Council Votes to Address Sewer Issues, Anticipates Relatively Flat 2017 Property Tax Rate

Many residents who experience basement backups and overflow problems, long a problem for some in the community due to the condition of local sanitary sewer system, will receive some much-needed relief from the problem in the coming months and years.

The Decatur City Council on Monday approved a multi-year sanitary sewer rate increase to assist in covering the cost of an estimated $70 million in known problems and deferred maintenance to fix the critical sanitary sewer related issues facing the community today. Part of the work has been mandated to be done by the U.S. Environmental Protection agency by December 31, 2018 with the balance of the work known to be needed both to address identified issues and avoid further federal regulation.

The approved increases are for the sanitary sewer rate portion of local utility bills and amount to 15 cents in 2017 and 2018, 9 cents in 2019-2021 and 2.5% in 2022 and 2023 for every 100 cubic feet of water usage. The average water customer currently pays about $6.58 cents per month in sanitary sewer usage charges.

As part of the work plan the city will:

  • Increase sewer cleaning and de-rooting
  • Increase Sewer Engineering
  • Reduce Basement Backups
  • Eliminate Inflow Connections
  • Provide Flow Monitoring to determine system capacity

Council members on Monday also approved the city’s property tax levy for the next year at a level expected to result in a tax rate that is about the same as this year, pending community assessment. Contact Billy Tyus at 217-424-2727 for more information.