Tuesday, March 27, 2007
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City briefs

City officials weigh polar opposites: preparing for new growth and aging sewers          Send a link to a friend

[March 27, 2007] 

Business expansion chores to be addressed

City officials will meet in committee at 6:45 Tuesday evening (March 27), prior to the city council workshop, to discuss liquor licenses. Availability of liquor licenses has almost maxed out, while businesses in the city are increasing. A request has been made from a business coming into the city, Beck Oil, to sell packaged liquors, but no licenses are available under the current ordinance.

Following the liquor discussion there will be a public hearing at 7 p.m. on the annexation into city limits and an annexation agreement request from Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital. The hospital has taken an option on undeveloped property southwest of the Logan County Fairgrounds. They are requesting infrastructure development that includes a three-way intersection with Lincoln Parkway and signal lights.


The subject of sewers is an oft-repeated topic. The responsibility for the sewer line from the building or home to the city line is on the property owner.

A resident came to the council recently to address a not-uncommon problem that occurred in his neighborhood, near the hospital. David Wilmert said that his neighbor, Diane Brown, had sewage in her basement. The sewer lines in this area, and most of the older neighborhoods in the city, do not go directly to the city line. They are first connected together between the sidewalk and street, and then connected to the city lines. There may be two or more houses per segment.

Lyle Benedict of Benedict's Mr. Economy was consulted. This particular problem involved getting a longer piece of equipment than was available anywhere in Logan County.

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Wilmert said that they contacted the city to see if they would have the equipment that was needed. The residents were willing to pay for the work and to sign a waiver if damage occurred. But they were told that the city is no longer doing any work with waivers.

Wilmert and Benedict appreciated the advice and information offered by the city's sewer system manager, Dave Kitzmiller, and city engineer Mark Mathon. Wilmert said that they hired a company from Decatur and then did the neighborly thing; the neighborhood went together, each contributing a portion toward the total cost.

Wilmert emphasized that he did not like having to send big dollars out of the county when that money could have been kept here. He reminded the council that they say they want dollars to stay here also. This was his purpose in discussing the matter with the council. He asked the city to reconsider their policy on waivers or find another means of handling this type of situation. "We can do what's legally expedient, or we can do what's right," he said.

The multiple connections on the city right of way may pose a grey area in what is private and what is public. There was one instance that Benedict recalled when the sewer problem ran the whole block and cost the property owner $20,000.

"If it's a city problem, it should go to the city," Benedict said. He suggested that if it can be shown that two or more houses are on a line running on city property, then it should be up to the city to take care of it.

[Jan Youngquist]

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