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Opinion

Organization asking for no vote on Norton sewer issue

11/14/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Letter to the Editor

To the editor:

Norton voters, Dec 10 is approaching. This is a second special election for a sewer amendment that immediately benefits 250 homes in the Nash Heights neighborhood of Norton. The [Environmental Protection Agency] has advised that the best solution for the sewer issues in that neighborhood is to install sanitary sewers. The installation will happen over the next two years as was agreed to at Norton City Council Nov 4.

Whether or not the sewers should be installed is not the issue on the ballot; this is about funding for the sewer assessments the residents have to pay. Here are the options for the fees: 1. Allow Norton to take over the sewer system and manage our charges at a granular level. This will utilize the grant money we have already been given and the city will be able to apply for additional monies to help offset the assessment costs to these 250 homes; or 2. Give Summit County free reign on installing the sewers and they will not look for or apply grant money, essentially charging the residents in that neighborhood full price. Note please that all sewer assessments may be added to property taxes over a 20-year span, whereas you cannot finance a septic system over 20 years. Various dollar amounts have been thrown around on these assessments. Having seen the actual assessment list for that neighborhood, all residents are scheduled to be charged $8,200 per buildable lot they own. You may be doing the math in your head and thinking that that is not a lot of money for the city to put out. However, if this is allowed for Nash Heights, any neighborhoods provided sewer in the future will also be covered in this amendment.

The Sewer Amendment was changed from the last go-round and is written so that these households would be responsible for paying a max of $5,000 on their assessment and the city will pick up the rest. As Norton is wholly supported by residents’ taxes, you have to ask where this money will come from. The answer is from every citizen in Norton, in every neighborhood in Norton. Yes, every taxpayer in Norton will pay for sewers in one neighborhood, whether it be by tax increases or the loss of city services like police, parks, snow plows, etc. This is not a scare tactic, just telling it like it is. I have been told by a supporter of the amendment that the cap on the assessments is to be viewed as a warning to watch our spending. I can think of better ways to watch spending than forking out the estimated $40,000 for the special election on Dec. 10.

Norton residents, please share this letter with your neighbors, friends and family, whether you share via email, Facebook or the old fashioned way, cutting this paper editorial out. Just say no to Issue No. 1 on Dec. 10, again!

Missie Sabo, treasurer, People of Progress, Norton

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