Council Decides on $2 Storm Water Fee
Following the initial implementation, the monthly rate will be raised 50 cents annually until being capped at $4—if members vote in favor at Monday's meeting.
The council plans to raise the fee 50 cents a year following the initial implementation and cap it at $4.
Mayor Pat Vaughn told the council that educating the public about the fee and why it’s necessary will be important in the coming weeks.
“We need to communicate, educate and let them understand it,” she said.
The council planned on placing an insert in Powder Springs residents’ next water bill to explain why a storm water utility fee would soon be collected for the first time in the city. Pam Conner, director of Community Development, said the insert would cost about $700 to distribute in water bills.
Some city council members were contemplating capping the fee at $5 before Councilman Tom Bevirt asked, “Why does it have to get to $5?”
Conner said that an advisory committee recommended starting the fee at $4, but Councilwoman Rosalyn Neal didn’t think it was a good idea to “hit” citizens with the discussed maximum fee on the first storm water bill.
“I say we increase it a $1 a year at a time, instead of hitting the citizens all in the face because they can’t handle it,” she said early in the roughly 15-minute discussion.
Based on a survey of nearby cities, Conner said Powder Springs’ storm water rate would be below the $3.52 monthly average that’s collected by other Atlanta area municipalities.
Patch requested a copy of the three-page handout distributed to council members that included the survey, but was told an open records request would need to be filed to obtain it.
“Any time we have a pipe bust, we have to take it from somewhere and the general fund is where we’ve been taking it from and all governments are strapped these days,” Councilwoman Cheryl Sarvis said after the meeting.
The storm water vote was postponed from last month. Among other things, it will go to drainage system assessments; inspections, maintenance and repair of the city’s storm sewer system; storm sewer system inventory and mapping; and education programs.
The fee is what will be applied to homeowners and stays consistent regardless of the size of the home. For other properties like businesses and churches, the fee would go up depending on each one’s square feet of impervious surface, which is basically areas like asphalted ground that water can’t penetrate and must “run off.”
The average runoff contribution of Powder Springs households—called one ERU or Equivalent Residential Unit—is 2,840 square feet.
That average is what will be used to figure what other properties must pay monthly. For example, if a business has 5,680 square feet of impervious surface, it must pay twice the monthly rate a homeowner would pay. So if the rate was $2 for homeowners, the business would have to pay $4 a month.
Also at the meeting:
- The council discussed Monday's second reading of establishing its millage rate for fiscal year 2012. Vaughn said it would remain at 8.5 mills, which she said the rate has been at since about 2005.
- The council also discussed establishing permit guidelines and procedures for movies being filmed in the city, but won't be acting on it at Monday’s meeting. The delay would give council members more time to learn about the issue. The city requested guidelines from Marietta and Roswell to help shape their future guidelines.