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Local

Dixon won’t put its name on the line

Council doesn’t want city to give its blessing to company peddling policies for water and sewer lines

DIXON – The City Council has clogged up the chances of a water and sewer line insurance program coming into the city.

Last month, a representative from the Pennsylvania-based Utility Service Partners Inc. approached the council looking for its blessing to offer residents a service line warranty program, formed about 15 years ago by the company and the National League of Cities.

The program covers residential water, sewer and in-house plumbing line repairs up to a certain amount for a monthly fee, but it won't come into a community without the local government's stamp of approval.

No city dollars would be spent on the program, but the company would market the optional insurance package using the city's logo and letterhead.

City Councilman Ryan Marshall said Monday that he was uncomfortable with an outside entity soliciting residents with the city's logo and the can of worms that it could open by setting that precedent.

City Manager Cole O'Donnell said they contacted officials in Rock Falls and Rochelle, which brought in the program in 2012 and in September, respectively, and one said city hall received calls from confused residents thinking the city was administering the service.

The monthly rates would start at $7.25 for sewer, $6.25 for water and $9.49 for in-home plumbing fixes.

The city also could opt into a royalty option where it would earn revenue from the program by adding a 50-cent charge to the monthly fees.

The council voted down participating in the program twice, regardless of whether it included the royalty.

Mayor Li Arellano Jr., the only one voting in favor of the program, said it would be a good way to alert residents that they are liable for line breaks between their homes and the city mains, and that they should be prepared rather than being stuck with repairs that could cost thousands.

"So many homeowners don't know they're responsible for it," he said.

About 450 cities in the U.S. and Canada have signed on to the program.

NEXT MEETING

The City Council next meets at 5:30 p.m. June 19 at City Hall, 121 W. Second St.

Go to discoverdixon.org or call City Hall at 815-288-1485 for an agenda or more information.

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