News and Tribune

Clark County

April 10, 2012

Council approves request to meet state requirements

Request made by Clark County judges denied

JEFFERSONVILLE — To avoid penalties from one unfunded mandate, the Clark County Council approved a request of nearly $50,000 Monday night. But the denial of another request could potentially lead to another mandate from the Clark County Courts.

The Clark County Council agreed to a request of $47,500 in order to stay in compliance with Indiana’s Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System, or MS-4, program. The request was made by the Clark County Commissioners, who approved a contract with Brian Dixon, an engineering consultant for Clark County, at a previous meeting.

Dixon explained that Clark County has not updated its stormwater program since 2003 and a recent investigation by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management prompted the need to bring the program up-to-date.

He said the county has not kept up-to-date on the MS-4 requirements because it was seeking a waiver to be removed from the state program. He explained the county was seeking the waiver because of area municipalities annexing most of what was classified as Clark County’s MS-4 system. Dixon added no word had come from the state on whether or not the waiver was accepted, until the recent investigation by IDEM.

“To do what IDEM is asking us to do, between now and the end of the year ... it’s going to run about $47,500 just to get the program up to snuff,” Dixon said.

But bringing the program into compliance will not be the end of the costs for the county.

Clark County Councilman Chuck Moore asked Dixon how much the program will cost moving forward. Dixon said he was uncertain what Clark County’s costs would be but offered that Floyd County pays between $500,000 and $600,000 annually for its MS-4 program.

“It’s going to be six figures,” he said.

Dixon said Floyd County pays for its program through a fee added to the property tax bills that does not affect the property tax caps. Although the county is likely to continue to pursue a waiver for the MS-4 program, if it does not meet the IDEM compliance requirements, it could face fines of up to $10,000 per violation, per day, Dixon said.

“I don’t see that we can’t approve this,” said County Council President Barbara Hollis.

The council approved the appropriation to pay for the contract, totaling $47,500, with Dixon out of the county’s Riverboat Fund.

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