Dalton Set To Add Stormwater Service Fee To Utility Bills

Friday, February 2, 2018

Dalton residents will soon notice an addition to their utility bills pending approval of the Dalton City Council. Officials said, "In order to comply with state and federal mandates, the city plans to add a stormwater service fee."


For residential customers, the fee will be $2 for each billing cycle. The Dalton City Council will hear a reading of the ordinance for the new stormwater service fee at Monday’s meeting.


In the past, the city has attempted to use general fund revenues to pay for the various functions of the Public Works Department’s Stormwater Division. However, the general fund has proven inadequate to maintain the different tasks and programs required of the division and a more stable source of funding is needed.


Officials said, "The city of Dalton is required by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to adhere to a comprehensive plan for stormwater management. As required by the state, the program addresses construction site runoff control, illicit discharge detection and elimination, pollution prevention, post-construction runoff control, public education and outreach, and public involvement. To maintain Dalton’s stormwater permit and also Dalton Utilities’ drinking water intake and discharge permits, the city must adhere to numerous state and federal regulations. Violations and failure to comply with the laws can lead to fines levied against the city."


"We are concerned that general fund revenues may not allow the city to complete needed maintenance, repairs, and inspections which would put us out of compliance," said City Administrator Jason Parker. “If we lose compliance, it could cause the city to be fined.”


The Public Works Stormwater Division has a staff of four crew members who are charged with all maintenance of the city’s storm sewer drainage system. The crew is charged with repairing, replacing, and clearing the stormwater system throughout the year and performing preventative maintenance on all of the system’s structures which include basins, curbs, gutters, culverts, ditches, etc. The city has more than 5,000 stormwater structures and 89 miles of stormwater pipe which could stretch from Dalton to Atlanta if laid end to end, it was stated. 


As part of the city’s municipal stormwater permit, the crew must inspect and maintain all of the pipe and structures during the year. The division is also charged with a number of other tasks including investigation of citizen inquiries or complaints for stormwater management on right of ways, street sweeping of all city streets at least once a year, flood management analysis, right of way litter pickup, household hazardous waste collection in partnership with the Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority, etc. As part of its stormwater management program, the city also partners with Whitfield County’s Engineering Department to oversee all state-required stormwater and erosion control plan reviews, permitting, and other mandatory reporting requirements. 


“Ever since the city was first required to comply with the municipal NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination) permit requirements back in 2006, there has been no dedicated source of revenue to fund the stormwater program,” said Assistant Public Works Director Andrew Parker. “The stormwater service fee rate structure was calculated based on minimizing costs to contributing users but still ensuring a proactive maintenance and replacement program to help: minimize chances of nuisance flooding, preservation and enhancement of the environmental quality of community watersheds, and achieve compliance with NPDES requirements along the way.”


The proposed fee structure would collect a $2 base fee per month from residential water customers. The fee structure for commercial and industrial customers is still being analyzed. The rates will be finalized by Feb. 19 and published with notice sent to customers in their water bills before they are implemented.


The fee structure was based on offsetting the cost of the Stormwater Division to a total of approximately $628,000 a year, it was stated.


Officials said, "This proposed fee structure would be one of the lowest of the 52 local governments that assess a stormwater fee. While other communities have developed separate stormwater utilities with their own administrative budgets, the city of Dalton’s intent is only to create enough revenue to fully comply with the requirements of the state permit and stormwater management plan and to deliver productive operations through Public Works to keep the storm sewer system operating effectively."


Cliff Cason Named Chief Of Dalton Police Department

Cliff Cason was named chief of the Dalton Police Department at  Monday  morning’s monthly meeting of the Dalton Public Safety Commission. Chief Cason had been serving as the head of the agency on an interim basis in his role as the assistant chief since January when Jason Parker left the department to become Dalton’s city administrator. “I always thought I’d probably ... (click for more)

Tommy Fuget, 28, Shot Sunday Night On 4th Avenue

Tommy Fuget, 28, was shot Sunday night on 4th Avenue. The Chattanooga Police Department responded at 10:35 p.m. to a person shot in the 2500 block of 4th Avenue. Upon arrival, police were advised the victim was driven by a personal vehicle to a local hospital. At the hospital, Fuget told police he was walking down 4th Avenue when he was shot by an unknown man. ... (click for more)

Liberal Conspiracy Afoot

According to Roy Exum’s Sunday column, there are now upwards of six or seven Democrats in Hamilton County, and all of them have secretly maneuvered their way onto the boards of a couple of dozen local organizations. Unlike Republicans, some of them serve on multiple boards and some of them serve with one another on the same boards. This is outrageous. We all know that boards and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Words For The Ages

I was probably one of few people in the entire world who didn’t get caught up in the Royal Marriage of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry this weekend. I got over having any semblance of ‘pomp and circumstance’ a long time ago and, as a rule, studiously avoid those apt to ‘put on airs and graces.’ By ignoring the magnificent occasion, I made a big mistake and today it is with delight ... (click for more)

Six Chattanooga Baseball, Softball Teams Open State Play This Week

The state tournament matchups in baseball and softball have been announced. Only thing left is for the fortunate teams that have reached the 2018 TSSAA Spring Fling in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to make a final push toward possible championships, the most prized trophies in high school sports. While only two local baseball teams -- Baylor and McCallie -- are ... (click for more)

Lookouts Fall (3-2) In 10th Inning Walk-Offs By Biloxi Saturday & Sunday

The Biloxi Shuckers (26-17) grabbed their second walk-off victory of the season in extra innings on Saturday night against the Chattanooga Lookouts (28-15) with a 3-2 win. The Lookouts have a 3 1/2 game lead over second-place Jackson in the North Division, while Biloxi has a 3 1/2 game lead over Mobile in the South Divisioon The Shuckers scored two runs to counter Chattanooga's ... (click for more)