City to decide rates for storm drainage plan |

City to decide rates for storm drainage plan

Jill Lufrano

Business owners may end up paying less than first expected for the city’s new $20 million storm water drainage program if supervisors vote in favor of city staff recommendations Thursday.

The Carson business community felt the original proposal first unveiled in September by city staff would hit commercial properties unfairly.

The first plan was to charge properties according to how much open land was covered by either concrete or a structure. Because commercial properties have much more land covered with concrete for parking, businesses were expected to pick up 65 percent of the total burden.

City staff will present the Board of Supervisors Thursday with a recommendation to charge property owners according to how much water runoff a property typically gets during the year and charge properties according to zoning classifications.

The runoff system would shift the burden, with 44 percent of the cost paid by residents and 56 percent paid by businesses. Residents would pay from $1.69 to $3.08 more a month. Businesses are expected to be charged from $10.32 to $28.26 a month, depending on runoff and zoning.

“It shift a little more into residential,” said Larry Werner, chief engineer for the city.

Storm water maintenance activities are currently being paid for by gas tax revenues through the city streets department.

City supervisors will also decide what type of budget to use for the new system. City staff is proposing a budget that would include full expenditures to pay for capital. A second option that would defer the cost of capital expenditures would be about $200,000 less a year.

“It defers the funding . . . but if something comes up, we have to fund it out of another source,” Werner said.

If decided, the program might begin in January, officials said. City staff plans to return next month to work out an ordinance.

Plans have been brewing to build a drainage system since the 1997 New Year’s flood. A Storm Drainage Advisory Committee met for four years to develop a plan. It was passed a year ago, but now the city must decide how to pay for it, Werner said.

The drainage system would address flooding, maintenance of storm water facilities constructed outside the freeway corridor as a result of an agreement with the state transportation department, and a new federal law that requires the city to obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination permit for storm water to address water quality.

Depending on what budget and payment plan is decided, the cost to staff the new system will be substantial.

If the full billing and budget are approved for the program, cost to staff it would require 6 full-time positions and $431,485 a year when fully implemented in five years.