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Letter: Cemetery raises questions about fee for wastewater

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Note: The statements, views, and opinions contained in this letter to the editor are those of the author and are not endorsed by, nor do they necessarily reflect, the opinions of Daily Journal.

To the editor:

I am a member of the board of directors for a nonprofit organization located at Main Street and U.S. 31 called the Greenwood Cemetery.

During our annual meeting we were informed of a recent bill that was sent to the cemetery by the City of Greenwood stormwater utility department. The city passed ordinance 12-11 on April 2, 2012, creating this new department. The department goes throughout Greenwood determining the amount of square footage that is impervious to water and then converts that to a ERU (equivalent residential unit) and charges $5 per month per ERU.

That all sounds really benign, and it’s all aimed at keeping the environment clean, which is good. However, this is a tax. Were it a fee, then there would be a service associated with the fee. The Greenwood Cemetery does not have a storm sewer nor any future plans to add one.

Yet the cemetery (nonprofit organization) is being billed $245 per month ($735 per quarter). If a nonprofit is having to pay this sort of fee (tax), then I’d like to know how much our public schools are being billed for this sort of thing. The City of Greenwood Web page for stormwater utility shows several projects that are being proposed for which these fees (taxes) are being collected. Who votes on these projects? Why was this fee (tax) put in place without a clear trail of our elected officials who voted for it?

From the FAQ section on the city Web page it states that this department was formed under this basis: “State and federal statutes, including the Clean Water Act, mandate stormwater management.” I’d be interested in how this city ordinance (12-11) came to be proposed. By whom? Why? Who voted for it?

Andy Copeland


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