Stormwater fee won#039;t hit until this fall

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 14, 2005

The stormwater fee is still looming on the horizon, but Ironton businesses and residents may have a little longer before it begins taking a toll.

Water administrator Charlene Thomas said that she was "almost positive" that the stormwater utility fee, which adds $14.55 per month for residents and $14.55 per 3,000 square feet of runoff surfaces for businesses to water bills, will not be in place for the August bill.

"We're working on it right now, but there is a lot of work to this," Thomas said.

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"The reason for the delay is mainly an administrative one. The fee is placed on property owners but not renters, so Thomas said that many new accounts have to be created.

Thomas has nearly 700 pages of accounts to sort through, and she has yet to begin inputting them into the computer system.

The stormwater utility fee will fund the Environmental Protection Agency's mandated Combined Sewer Overflow plan and a program designed to maintain and improve the city's stormwater system. The city is projected to need $1.25 million per year to cover the plan.

The fee was passed in late May, and was originally scheduled to take effect in mid-June.

Kathy Cunningham, part owner of the Sta-Tan Swimming Club, is one business owner who doesn't mind the stormwater fee delay one bit.

The pool's 88,500 square feet of land will cost Cunningham $429.23 a month, or $5,150 every year."Of course, the month is going to help us in that we don't have to pay it for a month, and that will be overhead we won't have to pay during the pool being open," Cunningham said.

The pool will have an even harder time accounting for the additional hit to their bottom line as owners raised its rates just this season to help pay for some necessary repairs to the pool.

Thomas was unable to offer a firm timetable for when the fee would go into effect, saying she was already taking her work home with her.

"I've been working on it in the evenings at home, just bringing it up on the computer," Thomas said. "After I get all that done I'll have to come in and start creating all those new accounts."