Board approves changes to sewer lateral program

Changes to Crestwood’s sewer lateral re-pair policy recently were approved by the Board of Aldermen.

The board voted unanimously earlier this month to approve the policy changes, which were recommended by city staff to sustain the sewer lateral repair program in the long term.

Under the revised policy, the repair contractor is responsible solely for fixing the defective lateral and backfilling the site.

Property owners now are responsible for final grading and restoring vegetation or landscaping.

In addition, before performing a cabling and camera investigation of a sewer line, the property owner must show evidence of infiltration, a complete blockage or three cablings within the most recent 12-month period. The policy previously required two cablings within the most recent 12-month period.

The changes took effect for lateral repair applications submitted Oct. 11.

Crestwood voters in August 1998 approved a $28 annual assessment in connection with residential real estate property for a sewer lateral repair program, which began the following year. The cost to repair defective lateral lines are recorded in the Sewer Lateral Fund, the sole revenues of which are fees and investment earnings.

The city’s sewer lateral policy requires the fund to have a cash balance between $172,953 and $518,858.

Public Works Director Dzenana Mruckovski reported in July the Sewer Lateral Fund’s expenditures, budgeted at $150,000 for 2010, had increased to $210,000, and aldermen subsequently approved an ordinance decreasing the fund’s cash balance by $60,000 to offset the increase.

But the move meant the fund’s cash balance on April 1, 2011, would be below the required minimum, and Mruckovski began crafting policy modifications to decrease annual expenses.

The public works board last month unanimously approved the policy changes.

Mruckovski said the revised policy would save the Sewer Lateral Fund $37,000 to $51,000 annually.