The men say that they and their
neighbors have been paying city taxes since the area was annexed
into city limits in 1973 but receive few benefits, such as sewer
access, as afforded to other city taxpayers. They contend that this
has driven their property values down.
Alderman Verl Prather pointed out that
city residents actually pay a separate fee for sewer services; those
areas that don't have city sewer hookup don't get charged.
Kevin Bateman and Mike Robbins have
lived in their homes for a number of years, and in all that time
they have had to deal with toilets that won't flush and drains that
won't go down anytime it rains substantially. With the last rain,
Bateman said, "I couldn't use the lower portion of my house. We had
company over and they had to leave."
When it rains the water all heads for
the lowest point in the neighborhood, which is a portion of
Bateman's back yard. A few lots up from there is the next lowest
point, in Robbins' yard.
According to the residents, the two
homes were annexed into the city after they were built, and the
owners have had to cope with the problems for many years. They have
been coming to the city in an attempt to find relief for years.
Complicating the situation is that the
portion of the road that contributes to the flooding is beyond the
city-owned portion of the road. Campus View is owned by the city up
to the curve. The houses sit at the end of the block beyond the
Past attempts to resolve the problem
have been thwarted each time when research has found flood control
for the area to be cost-prohibitive. Grant Eaton of Environmental
Management Corporation said that they have looked at the area
before. Redirecting water is always an expensive project, and in
this case it would involve tearing up an area of the street and
putting it back in and other large expenses.
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column in this article]
hundreds of thousands of dollars or less than $20,000
The residents are now offering a
low-cost resolution that would settle the matter for them. They are
suggesting that the city could take a less expensive means to solve
the complications related to the flooding.
The two men have consulted leading
septic system services in the area and have it in writing from both
D&D Sewer Services and Rankin's Backhoe and Septic Service that
moving the septic systems to a higher point in the yards along with
raising the depth of the leads will eliminate their septic problems.
Campus View Drive up to the curve,
which contributes to flooding those yards, belongs to the city.
However, City Attorney Bill Bates
pointed out that the city may not be able to participate in funding
the septic field changes. The city can not use public funds to
finance a private project.
Other concerns are: What if the septic
change doesn't eliminate the problem? What if the homes are sold?
The agreement would not be binding with future homeowners.
According to the owners, they feel they
cannot even sell their homes if they wanted to because of this
problem. They are making the request as a one-time only expense to
the city to resolve the problem. They will sign off ever asking the
city to do anything with their septic system in the future.
The city agrees that city-owned
property contributes to the flooding problem and would like to do
something to help the residents.
The matter will be discussed in the
near future after further research and consideration.