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O’Fallon discusses water line repair proposition

Bill No. 7268, sponsored by Mayor Bill Hennessy, was given a first reading at the O’Fallon City Council meeting on Dec. 10. The bill authorizes the placement of a proposition authorizing a fee for the repair or replacement of water lines extending from the water main to a residential dwelling due to failure of the line for voter approval at the next General Municipal Election to be held on April 6, 2021.

If normal procedure is followed, the second reading and vote for passage to place the proposition on the ballot will take place at the council meeting on Jan. 14, 2021.

The water service line provides potable water to residences in O’Fallon.  These service lines often fail due to poor installation methods or degradation of the pipe material over time. 

The city code provides that the water provider covers cost of service line repairs between the water main and the curb stop or exterior meter.  The property owner is responsible from the curb stop or exterior meter to within the house.  The cost to repair service lines can be expensive, and the process can be cumbersome from a residential perspective.

The proposed new program would provide assistance for the repair of a break on the resident’s side of the water service line.

Missouri State Statute 67.319 provides that, “If approved by a majority of the voters voting on the proposal, any city, town, village, sewer district, or water supply district located within this state may, by ordinance, levy and impose annually upon water service lines providing water service to residential property having four or fewer dwelling units within the jurisdiction of such city, town, village, sewer district, or water supply district a fee not to exceed one dollar per month or twelve dollars annually.”

This fee, if approved by voters in April, would allow the city to set up and operate a water service line insurance/repair program much like the current Sewer Lateral Insurance Program.

The new program would cover residential properties within the O’Fallon city limits that have paid the year’s assessed fee and taxes for the particular property. The program will be managed by the Water & Sewer Division.  Proposed ballot language for the proposition has been prepared by the city attorney.

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