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Decatur City Commission will consider adopting new storm water fees

COVID-19 Decatur

Decatur City Commission will consider adopting new storm water fees

Decatur City Hall. Photo by Dean Hesse.

This story has been updated. 

Decatur. GA — The Decatur City Commission at its March 1 meeting will consider adopting new storm water fees to raise the $38 million needed to pay for an update to the city’s stormwater management system.

The City Commission meeting begins with a work session at 5:45 p.m. to discuss a tree canopy study. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting will be conducted virtually. Here are instructions for how to attend:

1. View the live broadcast of the Decatur City Commission meeting at   https://www.decaturga.com/citycommission/page/streaming-video

2. Register in advance to participate during either the “Public Comment” or “Requests and Petitions” portions of the meeting at https://zoom.us/j/94284716054. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. You may also participate by phone by calling (929) 205-6099 and entering the meeting ID (The 11-digit number shown in the Zoom registration link.)

If you are unable to participate in the virtual meeting, you may email your “public comments” on agenda items or submit “requests and petitions” by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, March 1st to: Andrea Arnold, City Manager, [email protected]

Commissioners approved the update to the storm water master plan back in December. The Storm Water Master Plan is “focused on improving how the City manages its stormwater to address and prevent flooding and improve water quality in the city’s streams,” according to the Master Plan document. “This plan evaluates stormwater concerns across the City and prioritizes solutions to address these concerns. The major goals of this plan are to improve stormwater management in Decatur’s neighborhoods, public spaces, and rights-of-way, to mitigate environmental impacts from urban runoff, and to improve the water quality in the City’s watersheds.”

The 2020 update to the Storm Water Master Plan, which was last updated in 2004, will improve stormwater management in residential areas of Decatur. It will also implement “new drainage requirements for all developments, and policies for use of green infrastructure to control the quantity and quality of stormwater runoff.”

An estimated $38 million needed to fund this work will be generated by tax changes using a tiered stormwater utility fee system.

Here are the annual fees being considered:

According to the city, property owners can use this search tool determine their proposed storm water fee.  Credits are available for a portion of the fees by reducing run-off and saving tree canopy.

The City Commission will also consider fee offsets for seniors for the city’s sanitation and storm water fees.

Other items on the March 1 agenda include:

– Adopting the city’s 2021 Sanitation Fee Schedule.

– Adopting a Tax Billing Ordinance that establishes payment dates for property taxes.

– Giving an additional $225,000 in additional for the city’s COVID-19 small business grant program and an additional $193,670 for the city’s COVID-19 nonprofit grant program.

“Budgeted City expenditures from the [federal] CARES funds for personnel and technology are not going to be spent at the level originally estimated,” a memo from Deputy City Manager Hugh Saxon says. “This frees up additional funds for grants to the businesses and non-profits that met the 2020 eligibility criteria but that did not receive awards.”

For more information, click here.

– Approving the award of a $34,970 contract to Burns & McDonnell for a waste characterization study.

“The purpose of this study is to provide detailed composition data, identify sources and rates of contamination in our recycling streams, and assess amounts of compostable materials currently being directed to landfill,” a memo from Lead for America Fellow David Nifong says. “The results of this study will be used by the city to make informed, data-driven decisions regarding its waste collection program, including the feasibility of adding curbside organic collection to regular service.”

To see the full agenda for the March 1 meeting, click here.

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