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Residents push back on Boone County sewer costs

Two residents north of Columbia are disputing the cost required of them to both build and connect a sewer line.

Andy Faup and Kathy Roberts brought their concerns to the Boone County Regional Sewer District Tuesday night at its Board of Directors meeting in Columbia. The five-person group voted to table the payment issue until next month, to allow staff to “digest” the information the two brought, and their pleas for help.

The board was set to reaffirm a “regulation” put out by the BCRSD requiring them to pay $10,655 each to build and connect their homes to a sewer main along East Hinton Road. This construction and “special connection fee” would reimburse part of the cost other homeowners incurred along that street over the last several years, according to sewer district head Tom Ratermann. This would bring the two in compliance with the county health department, which said Roberts’ septic tank and Faup’s lagoon violated.

Faup agreed his lagoon was out of compliance, but said the expense proposed was “outrageous.” Paying that $10,655 would make up more than 10 percent of his family’s yearly income, and Roberts feared that she would lose her home over the issue, since no banks would help finance the project for her.

“It’s a major amount of money,” Faup told ABC 17 News. “It’s life-changing for people.”

The payments for the sewer line constitute a series of landowners from 30 to 150 East Hinton Road passing along the cost to one another. The owner of 150 E. Hinton Rd., referred to as the “Staley” lot in records, built the line in 2013 for $24,850, compelled by the health department for violations of their wastewater system. The next two property owners to the east each paid $14,796 for their part of connecting to the sewer main, and recouping the Staley property for building. Faup and Roberts, in turn, would pay a $4,000 “special connection fee” that would refund their neighbors, and equate payments for all to around $10,000.

However, Faup said the original builders of the sewer line spent far more than necessary on the project in 2013. He asked Ratermann to review that project, and come back to them with an amount that cuts “unnecessary” parts of it. Roberts said she would be fine paying for the sewer lateral to connect to a main, but felt it unfair she would have to build a sewer main that was eventually turned over to the BCRSD.

Sewer board vice president David Shorr said he understood the financial hardship the project put on the two of them, but was unsure Tuesday if the board had any recourse to lower the cost. He made the motion to table the issue in order for Ratermann and the sewer district staff to take a look at its options.

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