Willow Park City Engineer Derek Turner presented the master drainage plan study and recommended $1.66 million in improvement projects to the city council Tuesday night.

“We had completed a master drainage plan for the city several months ago and recently we had new information so we modified it. The study area is basically the ETJ areas of the city and any areas outside of the ETJ that drain into the city and go through the city’s drainage areas,” Turner said. “So we’ve got a handful of capital projects that we’re recommending.”

Turner recommended culvert and channel improvements/construction at the areas of Interstate 20 frontage road and Chuckwagon Trail, a culvert west of Chuckwagon Trail, an area of Fox Hunt Trail to El Chico Trail, Sam Bass Road and Squaw Creek, Sam Bass to Stagecoach Trail, Vista Drive and Coronado Court, Live Oak Road and Cook Court and Castlemount.

WP City Manager Bryan Grimes said Castlemount is a priority.

“The culvert there literally points directly to the front door of a house and you can stand on Castlemount and you’re standing at the same elevation of the roof of the house,” Grimes said. “So that’s a priority.”

Turner said the other areas have created flooding in homes and the issues need to be addressed in a one- to five-year plan for the $1.66 million.

The six to 10 year range will leave the city with smaller projects like driveway culverts as well as continued maintenance of projects.

Turner said he also recommends the city implement a drainage utility or a stormwater program.

“In communities like this, and they all have it, there are lots of drainage problems,” Turner said. “You have communities where people used to do things the way they wanted and it wasn’t reviewed and then you run into these types of problems. The communities do a better job of addressing it generally by establishing a drainage utility fee.”

Place 5 Council member Gary McKaughan said the projects are a high priority.

“In the grand scheme of things, this would be a higher priority than the roads,” McKaughan said. “What’s another $1.5 million on top of $13.5 million [for water] to fix it all? And while you’re improving the drainage, you’ll be improving the streets.”

Turner agreed, saying the roads won’t last if the drainage is not addressed, especially in residential areas, and that many cities have implemented fees to help pay for annual costs in drainage upkeep.

“Generally, with the implementation of a stormwater utility fee and an impact fee, they were able to finance their debt service and their yearly budgetary [maintenance and operations] cost,” Turner said. “There’s a requirement for a stormwater fee if you want to implement one and it’s very similar to implementing any other kind of utility fee and it starts with a study. You have to do a utility rate study and/or an impact fee study depending on what you want to do. Out of that you would get recommendations on what those fees should be and they’re typically charged by single-family unit factor, usually based on the square footage of the structure.”

Turner said after the study and fee determination, at least one public hearing would be held followed by action by the city council.

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