Council grapples with sewer funding

By David Fleet
Goodrich-On May 15, the village council gathered for a special meeting to discuss a shortfall in the village sewer fund.
The need for the possible hike is to rectify an estimated $70,000 deficit in the sewer fund.
At issue is a suggested rate increase per quarter of $17.15 or $68.60 per year. The last increase $1.53 per quarter was in 2014. If the rate increase was adopted the additional income generated would be $48,912 for the sewer residential sewer fund. The commercial rate increase would generate $1,292. At a cost of $9,500, earlier this year the village council approved a sewer rate study which suggested the increase.
Village officials say 141 delinquent notices were sent out to village residents.
“If it’s not paid that goes back on residents property taxes,” said Jakki Sidge, village administrator. “We then collect the sewer bill the next year.”
The debate why there is a shortfall sparked concerns on Monday night. Some council members suggested employee wages which a portion comes out of the sewer fund are the cause.
“There are approximately 1,200 taxable properties in the village,” said Mark Baldwin, village council president. “About 700 of them have sewers (hookup). You have 500 taxable parcels with sewers in the village (that are not hooked up). They should not be on the hook for the funds if money comes out of the General fund to cover the costs. They should not pay for something when they do not a receive a benefit?”
No decision was made on the rates. The issue will be discussed at the June 11 council meeting.