Weatherford Democrat

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October 24, 2012

City to impose storm water utility fees

WEATHERFORD — Home and business owners will be paying a bit more out of their pockets, effective Jan. 1 after Weatherford council members approved two ordinances establishing a storm water utility system and the rates for homeowners and businesses.

Homeowners will pay an additional $3 per month, based on the area of their residence where water can’t penetrate, such as roofs, driveways etc. Businesses would pay more based on their square footage of impervious area. For example, Director of Capital Improvement Projects Terry Hughes used a business like Walmart, which has 861,672 square feet of impervious area. Dividing that by the base unit of 3,300 square feet brings up 261 equivalent residential units (ERU). Multiplying the 261 ERUs by the $3 per month charge would make the retailer pay $783 a month or about $9,400 in the first year under the plan. The city is expecting to raise about $800,000 under the plan in the first year.

During the public hearing, resident Bobbie Narramore said she should be exempt based on all the improvements in grading that have been made on the property over the years. Hughes said an appeal process would be in place once the system and rates took effect.

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. Hughes said there is between $7 million and $10 million in storm water projects just waiting for funding.

With the system and rates in place, Hughes said the city can apply for hazard mitigation funds through FEMA as well.

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