Residents pay for services

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Each month, thousands of Ironton households shell out hard-earned money to pay their water bill — a bill that includes far more than water use with a sewer and stormwater fee.

The price tag can be high for many city residents, pushing their water bills beyond $100 a month or more.

Most residents pay this month after month with maybe just a little bit of grumbling. But this comes with the expectation that these services will be provided effectively and affordably.

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What isn’t expected is to come home and find sewage, yard debris and other waste floating in your house because of an infrastructure problem within the city. And to have it happen twice within a one-month period is unacceptable.

But that it is exactly what many south Ironton residents are facing after a spring and summer of unseasonably heavy rains and a malfunction somewhere within the city’s combined sewer overflow system.

Some residents have spent thousands of dollars making repairs to their homes that occurred through no fault of their own. Some were fortunate enough to have insurance policies that covered the repairs. Others did not.

The city of Ironton has a responsibility to make these individuals whole on their financial losses by implementing a claim system that can be handled by the municipality’s insurance and also to quickly correct the problem.

It is no secret that Ironton’s sewer system has long needed massive overhauls. For far too long, a lack of funds and a lack of initiative have allowed this problem to go be basically ignored.

In recent years, some progress has been made and, with an injection of $5 million in federal stimulus money on the way, we expect more to be made in the near future.

But that doesn’t help those who have already been damaged.

The city has an obligation to work quickly to make this right and also make sure it never happens again.