Council opts not to delay adopted fee

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Ironton businesses will not be getting a month-long delay before stormwater fees take effect - or at least not an official one.

Ironton City Council debated at Thursday night's meeting an ordinance sponsored by Councilman Bob Isaac that would delay the fee from being implemented until July 7.

Under the stormwater fee, residential property owners will pay $14.55 a month and businesses will be assessed $14.55 for every 3,000 feet of runoff surfaces the property includes in order to pay for the study of and changes to the Ironton stormwater and sewer systems.

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Isaac said he hoped by delaying the fee for another month, it would allow the city to try to find some other avenue to fund the changes, avoiding what he described as a "deathblow to the city."

Council Chairman Jim Tordiff seemed skeptical that there was any way to truly avoid the fees.

"When we say 'delay' we're hoping for some kind of magical funding that's going to allow this, but that doesn't appear to me like it's going to happen," Tordiff said.

City engineer Phil Biggs said he feared further official delays, such as the proposed ordinanc,e would put Ironton in worse standing with the EPA.

"If we fail to do those things to show honest-to-goodness, serious intent in trying to bring ourselves up to some level of compliance, I don't think we have anything to put on that balance that says 'Ironton is doing what they need to do, and we don't need to fine them,'" Biggs said.

Biggs said that it would be at least mid-July before his office would be able to begin the billing process for the stormwater fee, making the official delay unnecessary.

It was Councilman Brent Pyles' plea that brought the hour of discussion of the delay to a close.

"We'd be monkeying with something that's already bad, probably the worst thing that Ironton's ever faced, and we'd be making it worse," Pyles said.

The ordinance failed to gain approval with councilmen Pyles, Jesse Roberts, Richard Price, Bill Nenni and chairman Tordiff voting against it and councilmen Isaac and Chuck O'Leary voting in favor of the ordinance.

Also during the meeting, the council accepted and put into the minutes Councilman Roberts' letter of resignation from the Finance Committee, which had been tendered May 27.

Mayor John Elam reported that more than $10,000 was raised for the Friends of Ironton during the Gus Macker Basketball Tournament.

Don Jacobs, manager of the Ashland Regional Airport, informed the council about some of the updates to the facility and some of the Lawrence County businesses that regularly using it.

Several councilmen requested that he repeat his briefing for the Ironton Port Authority.