Decatur proposes substantial increase in stormwater fees
Decatur has approximately $25.7 million in known storm drainage capital projects. It receives approximately $1.6 million per year in revenues for these capital projects. To decrease the backlog in necessary storm drainage projects many of which are used for flood control, the city is proposing substantial increases in the fee property owners pay in stormwater fees.
For a typical residence, the municipal utilities bill from the City of Decatur includes a Stormwater Utility charge (base fee) of $3.00 per month and a Stormwater ERU of $0.67 per month. The base fee is applied to each parcel of property in the city. The usage fee is based on the Equivalent Residential Unit value for which 1 ERU = 4,500 square feet of impervious area. If the city council passes the ordinance the fee would go up to $5.00 for the Stormwater Utility charge (base fee) and $1.10 for each Stormwater ERU per month. For a typical residence, this is a 66% increase over a two-year period that will result in the yearly cost increasing from $44.04 to $73.12 ($29.16 increase). The increase will be substantially higher for commercial and industrial customers that have larger amounts of impervious surfaces. Collectively, this increased fee would raise approximately $1.2 million more per year, an amount that will still not allow us to complete the backlog of projects.
Even though Decatur’s population has declined substantially in recent decades to less than 70,000, the city’s Public Works Department maintains and services the infrastructure for a city of 100,000. Until the city council implements spending priorities focused on retaining and increasing the city’s population and subsequent tax base, citizens will likely continue to see increases in taxes and fees such as property taxes, water, garbage disposal, and stormwater.
Along with a vote to increase stormwater fees, the Decatur City Council will also vote on whether to permanently close downtown parks from 12 AM – 6 AM after a one-year trial period, consider purchasing a second crime prevention surveillance trailer, and approving a five-year lease with Flock Safety for the 100 cameras that are in use throughout the city.
PLEASE EXPRESS YOUR VIEWS AT THE NEXT CITY COUNCIL MEETING
The next meeting will take on November 6, 2023. Meetings take place at 5:30 PM in the council chambers located on the third floor of the Decatur Civic Center (1 Gary K. Anderson Place). Free parking is available in the lot immediately south of the entrance. Citizens are encouraged to attend meetings and express their views. Citizens are allotted 3 minutes per person near the beginning of each city council meeting. In addition, citizens can provide comments regarding one regular agenda item per meeting for up to three minutes provided they notify the city in advance (and prior to the start of the meeting). You can request to speak on a particular agenda item at a council meeting by filling out an on-line form at: https://www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/advance-request-to-speak-at-council-meeting/.
CITIZENS ARE ENCOURAGED TO PROVIDE FEEDBACK TO CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS
If you would like to discuss city issues with a council member, phone numbers and email addresses for each council member can be found at the following link: https://www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/council/.
AGENDAS FOR CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS ARE AVAILABLE ONLINE
An agenda and information about each agenda item for each city council meeting can be found at: https://www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/council-meetings/.