Collection conflicts with ordinance

BEACON FALLS — The town is exploring a possible ordinance change to ensure it remains in compliance with its laws.

The ordinance at the center of the discussion governs the collection of fees from connecting homes to the sewer system. According to the current ordinance, which was voted into law in 1951, all sewer fees are to be collected by the tax collector.

“Having talked with our building inspector and our zoning inspector it turns out that’s not really the way we do it here in the town of Beacon Falls,” First Selectman Christopher Bielik said during the Board of Selectmen’s meeting Monday.

Currently, Zoning Enforcement Officer Brian Herb collects the fees.

“Right now, according to Brian Herb, he was tasked with performing this function under the previous administration,” Bielik said.

Bielik said Herb was asked because the board felt at that time he was the best person for the job.

“I think we are all in agreement that it is a function that is better held down in the building official’s office,” Bielik said. “It hasn’t been done by the tax collector ever as far as we know.”

Bielik said the discrepancy was noticed by Herb when he was looking through the book of ordinances.

Bielik pointed out that the ordinance predates the town’s wastewater treatment plant by about two decades.

“When this ordinance was adopted, by my reading of it, it was all notional and we were about 20 years early. They were looking to the future and saying in the event we ever get a wastewater treatment plant this is the way we expect we should do it,” Bielik said.

However, since it is an ordinance that had been adopted, the town only has two options.

“Either we need to comply with our ordinance and we need to do it the way the ordinance is published or, if it is a better way to do it the way we are doing it right now, then we need to change the ordinance,” Bielik said.

In order to change the ordinance the board would have to write a new ordinance, submit it to town counsel for review, hold a public hearing, and, ultimately, hold a town vote to put the new ordinance in place.

The board expects to take the issue up again at its next monthly meeting.

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