At Tuesday's meeting, the City Commission made the right decision. They have chosen to back away from a sewer fee structure few seemed to like.
Make no mistake, there will be a fee. That is unavoidable, and the responsible thing for the city to do as it must make upgrades to the waste water treatment plant. Not addressing federal mandates could result in fines of up to $10,000, per day, to the city.
This week the commission shelved a flat fee structure of $17.75 per month for residential customers and $51.44 for commercial customers. The commission will meet in a 5:30 p.m. Sept. 30 work session to re-evaluate the new sewer utility fee.
More needs to happen than another meeting.
For starters, the general public needs to be involved. An open house, or two, of the current plant would be a start — though we won't hold our breath that people would make use of such an opportunity. The two budget fairs at the Newton Recreation Commission indicate it is likely few, if any, residents would show up to an open house to learn about the current facility.
Those that come can also offer the city some ideas on how to structure the fees needed for the upgrades — should it be by square foot of a household or business as suggested by one resident, based on water use like current sewer charges or some other means of calculation?
Doing nothing is not an option, which also means paying the bill is not an option.
— Kansan editorial board.