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Stormwater fees to be imposed on local residents

The clock is ticking for Sunnyside to comply with federal and state regulations requiring the city and other municipalities with more than 10,000 people to provide a stormwater control system.

By 2008, the city is required to have in place a stormwater fee for residents and businesses in order to pay for the system.

To that end, the Sunnyside City Council on Monday night approved a contract with Pasco-based HDR Engineering to study what those rates should be.

The cost of HDR's work is not to exceed $29,330, and the city will be reimbursed for the study from a state grant.

HDR is also working with Sunnyside, Union Gap, Yakima and Yakima County on a regional stormwater plan. In related action Monday, the city council also approved an intergovernmental stormwater agreement with those entities to implement a regional stormwater policy.

In written comments to council, Public Works Director Jim Bridges noted, "HDR was selected based upon their work on both the water and sewer rate studies that the city previously adopted and through their work with the regional stormwater policy group."

When completed, the rate study will provide council with a range of stormwater fees to consider. The fee will be assessed on residents and businesses in addition to existing water and sewer utilities.

"I don't agree with this," Councilman Bruce Epps said of requirements to impose a stormwater fee. Epps, who with other council members voted for the measure, said it was an opinion shared by others on the city council. "We have to implement it," he said. "It's not an option for us."

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