County will finish stormwater contract
A stormwater utility could also clean culverts, depending on how often they needed work.
County Manager Larry Werner said as long as the culverts don’t require annual cleaning, the work could be folded into ditch repairs done by the utility, should the county establish one.
County commissioners voted 3-2 to spend $44,000 to complete a contract with consultant House Moran.
Commission Chairman Barry Penzel, who with commissioner Dave Nelson voted against the request, said he would prefer to see that money be used to work on flood control.
“We should get the vactor truck, and get on with the business of doing restoration,” Penzel said. “We continue to debate this. If we don’t do something before spring, we will run into the problem again.”
Nelson said any stormwater utility should be funded from the county’s current budget.
Commissioner Nancy McDermid said the county should finish the work.
“We have to have the information to make a good decision,” she said. “We’ve never been able to get to the final analysis on what a storm water utility would cost. It’s worth the money to find out how much it would cost.”
While he said he was initially reluctant to spend the money, commissioner Steve Thaler voted for the item. He said he wanted to make sure people understood it wasn’t actually implementing the utility and fee.
“We’re voting for more information.”
Commissioner Larry Walsh said the county should complete the contract.
While Nelson and Walsh signed a pledge not to raise taxes or fees without voter approval, completing the contract would provide information should the county present the issue to the electorate.
Commissioners approved a $199,225 contract with House Moran in 2016 to complete the preparation by July 2017.
Werner said that as the project moved forward, 16 community meetings were held instead of the originally envisioned four.
“The complexity of integrating the concept of a countywide stormwater management plan with the three towns and 14 general improvement districts necessitated the meetings and development of multiple alternatives,” he said.
According to Werner, the utility is designed to raise $1.45 million.
Fees paid by homeowners and businesses would be based on how much water they contribute to the drainage system. Fees would be based on the amount of impervious surface on properties in terms of equivalent residential use.
Because the towns and most general improvement districts already provide stormwater maintenance, residents there would pay $1.12 a month, according to initial studies.
Residents living in the county outside those boundaries are looking at $4.42 a month per unit.
Werner estimated a business like the Starbucks Plant could pay upward of $30,000 a year.
The utility would provide a credit to adjust the fee for those who retain runoff on their property greater than that generated by a standard storm. The property owner would have to pay for the engineering analysis to receive that credit.