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City plans to drop storm water board

January 5, 2012

    Without a storm water management director since the mid-December resignation of Joan Eichhorn, it now appears Decatur soon will be without its storm water committee, too.
    At its meeting on Tuesday night, city council moved to dissolve the committee and place the storm water department under the direction of the city's board of works and safety.
    An ordinance to establish the transfer was passed on two readings by council, then tabled until the next meeting, when approval is certain. The changeover would be effective February 1.
    No significant change is likely since three council members — Bill Crone, Ken Meyer and the now-departed Barb Engle — make up the storm water committee and the board of works consists of Meyer, Bill Karbach, and Mayor John Schultz. It simply seems to city officials that the move will provide more efficiency since the board of works already oversees the water and sewage departments.
    A few dollars also will be saved by not having to pay for legal advertising announcing meetings and actions taken by the storm water board.
    City Attorney Tim Baker has researched the change, Mayor Schultz said, and other cities have made a similar change.
    The storm water department was established eight years ago, mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Eichhorn, its only director since that time, Eichhorn recently resigned and reimbursed the city for almost $5,000 in claims which she submitted and which were disputed by city officials.
    A new director is expected to be named in the coming weeks and will report to the board of works.

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