Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

City Will Install Water Lines If Residents Agree to Pay for Them

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

City Will Install Water Lines If Residents Agree to Pay for Them

Article excerpt

O'Fallon Mayor Paul Renaud and several aldermen say the city is willing to install water lines in the subdivision of Whispering Hills if two-thirds of the residents sign a petition saying they are willing to pay for it.

The announcement at a public hearing Tuesday night at the Westhoff Meeting Hall did nothing to mollify disgruntled Whispering Hills residents, who said they thought the mayor and board had agreed more than a year ago to provide city water to the subdivision.

In April 1996, residents of the subdivision approved two propositions. One annexed the subdivision to O'Fallon; the other set up a neighborhood improvement district providing a financing mechanism to pay for installing city sewers in the subdivision, which had failing septic tanks. Whispering Hills is about one-quarter mile east of Highway K and south of Mexico Road and has about 70 houses. At the hearing, the mayor noted the sewer-only provision of the election. But Kevin E. Schramm, who lives on Summer Drive, said he had u nderstood all along that the project included both water and sewer for an estimated $7,600. According to the most recent estimate, each property owner would pay $6,600 for sewers and, if the two-thirds agree, $4,000 for water. Schramm said, "The combination is way in excess of when I voted to come into this city." Renaud read minutes from a Jan. 25, 1996, neighborhood improvement district meeting to prove his point that the vote concerned sewer lines only. It says, "Estimated average cost per household for sewers (is) $4,500 to $6,500. . . . This price does not include city water access." But then he read from March 4, 1996, minutes which say, "The city of O'Fallon will issue bonds to finance the sewer/water installation. . . ." Renaud also had a letter from the city's engineering department dated Dec. 17, 1996, eight months after the election. It starts: "Dear Property Owner, As you may be aware the city of O'Fallon has been working on the proposed project to bring sanitary sewer mains and water mains to the residents of the Whispering Hills subdivision." Renaud admitted that Whispering Hills residents were justifiably confused. …

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