March 1992 – Due to concerns about drainage and flooding, the City Council established a Stormwater Management Task Force. The purpose of the task force was to develop a comprehensive surface drainage strategy. Development of this strategy was a top priority Council goal.
July 1996 – The task force finished its work and summarized its findings in a report titled Stormwater Management Plan. The plan contains 6 objectives and 32 strategies for stormwater management. Strategy E1 of the Stormwater Management Plan states, “Establish a utility fee to be applied to all properties within the City for the purpose of funding all ongoing or annually recurring drainage system maintenance and management expenses.” Since 1996, strategies listed in the Stormwater Management Plan have been accomplished. The strategies have been the basis for future City stormwater efforts.
November 1996 – Staff presented to Council a Stormwater Facility Maintenance and Rehabilitation Plan. At that time, the City did not have a complete inventory of its storm sewer system, i.e. the City did not know exactly how many miles of storm sewer pipe or number of inlets or manholes were in the system. At the time, the City’s stormwater maintenance was reactive in nature, i.e. storm sewers were not cleaned until they were plugged and a citizen called about the surface flooding, and storm sewers were not repaired until sink holes appeared on the ground surface.
The Stormwater Facility Maintenance and Rehabilitation Plan outlined several alternatives for inventorying the storm sewer system and providing a comprehensive storm sewer preventive maintenance program. Staff also provided information on a stormwater utility fee. The revenues from the fee could be used to fund the additional cost for storm sewer maintenance.
No decision was made on the stormwater utility fee at that time. Staff was directed to inventory the storm sewer system and complete pilot storm sewer maintenance projects in order to develop better cost estimates for maintenance activities.
March 1998 – Staff presented to Council an updated Stormwater Facility Maintenance and Rehabilitation Plan. The Plan incorporated the completed inventory of the City’s storm sewer system and updated cost estimates for alternatives to provide a storm sewer preventive maintenance program. Generally, Council supported a plan to clean and televise storm sewers on a 10-year cycle and fund rehabilitation needs discovered during the televising process. Council did express concerns regarding how to fund expanded storm sewer maintenance activities.
November 1998 – Staff presented two methods for funding an expanded storm sewer preventive maintenance program. One method would involve funding additional maintenance activities with a stormwater utility fee. The other method scaled back the storm sewer maintenance program and funded the additional maintenance expenses by eliminating the property tax subsidy in the sanitary sewer fund, increasing sanitary sewer fees to fund all sanitary sewer costs and using the property tax revenues for storm sewer maintenance. Council generally supported the parameters of method two.
April 2001 – As part of the FY02 budget preparation process, staff prepared a budget memorandum for stormwater management. The memorandum recommended a storm sewer preventive maintenance program that would clean and televise storm sewers on a 5-year cycle and provide additional funds to repair the storm sewers, inlets, and manholes that were identified with deficiencies. The memorandum also recommended funding this enhanced storm sewer maintenance program with a stormwater utility fee. Council voted against the fee and directed staff to scale back the storm sewer maintenance program.
April 2002 – In a FY03 Budget Memorandum pertaining to the FY02/03 proposed budget, staff recommended providing $988,000 annually for stormwater management. Specifically, $125,000 of that total was dedicated for expenses associated with stormwater quality as part of the City’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. The balance, $863,000, would be used for storm sewer cleaning, televising, and repairs. The funding would be provided by eliminating the property tax subsidy in the sanitary sewer fund, increasing sanitary sewer fees and using the property tax revenue for storm sewer maintenance. Council adopted this recommendation. Increased sanitary sewer fees were phased in over a five-year period and the new stormwater funding was fully implemented in FY2006/2007.