Storm water utility fee imposed in Carson |

Storm water utility fee imposed in Carson

Jill Lufrano

Carson City residents, businesses and property owners will pay storm water utility fees based on how much water runs off their property, city supervisors decided Thursday.

The runoff system classifies properties based on whether they are homes, businesses, industry or commercial properties and distributes fees more evenly between businesses and residents, officials said.

The city would charge 44 percent of the cost to residents and 56 percent to businesses. Residents would pay from $1.69 to $3.08 more a month. Commercial properties are expected to be charged from $10.32 to $28.26 a month, depending on runoff and zoning.

An earlier proposal called for assessing properties based on how much land was covered with asphalt or building, charging larger commercial properties like car sales lots, schools facilities and box stores with large parking lots much more.

Carson Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Larry Osborne said the chamber board approved of the runoff system of fees as long as the city agrees to review the system on a yearly basis. Supervisors agreed to the annual review.

“We agree we need to get started now; it’s time,” Osborne said.

City supervisors approved implementing a storm water utility by using the runoff method that will raise about $660,000 in the first year. Mayor Ray Masayko suggested the city ask voters to approve an additional 1/8 cent sales tax referendum that would raise the balance of funding needed to pay for the new storm water runoff system.

If the sales tax is approved by voters, the city plans to approach state Legislators in the next session to ask for permission to use the sales tax revenue to pay for operating and maintenance of the system as well as capital purchases. Currently, the tax revenue can only be used to purchase capital for the program.

Supervisors delayed deciding on a budget for the program. The city’s internal auditor was directed to work with city engineering staff to develop a detailed spending plan.

Plans have been forming to improve the city’s 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.

“We’re running out of time to meet the federal commitments,” said City Engineer Larry Werner. “Our highest priority now is personnel to meet federal requirements.”