Residents continue to object to NE sewer project
One way or another, the sewage problems in a northeast Austin neighborhood will have to be dealt with, and residents who live in the area are probably going to have to foot the bill.
That's the conclusion Austin City Council members came to on Monday night during a special work session devoted to the $3.25 million sanitary sewer project proposed for the area around River Oaks Golf Course.
The council weighed options but did not make a decision on the direction of the project. That decision is reserved for the July 6 council meeting, when the assessment hearing takes place. Council members asked Angie Knish, environmental services director for Mower County, to send a letter about septic systems to the residents in the area.
Much of the work session was spent on council members' questions and city public works director Jon Erichson's answers.
"I don't think I've had as many meetings as this one," he said at the beginning of the evening.
The assessment hearing, which the council continued until July 6, attracted a standing-room only crowd on June 21. At least 40 objections were received from landowners concerned with the cost and how properties were assessed. Some landowners will have to pay $15,590, while others would pay more than $17,000.
"I think there's consensus on the need. It comes down to the assessments," Erichson said.
Erichson said he's received more objections since then. He said 61 written objections came to his office before Monday and he received more this week.
Council members continue with the project, to drop it completely or modify the scope of the project on the east and west sides.
Landowners have mentioned fighting the assessments in court.
Knish said the problems with septic systems would become the county's responsibility and could be declared a public health threat if it became worse. The cost of a clean-up would be assessed back to the landowners.
Council members said the costs to property owners creates a myriad of problems, but they were stumped in how to address the problem otherwise.
"We're not here to do what's easiest. We're here to do what's best," said Mayor Tom Stiehm.