December 21, 2011 12:38:00 PM
Starkville could have a new funding mechanism for its growing number of stormwater drainage issues.
Mayor Parker Wiseman on Tuesday suggested adding a drainage fee to city utilities to help offset a million-dollar gap between expected revenues and project costs over the next 10 years.
The cost would be $2.50 a month for residential units and $5 a month for commercial. Wiseman estimated the fee would generate $400,000 in new revenue each year, which he said would give flexibility to finance drainage projects at Carver and Maple drives and Colonial Hills -- the three costliest projects on the city's drainage improvement list. Wiseman said the fees would leave approximately $200,000 a year for 10 years of debt service and $200,000 per year to complete the remaining $1 million in storm sewer projects over the next 10 years.
Wiseman presented a slide show of the effects new impervious surfaces can have on nearby land and the erosion issues that can arise from increased volumes of water.
"We are one of the fastest growing cities in the state of Mississippi," Wiseman said. "It should not be lost that storm sewage issues are directly related to development over time."
City Attorney Chris Latimer said he would have to research the legality of implementing a stormwater fee before the board could take any action.
Wiseman said adding the storm sewer fee is a growing trend he researched in other municipalities.
According to Wiseman's presentation, nine of the 28 projects on the city's drainage projects list have been completed at a cumulative cost of $545,978. Nineteen of the remaining projects have an estimated cost of $250,000 or less.
The big three -- Carver, Maple and Colonial Hills -- could cost $1.7 million combined.
Carver and Maple drives have insufficient pipe sizes that cause flooding, while a pipe between Timbercove and Colonial Hills off South Montgomery Street has an abutting pipe that is failing.
Wiseman also analyzed the cost of paying outside contractor versus city employees performing the work.
In the case of Carver Drive, the city would save $123,151 by using city crews but would use 40 percent of the street department personnel's annual hours. With Maple Drive, the city would save $132,583 and would use 12 percent of the department's hours.
"It makes a lot of sense to do the Maple Drive project internally," Wiseman said. "It's a fairly manageable 12 percent."
1. Four have qualified for Dist. 17 seat COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
2. West Nile case confirmed in Lowndes COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
3. Columbus man arrested for Friday shooting COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
4. Wal-Mart Markets opening in Miss. BUSINESS