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St. Marks refines sewer bills

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By E.M. YABOR
eyabor@thewakullanews.net

St. Marks is likely to see an increase in utilities bills and homeowners with grinder pumps could see some additional maintenance fees headed their way.
A proposed city ordinance heard by city commissioners Feb. 9 would eliminate language requiring fees be set by ordinance and instead allow them to be set by resolution.
Setting policy by resolution would steamline the process of setting utility bills by bypassing the time constraints and advertising requirements that accompany ordinances, allowing for greater year-to-year flexibility.
Additionally the ordinance would require residents with a grinder pump to receive an annual inspection from a licensed plumber.
How much the fee for inspections would be was not set, though $50 was used as a starting point.
That doesn’t sit right with Commissioner Bob Phillips.
“I’m not so sure I agree with a $50 fee for a homeowner,” Phillips said. “We’re already raising their water and sewer rates. Why does a grinder pump owner have to be charged another $50 for having a grinder pump?”
The proposed ordinance would also delete an outdated escalation clause that raised sewage fees to their current level over a period of three years, ending in 2012. The city commission would be able to set the rates to maintain costs of providing water and sewer services as needed by resolution, rather than remaining reliant upon pre-existing constraints.