The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa


July 11, 2014

City must find a way to fund sewer work

Breaking news this week — EPA mandates are forcing the city of Clinton to evaluate how to fund future sewer improvements.

OK, maybe this topic is reviewed each year, but if you checked out Facebook on Tuesday in anticipation of the Clinton City Council meeting, an observer may have gleaned that the EPA handed down these mandates this week. That, of course, isn’t even close to the truth, and I can’t blame the city for not making this issue more prevalent.

They’ve harped about the impending doom of these EPA mandates for as long as I’ve been a Clinton resident (which is six years and counting), and from what I have heard and read from the past, the writing has been on the wall for longer than just my tenure as a citizen.

So, we’ve been down this road, and as was already discussed one year ago at a work session, the council this week looked at the viability of a stormwater utility.

The council this week struck down an attempt at initiating a stormwater utility. Many of the people who ran for office in 2013 campaigned for no new taxes, so it was unlikely this would have passed anyway.

This decision leaves us where we started at the beginning of the year — what do we do with the sewers?

To think the council will vote for increased fees is a long shot. I know city officials’ job is to make the city solvent, but citizens have become much more vocal in rallying against increased taxes. I’ve written many times before about our not-so-dubious honor of having the highest sewer rates in the state, and to ask citizens to shoulder the burden of more taxes, is too much to ask at this point.

Just take a look at the recent election in November, when more than 60 percent of citizens voted against two measures that would have increased taxes to assist in paying for future sewer work.

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With the Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission and the Clinton County Board of Supervisors discussing proposals to construct a new jail, do you think the time has come for Clinton County to construct such a facility?

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