City debates sewer surcharge for nonresidents

By Dillon Davis -

A proposal is before Delaware City Council that would require nonresidents of the city who wish to tie into the city’s sanitary sewer system to pay a 50 percent surcharge for that service. Council held a third reading of the proposed ordinance, as well as a public hearing, at Monday’s meeting.

The city’s current policy requires annexation into the city before providing sewer services. However, an existing subdivision on Riverby Lane, off Pollock Road, has expressed interest in utilizing the city’s sewer system. The subdivision, which the city has determined is unlikely to annex into Delaware, currently uses a septic system, but the package plant that provides the services is failing. For that reason, the Environmental Protection Agency has expressed a desire to shut the plant down.

In addition to the Riverby Lane community, there are seven homes outside of city limits that already receive sewer services and would be impacted, should the ordinance pass.

Public Utilities Director Blake Jordan said that as a conservative figure, the charge for sewer services is around $40, meaning the surcharge would cost nonresidents an additional $20 on their bill. He added the surcharge wouldn’t benefit the Public Utilities Department so much as it would dictate a particular stance for the city, as it has already done with water. A similar 50 percent surcharge for water service has been in place for years.

Delaware Township Trustee Kevin Hennessy adamantly spoke out against the proposed surcharge, pointing out, among other things, how the city has benefited from Delaware Township infrastructure without the township asking for anything in return. Examples Hennessy spoke of include the park in Delaware Township, the Tri-Township Fire Department, and township roads that are shut down when the city hosts the Ironman competition.

“We’ve worked and cooperated together,” Hennessy said. “This seems very selective to say today, for this thing only, we’re going to charge you more. With that in mind, I ask council to consider this proposal and consider turning it down.

“I understand why the sewer department might think it’s a great idea to add a little more to their budget, but you’re going to create a situation where it’s us and them. And there’s no need. We cooperate together enough for the benefit for all of our citizens and community,” he added.

The ordinance will go to another hearing, which is expected to be at the next council meeting scheduled for Monday, Nov. 5.

By Dillon Davis

Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @ddavis_gazette.

Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @ddavis_gazette.