Beaver Dam Common Council approves water and sewer changes

December 18, 2018

The Beaver Dam Common Council approved changes Monday night that would require property owners to replace water and sewer lateral lines at their expense if found to be necessary.

No one from the public spoke to the council at the meeting about the ordinance changes. The council voted unanimously in favor without much discussion.

Lead and zinc-dipped, or galvanized, water lateral lines would not be allowed and property owners would have to replace them at their expense to address water quality and standards as well as reduce deposits that can build up in pipes, hurting their effectiveness.

With sewer lines, property owners would have to replace their sewer laterals if the city finds they are leaky and defective. The idea is to reduce water that seeps into sewer systems and causes the systems to become less efficient and overflow.

There would be no financial assistance from the city for any required repairs. An owner could find their own contractor or use a city contractor and receive a bill, either in full or in annual installments with interest. Property owners would receive information about grants available to help them pay for the cost, such as government programs that provide funds to low-income owners for property maintenance.

Cities commonly require owners to pay for their own repairs, or are moving in that direction. The city of Mayville stands out as one that repealed that requirement for property owners after years of controversy, and officials have tried to get a credit for owners who already paid.

The Beaver Dam council had a first reading on raising sewer rates on users. The overall 35 percent rate change, recommended by the operations committee earlier in the month, means to address lower-than-expected revenue from industrial users, build up cash flow and help stave off borrowing as infrastructure ages and projects continue.

The average residential customer would see about a $20 increase every quarter. A 35 percent overall increase on customers would bring in about $1 million a year in revenue.

The council will vote on the sewer rate changes at a later meeting.

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