Thursday, April 26, 2001

$3 fee to fix water system




By Earnest Winston
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MASON — Beginning in October, residents will see an extra $3 on their monthly utility bills to help fix storm water problems and build new water collection systems.

        “Instead of being reactive when there is a storm or heavy rainfall, this allows us to manage our storm water by putting into place a funding mechanism and also providing a means to make the necessary capital improvements,” City Manager Scot Lahrmer said.

        The storm water utility fee will generate about $700,000 a year.

        Assistant City Engineer David Riggs said the city has about 80 projects awaiting funds, compared with 20 three years ago. Flooding, puddles and high water in retaining ditches are just some of the problems. The fees will help pay for $6 million in capital improvements.

        City Council on Monday approved legislation establishing the storm water utility and fees. Residents already pay an average of $45 a month for water and sewer, plus an additional $11 for trash collection.

        Businesses will be affected, too. Fees will be calculated based on the size of their roofs, sidewalks, driveways and parking lots.

        The new utility will service the existing and expanding storm water drainage system, and will also help the city comply with new EPA, state and federal regulations that require communities to address storm water runoff and reduce pollutants in their storm water discharge.

        David Buesking, who lives in Mason and is a member of the Storm Water Advisory Committee, suggested city charge $4 for the new utility “rather than having you coming back five years from now and asking for more revenue.”

       



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