O'Fallon Adds Appeals Process to Sewer Lateral Insurance Program

After four years of operation, the program only recently discovered the need for an appeals policy.

At last week's city council workshop, O'Fallon Public Works Director Steve Bender asked that the council consider enacting legislation to add an appeals process to the city's sewer lateral repair program.

The Sewer Lateral Insurance Program, started in August 2009, provides financial assistance for the repair of the sewer laterals that connect each residence to public sewers. The annual fee, which started at $6 and has now dropped to $5, is paid by residents with their property tax bills.

Bender said that after four years of operation, the program has not had an appeals process—in fact, it has not been needed until recently.

"Recently a situation came up where a resident did a repair without knowing about the program, but now wants reimbursement through the program," Bender said. 

The appeals process could allow residents who don't follow the competitive bid process to still get up to 75 percent of their repair bill reimbursed.

Limiting the percentage paid would ensure that repairs under an appeal would not cost the insurance program funds any more than it should have if the repair had properly gone through the program from the start, Bender said. 

"This helps ensure that the program funds will be used in an appropriate manner," he said.

The appeals process would also serve in cases when a person believes that the city has made an error and can provide evidence, Bender said.

Bender said that since the program was put into place, 187 repairs have been reimbursed. 

At the regular meeting later that night, the board passed the resolution creating the new appeals policy.


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