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Lake Saint Louis lateral sewer insurance question to appear on April 7 ballot

Help may be on the way for Lake Saint Louis residents faced with the cost of a broken sewer line.

But that help will require voter approval of the city imposing an annual fee to pay for a lateral sewer service line repair program. At their Nov. 17 meeting, the city’s Board of Aldermen approved putting that question on the April 7 ballot next year.

Voters rejected a similar sewer insurance program in April 2012, casting 922 votes or 55.5 percent against and 791 in favor. However, city voters approved a separate proposal on the same ballot requiring them to pay a $12 annual fee to create an insurance plan to cover water lines.

Despite the 2012 defeat, the board has continued to discuss a program that would help homeowners ease the financial burden of making repairs. In July, the board again discussed placing a sewer repair proposal back on the ballot.

The program would help homeowners pay for repairs, of up to $7,500 per household, to lateral lines connecting their homes to a main sewer line.

The board-approved proposition asks voters to decide if a maximum fee of $28 should be assessed annually on residential property for each lateral sewer line serving six or less dwelling units or condominiums that have six dwelling units per building.

City Administrator Paul Markworth said the initial discussion is for a sewer improvement program financed through the $28 annual fee, which would be added to real estate taxes. Markworth said the city would expect to have 12 to 14 claims per year involving sewer laterals, with an average repair cost of about $3,500.

Municipal water and sewer line insurance fees have come into vogue after the Missouri Legislature in 2011 gave cities authority to seek voter approval of them.

Locally, Lake Saint Louis and St. Peters voters approved paying fees to create insurance plans to cover water line repairs. Sewer insurance programs have been approved in St. Charles and St. Peters.

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