside of the city limits.
The residential compact sought by the city would include a $50 fee plus a charge based on usage. While the total might be close to what some neighbors pay right now, the sticking point for many involves a provision in the agreement that leaves residents open to the possibility of being annexed into the city without a chance to oppose it.
The meeting was organized by Jon Nelson, Steve Fader and Krista Lee and were joined by David Henke an Elkhart City Council member who has served as an unofficial liaison with the subdivision in the group’s battle with the city over the topic of sewer fees.
Nobody from the city administration attended the meeting despite an invitation, according to Fader.
Residents had been asked to sign the agreement by Jan. 1, but some are upset with the lack of details offered by the city and the tone of the letter urging them to sign.
Henke apologized on behalf of the city for the tone of the letter and suggested people convey their concerns at the next city council meeting.
By the end of the meeting, organizers were urging the crowd to attend the Feb. 4 city council meeting. Lisa McKee who lives in the subdivision with one of her four children and her husband, agreed and told the crowd:
“We got a huge crowd here tonight. Why not get that same crowd and go to the city meeting. I’m going to go.”
City officials have also heard complaints from numerous commercial customers outside of the city who are being asked to sign a different compact fee that, in some cases, will lead to a 500 percent hike in sewer fees.
Look for a more in-depth story on this topic in Thursday’s edition of The Truth.