STATEHOUSE – The Indiana House of Representatives adopted an amendment today authored by State Representative Timothy Wesco (R-Osceola). The amendment was made to Senate Bill (SB) 385, which addresses regional sewer districts.
The amendment extends from 14 to 45 days the period of time municipal utility users, located outside city boundaries, are allowed to file a petition for review with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC), signed by at least 25 non-city users of the city utilities.
“This is a balanced approach to address the concerns of Elkhart citizens and businesses in regard to the ‘compact fee’ or ‘payment in lieu of taxes’ the city is coercing on non-city businesses that are users of city sewer and water,” said Rep. Wesco.
Rep. Wesco’s amendment also clarifies that included in the “rates and charges,” the IURC is able to review under current law whether or not there are any other charges rendered directly or in connection with the utility service. This includes charges based on the assessed value of the property that is served by the utility.
“This is a fair and reasonable approach to address the issue at this time,” said Rep. Wesco. “I appreciate the apparent willingness of the city to consider addressing the concerns of the affected users and will continue to monitor the situation, and if need be, bring legislation next session to address the issue.”
Multiple approaches were discussed by the legislature, including completely striking down the city’s ordinance establishing the “compact fee” arrangement. However, after weighing the concerns of the city and others, Rep. Wesco proposed the amendment that simply offers a clear path of redress for users.
To read the complete amendment, visit http://bit.ly/10Q5Q5X.