Weatherford Democrat

October 22, 2012

Council to hold storm water public hearing

Brian Smith

WEATHERFORD — A public hearing to determine whether to establish a municipal storm water utility system is scheduled for Tuesday night’s regular city council meeting.

Under a pre-implementation proposal Director of Capital Transportation Projects Terry Hughes presented before the city council last month, a storm water utility fee will be created with residents and businesses paying based on the area of their home or business where water can’t penetrate, called an impervious area.

“The fee structure is nondiscriminatory, reasonable, equitable and directly related to drainage service needed,” Hughes said.

In the first year of the program, the city is expecting to raise about $800,000. In the first year, the average homeowner would pay an additional $36.

Hughes said the city has between $7 million and $10 million in drainage projects to complete. Under the proposal, the city could have that money raised within three to five years, he said.

Creating a storm utility will also allow the city, which is one of the few that doesn’t have a storm utility, to apply for hazard mitigation funds through FEMA. The city hopes to have the storm utility in place by January 2013.

Following the public hearing a second public hearing will be held to discuss rates for the utility fee. The city has proposed charging $3 per month for an average homeowner based on the impervious area, which is considered parking lots, roofs, driveways, etc.

In other items, the city will consider amending the annual budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year. According to a staff report, funds obligated for the previous fiscal year but which were unspent are rolled over into the current fiscal year. Funding for a variety of programs including unfinished projects at the First Monday grounds, unspent grant money, vehicle purchases and others are part of the funds coming over into the current year budget.

The amount comes to $463,814 in the general fund, $60,000 into the solid waste fund, $60,000 into the capital projects fund and $60,000 into the general debt service fund.

Director of Management and Budget Chad Janicek said that about half of the general fund monies come from a police technology upgrade that was approved by the council in September. “Since the monies were approved in September, the department obviously didn’t have time to spend it, so the monies rolled over,” Janicek said. “(The rolled over monies) really depend on what kind of projects a city has had during the previous year.”

The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.