Dormont Mayor Phil Ross today overturned a controversial vote to abolish the borough’s Storm Water Authority.
In a split vote, Dormont council members earlier this month voted to dismantle the authority, which would have collected a fee from residents for needed storm water repairs and upgrades.
The fee, along with steep administrative expenses, was the impetus behind a vote from four council members to nix the authority just six months after it was created. Three members dissented.
“I’m disappointed for the residents of Dormont and the taxpayers,” said council President John Maggio, who lobbied the mayor not to veto the measure.
“I explained to him that the money we’re taking from the residents could have gone to public safety,” Mr. Maggio said of his conversations with Mayor Ross, who could not be reached for comment. “I was hoping that would have gotten through to him, but evidently it didn’t.”
Asked whether he had the five votes needed to overturn a veto, Mr. Maggio said “that will depend on if the other members looked at the facts objectively.”
“The facts speak for themselves,” Mr. Maggio said.
Council established the authority in August to collect the fee and use it for major improvements to the aging storm water infrastructure -- as mandated by the state and federal government. The owner of a $130,000 home would have paid approximately $108 per year in authority fees.
Instead of an authority and a fee, Mr. Maggio and his allies proposed using a budget surplus or a 0.38-mill real estate tax hike that would have cost the same $130,000 property owner about $49.40 a year.
They also proposed completing the work in-house to save an estimated $832,400 in administrative costs over five years.
Council is expected to discuss the issue again at its next meeting Feb. 29.