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Proposed stormwater fee floats to Council

Proposed stormwater fee floats to Council

April 21st, 2017 by Jeff Haldiman in Local News

In this Aug. 1, 2016 file photo, mud and debris from flash flooding is seen at the skate park at Washington Park in Jefferson City.

Photo by Julie Smith /News Tribune.

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The Jefferson City Public Works Committee has approved wording for a stormwater utility fee proposal to be put on the Aug. 8 ballot for a public vote, sending it to the full City Council for consideration and final approval.

The fee would be charged on each parcel of developed property starting Jan. 1, 2018, until Dec. 31, 2042.

For a single-family parcel or single-family duplex parcel, the rate would be $3.50 per month.

Rates would increase by 2 percent annually on Jan. 1.

The bill calling for the election will be introduced at the May 1 City Council meeting. If the council approves it at the second May meeting, May 15, the measure would appear on the August municipal election ballot.

City leaders hope this measure would help address the stormwater problem the city has been dealing with for decades.

A decade ago, a committee worked to develop a master plan but could not reach a consensus due mainly to the cost of the repairs.

However, stormwater problems resurfaced after more than 30 homes and buildings in Jefferson City were damaged by flash flooding in August and September.

A stormwater utility fee would create a dedicated source of money to fund stormwater services specifically, as it could not be diverted for other uses, Public Works Director Matt Morasch explained. The fund would pay for replacement of neighborhood stormwater collection systems, flood resiliency projects, regional detention areas, and bridge maintenance and replacement.

Currently, the only funding for stormwater infrastructure comes from a portion of the city's capital improvement sales tax. Morasch said the funding from the sales tax provides only $360,000 a year, when the city needs about $2 million annually for replacements and renovations to pipes and inlets.

Much of the city's stormwater infrastructure is 25-50 years old and is past its useful service life, Morasch said.

City officials estimate $15 million worth of stormwater repair is needed based solely on residents' reports, and overall needs probably total up to $45 million. There's $120 million worth of infrastructure in the city.