The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Local News

March 22, 2014

Leveraging sewer payments

(Continued)

Ideas for the bill began last year, but given the timing of the idea, Wolfe said she could not have forms ready to make the bill into a reality during that session. She proposed House File 2183 on the floor this year, and with bi-partisan support from Olson, she said the bill was well-received on the House floor.

“Normally this type of narrowly tailored bill isn’t going to move forward,” Wolfe said. “I have a good relationship with many Republican House members, and I think that helped move it along. This really was bi-partisan cooperation of both members of the House.”

The law allows cities to leverage a contract agreement with the private utilities for collecting delinquent wastewater, sewer, stormwater drainage or sewer treatment bills.

After that approval, it went into State Sen. Rita Hart’s hands in the senate. That branch proposed an amendment and is slated to approve the bill next week. After it goes back to the house for approval, it will go to Gov. Terry Branstad’s desk for him to sign into law.

If the process moves quickly, Clinton could begin enforcing the law by July 1 this year. However, there are going to be a few holdups, Wolfe said.

“We have to make sure the rules we already have in effect aren’t conflicted,” she said. “So it’s going to take some time to draft a properly worded agreement.

“These other cities that work with Iowa-American Water will have to open discussions for their contractual agreements.”

The city, she added, plans to establish a task force made up of city leaders and private citizens. Those people would dictate what Clinton’s contract with Iowa-American Water should say.

Wolfe expects a contract to be finalized this fall. Narrow scope aside, the law will have a vast impact for Clinton residents.

“It’s nice that we got this done,” Wolfe said.

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