Storm Water Utility
Wednesday February 26, @10:31AM, by Wally Mook, Director of Public Works
Subject : Politics
Wally Mook's response to the flier on the proposed storm water utility in Bettendorf.
I received a copy of the flier that went out to the Bettendorf businesses and I wanted to help with a couple of misconceptions. First, the information on the estimated storm water fees for the businesses listed is incorrect. This is old information. The current proposal is $1 per runoff unit per month, not $3. A runoff unit is called an ERU and is equal to 2,200 sq ft of impervious area. For as many businesses as we have information, the revised rates are shown in a chart under Storm Water Utility at the City's web site. Second, there is a perceived disparity between the residential community and the business community regarding the contributions from each. The issue is not one of percentage of the developed area of Bettendorf but rather one of runoff vs. no runoff. Yes, the residential community makes up 75% of the total area, but most of the impervious area is located in the commercial sector. The runoff unit was determined to be the average amount of impervious area on a residential lot. This unit is applied to the business community by dividing the total amount of impervious area for any non-residential property by the runoff unit of 2,200. This number times $1 is the monthly rate for that property. If you examine the rate structure for storm water utilities in other communities, like Moline, Rock Island or Des Moines, you will find that the proposed utility for Bettendorf is very competitive and in fact less expensive than these communities. I look forward to the meeting at the Holiday Inn on Thursday, Feb 27 to discuss this issue further and listen to your concerns. Hopefully, this has helped to clear up some misunderstandings.
Re: Storm Water Utility
Thursday February 27, @03:06PM, by Dave Smith
Thank you Wally for your response, it the first we have received from the city since our meeting at the Chamber of Commerce a few weeks ago. The information provided in the flyer came directly from www.bettendorf.org, the City of Bettendorf’s official Web site on Friday February 23, 2003. If the information is old, someone in the city should have updated the site before that date. I now see that the information was updated yesterday on the Web site. Perhaps our flyer prompted some action? I would say that our information is not as old as you state it is. As to the numbers, it is true that most homes do not have large parking lots just driveways. However, based on your own statements, the biggest problem with storm water run off is nitrates in the water. This comes from farmers and homeowners putting fertilizer on their land. I have checked with many businesses in Bettendorf and none of them put fertilizer on their parking lots or roofs. It would seem that impervious land is not as important as the pollution coming from the fertilizer that homeowners are putting on their grass. Farmers, who also fertilize their land, are exempt from this fee. Why are businesses being asked to fund 75% of this project?
Re: Storm Water Utility
Tuesday March 04, @04:02PM, by Wally Mook, Director of Public Works
Please refer to my comments in a reply to Brian Gillete's proposal on "what's the rush". Actually, my comments are in regards to the philosophy of generating revenue for essential government purposes, regardless of type. Revenues for storm water issues are no different than those for other community requirements. If I follow your logic, you are saying that the City should place the burden upon those who are causing the storm water quality problems. This would be like saying the City will only tax you for money to repair streets based on the amount of damage you caused. What about the people who don't drive or only drive small cars? Should they be taxed less than the owners of big vehicles that cause more stress on the streets? The storm water utility proposed uses a rational method of allocating the amount of "tax" and this amount then becomes part of a pool of funds that will be used to meet the needs of the community, whereever they may be. The question then becomes, is that rational method valid, not whether or not it is fair. Fairness has never really been a part of our taxing system. Why should the City not be able to recover it's true costs of providing services? Back to my analogy on streets, all taxpayers have equal use of the streets, although clearly some of us pay a whole lot more for the maintenance of those streets. Some people who live in the newer parts of town could object to the use of their tax dollars to pay for maintenance of streets in the older part of town. Since they have new pavement in front of their house, it will be some time before they see a direct return on their tax investment. The same is true for storm water issues. Suppose I say that I only want my user fees to be used in my backyard and since I don't perceive of any problems in my backyard, I don't want to pay any user fees. It just doesn't work that way.
Now that I've said that, I will allow that the City is looking at a way to put more of the burden upon the residential community, instead of a flat rate. It will all be tied to the amount of impervious area on the property as a way to apportion the fees. Look for more on this in the future.