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Ennis Daily News

Fine increase is a problematic necessity for us

Since the city finds itself in a situation where wastewater infractions could become an expensive problem, we understand the need to pass that cost on to the individuals behind them.
Especially in a community like ours, fed by a man-made reservoir for its drinking water needs, protecting the quality of our water by penalizing those who mishandle their waste is something that must be done. The fines are expensive — up to $27,500 per day under rules the city is considering for passage — but those fines are meant as a corrective and punitive measure.

The problem comes in where an already hobbled economy, from the local level up, will make those kinds of fines a huge hit to those taking part in the wastewater treatment program. It’s one thing to establish rules like these after review and consideration, it’s another to be on the receiving end of a fine that stacks up to a breaking point on your business because of negligence, a vengeful employee or unfortunate circumstance.

Environmental regulations aren’t something the city has a lot of leeway on, unfortunately. Explanations from city management point to a system that lays responsibility in the lap of the city to pay for fines and enforce on a local level regulations that are passed down from the federal government’s playbook.

That’s also a concern — it’s a situation that puts the city in a corner to dig its way out.

We know the city takes that burden extremely seriously, and for good reason. Every cost that crosses the desk at City Hall is looked at for its potential to cause good or ill with city finances, and large punitive fines are not good.

Without full cooperation from those who play parts in the city’s wastewater program, Ennis faces a situation where fines could cause some trouble.

We need Ennis’ industrial partners, businesspeople and residents to be very aware of the ramifications of letting preventable environmental damage happen on their watch. The burden for the city is large, and that means the burden on the taxpayer is large as well.

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Posted by on Feb 23 2010. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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