Storm water rate increase is rushing down to everyone this summer
Appeal Staff Writer
Water flows down hill, but rates are going up. And no one will escape a 71 percent storm water rate increase in next month’s water/sewer bill.
A communitywide storm water rate increase, ranging from $1.22 to $10.92, will fund expansion of the detention basin in Vicee Canyon and storm water projects for the Carson City Freeway.
Carson City supervisors approved the rate increase to fund the storm water program, which is a federal mandate. The total revenue needed to fund the program is $950,000, which is $398,000 more than the program brought in last year.
Voters had the option of funding the expense through a sales tax hike, but it was defeated in the 2004 general election. So, city officials turned to a rate increase.
Carson City Mayor Marv Teixeira was the sole vote against it at the Thursday meeting. The city is mandated to fund the program, but Teixeira said Friday that he “had a problem sticking it to the little guy.”
The new ordinance increases the rate evenly across all zoning designations, from single family homes to commercial. That means a small downtown business will pay the same as a large retail business.
Tom Hoffert, public works operation manager, said the program will fund an expansion of the Vicee Canyon storm water detention basin, which is expected to have an increase in flow because of last summer’s Waterfall fire.
“This will be in sewer/water bills,” Hoffert said. “And those on their own well or (owners of) an undeveloped lot will get a separate bill.”
He said the program will also fund storm water projects from Kings Canyon to Combs Canyon related to runoff from the Carson City freeway, which is under construction.
Carson City Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer Larry Osborne said no one likes paying more money, but the chamber supports the rate increase.
“This was the second half of an agreed-upon plan to fund the storm drain program,” he said. “A month ago the city brought forward a change, but that would’ve been like changing horses midstream.”
Osborne said city officials had proposed making the rate increase two-tiered, so larger businesses would take more of the burden. That received opposition, so city officials went back to the original plan – a straight rate hike shared equally by everyone.
But the increase on the July bill will be a surprise to many business owners, including Bishen Singh, one of the owners of India Curry Restaurant on North Carson Street. He said he didn’t know it was coming.
“It’s too expensive for me,” he said. “We have so many expenses already, a lot on the land, gas and electric bills.”
n Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at email@example.com or 881-1212.