The City Council met in special session on March 8, 2010 at 7:00 P.M. in the Council Chambers of City Hall.
Mayor Walker presided:
Councilmember by phone:
City employees present were Public Works Director Gortsema, Attorney Green and Clerk Kennedy.
SWEAR IN POLICE CHIEF: Clerk Kennedy proceeded to swear in Glenn Quantz as the City Police Chief.
AREA OF IMPACT: Mayor Walker explained that the County feels the Area of Impact ordinance is not severable and that it is unconstitutional. The City received a revised ordinance from the County to review and comment upon.
Councilman Lorentz stated that the draft ordinance from the County has water, sewer and zoning language that also states how much the City can charge in the Area of Impact, which he doesn’t like. Part of the problem is having regulations in the City and then trying to apply the regulations to an area outside the City that has no regulations. He felt the comprehensive plan and zoning requirements should be extended into the Area of Impact to keep it simple to protect property. The City’s water and sewer ordinances already protect the City. The County commissioners should not have a say on the amount that needs to be charged for water and sewer and water and sewer should not be included in the ordinance.
Mayor Walker agreed in concept, but had additional items to include. He would like to have wellhead protection, protection of future extended thorough ways and an automatic extension of the area of impact upon annexation.
Public Works Director Gortsema agreed that wellhead protection should be in the ordinance and that building codes should be removed. Continuation of the comprehensive plan and zoning regulations are very important.
Councilman Lester agreed with Councilman Lorentz, but hoped people building a structure would ask for water and sewer prior to building their house so the building could be annexed.
Councilwoman DeHaas felt it would be wonderful to have language that included expansion of the Area of Impact upon annexation but she doesn’t think the County would be in favor.
Mayor Walker stated that the Council agreed to retain the comprehensive plan, subdivision, zoning structure, wellhead protection, deep well provisions and the cross connection policy. The City will give up water, sewer, building permits, connections and applications and have them removed from the draft ordinance. The Council will still give the County the authority to appoint an area of impact representative.
The above ideas will be presented to the County in hopes that Kirk MacGregor can draw up a new ordinance with the changes for the City to review.
WWTP VARIANCE PROCESS: Mayor Walker gave an update on the conference call concerning the variance at the plant and the comments made by EPA. During the meeting, EPA stated that the process was started in September, now it’s March and EPA is just now hearing about it. What was the City thinking? EPA stated that there was no way to get the permit when the City would need it. What is the City’s Plan B? The City thought it was on the right track; however now is looking at having no permit with violations starting in July.
Public Works Director Gortsema felt that EPA doesn’t want to give the City a variance. He felt EPA would work with the City on the variance but would make life miserable so the City would give up and use a different option. The City will be in violation of the permit starting July 1. The City is working toward a Plan B that would keep the City from being penalized. The City is trying to lease a filter unit to take care of the plant’s needs so the City is not in violation. Even if the variance would be approved, the City would still be out of compliance. The variance would keep the City from being penalized, but the City would still violate the permit until a new one is issued. A gentleman in the permits section of EPA told those present that the new permit won’t be considered until after 2012 and will most likely include a temperature requirement. Once the new permit is issued, the City will have a 4 to 4.5 year compliance schedule unless the City requests a different schedule. This puts the City at 8 to 10 years before the City needs to consider temperature. Gortsema feels the City needs to proceed with phosphorus only at this time. Pulling out of stream is more expensive and is not supported by DEQ, so funding may be limited. The City could be subject to $16,000 a day in fines for violations.
The meeting adjourned at 9:14 P.M.
Bruce Walker – Mayor
Tonya Kennedy – City Clerk