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Adjustments planned in stormwater fees

The city of Sunnyside unveiled proposed adjustments in the amount of stormwater fees it will collect from property owners in the city limits.

The city has been assessing all property owners - regardless of the size of their land or whether it was residential or industrial - a flat fee of $3.75 per month.

In an attempt to more fairly distribute the costs of the stormwater utility - mandated by the state and federal governments - City Manager Eric Swansen last night, Thursday, presented a new fee system.

Under the proposed new arrangement, a typical homeowner will actually see their stormwater utility charge lowered to $1.59 per month. The only residential property owners who would pay more than the current $3.75 a month are those who own more than half an acre.

The change means that commercial and industrial property owners will see their stormwater rates increase. Darigold, for example, will see their stormwater fee increase to $265 per month under the new billing system, if approved.

Also, Swansen said the city is actually discounting the rates for industry so as not to discourage growth or new business.

In addition, there will be discounts provided to those commercial and industrial properties that are right now made up mainly of bare ground. Those properties will absorb rain water and issue little or no stormwater into the system the city will build.

Stormwater fees for parks and municipal lands will also be discounted since they are for public use.

The city anticipates receiving $479,000 in stormwater fees during 2009. The money will pay for four sewer workers and help pay for equipment used in stormwater work. The city is also setting aside funds for a stormwater system that will have to be built to meet federal and state standards.

Council is expected to take action on the new stormwater rate during its meeting on Monday, Dec. 8.

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