B.E. Council considers sewer policy
BLUE EARTH– The Blue Earth City Council reviewed its one-time sewer forgiveness policy at a meeting held on Monday. The discussion was timed well, as three sewer forgiveness requests had been added to the council’s agenda that evening.
Blue Earth has allowed residents a one-time credit to the sewer portion of their Blue Earth Light & Water (BELW) bill for roughly a decade. Residents typically use the program following an unprecedented spike in their sewer bill due to plumbing malfunctions.
“According to records, the sewer forgiveness has been utilized 28 times since 2012, costing a total of $11,079.60,” city administrator Mary Kennedy reported. “Although the credits have varied dramatically, the average credit is $395.70, with the lowest being $12.21 and the highest being $2,198.80.”
Residents’ one-time credits are calculated based on their average monthly sewer usage.
Kennedy inquired whether the council was interested in setting minimum and maximum dollar amounts for the program. She also presented a draft of a sewer forgiveness request application, suggesting that an official form would cut down on the amount of paperwork city staff needs to process to grant sewer forgiveness credits.
Kennedy added that, to the best of her knowledge, the council has never officially approved the sewer forgiveness program, nor does the program have a formal written policy.
“If you want to keep it open-ended, that’s fine, but it makes things a little difficult on our end,” she concluded.
The council directed Kennedy to consult other cities’ sewer forgiveness program policies and bring her research to a future meeting for the council’s consideration.
The council also granted several one-time sewer forgiveness requests on Sept. 18. The owner of 709 S Galbraith Street was credited $120.70 to their account, the owner of 324 S Ramsey Street was credited $499.73, and the owner of 515 E 21st Street was credited $530.79.
In other business, the Blue Earth City Council:
— Approved Ordinance 23-05 conveying two vacant city-owned lots to the Housing and Redevelopment Authority for $1.
— Accepted an engagement letter from CarlsonSV to perform the city’s 2023 audit.
— Approved a South Central Drug Investigation Unit Joint Powers Agreement. The Drug Investigation Unit is responsible for investigating narcotic-related and violent crimes in the area.
— Deferred property tax assessments in the amount of $9,646.57 for the owner of the property at 310 E Fourth Street. The owner is a senior citizen who works part-time due to a disability.
— Agreed to take no action regarding Open Door Health Center’s request to hold an event in Blue Earth on Oct. 11, as the request did not state where the event would be held.