Stormwater utility given approval
by JOYANNA LOVE Banner Senior Staff Writer
Jun 10, 2014 | 901 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print

The Cleveland City Council approved a recommendation by the Stormwater Regulation Board to establish a stormwater utility during a voting session Monday.

“There was good discussion about creating this utility fund. After the consultant is hired and he’s completed his work, the stormwater fee would be ready to be presented before the Stormwater board and ... the City Council, probably during the budget retreat next year,” said city manager Janice Casteel.

The consultant would conduct a study to determine the amount of land on each piece of property that contributes to water flowing off the property.

A stormwater fee to fund the study was created as a part of the Cleveland budget for the coming year. Initially residential utility users with less than 2,500 square feet will be charged $1 per month and nonresidential utility users larger than 2,500 square feet will be charged $2. After the study, the fee amount will be based on a property’s impervious area (water cannot pass through).

Any further changes to the ordinance will be reviewed by the board before going to the Council.

At-Large Councilman Richard Banks said implementing the fee was a “preventative measure” to address stormwater issues, rather than waiting until the issue gets to the point federal penalties are assessed. District 4 Councilman David May said the plan to implement the fee was a “common-sense approach.”

The federal Clean Water Act requires that stormwater issues be addressed. Thus, the need for a revenue source for these projects was created. State law requires that Stormwater Utility fee bills have the following printed on them in bold typeface: “This tax has been mandated by Congress.”

The city will be applying to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Flood Mitigation Assistance Program to address flooding issues in major problem areas. The program offers funding to remove structures that have been damaged by flooding.

Also during the meeting the City Council approved:

n Annexation and plan of service of a property on Holloway Road.

In light of changes to state annexation laws that eliminate annexation by ordinance, Banks made a motion that city staff develop a marketing strategy for the city within the next 60 days. The motion was approved unanimously.

Annexation by ordinance meant the city could annex any property within its Urban Growth Boundary.

He said promoting the city and its benefits would be the key to annexation in the future.

“We need to be proactive,” Banks said.

May said the city also needs to consider creating a tax incentive program for companies that choose to locate in the downtown area. MainStreet Cleveland executive director Sharon Marr said the organization has a consultant working on possible suggestions on downtown redevelopment.

n A rezoning of “3.5 acres located on Georgetown Road and Glenwood Drive from R1 Single Family Residential District to R3 Multi-Family Residential District.”

n A change to ordinance to allow larger LED billboard in the Commercial Highway Zoning District. Signs up to 100 feet would be permitted in commercial highway areas where at least 100,000 square feet of finished building space come under common ownership. These signs could not be within 300 feet of a residential area.