City Council Asks Scope Be Narrowed On Study Of Fairness Of Stormwater Fee Formula; Ball Fields Being Approved; Grinding Contracting Saving Money

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

City Council members have asked that the scope be narrowed on a study of the fairness of the current procedure for charging the stormwater fee.

Justin Holland, public works administrator, said a consultant planned to look at the current system, plus three options used by some other cities.

Councilman Chip Henderson said two of the options would not be something the council would be interested in. He said one feasible option is going to a tiered system, such as is used by Memphis, Nashville and Cleveland, Tn.

Some council members say the current ERU (Equivalent Residential Unit) system is unfair because all residential properties are charged the same despite the size of the property.

Mr. Holland said he would check to see if narrowing the scope would lower the quoted consultant fee of $105,290 for the additional work.

He said city officials feel that the current system "is fair and equitable." 

Officials said the city has been unable to collect $9,568,043 in stormwater fees, with almost all of that from governments, including the county and UTC.

Councilman Darrin Ledford said, "That's a crazy lot of money. It's a lot of money that's out there."

But Councilwoman Carol Berz said, "We're not going to place a lien on UTC. If you are not going to be able to collect, it's an illusory debt."

Also, Mr. Holland said River City Athletic Fields has been awarded a three-year contract at $115,000 to improve improve 25 city athletic fields.

"They will be upgrading their safety and playability," he said.

The fields include ones in Hixson, Lakesite, Lookout Valley and Rivermont.

Mr. Holland said the city has saved $362,936 in a year by farming out the grinding operation at the city's wood recycling center.

The work is now handled by Ooltewah Grinding and Clearing.

Mr. Holland said the city had six employees at the site formerly, and now has two. He said the other four were transferred to other areas in the city.

He said the city had been facing the purchase of a new $850,000 grinder.

 

 


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