Stormwater rate hike study seeks options to cover Carson City’s costs

Carson City Public Works held a meeting Wednesday to discuss upcoming changes to the city’s stormwater rates and two people from the public attended.

The meeting was held as part of a process the department is going through to redo stormwater rates at the direction of the Board of Supervisors.

The current rates raise roughly $1.4 million annually while the capital improvement requirements are approximately $3.2 million.

Brent Farr, principal engineer and president, Farr West Engineering, who is conducting a study for the city, presented several scenarios for raising rates to cover the city’s actual costs.

All the example rates discussed were approximations because the study at this point is a high level look at options. Once a methodology is chosen by the city more precise numbers will be available.

One concept is to increase rates about 64 percent across the board to raise the needed revenue. That would increase the current single-family rate from $5.69 to $9.34, for example, and commercial properties from $40.96 to $67.22.

Another idea is to keep the categories but to divide each into small, medium and large customers based on the size of their parcels and possibly the properties impervious surfaces, such as rooftops and parking lots, so a large retail outlet, for example, pays more than a small home-based business.

A methodology based solely on impervious surfaces for each property would be the most equitable, said Farr, but would likely be unpalatable because it would raise monthly rates for large businesses as high as $1,700.

“The Chamber’s position is we understand there’s a need, however, we need to have this phased in,” said Ronni Hannaman, executive director, Carson City Chamber of Commerce and one of two attendees. “The city has to do a better job of keeping infrastructure up to date and not have deferred maintenance.”

Farr said that was part of the plan.

“The financial oversight committee made clear that businesses need fair warning and to phase it in,” said Farr.

Eventually, the Utility Finance Oversight Committee will make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors for a new rate plan.


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