by Murrel Bland
The Unified Government is proposing a substantial change in the way storm water fees are collected.
Currently, 93 percent of this revenue comes from residential sources with the balance (7 percent) coming from nonresidential sources.
Details of this proposal were explained at a public meeting Thursday morning, Dec. 14, at the Kansas Speedway.
According to a fact sheet, the Unified Government is seeking a “fair solution to adequately fund all of the storm water services and adequately recover those costs from customers.”
Currently, all water customers of the Kansas City, Kansas, Board of Public Utilities pay a flat $4.50 a month for managing storm water, regardless of the size of their property.
The new proposal calls for a typical residential storm water fee to increase to $5.90 a month. A typical nonresidential area would pay $49.50 a month. Fees would be based on the size of the property.
The goals of the program would be to minimize flood risks, reduce pollution in creeks and rivers, protect natural resources and property, enhance safety and health and manage storm water infrastructure.
Currently, the storm water fee generates about $3.4 million annually. This plan would increase revenue to more than $16 million a year.
Storm water has caused problems for many years in Wyandotte County, particularly in low-lying, flood-prone areas such as Argentine and Armourdale where storm water mixes with sewer water. Backup storm water from Turkey Creek often has flooded areas along Southwest Boulevard.
In other areas, advocacy organizations have filed federal suits to force municipalities to improve their storm water infrastructure; this has proved quite costly.
A public meeting about the proposal will be held from 4:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 15, at the West Branch Library, 1737 N. 82nd St.
Note: The figure for estimated nonresidential fees has been clarified.
Murrel Bland is the former editor of The Wyandotte West and The Piper Press. He is the executive director of Business West.