- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 12, 2017

PAPILLION, Neb. (AP) - A state senator has proposed legislation that would make it easier to pay for a sewer system for one of the few places still available for development in the burgeoning Omaha metropolitan area.

Sen. Sue Crawford’s bill, which the Legislature was expected to debate Thursday, would allow cities and villages to form a public agency with a county to manage an entire region’s sewer system, the Omaha World-Herald reported (https://bit.ly/2oXKpG1 ). In Sarpy County, that would include all five cities and the county.

The lack of a sewer system in an area south of a ridgeline that cuts across the middle of Sarpy County has blocked development there, Crawford said.

“We have an area that’s prime for growth that’s not living up to its potential because it lacks basic infrastructure,” she said.

The bill comes as Sarpy County prepares for the construction of a freeway that would cross into the southern area of the county. That area’s wastewater is currently handled by several small, private treatment facilities or by a small facility owned by the City of Springfield. Most residents living south of the ridgeline have septic systems.

Crawford said the new sewer lines and water treatment facilities south of the ridgeline would be financed by sewer and connection fees paid by new homeowners and businesses.

Papillion Mayor David Black said the formation of a public agency would allow representatives from all five cities and Sarpy County to provide input on the sewer system’s development.

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Information from: Omaha World-Herald, https://www.omaha.com

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