Elkton Town Meeting, Aug. 18, 2010 — The town board’s work on getting more revenue for the utility fund is finally over this fiscal year. It started last winter, and in the heat of an August evening the first of four recommended hikes is ready to go into force. The pricing points were projected on a wall so everyone could see the changes, unlike the way the board approved the ordinance’s introduction in 50 seconds without comment on August 4. The unanimous vote okays an increase of 30% for water and 10% for sewer. Elected officials will deal with allocating the rest of the hikes that are required in upcoming years. Look for another round of rate setting exchanges that allocate hikes of 20% for water and 19% for sewer, which are need over 3 years.
The board’s procedural practices came up when the public was able to comment at the close of proceedings. “I don’t understand how you adopt water and sewer rates without holding a public hearing. That was mandatory in the 20 years I was in office and the charter was written that way” Jim Crouse remarked. “Actually I’m waiting for an attorney general’s review on this.” In seeking some explanation he politely repeated his question. After moments of awkward silence Mayor Fisona said “Lewis.” As Jim turned from the elected officials to look at the professional staff, he remarked “I guess I have to address him.” The town administrator responded, “The ordinance was adopted in accordance with the charter.” That went back and forth few a few minutes, without any conclusion excet that the town didn’t hold a public hearing.
“Okay, Okay. it’s a question we’ll get an answer to,” the former five term mayor said as he turned back to the elected officials and made a plea for them to just listen to people. “If people could just ask questions, even if it’s done informally, and have an opportunity they could feel like they had some input before it’s voted on. It would make a healthier environment for all.”