Weatherford residents have been dealing with drainage issues for years. The city feels it may have a way to help alleviate the problems — at a price.
Director of Capital Transportation Projects Terry Hughes said there are between $7 and $10 million in drainage projects throughout the city. The problem comes from those monies presently having to be taken out of the general fund budget if anything is to be done.
Under a pre-implementation proposal Hughes presented before the city council Tuesday night, a storm water utility fee will be created, with residents and businesses paying based on the area where water can’t penetrate, called an impervious area of their home or business.
“The fee structure is nondiscriminatory, reasonable, equitable and directly related to drainage service needed,” Hughes said.
The city, based on an aerial photograph that is extremely accurate, has approximately 40,870,000 square feet of impervious area, including the driveways, parking areas and roofs of businesses.
“That’s not including residences,” Hughes said. “In the first year of the program, we’re expecting to raise about $800,000.”
That money would go into a dedicated storm water management fund. Those funds would be used for such things as pipe and channel repair, culvert cleanout, street sweeping, runoff management, treatment structures and silt management and disposal.
Some exemptions to the fees include undeveloped property, property with no impact to the city’s storm system, state property and institutions of higher education such as Weatherford College. The city is allowed to exempt its own property, county property, school district property and religious institution property.
The city will be using 3,300 square feet as a base unit after sampling 100 residential properties and finding 3,300 square feet as the average impervious area per residence, Hughes said.
There are 10,065 single-family residences in the city, each one being considered an equivalent residential unit, or ERU. There are also an estimated 12,385 non-residential ERUs in the city, bringing the total to 22,450.