Riverton to abandon Sewer Line Protection Plan in favor of new program; One Cent Tax Citizens Committee approved

Riverton Resident Mike McDonald appeared before the council to suggest a speed control device such as a speed bump be placed on the new extension of North Broadway to slow traffic in the area of Teter Park. (Ernie Over photo)

By Ernie Over, managing editor, county10.com

(Riverton, Wyo.) – The Riverton City Council Tuesday night voted to phase out its Sewer Lateral Protection Plan (SLPP) because the program was going deeper into debt and did not generate enough revenue to be a viable program. The council also acted at the same time to replace the program with one offered by the National League of Cities called a Service Line Warranty Program.

While acknowledging that the SLPP had been popular with city residents, with 1,223 homes currently served, City Administrator Steven Weaver noted that the city was accepting more liability than it should and that the program for last four years had gone into the red without the possibility of it ever breaking even again. The program was first adopted in 2007 and allowed the city to collect funds from residents to pay for sewer line lateral replacements and clean up inside a residence from a backed up sewer line.

The new program provides up to $4,000 per occurrence, but does not provide any clean-up inside a residence because homeowners insurance would cover that, Weaver said. He also noted the program also covers basic restoration for landscaping. The individual fee for the program would increase per residence from the present $3.36 per month to an average of about $6 per month.

Noting that the city had lost $84,361 since the inception of the SLPP, and that the city was already in the red for over $30,000 this year, the council unanimously voted to abandon the current program and adopt the alternate one. The new Service Line Warranty Program will be promoted in advance so homeowners understand the new costs and liabilities before it is implemented in 2013.

One Cent Tax Update

In one other action, the council fulfilled a promise it had made when promoting the For Our Roads one cent optional sales tax proposal that received voter approval in the November general election. Approved was a resolution adopting a One Percent Committee of city residents to give advice and counsel to prioritize projects to be funded by the tax revenues, plus financial guidance to show where the funds are being used.

City Councilor Richard Gard said was concerned about establishing another committee, “because if we do a poor job of this, it will go away in four years.” Gard said he thought the first four years of the project should be managed by the city staff to utilize their professional expertise.

Mayor Ron Warpness, however, said the issue was promoted that citizens would have input in the decision making process. “The citizens voted and passed it and they are expecting to have a seat at this table and I don’t want to upset that at this point,” he said.

Public works director Bill Urbigkit said because the funds would not be available until next July, the citizens committee could establish criteria for what kind of “fast and easy” projects could be done with only half of a construction season, while city staff could work on more extensive projects that could begin the following spring. All of the projects would be run through the citizens committee.

Gard said he did not disagree with that and that he expressed his opinion that “I don’t want it go get mired down and nothing gets fixed.”

 

5 Comments

  1. I am glad to see that that the new tax is going to fix critical infrastructure projects. Doesn't it shock anyone that they now have to find ways to spend the money, when they sold this to us as an answer to real pressing infrastructural issues?

  2. Kyle Lehto

    Apparently you missed this County 10 article: http://county10.com/2012/10/10/fix-our-roads-riverton-work-session-narrowed-list-of-streets-most-in-need-of-work-tuesday-night/ from October 10th. There were 21 streets in Riverton that were found to be in need of repair that were discussed at that meeting. The article also lists 6 streets that could be likely candidates for immediate repair from funds generated by the Optional 1%. The citizens committee mentioned in the article above will help prioritize which of these roads get built first. I would encourage you to join the One Percent Committee mentioned in this article, as it seems you apparently continue to have doubts about the need for infrastructure improvements in our community.

  3. I have a continued doubt in putting a county-wide tax into effect to benefit two municipalities, when there is state funding available.
    I have no intent to be part of this, nor do I think I would be allowed to as I don't have some connection to the Construction industry or local government.

  4. Shannon Kaminsky

    HEY Riverton High School guy with the fake name. You seem to post negative comments on almost every One-Percent article that gets posted. OBVIOUSLY, you are very passionate about this (even if it’s all negative). If you really cared about oversight on this issue then WHY on earth are you not jumping at the chance to be involved with a Citizen’s Committee. How about taking part in the solution and making a difference instead of hiding behind an anonymous Facebook pseudonym posting negative comments every chance you get? In case you weren’t aware, a citizen’s committee is JUST THAT; for CITIZEN’s. It’s for anyone in Fremont County to STEP-UP and make a difference in your community. How about you stop your nonsense already and make a difference instead of sitting around hiding behind your computer and complaining. Life’s too short for that!!

  5. Christine Stewartlovell

    you tell him!!!

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