Public hearing set for possible increase in stormwater rates

POULSBO — The City Council will host a public meeting July 10 to take input on a proposed increase to stormwater rates.

Public Works Director Barry Loveless said at the March 20 council meeting the city needs to increase the rate that business and residential property owners pay to help support the stormwater utility. Stormwater costs are rising and the current rate is based on an outdated study from 1999, Loveless said. The stormwater fund has not taken in revenue in the last five years.

Loveless proposed a rate increase to $10.43 in August 2013, and another increase in 2014. The current stormwater utility rate is $8.41 a month per household; commercial properties pay an "equivalent residential unit" rate for every 3,000 square feet. For example, the North Kitsap School District pays 455 ERU, at a cost of $3,826 per month.

While this would only be a $2 a month increase to households, commercial properties could be charged hundreds of dollars more per month.

At the current rate, the city could continue minimum maintenance of its current facilities — catch-basin cleaning, storm pond maintenance, and monitoring stormwater outfalls, Loveless said. Without a rate increase, the city won't be able to pay for capital projects to enhance stormwater management.

Anderson Parkway is an example of a stormwater retrofit, and the city has a few more of those projects planned.

Loveless is concerned current stormwater management will not achieve the Department of Ecology's mandated pollution-reduction targets, and the city would have to fund the retrofits anyway, he said.


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