by Kristin Casale
Munroe Falls -- City Council passed two ordinances June 19 related to privately-owned fire hydrants in an attempt to assist their owners.
The legislation requires private hydrants to be flushed through a city-coordinated program.
Fire Chief James Bowery said the city is unable to flush privately-owned fire hydrants to make sure they are in working order, but the legislation allows the city to coordinate a program to perform the procedure with city-hired contractors.
He estimated there are 32 private hydrants in the city, and said they are typically located in condominium developments and on nursing home and school properties.
The city requires private hydrant owners to flush their hydrants annually, said Bowery. Before Council passed the flushing ordinance, hydrant owners were responsible for having the flushing performed, he said.
Bowery said hydrant owners typically pay contractors between $67 and $300 to have the procedure done.
Munroe Falls previously did not have the authority to set a schedule for when that flushing occurs, but now all hydrants in the city must be flushed annually by Oct. 15.
According to the legislation, the city will charge hydrant owners $100 for the flushing procedure.
If hydrants require any repairs, the hydrant owner will pay for the cost of any needed repairs, plus 40 percent of the cost of all required parts. Hydrant owners also will be billed for labor at a cost of $40 per hour.
Council President Mike O'Donnell said he supports the program.
"We can time [the inspections] and unify the [inspection] fees," he said.
Hydrant fee for development repealed
Silver Valley Condominiums residents no longer have to pay private water main fees following the June 19 City Council meeting.
Council unanimously approved an ordinance repealing legislation requiring Silver Valley Condominiums residents to pay private water main fees.
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 water mains connecting city hydrants to their residences. Each unit owner paid 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 paying the fee. The water mains are owned by the condominiums, he said, but other neighborhoods in the city owning water mains are not required to pay.
"Nobody ever got charged except Silver Valley," said Pitz. "I don't really care whether we have to pay it or not, but it should be the same for everyone."
Mayor Frank Larson said the city opted to repeal the legislation because it would be unfair to charge other developments that previously were not required to pay the fee.
"The easiest and fairest thing to do is [repeal the legislation] and move on," he said.