by Kristin Casale
Munroe Falls -- Silver Valley Condominiums residents are the only ones in Munroe Falls paying private water main fees, but that may soon change.
City Council gave a first reading to an ordinance May 15 that would repeal the requirement. Legislation typically receives three readings before a vote is taken.
Councilmember Bob Pitz, a resident of the development, said the neighborhood's 111 condominiums have paid a total of $3,600 annually to the city to use the private water mains that connect the development to fire hydrants in the neighborhood. Each unit owner pays an estimated $32.43 in private main fees annually.
Munroe Falls Fire Chief James Bowery said the fee was created as an agreement between the developer and the city when the units were built 20 years ago.
But Pitz said he thinks the fee is unfair, because the neighborhood is the only one in the city that pays the fee. The water mains are owned by the condominiums, he said, but other neighborhoods in the city that own water mains are not required to pay.
"Nobody ever got charged except Silver Valley," he said. "I don't really care whether we have to pay it or not, but it should be the same for everyone."
Councilmember Dave Bertsch agreed, saying, "Either everybody pays it or nobody pays it."
Mayor Frank Larson said he does not support the fee.
"The fairest and easiest thing is to repeal that section [of the water department policy] and move on," he said.
The ordinance to repeal the fee will receive a second reading during Council's June 5 meeting at 7 p.m.